|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3242 characters|
|Translator: Yuki||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1675 words|
“That phantom thief!?” Yuuta’s eyes rolled, “If you show me your panties1, I’ll tell you all about the rumors!”
Though Lily smiled, her eyes emitted a cold glow, “Sure, but it will be the last thing you see in this world.”
“Eeek——!” Yuuta’s fur stood on end in fright, “I’m joking ahaha, please don’t be angry sister samurai.”
“That phantom thief is someone who has recently appeared in Heian-kyo. A very mysterious legend.” Yuuta explained.
“Let’s go over there and talk.” Lily led Yuuta to the grove beside the river and sat down below the tree, she really didn’t want to bump into Masakado.
“Let’s hear it, what sort of legends?”
“Big sis, it’s very romantic here.” Yuuta’s hands were behind his head while his tail wagged happily.
“Talk about the phantom thief!”
“Ah, yes!” Yuuta rushed on, “This thief has been active in Heian-kyo for the past few months. No one in Heian-kyo dares to reveal their own precious tea sets anymore.”
“Precious tea sets? Does this phantom thief only steal precious tea sets?”
“That’s right, it was like that at the beginning. It is said that any quality tea set that appears in Heian-kyo will be stolen. Some say the phantom thief is as light as a swallow, travelling along the roof beams with ease, entering and exiting without trace, and no preparation or security method is effective.”
“This thief is really that skilled? Why only tea sets?”
“No one knows the real reason, only that was true at the beginning, now the thief has been targeting other precious treasures. As long as it’s a treasure appearing in the market, the phantom thief will probably target it. This is especially true for the Heian-kyo night-market treasures. Recently none dare to show off their treasures anymore.
“Heian-kyo’s night-market? Is that where the phantom thief shows up?”
“Yes, sometimes the thief will show up every night, it’s already gotten to the point where not many people dare to put real treasures on the market. That thief has a really high standard, the regular treasures won’t be targeted.”
“Nothing has worked against this thief? Has the thief fought against any guards?” Lily wanted to get an idea on the battle power of the thief.
“Yes, but the thief is extremely secretive and often disables the opponent in an instant. So far none have gotten a clear look at this thief, only… rumors say this thief is not too tall2.”
Yuuta continued, “Though, when real experts appear, that thief either doesn’t show up or tries to avoid the expert. The methods the thief use are extremely mysterious. No one understands how this thief enters vaults through layers of defenses.”
“Are there any other rumors about the thief?”
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“This thief operates in absolute secrecy, I really don’t know much. But if you want to know more, I can investigate.”
“At the moment there’s no need. If I need more news I’ll come find you.”
“I’m usually in this area at night, if you need to find me and I’m not here, then leave a wisp of spirit power on this tree’s leaf. I’ll know when I see it, I’ll be waiting under this tree the next night.”
“Nn, thanks, Yuuta.”
“I’ve given you so much information, any rewards?”
Lily helplessly shook her head, “What reward do you want? Of course, don’t bother asking for strange rewards.”
“Ah… this…….” the raccoon stopped talking.
“Here.” Lily tossed the raccoon two gold coins, “Take it and buy some candy!”
“Thank you! Thank you!” Though Yuuta was a perverted raccoon, he also loved money. For a few pieces of information he could earn so much. With Yuuta’s strength, earning this much money was extremely hard. Though he was active in Heian-kyo, he was also bullied often. Rarely would he meet anyone as generous as Lily.
Lily inquired about the night-market location before departing. It was still dark so she planned on looking around the night-market.
At this moment, hundreds of miles south of Heian-kyo, a dark murky land where gray mist and black clouds blanketed year long. Under that repressive grey-black sky, in between sharp mountains there exists a ruined abandoned city.
Surrounding the city is a barren chaotic wasteland. Mountain bandit dens outnumber civilian villages in this wasteland, uncountable dark chaotic martial courts exist. The evil legions, bandits, and wraiths coexist in this chaotic wasteland. Here, crimes are common sense, revenge is routine, the only thing that’s rare is kindness. This place is the Sinless Domain3.
Within an ancient martial court in the Sinless Domain. A strong aged figure sat in the gloomy main building. In front of him, in the middle of the martial court knelt a masked person.
“Master, you have finally returned.” the figure bowed down, “Master, I am guilty, I……”
“Tesshin, you don’t need to say anything. I heard the details on the road… otherwise, I would not have rushed back.” That immense figure interrupted.
