|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3170 characters|
|Translator: LazyButAmbitious||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2262 words|
As soon as Lily got the bronze plates, someone performed a summersault and flipped multiple times in the air before landing in the ring. After he stabilized himself, it turned out to be a ninja wearing a red scarf.
“Hyakunobu from Koga-ryu has come to challenge!” The ninja was garbed in a gray battle suit and had a straight sword on his back.
Ninjas were at a disadvantage in this competition because they couldn’t use ninjutsu or hidden weapons, so those who still dared to come up had full confidence in their sword skills.
Lily took a look and found that this person was in the early Spirit Jade stage!
She was a little perplexed. Since this ninja had the strength to defeat the giant man just now, why didn’t he take action?
After thinking about it for a while, Lily realized that this kind of competition was not about how many matches you participated in or how many matches in a row you won, but how many bronze plates you acquired. If you challenged a person who had a lot of bronze plates, you could take away all their merits in one battle, so many experts would only make a move in the later stages.
But this was also a gamble. If someone earned enough bronze plates to retain their position in the rankings and decided not to fight anymore matches, the experts may have no one to fight in the later stages, leaving them helpless. However, most warriors in the Heian Dynasty were unrelenting, especially the weaker ones, so such cases weren’t too common.
The more bronze plates one had, the more likely they were to get targeted by the experts. Although the number of bronze plates wouldn’t be announced for the people outside of the top sixteen, this was an open battle, and there wasn’t any guarantee that no one was privately tallied in the various rings so they wouldn’t be announced on the rankings. That way, others wouldn’t know how many plates they had.
Lily sensed the gazes of at least three people in the crowd that gave her an unusual feeling, but none of them made a move. Apparently, these experts were still waiting for an opportunity and were not in a hurry to make a move.
But Lily didn’t plan to do the same as them because she didn’t need to wait for any opportunities. After all, since this was a competition, it was impossible to miscalculate since she only needed to rely on her strength.
The judge announced the start of the competition.
Like last time, Lily didn’t use her spiritual energy and only relied on her physical body and seductive intent to fight against this ninja with the sakura parasol. This battle could be described as a chess match. Lily’s speed was faster than her opponent’s, and as a woman, she was actually stronger than this male ninja who was in the early Spirit Jade stage and utilizing all his spiritual energy and secret techniques. From this, it could be seen how powerful Lily’s body currently was under the strengthening of her seductive intent.
However, swordsmanship was not Lily’s speciality. In addition, the speed at which she could swing her parasol was much worse than that of the sword. Compared to this ninja who was very confident in his swordsmanship, she didn’t hold the advantage.
The two fought for dozens of rounds, and although Lily held the initiative, she couldn’t easily defeat the other party. This ninja’s desire to win was extremely strong. After all, if he defeated Lily, he could get ten bronze plates!
But in the end, after nearly an hour long tug-of-war, the ninja was exhausted and had no other choice but to admit defeat.
“Miss Lynne, your spiritual energy reserves are amazing. I can’t even force you to draw your sword. Seeing that your strength is at least two levels higher than mine, I’ll admit defeat and hope that you can spare my life.”
How could he know that Lily hadn’t used her spiritual energy at all? The gap between her strength and his was difficult to measure.
In the third match, no one came up to challenge for a while.
The three experts were still observing the situation calmly and they could tell that Lily was very strong. They wouldn’t dare to issue a challenge without being certain of victory.
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Seeing that no one came forward to challenge, the judge called out three times before asking Lily whether she wanted to continue occupying the ring or go down to rest first. She could still challenge others afterwards.
This ring competition was not a group stage elimination tournament. Even if they chose not to challenge Lily, they could still challenge others to obtain more bronze plates. Of course, Lily could choose to dominate the ring and force them to fight, but there were seven other rings in Heian-kyō to choose from.
So Lily chose to come down and rest.
Sure enough, as soon as Lily came down, a swordsman in red hunting clothes from an aristocratic family went up to fight. Due to samurai etiquette and culture, it would be inappropriate for Lily to go back up to challenge right away.
Afterwards, a short-haired female samurai in a short skirt and holding a short sword came forward to challenge1.
The following battles were chaotic and no one could win more than three matches in a row, but there were significantly fewer casualties and injuries than before. Lily didn’t continue to challenge and quietly left after watching for a while.
After she figured out the rules of this competition, she wasn’t in a hurry to fight too many battles in one day.
Lily’s previous battle made her feel that using only her body was effective in honing her swordsmanship and battle intent. She did not continue to watch the battles in the afternoon, but went back to continue training her body.
The next day, Lily’s body improved again under the strengthening of her seductive intent and she felt refreshed. After taking a bath and dressing up, she came to Suzaku Avenue and saw that a huge wooden sign had been erected there overnight. There was a slender roof above the wooden sign to cover it from the rain.
Many samurai and idlers came early in the morning to look and Lily was not too late.
On the wooden sign, there were small wooden plaques with the names of 30 people written on them, and after each small wooden plaque, there were imitation metal plates symbolizing the number of bronze, silver, and gold plates.
Lily naturally raised her head to look at the first one.
—1st place: Miss Nanashi2
4 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze
—2nd place: Yokota Daizo
2 gold and 1 silver
—3rd place: Akimoto Hara
2 gold and 1 bronze
Everyone after sixth place was tied for seventh, all having 1 gold plate, which was normal on the first day of the competition.
