|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3266 characters|
|Translator: Silva||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2039 words|
Lily followed the onmyodo student into the inner courtyard of the bureau.
“Miss Lily, it seems you have quite an uncommon origin. I have been in the bureau for three years and only just got promoted from an apprentice to a student, it’s hard to say if I’ll even get another promotion within the next three years. Yet you are assigned the post of Onmyo no Jojo the instant you joined. That post is equivalent to the master of onmyo, you even have an official position. As expected, to make it big in Heian-kyo, you need to have connections, power, talents, and so on.”
That moderate height onmyodo student was slightly chubby, he kept complaining as he led the way.
Lily looked around the courtyard as she followed him, it was a bit lacking in maintenance compared to the outer yard. There were some old buildings scattered here and there, mosses were growing on the rocks, and there were long, dried grasses growing all over the place. However, she could also see some bizarre instruments from time to time, such as those old intricate apparatuses, or the varied-sized stone plates and huge copper pots that scattered throughout the courtyard. She could also see a few white-clothed onmyoji observing said devices and taking notes of their observation.
“Those masters of astronomy and calendar are not responsible for slaying the monsters but fiddle with those useless things all day. To speak frankly, all of them are some high-ranking official’s children and relatives, they are holding positions with practically no obligation and are basically here to freeload.” The slightly chubby onmyodo student complained.
Lily did not feel like disputing with him but she was a bit interested in the terms used, “You’ve been using student, master, and whatnot for a while now, I’m a bit lost.”
“No way, sister, you came looking for work without even knowing about that? Sigh, you sure are lucky to know Lord Chief Advisor personally. Fine, I will explain it briefly. Onmyoji is a title with similar nuance as the samurai. Some other examples include the mikos and monks. They also have different ranks to determine the proficiency of the practitioners. Just based on power level alone, they are ranked as early-stage, middle-stage, and late-stage onmyoji, which is equivalent to samurai, swordmaster, and sword saint respectively. Of course, there are also ranks higher than the late-stage.”
“And the onmyodo student I used earlier is one of the status and appellation we use in the Bureau of Divinity. There are some in the bureau with actual influence in governmental affairs, also known as the administrator. Naturally, most of us here do not have that much power, we’re just ordinary onmyoji.”
“The ordinary onmyoji in the bureau is divided into five ranks; apprentice, student, post-graduate, master, and grandmaster. Onmyoji with no actual power can only rise up to master.”
“And those with power usually start from Onmyo no Shozoku, their position is the same as a master. And climbing up from there we have the Onmyo no Shojo, Onmyo no Taizoku, Onmyo no Daijo, Onmyo no Gonsuke, Deputy Chief and Chief of Onmyo!”
“The chief of onmyo has the highest position in the Bureau of Divinity, their official rank is Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade. That is amazing! They can get to meet the emperor face to face! The current chief of onmyo is Lord Kamo Tadayuki. He is the greatest onmyoji alive in Heian-kyo!”
After the chubby student’s length explanation, Lily only managed to catch half of it and asked in doubt, “Isn’t the greatest onmyoji Lady Fujiwara no Ayaka?”
“Shhh—!” The student was so startled he almost forgot to get down from the veranda, “You, even if this is a private establishment, how dare you casually use Lord Chief Advisor’s name? But you’re right, it is true that the chief advisor comes from the Bureau of Divinity and it is rumored that she even hold the post of the chief for a year, but how can you compare the chief advisor to common folks like us when she’s an existence close to god?”
“The chief advisor is really that miraculous?”
“Of course she is! When Lord Chief Advisor was only thirteen years old, her mastery of the arcane arts already surpassed the chief of onmyo at the time. At the age of fourteen, she held the position of minor counselor, and after that… she just keeps climbing higher and higher. The chief advisor already holds the highest official position at the mere age of twenty-six. When it comes to her authority, I’m afraid she even has more power than the emperor! She is a goddess-like existence, you must never ever compare her to ordinary onmyoji! That said, Lord Chief Advisor is looking out for us very much. Since she became the chief advisor, our subsidies have doubled and we are getting more manpower. The Bureau of Divinity can be said to be under the chief advisor’s direct supervision!”
“Otherwise, how could you, a Kanto samurai who knows nothing about the master of onmyo, be allowed to work here with but a single sentence from the chief advisor? That said, what is your relationship with Lord Chief Advisor? Distance relative, or…”
The chubby student turned around to show Lily a weird and ambiguous expression. Adding on to that, the way he was moving his fingers made Lily feel a little annoyed.
“Or what? Please speak up.” Lily stated coldly.
“Are you serious? Do you really not know or are you pretending to be pure? Lord Chief Advisor, the number one beauty in Heian-kyo, there are already many hot discussions among the street stalls regarding her matters. The chief advisor is already twenty-six years old and she is still unmarried, there are rumors that she actually likes girls1,” The chubby student laughed as he talked.
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“What?” Lily’s face involuntarily blushed as she recalled their last encounter…
“Sigh! And that’s why there is no chance for me…” The chubby young man lamented.
“You never had one, to begin with…” Lily thought to herself.
And finally, they arrived at a private space surrounded by brooks and hills. There were some water pavilions in the surrounding space and the whole area was hidden from view by huge pine trees.
