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Chapter 31 – Kyūbōzu

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3151 characters
Translator: Aoi English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 2025 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

On the eastern shore of Lake Biwa lay some desolate waters where the reeds were 10 ft. tall, tall enough for boats to get lost inside them if they wandered into it accidentally.

In the depths of these waters, which were filled with darkness and a rotten stench all year long, lived a green-skinned kappa.

The massive kappa was seated on a 10 m tall isle and unlike the usual brittle-bodied kappas, he possessed a tough body and was 6 to 7 m tall with a pudgy stomach. His skin was tough as a rhino’s hide and his arms were as thick as a tree’s trunk while his face was riddled with uneven skin tones and scars that told the tale of a battle-tested victor.

The kappa’s duckbill was huge enough to swallow a pig whole and he possessed a vicious set of bright yellow eyes that shone with a fear-inducing glow that could paralyze anyone who sees it.

Hundreds of kappas of all ages and sizes were around him at this moment and each one of them was bigger and wilder than the norm for a kappa.

“Lord Kyūbōzu! It’s likely that the rumor is true. A lot of human samurai have entered the village bordering Lake Biwa over the past few days and there’s a lot of powerful samurai from the west among them. It seems like Biwa Palace is really going to open!” A kappa exclaimed while poking his head out of the water.

The massive kappa, Kyūbōzu, opened his tough, yellow bill to make a declaration in an eerie voice with his feet still immersed in the water, “The eastern shore of Lake Biwa belongs to us kappas, so the treasure in the lake are also ours to take! Those trifling humans are no match for us underwater and are just throwing their lives away!”

“It is as you say, milord. Those human samurai are no match for us underwater! Hmph!”

“I have had my eyes on the Biwa Palace’s legend from when I was younger than you are now. We’ve waited a long time for this chance, so we must obtain the treasure of Biwa Palace at any cost! We shall now set off and lie in wait outside the Biwa Palace. The emblem holders are to rush inside and take the treasure in groups of three the moment the palace’s doors open and those without emblems are to battle the samurai to hinder them!” Kyūbōzu ordered.

“Yes, Lord Kyūbōzu!”
“Kill the humans! Take the treasure!”
“Take the treasure!”

Kyūbōzu recalled a certain matter once the kappas quietened down, “Is there anything new to report about the East’s sword miko?”

“Lord Kyūbōzu,” A tanned, short-heighted kappa replied, “it’s said that the sword miko has left for Kansai’s Mt. Ooe. However, we haven’t sighted her anywhere near Lake Biwa.”

“Mt. Ooe? Heh. Just leave her alone in that case, she’s just throwing her life away.”

“Milord, there’s one more thing to report. It’s said that Kanto’s mirror girl is also journeying west.”

“Kanto’s mirror girl? Leave her alone, too. Our kappa tribe has never bothered with matters related to mirror girls,” Kyūbōzu stated disinterestedly.

“Let’s go! It’s time for the kappas of Lake Biwa to show our strength to the samurai of the world!” Kyūbōzu issued a long quack and dived into the water, giving rise to a huge splash of water as he reached the depths and swam forward with his massive fear-inducing body. The hundreds of kappas dived into the water in succession and followed behind as well.

Lily had now returned to the inn.

“Where were you?” Shimizu’s complexion looked a lot better now.

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“Um… I-I was out taking a walk. By the way, Sister Shimizu…”

“A walk, huh? You caused some trouble outside, didn’t you? Did you think I didn’t see the commotion that occurred below just now?” Shimizu stated gloomily, “Who was the tall man that was with you just now?”

“The tall man?” Lily was taken aback, “Are you referring to Brother Tenba, Sister Shimizu? I met him in the pub. He likes drinking but didn’t have money to pay for it, so I treated him to drinks…”

“What?!” Shimizu went forward and pulled Lily’s sleeve worriedly, “You treated a man to drinks, Lil’ Sis? How could you have acted so unashamedly as a samurai woman of the East? You weren’t harassed, were you?”

“Really…” Lily felt helpless at the silliness of the questions, “It wasn’t like that, Sister Shimizu…”

“If you’re unwilling to hear my explanation, just scold me once earlier,” Lily stated after seeing Shimizu’s worried look, and turned her back to Shimizu.

“I didn’t mean it that way, Lil’ Sis. I was just worried about you. There are no decent men in this world and I’m really afraid that you’ll get bullied by them because of your kindness and innocence.”

“Rest assured, Sister Shimizu. I know men much better than you. Brother Tenba isn’t that kind of man. However, I must admit that there are actually very few righteous and dauntless men in this world that have the power to back their ideals.”

“You know men much better than me? How could you say such unabashed words? Don’t tell me you actually have experience with…” Shimizu questioned both embarrassedly and irately.

“I-It’s not like that, Sis! Really!” However, it was quite difficult for Lily to explain this to Shimizu.

Just as Lily recounted what she had heard previously about Biwa Palace’s rumor, a dark and broad multideck ship sailed on Lake Biwa in the night.

A bunch of western samurai shrouded in gloomy and powerful auras was seated inside this ship’s hold.

The one leading them—Sakanoue no Tamurakonoe—was a pretty man as beautiful as a flower, but he emitted a fear-inducing aura possessed by powerhouses.

“Lord Tamurakonoe! There’s a village at the lakeshore ahead of us,” A short-haired samurai dressed in a red-lined white coat with the huge ancient pronoun character Maro (麿) on its back reported to Tamurakonoe.

