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Chapter 175 – Court Declares War! (1)

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3223 characters
Translator: Aoi English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 2186 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

The Heian Palace included plenty of towers and pavilions and had a long bridge that passed over the massive front imperial gardens and led directly to the central main hall.

Lily had sighed ruefully at the grandeur of the palace when she had entered it for the first time as it was both grand and elegant. The grandness also concealed a boundless aura within it and gave the whole palace a lavish feel.

Lily followed the palanquin through the bridge surrounded by pavilions and arrived at the Purple Serenity Palace, which was the biggest imperial palace within the bounds of the Heian Palace and functioned as the throne hall for the emperor.

The Purple Serenity Palace loomed over the land because of its massiveness and Lily could feel a heavy and historic aura emanating from it. The deep and lustrous color of the palace also made it exude a poignant feeling on this rainy day.

Lily had felt a faint poignance no matter where she went in the Heian Empire until now, which had accumulated from the strenuous life that the people had lived for thousands of years under the wanton rampage of the monsters. However, the poignance that she felt from Purple Serenity Palace was so intense that it had formed a silent pressure which had elevated it to a noble monument of beauty.

It’s probably the spiritual backbone for samurai chivalry in the Heian Empire.

Lily concluded internally as she knew first-hand that grief strengthened people.

In truth, Lily wasn’t ranked high enough to enter the Purple Serenity Palace, but she could enter it alongside Ayaka as she was the latter’s direct subordinate.

It was her first time going to court, and she walked beside Ayaka with the latter leading the group of court officials through the corridor. Lily wasn’t accustomed to such situations, so she felt a bit nervous even now and tugged her collar every now and then.

Ayaka chuckled when she saw this and leaned closer to Lily’s ear as she whispered, “Is the collar of the unified court dress too tight for you, Lily? Are you missing the comfort that you get from the revealing dresses you always wear?”

“Hah?” Lily blushed when she heard Ayaka’s words and a lot of the court councilors behind them looked at her with astonishment when they heard Ayaka’s and Lily’s banter.

“O-Of course not.” Lily blushed from the embarrassment of having reacted like that within the court, but she also blamed Ayaka for teasing her without reason.

The nervousness she felt disappeared after this exchange, though.

Lily walked into the throne hall along with the officials and discovered that it was massive. The hall made her feel as if she had entered a whole new world built within it.

However, the Purple Serenity Palace was a bit dark despite its hugeness and the inner parts of the hall were also filled with mist for some reason. This made Lily feel as if an ominous and dark presence was lurking within the throne hall.

Lily wasn’t qualified to sit beside Ayaka within the throne hall and follow a Fujiwara official who guided her to a seat at the back row which was meant for the low-ranked officials.

Although Lily was a military official, she was still a subordinate of Ayaka, so her seat was amidst the military officials and onmyōji under the Fujiwara clan.

The throne hall had an elevated platform with three thrones pedestaled on it and each one of them had curtains to their front which were lavisher than the ones that existed on the viewing platform of the arena.

Ayaka stood at the forefront of the officials on the left as she was their leader, and the Chancellor of the Realm, as well as everyone else sat closely behind her.

The commander-in-chief, Minamoto no Yoritomo, as well as the Genji, Taira, and Tachibana clan officials, that is, everyone else not in the Fujiwara faction, sat on the right side. The Left and Right Imperial Guards’ Commanders as well as a few other military officials also sat on this side. There were few military officials who sat beside Minamoto no Yoritomo as most samurai weren’t qualified to attend the court, which filled a majority of the seats beside him with high-ranked officials.

There were hundreds of officials seated within the court and they were the upper echelon of the Heian Empire. Lily sighed ruefully at the fact a simple parasol-holding girl like her had risen in rank so much in less than a year despite not caring much about authority in her journey from Kamakura to Heian-kyo.

The Cloistered Emperor and the Reigning Emperor were both holding court today, but the Emperor Emeritus wasn’t present.

