|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3250 characters|
|Translator: LazyButAmbitious||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2265 words|
The carp spirit— an archdemon who dominated the waters of Lake Biwa for a generation of a hundred years had just died.
He didn’t expect to be killed by Lily in a water environment where he held the most advantage.
A variety of factors played into his unexpected death. Firstly, he underestimated his enemy’s overall strength and oozed panic in the face of the supposed Throne Stage cat demon. Secondly, Lily’s fortuitous gain of soul energy on the deserted island served a pivotal role in vanquishing the carp spirit’s soul.
If Lily hadn’t infused Crescent Moon with the power of countless phantom soul bodies, she would’ve only been able to drive the carp spirit away, even with the added help of the cat demon and ice domain. With the carp spirit’s thick defenses and strong regenerative abilities, killing him using only physical attacks would’ve been a near-impossible endeavor.
Even if Lily managed to inflict a fatal strike, the carp spirit would’ve simply run after assessing the situation.
Lily’s victory over the peak Permanence Stage carp spirit could be attributed to a bit of luck. Of course, the power harvested from the phantom soul bodies was the result of her own life and death struggles on the deserted island.
This trump card allowed her to directly exterminate the opponent’s soul without room for escape or counterattacks.
“It’s a pity that I couldn’t get my hands on the anima of a Permanence Stage powerhouse…” Lily felt a little greedy for thinking this way. After all, she was still able to acquire his huge, cyan spirit jade which was suffused with the water attribute.
If it was a normal fight, it would’ve been difficult to obtain the complete spirit jade after marring the carp spirit’s strong vitality. Furthermore, if he had used the surrounding water to transform or escape, Lily possessed little means to restrain him. The magatama fragments sustaining the four-tailed cat demon also wouldn’t last forever. After she lost its support, her travels across Lake Biwa would’ve been grueling, to say the least.
Fortunately, I was able to kill the carp spirit in the end
Lily felt that the reserve of phantom soul energy in Crescent Moon was reduced by 10% compared to before. It couldn’t be helped. The soul of a Permanence Stage archdemon was extremely formidable and required a substantial consumption of soul energy to destroy it. Lily also didn’t have any secret methods relating to soul manipulation, strengthening, or consumption reduction.
“My soul attack is very helpful in a lot of battles, but it seems that I need to use it more sparingly.”
After all, except for the deserted island, Lily didn’t know where else to replenish this phantom soul power.
At this time, Kyūbōzu was still being ravaged by the four-tailed cat demon. Its sharp claws tore severe wounds into his skin and flesh, splattering green blood all over the ground— it was horrible. He tried to run on many occasions, but the cat demon was so swift that escaping on land was impossible. Finally, Kyūbōzu chose to smash the ice with his head and fled underwater. The cat demon dug into the ice with its claws but didn’t continue its chase into the water. Although the cat demon was a mere incarnation, it retained the habits of its original self and was unwilling to enter deep water.
“I won’t allow you to escape so easily!” Lily stuffed the blue orb between her lips and dove into the crack.
Lily wasn’t bloodthirsty enough to kill every single demon, but she definitely needed to kill Kyūbōzu lest he sought revenge for the carp spirit later on. She still had a long journey ahead and any vengeful retaliation by the kappa would cause major trouble.
After Lily sunk into the water, she saw Kyūbōzu who was fleeing for his life. His speed was already faster than Lily’s, and upon seeing her approach, he immediately used his water escape art to turn into a stream and escape.
“Not good!” Kyūbōzu was getting further out of reach and she couldn’t catch up at all.
“Sakura-Clad Moon!” Lily brandished Yasutsuna and waved a purple crescent light towards Kyūbōzu’s predicted location.
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Whether it hit or not, Lily had no idea, but it was better than not trying.
Suddenly, a dark green blood mist trailed from the stream of water that was escaping into the distance. The speed of the stream gradually eroded until the seriously injured Kyūbōzu reverted to his original shape.
He was currently in a dying state and had exhausted his last lifeline of escape. Now that his injuries were further exacerbated by Lily’s attack, he was akin to a fish on the chopping board.
