|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3269 characters|
|Translator: Yuki||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1630 words|
A tall black haired woman walked into the room. This woman wore a black form fitting black top and a skirt showing both sides of her hips, the black silk glowed softly and was decorated with golden ornaments and fancy script.
She had a pair of heartstopping sapphire eyes, on her hips she had two identical ghost headed straight daggers.
“Lady Shenzu!” The sword mikos and jade maidens started saluting.
Shenzu nodded, then glanced around, her eyes finally landed on Lily who she had never seen before.
Once her eyes landed on Lily, Lily’s heart shook, it felt as if those dark sapphire eyes could see through her. With just one look, Lily’s female body desired to surrender.
But her will was beyond the control of her body, she controlled those impulses and assumed a calm and humble pose. Afterall, this was the new Jade Maiden leader.
Shenzu’s eyes moved away and looked at the group, asking, “What’s Miss Lisa’s situation?”
“Lisa…she…she was seriously injured in the battle against the demon, last night she…” A mature looking female samurai in purple replied with her head lowered before choking up.
Sadness seemed to emerge in Shenzu’s eyes, she walked to the female samurai, shook her head and finger gently brushed that female samurai’s chin causing her to blush and shrink back.
“Miss Lisa died for the heavenly path.”
Instantly the atmosphere became heavy, the girls went silent and only the crackles of the lanterns could be heard.
“Ladies, many among us will probably die to save the heaven path, including…myself.” Shenzu lowered her head, traces of sadness emerging on her beautiful face. Shenzu’s profile had both the feminine beauty and masculine heroism, that mix made all the females tremble.
“However, we are tsunaga sisters! This is our destiny! Though we do not know if our strength will have any result, if we do not fight, then in this world, who will dare fight against those filthy creatures rebelling against the heavens! The heavens have chosen us, because we are all this world’s holy beings, we are——women1!”
Shenzu’s declaration had a feminine charm yet embodied the masculine decisiveness. Her sapphire gaze had a mystic power, unknowingly, the women in the room were conquered by her will.
“This scent…” Lily detected a stronger, more intense mixture of feminine scents appearing, “What is going on?”
Shenzu leaned over and gently whispered into that mature female samurai’s ear, that woman couldn’t stand still, trembles wracking her body and her face blushing crimson, white mist clouding over her, “Yes~~Yes! Lady Shenzu! I…I will definitely come.”
Shenzu turned to the others, “I just told Mikako, tonight, I will share her grief, Lisa was our sister, was a sister to each and every of us.”
“Tell everyone, which demon did Lisa fall to?” Shenzu’s eyes seemed to shimmer with tears.
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“The crusade against the minions of Tamamo…”
“Tamamo-no-Mae again!” Shenzu turned, her skirts fluttering. “That Tamamo-no-Mae, that peerless arch-demon, that leader of the three archdemons! That year, she settled here to lead the rebellion against the heavens! In just this short month, how many of our sisters have died under her claws! It’s rumored that even Madam Yoruko, Heian-kyo’s sword miko leader, our beloved mentor and companion, was killed by Tamamo-no-Mae!”
The entire room filled with hisses, Yoruko’s death had resulted in Heian-kyo’s sword miko’s hatred against the demons.
“Eh?” Lily couldn’t help but wonder, Madam Yoruko’s residence was still under heavy guard. Only the Chief Advisor mansion and Genji members had entered, how could Lady Shenzu know of the rumors?
Facing Shenzu, the group remained silent, waiting for her to continue, “Only, Tamamo-no-Mae’s power is stronger than we expected. Now is not the time to have a decisive battle, the recent sacrifices have made it clear that our sisters alone will not be enough to eradicate the three great arch-demons. However, our sacrifices are not in vain, we shall use battles and sacrifices to arouse the determination of the world, the warriors, the imperial court, and the ministers to battle the monsters to the end!”
“Your highness Shenzu! That Tamamo-no-Mae is too wicked! Destroying the natural order, and killing so many of our sisters! Even our leader was destroyed by her poisonous hands! You called us together to gather all of our Heian-kyo forces, and attack Tamamo’s forces, right?” Ijuin asked, filled with fighting spirit.
Shenzu shook her head, “No, Tamamo’s forces will be eventually eradicated, but now is not the time, what we must do is weaken her forces from the surrounding areas. Today, I have gathered everyone to discuss how to cut off the source of Tamamo’s funding!”
“Funding?” The group could only look at each other.
A black clad female general besides Shenzu hung up a map of Heian-kyo and pointed at various locations, “The reason why Tamamo’s forces are so entrenched in Heian-kyo is because she has many large and small factions and businesses here. We started by destroying the night market, but her greatest sources of income are the ghost tower ship Fuyutsuki and the Medicine Valley.
