|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3038 characters|
|Translator: LazyButAmbitious||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1762 words|
“Who gave you permission to call my name? Do you enjoy punishment that much? Can’t sexy and beautiful women like you show your charm without being punished?” Ui asked angrily.
“Why do you have these strange thoughts at such a young age?!” Lily retorted.
“Do you think it’s great to be punished? Hmph, I won’t give you what you want. Today, I won’t punish you!”
“…How could I possibly find that great? You are the one who’s strange!”
At this time, on the other side of the high mountains, Shimizu continued to walk in front while Tamurakonoe followed behind vigilantly. They had already entered the depths of the mountain range, ascending to a height of several hundred meters. At their current altitude, the temperature took a drastic drop and every step seemed to chill their soul.
Dark clouds chased the silvery moon, shadowing the mountains in pitch black. However, the misty brilliance of the purple fog peppered the surroundings with glimmers of light. The further they walked up the mountain, the more dots of light drifted about the trees and shrubs.
Shimizu could sense these spots of light, perceiving faint spirit fluctuations from each one.
The beckoning fluctuations only grew in strength as she continued onward.
Tamurakonoe remained oblivious to the peculiarities. From time to time, Shimizu would deliberately divert in random directions so as to shrug off any building suspicions.
Gradually, Shimizu felt the gaze of someone crawling over her back. She looked around but only saw the black ancient trees resembling demons with outstretched fangs and claws. Nothing seemed unusual, however, the feeling of being watched still persisted. It was unfortunate that spiritual awareness was restricted in this place.
Even Tamurakonoe started to notice the abnormal coldness in the mountain.
“Minamoto no Shimizu, you’d better be careful. I’m afraid that unimaginable danger lies ahead.” Tamurakonoe’s eyes sharpened.
“If you’re scared, we can return.”
“No need. We would have to climb the mountain sooner or later unless we want to stay trapped here forever. Although that Kagami Lily has extraordinary talent, she’s definitely not my opponent. I never thought that before I could even fight her, I would end up stranded on this deserted island. Does this woman have some kind of magic power?1” Facing this bizarre environment, Tamurakonoe couldn’t help chuckling ruefully.
Suddenly, the sound of stirring wind and grass could be heard in the fog ahead.
Shimizu and Tamurakonoe paused their movements and looked over with grim expressions.
In the roiling mist, around six or seven human figures emerged from the dark shrubs tens of meters away. This group held spears, axes, and other primitive weapons, and consisted of both males and females. However, whether it was the human figures or the weapons, they exuded a faint silver glow, appearing almost illusionary but tangible.
“Halt! Who dares trespass on holy ground?” One of the figures shouted from a distance. The voice sounded somewhat ethereal and hollow as if it had endured the vicissitudes of time.
“Oh?” Tamurakonoe smirked, “To think that there are such things on this deserted island.”
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“What are those?” Shimizu looked at him curiously.
“Let’s go over and take a closer look. I can’t say for sure in this fog.” He replied.
“You want me to take the lead? You’re quite the man.” Shimizu sneered.
“Let’s go. If a powerful demon really appears, I’ll take action immediately. I won’t just watch you die.” Tamurakonoe continued to urge.
The two kept their distance and continued to approach the luminous figures. Shimizu made sure to clutch the short sword by her waist just in case.
“Halt! You’re intruding on holy grounds. Foreigners are not allowed entry!” The luminous figures brandished their weapons and fanned out in a half-circle, blocking their way.
Shimizu and Tamurakonoe could now see the figures clearly.
They glowed in silver and looked translucent like spirit bodies. In terms of appearance, they weren’t much different from ordinary people, but compared to the people of the Heian Dynasty, they were taller. The females were around 1.7 meters tall while the males all stood at a height of over 1.8 meters. Although such physiques were nothing special for powerful samurai, they were rare among ordinary mountain villagers. Even without the silver hue, these people looked more dignified and had a lighter tone than that of regular countrymen.
Their attire was even stranger. They combed the sides of their long hair into gourd-shaped braids that extended to the nape of their necks, and they wore headbands on their foreheads. Both the men and women adopted this hairstyle. Instead of kimonos, they wore diagonal button-collar clothes paired with short skirts and straw sandals. The weapons in their hands also exuded an ancient feel.
“Stone?” Shimizu was taken back. Among these people, only the man in the lead wielded a rough bronze-headed spear. The weapons of the others only comprised of sharpened stone tied to wooden shafts. The accessories worn around their necks and waists also consisted of slightly more precious stones such as jade.
“Ancient spirits!” Tamurakonoe shouted, “These are neither people nor resentful spirits of the Heian Dynasty. Based on their costumes and weapons, they seem to be remnant souls of people dating back to ancient civilization thousands of years ago!”
