|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3301 characters|
|Translator: LazyButAmbitious||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2040 words|
“Sister, where are you going? Is someone forcing or blackmailing you?”
Shimizu smiled softly, “No, this is the path I chose myself. Perhaps it’s not a choice but a destiny. However, no one is forcing me. My path may be full of unknown dangers like yours, but it’s my own decision to embark on this journey. Our separation pains me more than you think, but I’m willing if it means gaining the strength to protect you…and to find something.”
“Sister, what are you looking for? Can’t we find it together?” Lily’s hands helplessly pressed against the wall of water, unable to pass through.
Shimizu shook her head, “Remember, you are the mirror girl— the person chosen by the heavens. You have your own mission. Whether you like it or not, the world has forced you into this path. As long as you don’t fall, you can only clench your teeth and push forward. I, too, have found my path, but believe me, we will meet again. Even if we can’t be together all the time like before, we will definitely see each other often. So, you shouldn’t be too anxious about it.”
She continued, “Sister has found her own path, aren’t you happy for me?”
“I’m still a little sad. Where are you going…will our paths cross anytime soon?” Lily drooped.
“Of course, that’s only natural, but I won’t explain it to you for now. One day, I’ll tell you everything. Telling you now will only throw everything into disorder. Trust in your sister’s judgment, okay?”
“Besides believing, what else can Lily do? Sister has found her own path so Lily can only give her blessings. If you have any important news, send a letter to Takeshita Town. They will try and hand it over to me.”
“Well then, why are you nagging like a little girl? Leave this ancient tomb and look for a tall black tree in the mountains. After you cut it down, use its lumber to make a canoe that’s able to cross the cold currents surrounding this island. You should be able to make it to Heian-kyō by yourself, okay? Unfortunately, I can’t touch your face again before I go…” Shimizu smiled, but tears were streaming down her face, “Goodbye.”
Staying any longer would only harm her determination. Even now, she harbored some reluctance in her heart. She knew that if she stayed, she had a high chance of conquering Lily’s heart. However, this only invigorated her resolve to leave so she could gain the strength to protect the woman she loved the most!
Shimizu resolutely turned around and waved a gust of spiritual energy towards her black kimono lying near the hot spring. Like a docile bird, it flew up from its folded position and draped itself around her shoulders as she scaled the crystal clear steps.
“Sister—” Hot tears stained Lily’s cheeks as she leaned against the wall of water.
Shimizu stood under the torii and slightly turned her head to look back at Lily, “I can understand Uesugi’s thoughts now.”
With a flick of her big sleeves, she entered the watery curtain.
All the structures materialized from the water instantly collapsed, drizzling back into the hot spring. Since Lily pressed tightly against the wall of water, she was directly soaked when it fell.
She wandered through the hot spring for a while, but there was nothing left— only rippling water.
“This wasn’t a separation! This wasn’t a separation, right?”
She herself was so strong, yet yearned for more power and treasures. How could Shimizu not feel the same? Her sister discovered her own path; she should be happy for her! But, why couldn’t she stop her tears?
Lily sat alone in the hot spring, allowing the roiling water to splash against her body for a while.
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She soon stood up and flicked her long hair into a crescent moon, sprinkling droplets of water like stars.
“Senior Sister’s soul is lying dormant in the cold stone room, Sister Uesugi went on a crusade against Shuten Doji, and Sister Shimizu embarked on her own path of advancement! How can I sit here wallowing in weakness and sadness?”
When Lily stepped out of the hot spring, she didn’t bother to wipe her body and directly garbed a dark purple kimono. She left her lapel a little open, giving her a casual look.
She searched around the cavern for a while but failed to find a mechanism or anything of the sort. Without any clues, she had no idea how the water gate appeared.
Lily returned to the hall of the ancient tomb. Although a faint ancient aura permeated the room, it didn’t seem to have any resonance with Lily. Lily also didn’t have any deep feelings towards the ancient tomb. If anything, she only sensed that the tomb wasn’t a danger to her.
Since there was nothing of note, Lily had no choice but to leave. Fortunately, the stone door she previously entered through had reopened.
Lily tried to find some hints relating to the enlightenment Shimizu received in the ancient tomb, but her efforts were in vain.
She helplessly leaned against the stone wall, “It seems that I can only leave.”
“Sister Shimizu already entered that mysterious water gate. Obviously, there’s no way for me to activate it again. As for where it took her, I’m afraid it’s not something I can find out by staying here.”
Lily came to the entrance of the cave and knelt down beside the stone gate where the ancient aura resided.
“Senior, although I don’t know if you’re the one who constructed this ancient tomb, I hope that you’ll keep Sister Shimizu safe wherever she is. One day, Lily will repay this favor when she has enough strength.”
Lily had no clues about Shimizu’s whereabouts, so she could only ask the presiding ancient will to watch over her. However, she received no reply.
Lily still kowtowed three times in reverence before turning around and leaving.
Exiting the outer cave, Lily noticed numerous ancient warriors wandering about.
“Hmph!” She snorted and took the initiative to attack the warriors. Her body had already recovered and her spiritual energy blossomed with eldritch intent.