After a brief silence, that immense man’s voice trembled, “Sakanoue no Tamurakonoe he……he really died by his opponent’s swordsmanship? Tesshin, the rumors say the one who killed Tamurakonoe was a woman who uses a soul stealing cursed blade. There are many differing rumors, Tesshin, tell me the truth, do not attempt to deceive me on behalf of my son Tamurakonoe. I only want the truth.”
“Since master has asked for the truth, then of course I will only speak the truth. That one slash was too fast, I cannot say for sure if Kagami Lily used methods other than swordsmanship. But within the limits of my recognition, there were no problems with that slash, a very magnificent blow.” Tesshin replied with head bowed.
“Crack——！” The dark floor of the martial court cracked. The entire martial court trembled from the fury.
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“Master!” Tesshin knelt down, “In the battle afterwards, Kagami Lily used a sword engraved with a mysterious soul technique allowing her to summon many mighty shikigami. But my sight was clear, that sword was different from the one used to duel Tamurakonoe.”
“Is that so……” That figure’s voice had a bit of helplessness in it, “That battle, tell me everything4.”
Yuuta happily holding onto the gold coins, walked down a dark alley. “Ehehe, samurai sister is so generous. Last time, it was one gold coin, this time it’s two, next time maybe three!”
From the dark alley walked out several large, small, fat, and thin monsters.
“Yo, isn’t it Yuuta? Long time no see,” A tall fox monster said.
“What’s up? Ohh, you got rich? Huhu!” A muscular large pig monster snorted in laughter.
The other few monsters started looking at Yuuta with dangerous intent. Yuuta hid the coin behind his back, his raccoon face showing horror watching them.
“What… what are you doing? This month’s payment, I’ve already paid!”
There are several night markets in Heian-kyo, however, the most famous one is the east market. The well-known phrase, morning in the west market, evening in the east market refers to the east night market.
The east market is directly east of the middle section of Suzaku Avenue, Lily travelled along the large street of Suzaku Avenue, watching those faint lights illuminating the avenue during the night.
The current time of the day was a bit mysterious. Though it was dark, it was during the daytime and monsters still roamed around. It could be said to be even more dangerous than the twilight hours, even so some civilians had no choice but to venture out and proceed with business.
Lily walked along the dimly lit paths, past the dark courtyards and houses, most were old and in disrepair. Living areas for the peasantry, also a place for lower level monsters to thrive.
In front of her, a cacophony of noise and drums echoed. Lily walked along the stone road past a lantern decorated torii. The world changed as she stepped past the torii, the dark dilapidated buildings became a bustling night-market pavilion.
The road was not too wide and two red pillars bracketed the entrance to the pavilion. Almost every building hung lanterns and bright shop signs. It was unbelievable that a place in Heian-kyo would be so lively at night. Even more surprising was that the night-market had a mixture of monsters and humans in it.
There were samurai possessing immense blade aura buying merchandise, tall hat wearing Onmyoji inspecting mysterious alchemic devices or wandering around, and many other civilians. In that crowd, humanized fox monsters, single-eyed little ghosts, tang umbrellas, and all other sorts of monsters shopped around. No one took notice as if this were commonplace.
Lily noticed that some night-market hawkers were not human. There were masked ghosts, kappa selling fish, and a yellow frog half the size of a child was hosting a goldfish scooping game. There was also an octopus monster selling fried noodles, the multiple tentacles allowing for the handling of multiple spatulas simultaneously. The sights and scenes of the night market entranced Lily.
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As a woman, Lily was entranced and fascinated by the various merchandise and the colorful night market. She was unable to think of the phantom thief and started shopping.
“This little goldfish……” Lily saw a craftsman selling handcrafted paper toys, among them, a red little goldfish caught her attention. She remembered back when she had just entered the Heian-world, even though money had been worrying tight she had inexplicably purchased one, it was very similar to the one laid out before her. The memories sparked flickers of emotion in her.
Since she was visiting the night-market, then she should invest a bit, Lily bought the paper goldfish, and afterwards she went to the frog to play a few rounds of goldfish scooping. Though she was a samurai, she won nothing and broke all the paper scoops. Of course, Lily didn’t use her domain for this. If she did, where would the fun be?
Lily didn’t mind the goldfish, what she did care about was the feeling of warmth and light in this cold world.
- Robinxen: Ah yes, the negotiator.
- Robinxen: Loli?!
- Sinless Domain – The area surrounding the old capital of Nara. It is said to be a chaotic, dark, and desolate ‘hell on earth’ where criminals and fugitives gather. Tamurakomoe is from the place.
- Robinxen: The enemies are collecting.