“Fuyutsuki and the Medicine Valley?” Lily was startled, “Was the boss of the Fuyutsuki Tamamo no Mae?”
“According to our reports, that Fuyutsuki is a giant treasure jointly refined between Tamamo-no-Mae, Nurarihyon and a few other arch-demons. The situation of this treasure is unknown and hard to deal with.”
“Treasure!?” This was Lily’s first time hearing that Fuyutsuki, a super large flying ship was actually a treasure!
“And that Medicine Valley, resides within the deep ditch opened up by the Fuyutsuki, it’s completely under Tamamo-no-Mae’s control. It is said that of all the high-grade medicine used in Kansai, at least half of it is produced by the Medicine Valley. That is a significant source of income.” The black clothed lady continued.
“That’s right.” Shenzu interjected, “It is a shameful thing that most of us, including me, have purchased her medicine, and she has used money earned from humans to strengthen her demon army to oppress and kill us humans, to destroy the heavens! Destroy the Medicine Valley, slaughter the demon and traitor humans, and we can deal a great blow to Tamamo-no-Mae!”
“So it’s like that… Lady Shenzu, though we lost to Tamamo-no-Mae, if we can destroy her income sources, then she will not be able to support that many demon minions! Though we won’t be able to kill her, she won’t be able to stay in Heian-kyo! Hitting her wealth is more effective than hitting her!” Ijuin exclaimed.
“Lady Ijuin, that’s exactly right.” Shenzu approved.
“As expected of Lady Shenzu, to be able to accurately find Tamamo-no-Mae’s weak point!”
“We need to strike Tamamo-no-Mae’s weak point! We cannot let our sister’s sacrifice be in vain!”
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The group was overwhelmed, either speaking out in approval or nodding to Shenzu’s decisions.
The group turned around only to see a red clad Lily stepping forward, “Lady Shenzu, toward your conclusions, I have a different opinion.”
“What!?” The group of sisters all exclaimed, their gazes becoming unkind and dissatisfied.
“Lady Shenzu, wise and foresightful, how could there be any mistakes?”
“That’s right, who are you, I’ve never seen you before, a newcomer? You dare question Lady Shenzu?”
They all turned on Lily with accusations and curses, even Mizue tugged on her sleeve begging her not to confront Shenzu headon.
Shenzu inquired, “This lady is…?”
“Lady Shenzu, I am Kagami Lily from the east.”
“What!?” The group’s attitude had turned from anger to surprise.
“She, she’s that Kagami Lily?”
“The rumored woman who defeated Sakanoue no Tamurakonoe, and cut off the arm of the Rashomon Ghost?”
“She also challenged Demon King Sugawara no Michizane, and she even ended up rescuing ten something sisters from his hands, and she… she survived!”
“I heard, that night, Sugawara and her laughed into the night!”
Hearing the various gossiping in tones of curiosity and confusion, Shenzu faintly frowned.
“So you’re Kagami Lily, then Lady Kagami…your opinion is certainly worth listening to, please tell us.”
Lily slowly walked forward, “Lady Shenzu, as we all know, each of the three great arch-demons are powerful enough to compete with the imperial court. How could such thousand year powers be easily shaken? What attacking the weak point? First destroying the night market and then attacking the Medicine Valley? Please do not forget that Tamamo-no-Mae is not the imperial court, is not a prince or duke, she is a peerless arch-demon. Can such a method really harm her? In my opinion, this is just ignorance, there is no benefit other than provoking her to threaten the court more!”
Once her words were out, silence ruled over the room. Never had there been a person who mercilessly confronted the new Jade Maiden leader.
Finally, a female samurai in blue opposed, “Lady Kagami, what kind of words are those! You are one of Heian-kyo’s famed female samurais! Before today I truly admired you, but I didn’t expect you would say such spineless words!”
“Isn’t this, destroying your own morale before the battle?”
“According to what you said, we should just sit still like the imperial court and wait for our own deaths?”
Shenzu waved a hand and approached Lily, the scent on her body made Lily’s body soften. Lily’s will and reasoning told her that this woman’s eyes and scent weren’t simple.
Shenzu asked, “Then, what methods do you have to counter the three great arch-demons?”
“Eh?” Though Lily knew that their previous plans were absolutely useless, but to ask what methods she had, she couldn’t answer immediately.
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Wait… she couldn’t be fooled by Shenzu.
“Lady Shenzu, I think, instead of risking heavy retaliation from the three great arch-demons, don’t you think we should instead focus on finding the true meaning of the heavenly oracle2?”