There were a few verandas on the hillside connecting to the big, archaic house.
“Miss, this is where you’ll be working.”
After a quick glance, Lily said, “Not bad.”
However, the chubby guy walked around the big house and took Lily to a smaller house located at the back of the hillside.
The inside was dusky, with five middle-aged men and women in tattered clothes. Lily could also see various tools such as brooms and buckets in the room.
The men and women raised their heads to look at Lily.
The chubby man introduced, “This is the Omnyo no Jojo, your new manager. Madam Ofuku, I leave the rest to you.”
A middle-aged fat woman with a ferocious appearance stood up. She checked out Lily for a bit before replying with a fed-up voice, “Understood.”
After leaving a few instructions behind, the student finally took his leave and left Lily by herself at this wooden house that was no different from a storeroom.
Lily courteously introduced herself, “Hello everyone, I am Kagami Lily, the new Onmyo no Jojo. I am still completely ignorant of the work we do here, so please advise me.”
One hunchbacked old man got up and commented, “Golly! I never expect this place would ever get a young lady as beautiful as a fairy posted here.”
“Kumachu, that’s enough coming from you! Think of your age!” Ofuku felt ill at ease when she gazed at Lily, she used to be the prettiest girl in this department…
She walked skittishly towards Lily. Ofuku was one head shorter than Lily and after observing her for a while, she finally forced a smile and said, “Young lady, you sure are tall and slender.”
“Ofuku, you have to call her mistress,” one open-chested man with a black beard said.
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Lily felt that they were quite mismatched compared to the onmyoji she saw earlier.
“Excuse me, may I know what is this department responsible for? What do my responsibilities entail?”
“Pfft—!” The pretty boy in the dark corner of the room laughed.
“Shush!” Ofuku rebuked him for a bit before turning around to explain in an amicable manner, “Mistress Kagami, to put it in flowery words, the Onmyo no Jojo is responsible for keeping the Bureau of Divinity clean. To put it frankly, they are the head of the laborer and cleaner.”
As she finished, Ofuku turned around and muffled her laughter with her sleeve covering her mouth.
“Maintaining hygiene2?” Lily frowned.
The elderly Kumachu got up and approached Lily to explain, “Mistress Kagami, don’t look down on the Onmyo no Jojo, they also have a huge responsibility. Forget about cleaning the other areas of the bureau, do you see those big buildings in this area, those are the treasury houses. Ordinary people like us who cannot fight are not allowed to enter the treasure houses. Only those with a certain level of strength and trustworthiness are allowed to go in and clean!”
“Onmyo no Jojo is, in fact, the one who will be cleaning these treasure houses. They bear a huge responsibility!” Kumachu tried to make a show of his earnestness.
“Cleaning the treasury house?” Lily’s originally slightly resentful expression lightened up a bit3, “Take me to get a look at those treasure houses.”
“Of course, of course!” Ofuku and Kumachu took the lead, “Come with us.”
Lily followed them and returned to the big buildings located in between the hills.
Kumachu pointed at these buildings with a look of longing in his senile eyes, “These are the treasury houses.”
“Astrology chart, arcane tools, valuable materials, expensive herbs, as well as various arcanist books and onmyoji’s weapons, these place has everything one can think of.” Ofuku also started fantasizing as she narrated.
“Hm… is that so…” As Lily gazed at the unimpressive buildings, her chests clearly undulated.
At this time, a man in black formal clothes came over from the direction of the big building, he was an elderly person with a sharp expression, “Who goes there?”
“Lord Sukeya!” Ofuku immediately ran up to the elderly person and hugged his arm. Then she pointed at Lily, “Let me explain, this is the new Onmyo no Jojo sent here to clean the treasury house. Miss Kagami Lily. You must… take good care of her!”
“What are you doing, stop tugging me!” The elderly person cast off Ofuku’s hands in a righteous manner. However, his eyes were a little blank as he gazed upon Lily’s body.
Seeing the elderly person’s expression, Okufu smiled knowingly, “Miss Kagami, why don’t you introduce yourself to Lord Sukeya? He is the Onmyo no Daijo, the one watching over these treasury houses and your immediate superior!”
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“Lily greets Lord Sukeya,” Lily curtsied politely but she was rather displeased in her heart. The Bureau of Divinity was rumored to be mysterious and powerful, but firsthand experience taught her that this place was congested with corrupt bureaucrats and degenerates. Ayaka sent her to work here, yet these guys assigned such a degrading post to her. What Onmyo no Jojo, it was basically a sweeper!
“Hmm, seems quite obedient,” Sukeya fixed his eyes on Lily and nodded, “However, we have no use for pretty face here, you must know how to work! These treasury houses not only have the treasures of the bureau, but many valuables here also belong to the dynasty. Even the chief of onmyo must get permission from the imperial household to use them! Cleaning the treasury house may seem like an unremarkable job, but it is a huge responsibility! This is a very important job in the Bureau of Divinity, do you understand?”
“Lily understood,” For now Lily could only reply respectfully.
“Mhm, it’s good if you understand,” Sukeya nodded in satisfaction, “Are you planning to start working now, Miss Onmyo no Jojo?”
“Yes, your lordship.”
“Good, then I will show you around the treasury house and give you a brief rundown so you can work with more efficiency.”