After seeing that all officials were present, the Cloistered Emperor asked in a harsh tone, “Why isn’t Emperor Nijo holding court today?”

“His Majesty Nijo isn’t holding court today since he isn’t feeling well, Your Majesty.” A high-ranked official from Yoritomo’s side bowed and bent the knee as he answered the Cloistered Emperor.

“Just forget it… He never says a word whenever he attends court anyway.” The Cloistered Emperor’s voice sounded forlorn as it echoed throughout the dimly-lit, waning throne hall.

“Well, then. How about beginning today’s court session, Emperor Go-Toba?” The Cloistered Emperor looked down towards the Reigning Emperor—who looked like a pretty girl—seated in the lower throne beside him.

“Mhmm.” The Reigning Emperor nodded. “Let’s begin the court, then. Are there any cases that require discussion, my dear officials?”

His voice sounded feminine and frail and lacked the aura which an emperor needed.

“Your Majesty!” A Tachibana official kneeled and raised his head miserably as he delivered an urgent report. “Tanba’s Shuten Doji dispatched an army of monsters to Settsu Road and attacked the carriages that were carrying the taxes from the western provinces to Heian-kyo. He has snatched most of the annual taxes we’ve collected this year!”

“What?!” The Reigning Emperor was shocked by the news.

He stated fidgetly in a feminine voice, “The annual taxes from the western provinces make up more than seventy percent of the taxes that we collect from the empire’s lands! Are you telling me that we’ve lost all that? The court’s treasury is in a tight state now. I-Is there nothing we can do?”

The discussion between the officials intensified when they saw the Reigning Emperor panic.

Ayaka felt helpless when she saw the Reigning Emperor’s anxious reaction and she sighed internally.

You’re just going to lose the councilors’ trust if you lose your head out of fear like that.

“Silence!” The Cloistered Emperor’s deep voice resounded through the hall as he leaned forward and sent a sharp gaze towards the officials. “Do any of you have a solution?”

“Your Majesty!” Minamoto no Yoshitada stepped forward and said righteously, “Shuten Doji has taken over Mt. Ooe for a long time now and has continued to oppose the court as the Demon Lord of Tanba! I believe that he has crossed the line by coming out of Tanba and attacking the court’s tax carriages now! We can’t tolerate his actions any longer and must dispatch troops to subjugate him at once!”

The oily-faced eighty-year-old Cloistered Emperor—who had a mole between his eyebrows—twitched his lips when he heard Yoshitada’s words. “Shuten Doji has crossed the line by snatching most of the empire’s annual taxes. What does everyone feel about subjugating him?”

“I’m against it, Your Majesty!” Fujiwara no Renbo, the Chancellor of the Realm, stepped forward and said, “The Heavens have lost order and the frequent calamities plaguing the world have diminished the empire’s power. We cannot act so rashly when the people are still suffering. The Tanba province that Shuten Doji has occupied is a strategic location that’s easy to guard and hard to attack because of its complex and steep topography. I’m afraid that we will suffer irrecoverable losses if we dispatch an expedition to subjugate him!”

“What do you want us to do then? Just sit and watch even though he has snatched most of the empire’s annual taxes for the year? Since when has our Heian Empire turned so cowardly?” Minamoto no Yoshitada thundered.

Fujiwara no Arima chimed in as well. “Heian-kyo will be left unguarded if we dispatch troops to subjugate Shuten Doji, Your Majesty, and we can’t allow that to happen when we have Tamamo-no-Mae sitting right in our backyard. We’ve all seen how arrogantly she stepped across the imperial palace just a few days ago, and it’s clear from her actions that she holds disdain for the court. We’ll have no means to resist her if she decides to attack the imperial palace when the army isn’t present in Heian-kyo!”