“Kill!” A lot of grief was bottled within Lily’s heart and she wanted somewhere to vent it. The moment she saw these warriors, she already sentenced them to death.
Lily didn’t execute any fancy moves as she fought. She just swung Yasutsuna and killed the ancient warriors one by one.
The samurai were chopped to pieces with ease, and Lily didn’t feel tired at all. She wanted to mask the sadness caused by her sister’s departure through killing!
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Now that Lily was at full strength, the eldritch intent suffusing her spiritual energy displayed its true might. Unlike before when she was afflicted by the curse, there was a significant increase in her power and penetration without compromising agility. Her sword intent was also refined to a degree.
With an upward slash, a warrior’s spear was split in two. Lily then slashed downward and cut off his arms that still held the remaining half of the spear. However, she wasn’t satisfied just yet. Lily switched to a reverse grip and flitted past the ancient warrior, leaving a horizontal gash across his waist. Using this momentum, she planted one leg into the ground and cleaved towards a group of ancient warriors!
The crimson light burst through the mountains and ravaged several warriors who stood in its trajectory!
Although Lily comprehended the drunken sword style when she was in a daze and managed to decimate many samurai, she exerted greater strength and boldness when she was sober!
After this setback, Lily’s blade grew even stronger, as if reforged from the fiery ashes!
The sky was already bright by the time Lily broke out of the siege of warriors. During her travel, she managed to scale the summit of the mountain and reached the other side. A few ancient spirits hassled her occasionally but they weren’t too dangerous.
Most of them were of average strength and focused on barring the way leading to the ancient tomb. Since she was leaving from there anyway, she refrained from killing them as long as they didn’t block her path.
Lily went into the depths of the forest in order to find the type of tree Shimizu described to her.
It didn’t take long for her to find a tall black tree. She randomly slashed at its trunk to test its sturdiness. Surprisingly, it withstood her attack!
Lily carefully studied the cut and judged that the wood was extremely dense and solid. She also sliced off a branch and found that it was unusually light.
This is at least seventh-grade lumber! Lily mused
She hacked down the tree and trimmed its branches and leaves, after which, she stored the trunk and the relatively thicker branches in the mirror space.
Now that she had what she needed, she made her way down the mountain.
“Sister Shimizu said that Tamurakonoe is also on the island. Hmph, I’ll settle things if I meet him!”
When Lily thought of Shimizu, her heart experienced a wave of sadness yet again.
“If it wasn’t for Sister Shimizu, last night I would have…”
Yesterday, Lily’s mind was flooded with many unusual thoughts, but in retrospect, some of her thoughts were unavoidable.
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How exactly should she look at herself…?
She was a woman with the soul of a boy1? Should such a self be regarded as her true self?
Lily wasn’t sure, but she felt that the path leading to the answer was somewhere far away. She could only go along with the flow, developing the necessary ties and foundation to slowly seek out the answer…
Whether it was the Heian Dynasty or Lily herself, they had too many secrets. Perhaps it was as Shimizu said: Lily had her own path.
The answers to their confusion and doubts could only be found in their respective journeys.
Lily arrived at the shore on the other side of the deserted island but saw no signs of Tamurakonoe. She looked back at the vast and gloomy mountains, guessing that he went to explore and look for clues.
Although incredible dangers lurked within the depths of the mountain, that man wouldn’t die so easily.
Lily had a hunch that this deserted island wouldn’t be able to restrain Tamurakonoe. There was a high chance that they would eventually meet and spark a battle!
There is also that little girl on the other side of the mountain. I don’t know what happened to her. Maybe she met up with Tamurakonoe.
Lily walked over to a shallow area of the lake and sat on a protruding rock. She took out the black trunk, laid it against the rock, and began stripping sections of the wood with Yasutsuna.
She wanted to shape this hard yet light wood into a canoe. The bark of the wood was dark while the inner layers were spotted with a mix of red and black. Because she lacked the proper tools, she had to focus a lot on her accuracy— it was quite laborious.
Fortunately, Lily’s previous study on painting served as a good foundation for shaping and proportioning the wood carving. Gradually, a small canoe measuring two meters long and forty centimeters at its widest point took shape.
Lily’s boat didn’t accommodate any seating since the wood wasn’t enough. Instead, it featured good balance so she could stand and maneuver in case a fight broke out on the lake.
The carp spirit’s aggressive attack knocked her unconscious and swept her to this place. Since he achieved an overwhelming victory, there was no apparent reason to give up the search for her whereabouts. Was he unable to find her?
No, it wasn’t so simple. Perhaps, for some reason, he was unable to approach the deserted island. After all, there were no demons in this place. If Lily’s assumptions were correct, then she might encounter the carp spirit or his lackeys after leaving the cold currents surrounding the deserted island in her canoe.
“Hmph, this fatty carp spirit made me suffer a lot of losses. Without Ui’s annoying meddling, I may not lose next time!”
- LazyButAmbitious: hmm. I see how the author is slowly twisting things to represent her change of mindset. Instead of saying she was a boy in the body of a woman, the author put it the other way.
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