“Hmm?” Lily noticed two familiar names among those twenty or so tied for seventh place.
“Honda Yahatarou, Taira no Hachiro…”
Lily herself had ten bronze plates in her hand, but she wasn’t in the rankings. She should have ranked sixth.
This was when she remembered that she forgot to exchange for gold plates. This ranking was not based on the total number of bronze plates, but was based on the number of gold plates first, then silver plates, and finally bronze plates.
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“But what’s the point of this other than bothering us to exchange? Is it to make it easier for people to understand?”
“Ah!” Lily suddenly realized that this could also be used as a tactic. For example, if someone didn’t want to appear in the rankings, they could hold a lot of bronze plates and not exchange them.
After all, unpublished information was not so easy to obtain. This was also a kind of gambit, right?
“Taira no Hachiro…” Lily was not surprised that Lord Honda entered the rankings, but how did Taira no Hachiro come to Heian-kyō and also achieve a good ranking. Could it be that his strength had improved or was it just good luck?
“I wish you good luck.” Lily silently said as she looked at the names of the two.
Today, Lily changed places and came to a riverside pier that ran across Heian-kyō. The martial arts ring here was actually set up on a pier platform built on the water, which looked unique.
This wasn’t a negligible factor. If one comprehended water intent, they could use this river to their own advantage.
Artistic conception and attribute perception could be fully utilized as long as it was used with swordsmanship.
On this day, Lily continued to use only her body and challenged in a low-key manner, earning a total of ten bronze plates before leaving.
She was not in a hurry to exchange into gold plates, either. After the competition this morning, she knocked her three opponents into the river and went back to practice her seductive intent.
In the early morning of the third day, Lily went to see the rankings again, and this time, only nineteen people were left.
The further the competition progressed, the less likely there was to be a tie.
The first place was still Nanashi and their score had risen to 8 gold and 2 silver, while the second place had become Akimoto Hara with 4 gold, 3 silver, and 5 bronze.
To be honest, Akimoto’s exchange method was a bit strange. He didn’t exchange the latter plates, but he was announced again. She didn’t know the point of him doing this.
Honda Yahatarou rose to fifth place with 3 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze.
Lily was also secretly happy for him.
It was just that Taira no Hachiro’s name had disappeared and it was unknown if he was behind in the records or got defeated.
“Miss Nanashi…” Lily pondered, “This name should belong to a woman. She seems powerful and will inevitably become a public target for taking the lead. Looking at her position, isn’t she afraid of being challenged by others?”
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Lily later learned that there was another rule. If two people wanted to challenge one person at the same time but refused to give way to each other, then the two people must fight first and the winner would challenge the ring champion.
In the following days, the competition entered a period of stalemate. Although some people won, they were probably injured or too exhausted to fight everyday.
There were also those who wanted to give up halfway, and the court would recover all the plates they acquired in addition to their own. Gold plates were worth 500 kan, silver plates were 150 kan, and bronze plates were 50 kan. Such a recovery system gave people who were not strong a way to quit while making their fighting worthwhile. This also helped to motivate the warriors who had achieved multiple victories and provided the imperial court with opportunities to recruit military officials according to their performances. In short, there were many benefits, so even people with weaker strength would also come to participate and gain some benefits or the opportunity to become an official. Of course, if one sold their plates, they would naturally lose the qualifications to continue the competition and participate in the rankings.
There was no point in buying and selling identity plates privately because the plates in the hands of the participants were just a formality, and the real numbers were recorded in the books of the onmyojis.
In the blink of an eye, ten days had passed. During these ten days, Lily observed the changes in the rankings every day while she maintained a certain frequency of challenges and earned a certain number of plates.
On this day of the extended night, Lily had already gone to a ring to compete, and in front of the huge ranking sign, there was a group of people riding a few gorgeous bullock carriages.
Several nobles who were dressed in luxurious clothes alighted from the carriages; they were nobles of the Fujiwara Clan.
They let their subordinates drive away the bystanders and swaggered over to look at the rankings.
“Wow, Lord Arima, look! In the top sixteen, there are actually six people from the Genji Clan!” The taller of the two lords in the lead said to the other with a medium stature.
“Lord Yoshio,” Fujiwara no Arima replied to Fujiwara no Yoshio, “The Genji Clan already has four spots to directly enter the semi-finals. Looking at the current rankings, I am afraid that they will take up half of the semi-finals! Looking at our Fujiwara Clan, who else made it to the semi-finals apart from our quota slots? Alas!”
“Lord Arima, I thought you said before that Lord Chief Advisor recommended a female samurai named Kagami Lily. Did she enter the rankings?”
“It goes without saying. There is clearly such a big sign here, but there is no trace of her shadow3. I’m afraid she was eliminated a long time ago!”
“This… this competition concerns the future of our Fujiwara Clan. How could the Lord Chief Advisor act so frivolous and just send an outsider to make up the numbers?! Alas, let’s go, it’s useless to see more!”
The two people got on their bullock carriage and left with their large group of people.
Only, they failed to see what was written on the signboard:
—16th place: Lynne
3 gold, 9 silver, 186 bronze.
- LazyButAmbitious: That’s a lot of ‘short’
Silva: At least they’re not a man ;)
- TLN: 无名子; literally means nameless person.
Robinxen: Which anyone not living under a rock in the vtuber community should know.
- Robinxen: Banzai for fake names!