Lily swung her legs and swam towards his position.
“Mercy…Mirror Girl, please spare my life! We, the water tribe, have no enmity with the mirror girls…”
Lily wasn’t fooled. She had a strong feeling that the cunning Kyūbōzu was stalling for time so he could recover his strength and use the water escape art again. Instead of giving him this chance, Lily swam up to Kyūbōzu’s huge body that floated helplessly in the water and swung her sword!
His life was promptly reaped.
Lily swam back up to the crack and reemerged on the ice surface. At this time, the cat demon, Wanyūdō, the demon hound, and Yuki-Onna were executing a one-sided massacre amidst the pelting snow. From time to time, the screeching bird demon summoned from the scroll would swoop, claw, and peck at the screaming water demons. Now that their two leaders were dead, they could only disperse and flee in a chaotic manner, leaving the slower ones to perish under the might of Lily’s allies.
The killing gradually subsided, leaving a myriad of dead bodies scattered across the ice.
The cat demon and Wanyūdō eventually exhausted their remaining spiritual energy and turned into a cloud of inky smoke that flew back to the Record of One Hundred Demons. After a while, the bird also returned and reverted back into a painting.
Not far away, a huge blue-black carp lay sprawled across the ice. Since the carp spirit died, his body had naturally transfigured into its original form.
Lily approached the front, unfolded the Record of One Hundred Demons, and painted the carp spirit on the scroll.
Although Kagura had stated that this process required the consent of the demon, Lily discovered that, in actuality, the so-called consent was represented as the demon’s initiative to actively expose its spiritual energy to the painter. In that way, the painter could achieve spirit and form amalgamation to summon the lifelike paintings.
However, Lily’s array of skills was an exception among the previous owners of the Record of One Hundred Demons. Most practitioners did not master the art of painting or drawing. Without the necessary skills, any inept paintings that couldn’t properly encapsulate the depth and spirit of the demons would greatly discount their prowess when summoned.
Therefore, a skilled master would usually be requested to draw the paintings. These masters were usually dedicated to their craft and had little time to accumulate exceptional strength. Given the situation, the demon’s cooperation would be required for the painter to properly capture its essence.
Lily was similar in strength to the bird demon and her perception was keener, enabling her to clearly perceive the other party’s spiritual energy. Using this advantage, she could directly paint the bird without the need for its consent.
Although the carp spirit was dead, his spirit jade was in Lily’s hands. It allowed her to perceive the pure fluctuation of spiritual energy even clearer, inspiriting her with spirit and form amalgamation to create the perfect painting.
In fact, as long as one had an extraordinary memory, they could paint a specified target using only their recollection.
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For example, Lily painted the bird demon mostly from the memories of her brief interaction with it1.
However, this ability was limited. If Lily was unable to discern the strength of truly powerful archdemons like Shuten Doji, it would be meaningless to paint him from memory as she wouldn’t be able to summon him at all. Attempting this would only waste valuable space in the scroll.
Lily once wondered about what to do if the painted demon refused to be summoned. According to Kagura’s answer, there was no way to circumvent this issue and the painting couldn’t be scrapped or changed. Whether or not some paintings were failures, the Record of One Hundred Demons wouldn’t accept any more demons after drawing the one-hundredth painting.
On the battlefield, no other water demons caught Lily’s eyes, “Yuki-Onna, the anima of all these water demons will be given to you.”
“Really? I won’t be polite, then.” Yuki-Onna absorbed the anima of the water demons who littered the surrounding ice. After all, she also needed to rely on them to progress her strength.
Lily salvaged Kyūbōzu’s spirit jade, anima, and leather bag.
On the other hand, she found a storage pouch on the carp spirit’s body!
The storage pouch had the character ‘carp’ (鯉) written on it, but obviously, no good luck came his way2.
Well, one’s misfortune was another’s fortune. The pouch had a storage space about the size of an ox cart which hid many good things.
