|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3112 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1932 words|
When Lily’s group entered the cave, they discovered that its interior walls consisted of smooth grey rocks, a few of which were cracked with moss growing out from inside. There were bushes growing outside the cave, so the scent of vegetation blowing inside from the breezes created by the rain shower soothed Lily’s mind a little.
Shimizu helped Mizue lie down a flat rock inside the cave while Lily dispelled her domain. It was unrealistic to maintain the domain forever as it’d consume too much spirit power and mental power.
Shimizu had a weak body in the past, so she was well-versed in this subject. She thus inspected Mizue all over again and concluded that her body had healed fully. It was almost as if Mizue had never gotten injured.
Shimizu nodded and looked at the worried Lily, “She’s just very weak right now and will recover in a few days with the nourishment the life magatama provided her.”
Lily stood at the cave entrance as she was worried about her hunters the most. Although Lily had beaten back her enemy this time, the one who actually made her scared hadn’t made a move yet, so it was obvious that they wouldn’t give up anytime soon. As such, she used an alarm spell around the cave’s surroundings and returned inside.
Lily didn’t need to rest, so she just sat down and practiced Lunar Blossom. However, its effects were minimal as it was daytime now, so she opened her eyes and attempted to test whether insight from rainwater could have a synergetic effect on practicing Lunar Blossom.
Rainy days and moonlit nights were both classified as feminine in nature and possessed some correlation between them.
The skies darkened gradually, indicating that the trio had managed to pass the day safely. However, Lily wasn’t actually that afraid of the swordmasters from Annihilation Dojo and just wanted to give Mizue more time to rest.
The rain stopped when night fell, but the chilly winds and the dark forest’s silence were especially cold.
Shimizu had lit a fire inside the cave and looked at the glowing cave walls dazedly while Lily continued to train.
However, a few auras triggered Lily’s alarm spell outside the cavern suddenly, prompting her to open her eyes and warn the others, “Watch out, someone’s coming!”
Lily grabbed her blade’s hilt and arrived at the cave entrance just in time to see a few glowing lights flickering in the dark forest’s wind. She used her domain immediately and found that eight formidable samurai had surrounded the cave entrance.
There was even someone at the early-stage Permanence level among them.
Lily had held the upper hand in her battle with Amanojaku, who was at the early- to middle-stage Permanence level, when she was just in the Awakened level. That said, her destructive strength far exceeded the early-stage Permanence level now and she even had a defensive treasure to boot. As such, she wasn’t really afraid of an early-stage Permanence level enemy. However, she was still worried that her fight with an enemy on this level would implicate Mizue in it and place her in danger once again.
Lily’s hand shuddered, but she knew that hesitation and overcautiousness would doom not just her, but her companions as well.
Lily came to the realization in just a single breath of time.
The higher the pressure, the higher the valor!
These feelings of anxiety were a show of cowardice and it suggested that Lily didn’t actually possess that staunch a personality, but she had no reason to show cowardice!
Lily stepped forward and pointed her blade towards the enemies hidden in the forest outside fearlessly. Her domain allowed her to know the enemies’ intentions like the back of her hand, which was more than enough for her to keep Mizue safe.
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However, the enemies stopped 100m away from Lily instead of attacking her.
“Woosh! Woosh! Woosh!” A few uncanny-looking metal balls came flying at her.
Lily used her domain to take down these metal balls before they flew into the cave, but they released a purple smoke when they broke, which then flooded the whole cave.
“Kegh! Kegh!” Mizue’s coughs echoed inside the cave as she didn’t possess the skill to fight while holding her breath.
On the other hand, both Lily and Shimizu could battle for a few minutes with her breaths held.
“Dammit!” Lily wasn’t expecting her enemies to use tactics like these and became furious, “It seems like I’m still too kind!”
Lily dissipated most of the smoke with her sakura blades, but it wasn’t that easy to dissipate the smoke that had flooded the cave. She dashed inside and pulled Mizue outside, who somehow managed to keep up with her despite being in a weak and unstable state.
However, this still impeded Lily’s speed by a lot.
Shimizu also followed after Lily and rushed outside the cave.
Lily’s eyes turned cold as she manipulated her domain to form dozens of sakura blades and sent them towards the eight samurai.
The samurai were by no means weak though and began to dodge her attacks by using the forest as the cover. Lily also knew that it was impossible to give them any serious injuries without closing in by just using the sakura blades.
The Permanence level enemy was also unaffected by the sakura blades and Lily noted that he had chanted some kind of spell to deploy a defensive spirit shield around him that prevented the blades from reaching him.
The Permanence level enemy began chanting a spell once again and Lily saw a purple light flash through the forest, following which two purple spirit centipedes flew towards by cutting through the leaves.
“What?!” Lily was taken aback by this. A spell like this doesn’t seem like the work of a samurai. Is he perhaps an onmyōji?