“Souls of the ancients?” Shimizu muttered in shock. The history of Eastern land was relatively short and she wasn’t clear about the things that happened before the Heian era. Did she unknowingly stumble upon some ancient ruins? If their guesses were correct, these souls should be guarding the remains of their ancient land.
Shimizu curtsied to these ancient predecessors and spoke respectfully, “I had unfortunately drifted here and harbored no intentions of disturbing you, but I’m stuck on this island and cannot leave. Would you seniors happen to know of a way to leave here?”
“Minamoto no Shimizu, the relics of these ancient human spirits contain hidden treasures and useful secrets. Now that we have discovered these relics, how can we leave just like that? Lead the way and let’s explore a little.” Tamurakonoe said from behind.
Shimizu frowned slightly, “You might as well tell them yourself.”
“We have been guarding this holy land for thousands of years! Foreigners are not allowed to enter, otherwise, we will kill without mercy!” The silvery light cloaking their bodies erupted, releasing primal spiritual energy.
Both Tamurakonoe and Shimizu probed the strength of the other side.
The well-built man with the bronze spear was a sixth stage Awakened while the others were a mix between the fourth and fifth stage.
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“Still not going? These ancient spirits aren’t very strong.” Tamurakonoe remarked.
“Is it proper to disturb the ancients like this?” Shimizu didn’t know why, but she was reluctant to draw her sword against these spirits, even though they weren’t as strong as herself.
Suddenly, a voice echoed directly in her soul.
“Who? Who are you?” Shimizu asked telepathically.
“Sure enough, you can hear our spiritual words. Girl, although you’re not of our clan, you must possess the bloodline of the noble master’s clan that we have served for generations! This is a holy place, but if you want to enter, we dare not stop you. However, that person behind you is a foreigner, please do not let him in.”
What? A noble master’s clan?
Shimizu was startled. She was a direct descendant of the Genji clan. Did these ancient people serve her ancestors thousands of years ago?
In any case, this turn of events was very favorable for her current situation. It was indeed a wise choice to follow the spiritual fluctuations into the depths of the mountain.
Shimizu scanned the group of ancient spirits and exchanged a subtle glance with the leader in front. She could confirm that he was the one using spiritual voice transmission to converse with her.
“Senior, it is not my intention to bring this person here. I was kidnapped by this man behind me.” Shimizu replied through the spiritual connection.
“What?” The ancient spirits communicated among themselves in spiritual language before transmitting back, “This foreigner is really hateful. He dares to kidnap the descendants of the noble master. Girl, you can continue ahead. As long as you enter the holy land, that man will not be able to chase you any further. We will stay to block him, but we’re not certain for how long.”
“This…the man behind me is extremely strong. Isn’t it dangerous for you to confront him for me?”
“Minamoto no Shimizu, what’s the matter with you? Why are you in a daze? Hurry and rush over.” Tamurakonoe urged from behind. Although he was much stronger than these ancient spirits, he was still worried about potential traps or other secret methods. Currently, Shimizu was the best scapegoat.
“Girl, we’ve already been dead for countless years. It’s our duty to protect the master’s holy land with our remaining spirit bodies, as well as to protect the descendants of the master’s blood. It’s also the purpose of our existence. Quickly escape while we block this person!” The tall ancient spirit assured.
A wave of determination flashed across the faces of the several ancient spirits.
“Shimizu is grateful! Then, please!” Shimizu unsheathed her short sword and pretended to launch an aggressive attack, rushing towards the leader of the ancient spirits. Tamurakonoe watched on with a smug grin.
However, when Shimizu approached the ancient spirit, she didn’t attack but directly passed by his side and sprinted into the depths of the mountain.
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“What? Why didn’t they stop her?” Tamurakonoe was stunned, “Are these ancient spirits just bluffing?”
“Well then!” He sneered and rushed over.
At that moment, the several ancient spirits all sprung forth, stabbing their weapons towards Tamurakonoe simultaneously.
“What?!” Although he was strong, he was caught off guard by the sudden attacks and had to jump back to retreat, “Why let that woman pass but not me?”
“Foreigner, stop talking nonsense! Allow us to send you on your way!”
The ancient spirits combusted with a blinding radiance, causing ancient rope patterns to circle around them. Their figures then dissolved into milky mist and converged together, forming a huge spirit warrior that raged with spiritual energy and dazzling silver light.
The once hollow voice also became more vigorous, “A mere foreigner dares to covet the holy land? DIE!”
A huge jade sword materialized in the hands of the light spirit warrior as it strode towards Tamurakonoe with heavy steps.
Tamurakonoe stood there, his long robe fluttering. He reached for the long tachi strapped to his back and smirked coldly, “Hmph.”
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