Compared to the carp spirit’s goodies, Kyūbōzu only had one dark green life-recovery magatama and eight ordinary magatamas. As a Permanence Stage archdemon, this was quite shabby— wasn’t he ashamed?
The carp spirit was worthy of being the overlord at the bottom of Lake Biwa. In his storage pouch, there were two eight-grade water-attributed magatamas, five life-recovery magatamas, and thirty-two ordinary magatamas! In addition, there were many plundered treasures from the carp spirit’s many scourges over the years. Whether they were swords, armors, tea utensils, or jewelry, most of them ranged between the sixth and seventh grades. Although they weren’t really useful to Lily, they could be sold for some good money in the future.
Moreover, the storage pouch itself was a seventh-grade treasure and it was pretty rare. Even if one had the money, they couldn’t necessarily get ahold of one.
The carp spirit’s long-handled sword was also a top eight-grade sword. It was his most valuable treasure, and Lily definitely didn’t plan on leaving it behind.
She turned to look at the carp spirit again. After thinking for a while, she said, “Yuki-Onna, I want to ask for another favor.”
“Ah, what’s wrong this time? You’re such a nagging woman.”
Lily waved her hand and transferred the huge carp into the storage room of the mirror space.
“Yuki-Onna, please make some ice and snow inside the storage room so we can preserve the carp…”
“Huh? What do you want to do with it?”
Lily’s ‘little woman’ problem seemed to have reasserted itself. She blushed, “Such a big fish must be a rare thing in Lake Biwa. I wonder if I can take it to Heian-kyō and sell it3.”
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Although Lily was beaten unconscious by the carp spirit that night, got swept to the deserted island, and endured many dangerous battles, she not only killed the carp spirit and Kyūbōzu, but also emerged with a lot of booty and rewarding experience in the end.
The ice and snow soon melted, and Yuki-Onna returned to the mirror along with the demon hound.
Lily took out the canoe and stood atop its narrow frame as it drifted into the waters of Lake Biwa. After retrieving the paddle, she made her way towards the west bank.
Clouds rolled in the sky and a storm seemed nigh at hand.
Lily stood alone on the canoe as it rocked with the increasingly turbulent lake, her hair fluttering in the wind. Hints of worry rippled through her eyes, “Sister Shimizu, where exactly have you gone to begin your path of advancement?”
At this time, at an unknown place far southwest of Heian-kyō and the distant Lake Biwa…
The sky and moon were obscured by huge trees all year round. No matter whether it was day or night, there was not much of a difference in this place. Everywhere was saturated with a dark green color, shadowed by towering trees as huge as mountains. The trunks and intertwined root systems of these trees were like ridges that emerged out of the land, surrounded by dense shrubs and grass. The ground was dotted with patches of thick lichen, and little spots of light floated like forest spirits around the dark shrubs. They glowed with a mellow hue, seemingly born from between rich soil and swaying leaves. Sometimes they floated up to the tree canopies that covered the sky like billowing clouds.
Shimizu lay limply on the damp and thick lichen plants, her inky blue hair scattered all over. Her complexion looked a bit flushed, but her expression was serene and a bit melancholy. Though her eyes were quietly closed, her pink lips were slightly open, allowing faintly rushed breaths to pass in and out along with the movements of her chest.
Under a nearby giant tree, there was a sudden noise from the bushes. A tree frog standing upright as tall as a child appeared. It had smooth, emerald-green skin and wore a plain grey cloth. Its big black eyes turned to survey the fainted girl.
“Tsk, is this another woman who came to find the ancient jade? How troublesome. Let’s take her back to the village first.”
The tree frog extended its slippery hand that was spotted with suction cups and grabbed Shimizu’s slender feet, dragging her into the dark green mist.
- LazyButAmbitious: Is Lily gonna turn into Ash Ketchum– gotta catch em all?! Is she gonna gather an army of powerful demons that she could squander at any time as long as she gathers sufficient magatama fragments
- referring to the Japanese belief that having the spirit of a koi near you attracts good fortune. Not sure if readers will get it.
- LazyButAmbitious: I thought she was planning to eat him ngl
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