|Author: Carrot Sauce
|Original Source: SFACG
|Word Count: 3243 characters
|English Source: Re:Library
|Word Count: 1755 words
Lily meditated in the competitor room throughout the night, though it was the eve of the semi-finals, her mood was surprisingly good. Lily had long gotten used to mortal battles and cared not who her opponent was, she just concentrated on training her physique.
She was soaked in a layer of sweat when she finished her training. Grabbing a white towel, she went towards one of the two bathing rooms prepared for contestants. These compartments did not differentiate between male and female, but Lily did not worry. Of the top four contestants left, only she was still here.
Finishing her bath and dressed in a blue yukata, she planned on resting for the rest of the night when she saw a Genji guardsman waiting beside her door.
“Miss Kagami, you have a guest at the entrance.”
“A guest? At this time? Who was it? Perhaps it was someone Lady Ayaka sent?”
Placing her towel and dirty clothes into a compartment, Lily went toward the roped off entrance. A woman with full breasts, a short dark red ponytail wearing a black uniform was waiting for her.
“Miss Kagami.” She saluted Lily and talked from outside the rope fence.
“I’m Tsukako, an instructor of the Oniwa dojo.”
“Oniwa dojo?” Only then did Lily notice that this woman had white flowers in her hair and that she was not wearing a dojo uniform, but a mourning outfit imprinted with a family crest.
Suddenly, Lily recalled Makoto Oniwa’s death this afternoon.
She could only express her condolences with a salute.
“Miss Tsukako, why are you looking for me?”
The light in Tsukako’s eyes flickered, carrying an indescribable agony, but there was the will of a swordswoman within, “Tomorrow, as one of the top four, will you be fighting that guy, Minamoto no Tsukawa?”
Her teeth gritted as that name was squeezed out of her lips, the hatred could be clearly heard.
“Ah, yes.” Lily nodded resolutely.
“Miss Lily is the east’s greatest female samurai, and you made a name for yourself on your way to Kanto. I personally watched you defeat the world’s fastest blade, Sakanoue no Tamurakonoe!”
“There, there’s no opponent you can’t defeat, right? You will definitely win tomorrow’s battle! Right?” Tsukako desperately grasped Lily’s hands.
“I do have an absolute reason to win, but no one knows what will happen tomorrow. I will, however, do my best.”
“Please…please kill him tomorrow!” Tsukako’s eyes showed hatred.
“Kill him! Kill that man! That beast!”
“Miss Tsukako, this…”
“That man is the number one genius of the Genji clan. If he isn’t killed now, he won’t be killable in the future! Tomorrow, if you kill him in the tournament, no one will blame you! Kagami Lily, I beg you, kill him! You must kill him!” Tears streamed down Tsukako’s face as she begged, trembling uncontrollably1.
“Miss Tsukako…I can understand your feelings. In tomorrow’s battle, I will give it my all. In a battle of life and death, weapons have no eyes, for victory, anything can happen and I will not go easy on him, but I only want to win. If you want me to agree to purposely kill him in the battle, that I cannot do.”
“You…Miss Kagami, as long as you kill him, I can promise to agree to all your conditions! Money, treasures, property, I can give everything! Just give me a price!”
Lily frowned and chidded, “This is not a problem of money!”
Tsukako could only bow and apologize for her rudeness, “That’s true, with Miss Kagami’s identity, even if I gave all my property, you wouldn’t value it…then…then…how about me?”
“Eh?” Lily was taken aback.
Tsukako clearly liked men, in the past she mostly felt jealous of a beauty like Lily, she had an instinctive rejection towards Lily in the past. She suppressed her reaction and leaned towards Lily, “Miss Kagami, I’m sorry but I investigated you, I know of…those rumors. Even if you want me…that’s ok! As long as you kill that beast! Then, even if you want me to be your slave…I will obey you!”
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Tsukako’s eyes were filled with rejection, unwillingness, but she had no other method! She was only the Oniwa dojo’s instructor, though she also had the position of Makoto’s deputy, he was dead. She had little authority in the dojo and would probably be isolated in the future. As for martial power, there was no chance she could compete against the Genji clan.
“As long as you agree, you can do anything to me…” Tsukako naturally knew how to seduce men, but how to please a woman, she had no idea nor any interest. She resisted her disgust and opened one side of her clothes revealing a large creamy white breast, blushed and tried to act as if she was seducing a man.
“Miss Tsukako, don’t be like that!” Lily blushed as she pushed Tsukako away and backed away.
“Miss Tsukako, I dislike Minamoto no Tsukawa, but a competition is a competition. If I need to kill him to win, then I will not hesitate. But I will not use the rules of the tournament to get away with killing a man. Minamoto no Tsukawa’s actions may deserve death, he desecrated the Yoshitsune Memorial, but his punishment will not come from me!”
