Chapter 17 – Getting Into Trouble

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3073 characters
Translator: LazyButAmbitious English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1967 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

“It should be.” Kagura studied the small and intricate scroll that unfolded about a foot long. Dozens of patterns and thousands of words were inscribed on it.

Lily could be regarded as a good painter, but even she wouldn’t be able to replicate what she saw. Was everything painted with hair strands?

“Master, I really don’t know much about making and refining treasures, but I have followed Suzuhiko-hime for a long time. I have glimpsed similar kinds of treasures before,” Kagura said.

“Kagura, what are domain treasures? What is the difference between high-grade teaware, calligraphy, painting, and these?”

“Master, teaware, painting, calligraphy, and other elegant things indeed help to improve one’s realm and artistic conception, thus sharpening their domain. However, this occurs gradually as one practice. Even the best teaware cannot be used directly in a battle. On the other hand, this kind of domain treasure can greatly strengthen the user’s domain or increase its range during a fight. Of course, there are some rare treasures that come with their own domain!”

“Then what exactly does this one do?”

“This treasure seems capable of strengthening domains, but I don’t understand its specific power. This treasure is a bracelet called Unmelted Snow. You would need to find the rare main material, Chrysanths Ice Crystal, together with a variety of other precious materials to create it. Also, the secret pattern must be carved in the artifact for it to work. However, the secret pattern is already plotted on this scroll. As long as one understands the domain and is good at painting, one can copy the pattern onto the bracelet. Unfortunately, the refining method is too advanced for me to understand,” Kagura explained.

“Unmelted Snow…it sounds like a good name,” Lily thoughtfully said, “If I craft this treasure, how much can it strengthen my domain?”

Kagura shook her head, “I can’t estimate that, but I have heard of the Chrysanths Ice Crystal. This main material is extraordinary and extremely difficult to obtain. It is said to be a top ninth-grade material and some people even estimate it to be beyond the ninth-grade!”

“Do you know where we can find the Chrysanths Ice Crystal?”

Kagura shook her head again, “This kind of rare thing can only be encountered, not sought1, but there are many other auxiliary materials needed to make this bracelet. Master, you may be able to get some from the treasury of the Bureau of Divination or purchase them at Heian-kyō’s Conventional Night Market, but the main material will prove difficult to find.”

Lily pressed her finger against her lips and said, “Well, I can draw the secret pattern myself, but the main material… Kagura, what is the Second-Hand Night Market you mentioned earlier?”

“This is something I heard from Nanako. She said that Lady Kotoka told her there was a night market district in Heian-kyō which has a large number of convenience shops, and auctions are often held. As long as you have money, you can buy almost any precious item there.”

Lily nodded in a contemplative manner. She currently had a lot of gold, not to mention the magatama fragments that were worth a lot of money. According to the Lunar Blossom Secret Manual, only practitioners without ambition and talent would simply use magatama fragments to accumulate strength after reaching the Spirit Jade stage. Even if one had squandered a lot of magatama fragments to mindlessly raise their strength, their foundations would resemble a sandcastle. Without solid experience and training, it would be difficult to tailor their accumulated power to perfectly fit their own style. However, the most important concern was that practicing the Lunar Blossom was irreversible. Starting from the Spirit jade stage, one could begin to perceive the power of the moon. Only by prudently training and climbing step by step could one properly integrate the power of the moon. Over time, the power of the moon would surpass the raw spiritual power gathered from just absorbing magatama fragments!

Although the power of the moon could still be felt after reaching a high realm, those who comprehended it and consolidated their foundations from the early stages would achieve greater affinity with the moon and thus have a brighter future!

Blind pursuit of higher realms was superficial. Of course, for ordinary practitioners, improving their realm was already difficult enough. Only the Lunar Blossom, a heavenly secret manual personally created by the moon god, could impart such profound insights at such early stages of training.

Although practicing such a secret method made it a lot more difficult to directly absorb magatama fragments, the practitioner’s future achievements were limitless!

Therefore, Lily was not in a hurry to use her magatama fragments to progress to the middle Spirit Jade stage. Instead, she wanted to lay out a solid foundation in the early Spirit Jade stage and comprehend the power of the moon.

However, to achieve this, there were many insights Lily needed to perceive but failed to understand, always feeling that something was missing. Just watching and basking in the moonlight wasn’t enough to understand the profound and ethereal intricacies of the moon. Although Lily’s innate intelligence aided her progress a lot, it had its limits. It could be said that she had fallen into a bottleneck.

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However, just giving up her way of practice and using magatama fragments to forcefully improve her strength was unthinkable to Lily. By doing so, she would miss the opportunity to integrate the power of the moon into her spiritual energy and body.

Since the Conventional Night Market2 is here in Heian-kyō, I can go there when I have time, Lily thought to herself.

At this time, in the courtyard of the Bureau of Divination, the Onmyo no Taizoku, Kujo, and the Onmyo no Shozoku, Fuen, were accompanying a public official dressed in luxurious clothing and a high hat as they walked towards the treasure hall, followed by a large group of attendants.

“Yohohoho-” The public official leading the group hid his face behind a fan and laughed, “This time, the birthday ceremony of His Majesty the Emperor depends on you.”