“I agree with Lord Arima, Your Majesty! We must settle our internal issues first before we turn our eyes towards the external ones. We can’t dispatch troops on an expedition to subjugate Shuten Doji unless we root out Tamamo-no-Mae first. I’m sure that this 1000-year-old fox demoness is hiding right in our backyard! This is a huge disgrace to us!” Although Middle Councilor Minamoto no Hirohikari belonged to the Genji faction, he agreed with the Fujiwara faction’s opinion on this occasion.

Lily, however, furrowed her brows when she heard their opinions.

Ms. Kimiko has never harmed humanity or the court. Why are they so insistent on subjugating her when there’s no reason to do so?

The Cloistered Emperor glanced to the left and right of the throne after hearing the opinions of the councilors and asked them, “So, who do we subjugate first? Shuten Doji or Tamamo-no-Mae?”

“Shuten Doji!”

The officials began debating once again.

“Silence! Your quarrels are making my head hurt now…” The Cloistered Emperor turned towards the Reigning Emperor and asked him, “You’re the regent of the empire, Emperor Go-Toba. What do you believe is the right decision to take?”

“Hah?” The timid Emperor Go-Toba never imagined that the Cloistered Emperor would entrust him with making such a crucial decision, so he deliberated for a moment before stating softly, “I-I’m too young and short-sighted to make such an important decision so quickly. I-I wonder what’s your opinion on this Sis—Ahem—Lord Chief Advisor?”

Emperor Go-Toba turned to look at Ayaka helplessly.

The white-dressed Ayaka, who stood out amongst the officials, pondered for a moment before giving her opinion on the matter. “Settsu Road is an important road that leads to the western provinces of the empire, Your Majesty, and we can even say that it’s the lifeline of the court. We will suffer huge financial losses if we are unable to secure Settsu Road, and this might even lead to the court’s collapse.”

“However, it’s also true that the Settsu region has a complex topography which makes it hard for us to defend ourselves in its spiraling range of hills, leaving us with no choice but to go on the offense instead. We must give a blow to him and weaken his influence even if we can’t subjugate him.”

“All the taxes as well as the trade from the western provinces will fall into Shuten Doji’s hands if we do nothing about it and Heian-kyo might even face an invasion from him a few years later when he has amassed enough strength with the wealth that he has stolen from us. We’ll be helpless against him at that time.”

“We’ve also received a revelation from the Heavens that the root of chaos lies with the three archdemons. Out of them, Shuten Doji is the one who’s closest to jeopardizing the empire’s stability right now! I believe that we must dispatch troops to subjugate him as soon as possible!” Ayaka stated firmly.

Lily nodded from the back as she agreed with Ayaka’s clear and logical conclusion. Although she believed that the imperials and the major factions owned teleportation formations like the Divine Sun and Moon Formations, the cost of using them was high, which was the reason they were just used for transporting treasured items like magatama and such. However, it was impossible for them to waste resources on transporting enormous amounts of food and other goods required for war.

“Lord Chief Advisor!” The Chancellor of the Realm questioned her, “I wonder if you’ve heard what Lord Arima just said. We’ll be left helpless to defend against Tamamo-no-Mae if she decides to attack us after we’ve dispatched troops to subjugate Shuten Doji.”

“Uhm. Well…” The Reigning Emperor felt that this argument made sense as well and turned speechless for a moment.

“You keep talking about Tamamo-no-Mae attacking us, but it’s just pure speculation now! Shuten Doji has obviously attacked us already and taken the court’s annual taxes, so why are you still so insistent on confronting Tamamo-no-Mae instead1?”

A woman’s dainty voice echoed through the throne hall, which left the officials puzzled for a moment.

They looked towards the voice’s source and discovered that the statement was from a pretty, low-ranked female official from the back seats.

“Who is this dumb woman?! How dare she speak such nonsense within the court?!” Fujiwara no Arima pointed at Lily as he lambasted her.



  1. Robinxen: Wow she just came out and said it.
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