“A village? Good. There’s only one village on the eastern shore of Lake Biwa and it’s said that Biwa Palace’s entrance is close to it. Let’s go ashore,” Tamurakonoe commanded.

“Yay! It’s a village!” The girl playing with the kendama, Ui, popped her head outside the ship and looked at the dimly lit village in the distance, “This is nice. We can have fun in the village!”

“Little Ui, we’re not here to have fun. You must prepare with Tesshin to accompany me underwater and enter Biwa Palace,” Tamurakonoe stated.

The white-masked Kiuchidera Tesshin sat to the side in silence.

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The ship quaked suddenly at this moment, which was then followed by the cries of a bird.

“Milord! It’s a monster bird!”

“What? A monster bird? Where is it?” Ui asked excitedly.

A shadow flitted across the ship’s skies swiftly and the irritated samurai were blown down by the intense wind generated by it. At the same time, the whole ship quaked intensely.

The shadow returned once again a few moments later and tore a huge section of the ship’s top with its claws.

The quaking had almost caused the ship to capsize.

“Hahahaha! Hahahahahaha! It’s a monster bird! It’s a powerful monster bird!” Ui laughed excitedly in midair after getting thrown out of the ship by making her kendama twist around a pillar of the ship’s outer hold.

“It’s an early-stage Spirit Jade level monster, Lord Tamurakonoe! The ship won’t last if this goes on and will capsize!”

Tamurakonoe stood up calmly and walked to the bow of the ship before facing the monster bird speeding towards the ship from a distance.

The monster bird opened its several-foot wide wings and blitzed towards the ship!

It became a shadow and reached the ship almost instantly.

“Whoosh!”

Tamurakonoe pulled his blade out suddenly, but the others present on the ship simply failed to register his movements. All they saw was him grabbing the hilt of the blade on his back and he had long executed a front slash by the time they even realized anything.

They failed to capture the slashing movement and didn’t even see an afterimage, almost as if the movements didn’t even exist.

A bunch of black feathers floated down in front of Tamurakonoe.

The monster bird had been bisected and its two halves dropped into the lake, giving rise to two splashes.

The monster bird archdemon failed to even capture a single ripple released by Tamurakonoe’s slash before it was bisected like a hot knife cutting through butter.

“Bam!”

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The monster bird’s lustrous spirit jade1 dropped down to the ship’s deck from the bisected halves along with bloodstained feathers.

The swooping monster bird had been killed by Tamurakonoe’s slash without even getting a chance to resist.

“How swift! Even I failed to capture the movements of his blade,” A cold layer of sweat formed on Tesshin’s forehead, “There’s no sword master in the West who can match the speed of Lord Tamurakonoe’s blade among his generation!”

“You’re so amazing, Brother Tamurakonoe! I am the only one who could see Brother’s blade! Hehehehehehe!” Ui chuckled while swinging across the side of the ship by pulling on the kendama’s thread.

Tamurakonoe sheathed his blade into the sheath on his back unhappily despite killing an early-stage Spirit Jade level archdemon with ease as the wind from the lake made his hair underneath the hairpin flutter.

“The Biwa Palace’s treasure is mine to take since I’ve set my eyes on it. If anyone wishes to strive for it, their lives shall end quicker than this so-called monster bird’s life.”

The bird had been plaguing the eastern shore of Lake Biwa for a lot of years and none of the villagers dared to go outside whenever it ventured outside of its abode as it tended to catch humans and gobble them up with lightning-quick speed. This was the reason it had gained the moniker of ‘monster bird.’

However, it had met its death so simply under a single slash from Sakanoue no Tamurakonoe and became a stepping stone to solidify the legend of Tamurakonoe’s swift blade.

It was said that no one in the world was quicker than Tamurakonoe in the same power level.

Ui leaped out of the ship and went towards the village to have fun the moment it landed at the shore, which left Tamurakonoe as well as his companions dumbfounded on the deck.

“Go buy some items to eat,” Tamurakonoe commanded one of the samurai under him, “Avoid causing any trouble or a commotion. Our purpose this time is to just obtain Biwa Palace’s treasure and not to invite new troubles onto ourselves.”

“Yes, Lord Tamurakonoe,” the young samurai from Maro Dojo had seen Tamurakonoe’s blade in real combat for the first time ever and it filled him with endless longing for it.

Lily and Shimizu were still inside the inn right now. Lily had spent the time until now explaining how she had become sworn brothers with Tenba Goro after drinking with him.

As the stone formation outside the village isolated some of the eldritch energy, and also because Tamurakonoe’s blade was too swift, Lily failed to notice that a battle had occurred outside.

Shimizu had finally forgiven Lily and the duo watched the night scene above the lake from the veranda.

“Biwa Palace… I see. However, you must still remain cautious against men and never trust them fully. Do you understand, Lil’ Lily?” Shimizu stated while watching the multideck ship land at the shore.

“Rest assured, Sister Shimizu. I understand,” Lily acknowledged while watching the little girl donned in an informal minidress jump ashore cheerfully and speed towards the village to have fun.

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The little girl seemed quite interested in the stores, lanterns and decorative items of the village and also sized up the various dresses of the samurai from all corners inquisitively. Her eyes narrowed when she saw two pretty sisters looking at her from the veranda as she passed by the inn and smiled at the duo as a greeting.

“What a cheerful little girl,” thought Lily as she smiled back with a tilt2.



References

  1. Robinxen: Shiny detected.
  2. Robinxen: I wonder what manner of evils she will unleash.

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