“Don’t worry, Lord Ichijo!” Kujo assured, “We are all ready.”

Ichijo Haiji was an internal affairs minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which was superior to the Bureau of Divination. His official position was not too lofty, but he still ranked higher than a county official. When an immediate superior came, the Bureau of Divination officials naturally had to bow their heads and flatter them.

In particular, Kujo and his colleagues, who were involved in the complex affairs of the Bureau of Divination rather than the study of arcane arts, were more restricted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

When the group arrived, the Onmyo no Daijo, who was guarding the treasure hall, came out joyfully and bowed in greeting, “Lord Ichijo, you don’t have to visit in person for this kind of thing! We will send it to you directly.”

Ichijo covered his face and laughed, “Yohohoho, we still have to follow the rules of the court. Without the paperwork from the Secretary of Internal Affairs, we cannot take things from the treasury at will, so allow me to go and see it, okay?!”

“My Lord, don’t worry, we have prepared the vase,” Sukeya said confidently.

“That’s good; this is not a trivial matter. It not only represents the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but it is also a gift to the imperial palace for the emperor’s birthday! Nowadays, although the imperial court is under the leadership of Lord Chief Advisor, the Minister of Finance, Lord Fujiwara no Renbo, also has his own considerations. We cannot make Lord Renbo ashamed!” Ichijo said in a subdued voice.

Several people walked to the treasury and came to the big hall of artifacts.

“Lord Ichijo, the jade-white porcelain vase was found in Nara at a great cost. When Emperor Shirakawa himself gifted the vase, it was large and round. It was not easy for such a heavy vessel to survive to this day! The vase was given to the people by Emperor Shirakawa in the past, and it represents the legacy of the Heian Dynasty and the eternal prosperity of the imperial family.” Sukeya bowed and said in a flattering tone.

“Yohohoho- good, good! Although the value of the vase is not too high, the symbolism is really too suitable for the birthday of the emperor! It would be really hard to exceed such a precious treasure! Go, go, let’s go inside and take a look at this vase.” Ichijo was very proud of himself, thinking that this time, the Minister of the Imperial Court would leap and praise him for his good work!

Sukeya opened the treasure hall, which was dim and dull, and a few people entered. When they walked around for a bit, a large cloud of dust was raised.

“Cough, cough, what’s going on? Why is it so dusty? How long has it been since it has been cleaned?” Ichijo frowned and covered his nose with a strip of cloth.

“This…The Jojo arrived not too long ago. Ah, it should have been cleaned yesterday!” Sukeya said as sweat trickled down his forehead. He cursed Lily in his heart. What the hell was she doing?!

Sukeya lit the candle inside the room and it didn’t look much different.

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“Lord Sukeya, where is that vase placed? Quickly, take the Lord to see it,” Kujo reminded.

“Huh?” Sukeya looked around, “What’s going on? I put the vase on the shelf in front of the door because I needed it right away. Why is it gone?”

“Could you have taken it inside? Look elsewhere.”

“Lord, don’t worry. The vase must be there; I’ll look for it.”

Sukeya walked with a few people in the treasure hall. He couldn’t help taking in a breath of cold air. He had a nagging feeling that the position of the wooden shelves had shifted a little. Moreover, although everything seemed to be normal, he felt that the atmosphere was a little weird.

Suddenly, there was a noise above his head.

Plop! A scroll fell from the top of the shelf and hit the head of Kujo who stood behind him.

“What’s wrong?” Ichijo asked, turning around.

“No, it’s nothing!” Kujo hurriedly hid the scroll behind him. He didn’t want to let a lord know that they stored the scroll so carelessly that it fell down by itself.

However, his words could barely settle in before:

“Ouch!!!!”

Ichijo suddenly jumped while clutching his foot. These public officials were all wearing cloth shoes because they were very comfortable.

“My Lord?! What’s the matter?!”

“It hurts!” Ichijo covered his foot and shouted, “What is happening!!!”

Everyone looked over and saw a piece of white porcelain under his feet.

Without waiting for anyone to do anything, the angry Ichijo picked up the fragment and studied it. It seemed to be the bottom piece of a container with a stamp on it.

“Gift from Emperor Shirakawa?” Ichijo read out loud, “This, what is this? Why is there an old piece of porcelain inside this treasury?”

Sukeya’s expression stiffened for a moment.

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“My Lord, look…” Ichijo’s attendant pointed at the bottom of a shelf behind him, and there seemed to be a pile of broken objects faintly visible.

“That, what is that?!”

The attendants stepped forward and pushed the shelf away, only to see a pile of broken vases, pots, and bowls…

Foremost among them, there were many scattered pieces of a large, porcelain vase that looked particularly conspicuous in the dark room.

Ichijo glanced at the few large fragments that resembled parts of a large vase before looking at the ‘Gift from Emperor Shirakawa’ in his hand. His expression took a drastic turn.

“AH, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON3?!!”



References

  1. Robinxen: Ah so it’ll deus ex machina coincidence itself into the plot.
  2. Robinxen: There was a bit of debate over the translation for this. The night market part at least is accurate, we just weren’t sure what to put before it without proper context. The raw is “中古夜坊” for those wondering.
  3. Robinxen: Yeah I’m wondering too.

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