|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3256 characters|
|Translator: LazyButAmbitious||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1997 words|
Lily was baffled. These warriors arrayed in ancient armors and weapons all exuded the same fluctuations as the samurai spirit she had encountered in the cave. One by one, their smoldering figures emerged from the curtain of trees and mist, slowly advancing towards Lily.
This was an impending nightmare for ordinary samurai. Normal attacks, even those enhanced by spiritual energy, were ineffective against them, while their own blows could ignore any form of defense and directly damage the soul. The only boon was the lack of particularly formidable warriors among their ranks. As long as one was at the Spirit Jade stage, escape was a viable option. If one was unfortunate enough to fall siege to their numbers, their control over spiritual energy would be greatly affected once the soul got injured. From that point, their strength would drop sharply and eventually lead to their demise.
It was said that when a person died, their soul could enter Yomi and have a chance at reincarnation. However, if the soul was destroyed, it would disappear forever, leaving no opportunity for reincarnation— this was indeed a fate worse than death.
Despite the horrifying danger, Lily wasn’t afraid. Crescent Moon vibrated spiritedly in her grasp and emitted an eerie blue light at this moment.
“Let’s see if Crescent Moon can hurt these guys now that it has absorbed the phantom soul blade.”
I still have to be careful of their attacks since I can’t defend against them, Lily reminded herself.
A dim light flitted through her pupils and her speed skyrocketed in an instant. With a quick slash, she easily dispatched a spirit warrior who thought of approaching her by himself. The spirit warrior’s movements were just too slow. He barely managed to raise his sword before he was cut down with a single attack!
Lily’s Crescent Moon seemed to resonate with some kind of fluctuating air current as it sliced the ancient spirit warrior from the middle.
“It works!” Lily shouted excitedly.
The warrior who was cut in half had his vitality greatly reduced, but he was still able to move and wriggle his upper body in an attempt to swipe at Lily.
“Devour—!” Lily stabbed her katana into the back of the tenacious spirit warrior, and as anticipated, his soul power was sucked into the blade.
At the same time, Crescent Moon’s blue sheen grew increasingly brighter.
Relentless in their march, a few more spirit warriors attacked Lily while some others shot soul arrows from a distance.
It would be fatal if these arrows managed to hit their mark.
Fortunately, her opponents’ strength only ranged between the third and fourth level of the Awakened stage. How could they even come close to striking her?
Lily didn’t need to hurry her pace, only relying on her normal speed to outmaneuver the arrows being fired in her direction. Utilizing her agility, she sifted through the rain of arrows and reaped the souls of any nearby spirit warriors.
Unlike ordinary anima absorption which only replenished spirit power, these phantom soul bodies were composed of rich soul energy. By absorbing all of them, Lily could gather copious amounts of soul energy that could enhance her katana’s lethality.
Gradually, this supposed dangerous encounter had become a hunt.
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The swordsmanship displayed by the ancient spirit warriors was clumsy because of the lack of actual power provided by the phantom soul body. The only aspect that seemed relatively decent was their speed, but even so, they were far inferior to Lily.
The howling wind and rain swept through the forest, scattering splinters of soul energy about the air. Lily’s Crescent Moon gradually dawned a deeper shade of blue as more and more spirit warriors fell to the ground, their energy sucked dry by the cursed katana.
Lily pierced the chest of the last ancient spirit warrior, causing his glowing figure to slowly dim. His body was reduced to a vapid, empty husk as his soul energy was devoured by the gluttonous blade.
“Huh?” Lily felt a peculiar tremor surge through Crescent Moon which was accompanied by a lustrous shine that stimulated her heart to palpitate just by looking at it.
“Crescent Moon advanced by a grade!” Lily beamed joyfully.
“Congratulations, Master. Your Crescent Moon has upgraded to grade eight. In addition, it can now utilize soul attacks which may come in handy in battle. Its actual combat effectiveness is comparable to that of a ninth-grade sword, but on some occasions, it may even outperform ninth-grade swords!” Kagura said.
Lily nodded, “Crescent Moon is imbued with soul power while still retaining its physical form. With this, I have more flexibility with who and how I attack. Whether they are a spirit body, phantom soul body, or an ordinary person, I can kill them if I directly penetrate their soul— there’s not much difference. Though, I still need to develop ways of achieving its full potential in actual combat.”
From this moment onwards, Lily’s Crescent Moon had been reborn anew, now capable of harming soul entities and spiritual energy. With its higher grade and newfound power, the katana became Lily’s surprise weapon in case she faces a powerful opponent!
Lily reserved Crescent Moon in the mirror space, deciding not to use it at will. Only when making an unexpected and prominent move could the soul damage effect be utilized to the fullest.
At this time, Lily’s apprehension towards the mountain had lessened quite a bit. If she encountered the same enemies again, she couldn’t be any happier! It was much easier to raise the level of her sword through the phantom soul bodies than ordinary animas.
But even so, Lily remained cautious. Throughout her continued journey up the mountain, she encountered several ancient spirits which she promptly killed and absorbed into her cursed katana.
As night fell, Lily walked alone on the dark and lonely mountain path, cold gusts of wind occasionally hissing through the rattling leaves and branches.