Flicking her sleeve, Lily left before stopping halfway. Turning around, she added, “Whether Minamoto no Tsukawa is the first genius of the Genji clan, or a homeless vagrant with no background, I will not do this.”
Lily shook her head in pity.
“Uuuuu—Wahh——” Tsukako knelt down, sobbing helplessly. As a woman who had lost her beloved, she felt that she had lost everything in life.
How could Lily not understand the pain of losing one’s beloved? Her arms trembled before violently unsheathing Yasutsuna and slammed the blade down into the ground leaving behind several long cracks.
Lily’s eyes shone with a hint of cold harshness, “If I encounter Minamoto no Tsukawa outside of this tournament, I will kill him without hesitation! But this is the Yoshitsune Memorial, I will not sully this memorial!”
Lily decisively left, not looking back again.
“Miss Kagami…” Tsukako could feel that sympathetic sadness in Lily’s eyes, someone who had not lost a beloved would not have that expression.
The next day remained sunless, the extended night continued. Before the semi-final battles, an even larger memorial march proceeded.
This day, Fujiwara no Ayaka, the Imperial Chancellor, Left Minister Fujiwara no Hiromichi, Right Minster Kujo Norihiko, and other top officials of the Imperial Court were in attendance.
They were all in the middle of the viewing platform, though the top row was still empty, Lady Ayaka sat on the second row with a beautiful, curly haired youth in a female kimono, Prince Narinaga.
The number of spectators for today’s battle was much greater than yesterdays.
Sasaki walked to the front and saluted Ayaka and the prince. Among the top officials, the Chief Advisor and Shogun’s positions were the greatest. They were subordinate only to the three emperors.
They were not of the royal family, but neither were they subordinates.
After the memorial, Sasaki started to give a rousing speech, paying homage to Yoshitsune. Afterwards he announced, “Next up, the semi-finals! The victors shall enter tomorrow’s final battle and be given the privilege of competing for glory in front of the emperor, emperor emeritus and cloistered emperor!”
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“First up! The oriole of early spring! The first young genius maiden of the Tairas! Presenting Taira no Shizuru!”
Amidst the cheers, a young girl in a yellow short skirted hunting outfit with white stockings calmly appeared. On the end of those white stockings were red ribbons.
The left stand where the Taira clan sat, was even louder in their cheers and hollers.
“Now, the opponent who this genius maiden will face! A mysterious and young woman, we know nothing of her name, origin, or even looks! Welcoming——Nanashi!”
Though there were plenty of cheers, it was obvious that Nanashi was not as popular as Taira no Shizuru. This was especially true of the Taira sections where some youngsters booed.
Below the stage, Lily watched that tall woman in a dark blue sleeveless shirt and high slit skirt. She walked onto the stage with her snowy white legs almost completely exposed.
“Shenzu…you ghost of jade maiden, why did you have to appear here?”
Shenzu looked at the much smaller Taira no Shizuru, if this was the past her, she would have to say a few words to humiliate her, but the current her would not bother. All she cared about now was the death of Kagami Lily, the woman who killed the person most important to her, even more important than her father or mother, Rokuhara Tandai, the teacher who gave her the feeling of kinship. That unforgivable woman!
Taira no Shizuru observed Shenzu, discovering that her gaze was focused on the crimson clad female samurai below the stage, “Nanashi, I’m not interested in your identity, but you don’t seem to be very focused. Have you realized your miniscule chance of victory and have given up?”
Shenzu turned her indifferent stare to her, “Little girl, you haven’t grown any hair and yet you still dare boast arrogantly in front of me? I don’t have time to play with a little kid, let’s get this over with.” She gave Sasaki an impatient look.
“You! You dare look down on me? I’m not small!” Subconsciously, Taira looked down at her not impressive yet not nonexistent chest. Annoyed, she boasted, “Hmph! As a female drifter of the Taira clan, I refused his majesty’s bestowed marriage and insisted on walking the path of the samurai. Those who underestimate or look down upon me number in the hundreds, but they always fall to my blade!”
With those words, two identical wakizashis appeared in her hands and like a hunting oriole, she rushed toward Nanashi, her sleeves unfolded like wings. There were few who would use wakizashis as their main weapon, but Taira no Shizuru used two eight-grade wakizashis in concert with an ancient inherited sword style. Her combat style was very unique!
Seeing Taira no Shizuru making a move, Sasaki hurriedly raised his flag, “Match start!”
Within Shenzu’s hands, two golden tachis engraved in a gorgeous exotic style. Both blades emanated the pressure of a ninth grade weapon.
“Those are…Rokuhara Tandai’s weapons2!” Lily’s heart shook. On that day, Kagura had shattered three of the six blades, the blades in Shenzu’s hands should be two of the remaining three.