Lily had never faced an onmyōji at this level and didn’t know what kind of tricks they possessed or how to deal with him, so she turned quite vigilant.
The two centipedes were translucent and purple in color with a length of 5-6m and the breadth of a python. They wiggled their numerous legs in the night sky as if they were pushing air aside and pincer attacked Lily from her sides.
One of the centipedes accelerated suddenly and pounced towards Lily, opening its fangs to spew out venomous spirit power at her.
It was a sickening tactic. Lily shielded Mizue behind her and pierced through the centipede’s head with her blade to burn the energy powering it with her blade maiden spirit power and swung her blade aside to blow away the venomous energy.
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Lily possessed a high spirit power density, so just a part of her strength was enough to burn away half of the centipede’s energy.
However, its remaining back half exploded into a poisonous mist almost immediately.
It’d take her time to disperse the poisonous mist with her domain, so she pulled Mizue, and side rolled out of the mist’s range. Yet, the other centipede pounced towards her at this moment.
The enemy onmyōji hasn’t even shown his face, yet he has put me in such a precarious situation. I can’t let this continue.
Lily summoned the demon hound and tossed Mizue on its back, “You must remain staunch if you wish to live, Mizue!”
The debilitated Mizue almost failed to catch the demon hound’s back, but her spirit reserves were full right now, and her body had also attained strength equal to the early-stage sword saint level from the life magatama’s nourishment unknown to her, so she was able to circulate her spirit power and latch onto the demon hound despite feeling innervated. Her talent, however, was poor since the life magatama had increased her strength just this much.
The demon hound sprinted away with Mizue on its back after that.
Lily scoured for the onmyōji’s direction by using this chance and shot forward towards him.
The onmyōji’s defensive spell was powerful and enabled him to ward off sword beams from far, but an onmyōji wasn’t usually adept at close combat, so Lily could kill him for sure as long as she closed the distance between them.
Two samurai jumped down from the trees and pincer attacked Lily while the centipede chased her from behind. Now that she didn’t need to protect Mizue, the centipede was of no threat to Lily.
“Scram!” Lily executed a blade strike while dashing forward.
“Boom!” The strike was so powerful that it bisected the samurai and the tens of meters tall trees into two.
The shady, white-robed, -turbaned, -masked man who floated tens of meters above in the sky using some kind of spell had a strange weapon that looked like a fusion of a Shinto wand and a jeweled wand.
Lily knew there was a time and altitude limit to how long and how high onmyōji could remain floating with a spell, but she didn’t intend to wait for him to descend. Lily jumped up in spite of the centipede closing in behind her and attacked the onmyōji’s defensive shield.
Her close-ranged attack packed power equivalent to the late-stage Permanence level, so it was impossible for a measly spirit shield to block it.
“Crack!” The shield shattered and Lily’s blade pierced towards the onmyōji’s heart without losing any momentum.
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However, the onmyōji revealed an eerie smile and tossed away his magic weapon to take out a massive saw-toothed nodachi from his cloak.
“Clang!” The duo’s blades clashed.
A powerful energy storm tremored out with the duo as the center and caused the trees to shake from it.
“What?!” Lily was shocked by this.
However, Lily won out in terms of strength in the end, and sent the masked man flying with the hit, who then chanted a spell in midair to slow down his momentum and landed slowly on one foot in between a tree trunk.
“A samurai?!” The man’s strength was high enough to contend with Lily, so it was impossible for him to be an onmyōji as a tachi as long as the one he possessed wasn’t usually used by them.
However, the man could also use fearsome arcane spells!
The centipede caught Lily off-guard at this moment and bit her calf from behind, making her feel a severe, stinging pain.
However, the spirit defense provided by the celestial maiden’s undergarment that Lily had donned barred it from harming Lily directly. It blocked the venom and also shattered the centipede’s teeth.
Lily’s current spirit defense had made her limbs as tough as grade 8 treasures, not to mention that she was also wearing grade 9 sandals. A single kick from her was enough to shatter the centipede and turn into a wisp of vanishing purple mist.
Lily pointed her blade at the white-masked samurai once she landed on the ground, “Just who are you? Why can you use such strange spells when you’re a samurai?”
“I admire the legends you’ve created, Kagami Lily, since it’s not that easy for a woman without backing like you to gain such fame in Kanto. I’m Kiuchidera Tesshin, and it’s pretty common for Kansai’s samurai to use arcane spells. These arcanists hold an advantage over ordinary samurai and onmyōji on the same level as them. I knew I’d fail to kill you today, but I still came to let you experience the methods of Kansai samurai as a greeting!”
Kiuchidera Tesshin laughed insidiously and fled into the forest by using the float spell.
“We’ll have many chances to have fun in the future. Hahaha!”