Unknowingly, she had ventured over a hillside and made her way into a small valley. Shadowed by bumpy hills on all sides, her surroundings seemed even darker.
Lily’s chest started to visibly rise and fall, gradually increasing in intensity at every breath.
“Why do I feel hotter and hotter?”
The blowing night breeze was clearly chilly but was unable to smother the scorching heat building in Lily’s body. Instead, like wind nurturing a budding flame, it caused the fire in Lily’s body to burn even more vigorously.
“What’s wrong with me? Is it because of the Flower Rain Curse? No, it’s more than that. Previously, I didn’t manage to eliminate the effects of the sake, only suppress it. Now, it seems to be getting stronger and stronger.”
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In the darkness, two invisible tentacles wrapped and entangled Lily’s body while relentlessly producing scorching heat. The more she struggled, the tighter the entanglement became, preventing her from breaking free.
“What kind of curse is this? It’s so annoying!” Lily said irritatedly as an uncontrollable blush crept up her cheeks.
She looked around and saw no one.
After some time, she came to a cliff. Although it was dark, she could still borrow a trickle of sparse moonlight. Lily took out the mirror, turned around, lifted her skirt behind her with one hand, and angled the mirror to reflect underneath. This was the only method she could think of to view the area.
The copper mirror shone faintly under the mellow moonlight, reflecting the folds of Lily’s skirt as well as the ample snow-white softness underneath.
Above that area, her skin was pure and flawless and no marks could be seen. Although nothing seemed unusual, Lily felt that the invisible seal was indeed there.
Lily felt ashamed and depressed knowing she was stamped in such a place.
But could one really say that she was unlucky? If she didn’t happen to wash up on the deserted island with Ui, and instead fell into the hands of the carp spirit or Tamurakonoe after losing consciousness, she would be in some real trouble.
While studying the area afflicted by the invisible mark, she unintentionally saw two white petals that tranced her heart to beat faster.
It definitely wasn’t intentional! Lily averted her eyes. Although it was inevitable to see some parts after being a girl for so long, she deliberately chose to avoid thinking about it.
At this moment, perhaps under the dual effects of the seal and wine, Lily came to a sudden realization.
“I may not become a madwoman, because technically, isn’t my soul that of a boy? Not even Tamamo-no-Mae nor Shuten Doji could’ve guessed such a situation, right?”
Since accepting her strange circumstances in this world, Lily hardly kept in mind that she was a boy occupying a female body.
She would’ve completely regarded herself as a woman unless she had returned to the mirror space.
“Why do I have the consciousness of a boy…?” Lily blushed, her eyes a little misty. She lowered her skirt and subconsciously twisted her waist as she walked, swinging her hips from side to side.
“But walking around like this. Do I have no shame…?”
“No, it’s not like that. There must be some reason for it. I can’t help it, I can’t help it. It’s not my fault that I became such a sexy woman when I came into this world! Ah, it’s not like I wanted to become like this!”
“But Lily, you obviously like being a woman, right? You obviously want to be a woman even more, don’t you?”
Strange thoughts pervaded Lily’s mind. Although these were important, long-standing questions, Lily usually chose to ignore them.
However, at this time, they emerged one by one, entangling Lily’s heart and mind.
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“Lily, if you were given a chance: either to revert back to a boy or continue on as the beautiful, goddess-like woman of the East, which would you choose?”
“If Senior Sister wakes up and doesn’t care whether you’re a boy or not, would you still obsess over turning back into a boy?”
“Lily, what about your own thoughts? Do you think that if you deceive yourself for Senior Sister’s love, she’ll approve it? Can you make Senior Sister feel your manliness?
The sky flashed and the rain increased its downpour.
The rain descended like a curtain, completely drenching Lily. However, white vapor kept rising from her body like steam rising from a hot surface.
“Manliness? Hahahaha!” Lily raised her head and laughed towards the night sky.
Lily seemed drunk on both the alcohol and her emotions. She picked up the ancient mirror and reflected her beautiful face on its lustrous surface. Lily stroked her head, fiddled with her hair, traced her slender finger along her pink lips, and enjoyed the tiny electric currents that tickled her body. She even threw a sexy wink at the mirror.
“Look at you, Lily. Aren’t you embarrassed to mention anything about manliness? Clearly, you are a woman among women, right?”
“No, no, I’m not! Even if my body is a woman, my heart is still a man!”
Lightning crisscrossed the clouds above, illuminating the beautiful body of the goddess.
Lily looked at herself in the mirror. Her cheeks and face were flushed in a deep scarlet, but her charm remained ethereal.
“I like women; this is my proof. Although this is a bit unchaste and watery, I’m physically attracted to all kinds of beautiful girls. Ah, this is a physiological reaction and cannot be helped, right? This is proof that I still retain my manliness!”
Lily’s face was full of tenderness and her fists clenched tightly. At this moment, her eyes looked cloudy as if she got whisked away by her thoughts.
Her figure was slender and fair, and with trembling, wet fingers, she slowly slid off the side of her kimono, revealing her milky-white, delicate shoulders.
“My favorite is actually you, Miss Lily.” She muttered to the goddess in the mirror, her hot and steamy breath fogging its surface.