Chapter 25 – Phantom Thief’s Notice

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3082 characters
Translator: LazyButAmbitious English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1692 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

Lily shopped through the night market, while the dazzling and colorful shops fascinated her, it didn’t stop her from wondering why humans and monsters could coexist here. She had enough battle power so she wasn’t scared, but most people here were civilians. Shouldn’t they be scared of monsters?

Not far away, she discovered a rowdy crowd, she wandered over discovering it was a large mix of humans and monsters. Squeezing through the crowd, her foot discovered nothing but air beneath it. With the crowd behind her, Lily was almost unable to prevent herself from falling.

Looking down she discovered in the middle of this street, a long deep ditch existed. It was over a hundred meters long and filled with humidity. Feeling the cold seeping through her shoes, Lily also noticed flowing water at the very bottom of the ditch. Her eyes followed the ditch past the eastern gate of Heian-kyo to a large cave beneath the houses of Suzaku Avenue. On both sides of the ditch, dilapidated houses were built, it was almost as if they were inhabited. However, looking at it from afar made one feel that living in this cold damp place would be misery. On the opposite side of the ditch was another bustling night market, but looking around she could not find a road to travel over.

“That’s a night market for nobles you know? Though it’s only a ditch, civilians like us can’t get in, we can only look from afar.” two men gossiped beside Lily.

Lily asked, “Excuse me, is this group here just to look at the other side? Can’t you take a detour from the Suzaku Avenue to get over to that side?”

“Of course we aren’t just looking at the other side. Fuyutsuki is about to arrive.” The man replied.

“Fuyutsuki? What’s that?”

That man looked at Lily and was startled that there was such a beauty standing beside him. He looked at Lily’s high-class attire and thought her a noble, though nervous, he dared not fool around. “Young lady, you aren’t from around here right? I don’t think there’s anyone in Heian-kyo who doesn’t know about the Fuyutsuki. If the young lady isn’t in a rush you can watch from here, it won’t be too long.”

“Oh……” Lily noticed that both humans and monsters were all looking at the other side

After a while, there was a commotion on the other side. Far away, from the dark ditch emerged a large red ship. Only this ship was floating in the air, several hundred meters from the bottom of the ditch. The ship was gigantic, seventy to eighty meters wide, hundred meters long and decorated with all sorts of lanterns, carp sails and floating ribbons, sounds of music echoed through the ditch as the ship traveled closer. Lily was unable to understand, clearly the ship was floating in the air1, but such a gigantic object… How was it staying in midair?

“This, this is…”

“Amazing right? Outside of Heian-kyo, you’ll never find a ship like this.” the man boasted proudly, “This is the Fuyutsuki!”

“Why… why can such a large ship float in midair?” Lily couldn’t help but ask.

“That is something I don’t know, but every day during the hour of the extended night, that is, when the night’s darkness rules over daytime, the Fuyutsuki always appears.”

“This Fuyutsuki, what does this ship do?”

“What does it do? The best kabuki shows, the most delicious cuisine, Heian-kyo’s most prominent geishas, dancing and singing, gambling, drinking, all sorts of women, never heard before enjoyments, there are also treasure auctions. Whatever you can imagine, it’s there. For us regular people, it would be a dream if we could play on the Fuyutsuki once in our life. But… the ticket price is far more than we could earn in a lifetime2.”

Right then, the luxurious Fuyutsuki slowly stopped in front of the crowd, the ship fit perfectly in the ditch, several meters separated both banks of the ditch from the ship.

The Fuyutsuki has nine floors, a hatch in the middle opened and out came two blue demons as brawny as oxen, they were dressed in extravagant clothes and connected the bank to the ship with a plank. Behind the two blue demons walked out two beautiful geisha with faces painted white, they inquired, “Is anyone embarking?”

“Can we enter?” Lily asked.

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“Of course, if anyone wants to go play, then wait here during the extended night and board the ship. Of course, it’s just too expensive, not mentioning the expenses inside, just the boarding ticket is one gold,” said a man with fading clothes.

“Is anyone embarking?” the geisha asked again.

The people on Lily’s side were all civilians so only a few monsters arrogantly walked up into the ship. Lily guessed there were more people entering the ship on the noble side. On this side, the only humans to enter were two samurai and one onmyoji, the rest were all monsters. It seems like the monsters were all quite wealthy.

Lily was tempted to board the ship, the gambling and the geisha didn’t attract her but the auction appealed to her. Though considering her heavy responsibilities she decided not to… for now. Seeing the luxurious Fuyutsuki slowly sail away, Lily had a bit of lingering regret.

“I’ll come next time, and check out the ship.”

The crowd dispersed, and Lily wandered back into the night market. This place with its mix of humans and monsters was quite interesting. Lily considered a bit, this phantom thief would not appear every day, perhaps it would be better to find a place to live and observe the situation in the night market.

She found an inn hosted by an old lady, it was located on the night-market street. Lily requested a room on the second floor so she could observe easier.

The old lady delivered tea, “Miss, please enjoy.”

Lily tipped a silver coin, replying, “Old Granny3, I’m not from around here, do you mind if I ask some questions?”

“What would you like to know?”

“No matter where in Heian-kyo or other places, people are generally afraid of monsters. Why is it that humans and monsters coexist here in the night-market?”

“That is because this is the east market.”

“Ah? I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand.”

“The east market is a night market. From olden times, humans and monsters are reluctant to fight here, they all need a bazaar to buy or sell goods. Of course, this place isn’t without risks, there are still outsiders or fools who get aggressive.”

“Then……”

“But there is an iron rule here, monsters may not attack regular people, and samurai or onmyoji may not attack monsters.”

“Why do they follow this rule? The Heian dynasty can’t control monsters outside of the city.”

“That’s because this is the lord’s territory. Anyone can come to the night-market for business. Even though it’s in Heian-kyo, the Heian dynasty does not control this street.”

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“What? This street isn’t controlled by the Heian Dynasty? Who is this lord? He’s not a monster is he?”

“Hehe, we humans don’t know the lord’s real identity, we only know that he’s known as the guardian god of night-markets.”

“Guardian god of night-markets……”

The old lady gave a mysterious smile and left, leaving Lily sitting there leaning on the balustrade sipping wine, her long sleeves and kimono splayed out on the floor. She looked like a relaxing noble lady.

Lily stayed in the night market for several days. During the daytime, there was not a person, but during the nighttime, the market was full of people. She had also seen several fights, but it seemed like most monsters obeyed the rules, they all seemed wary of something. What sort of existence was the guardian god of night markets? Lily was very curious. Only, there was no news of the phantom thief, nothing at all these past few days.

One day, Yuuta came looking for her. Lily was quite surprised at Yuuta’s intelligence network, how did he know she was staying here?

“Sister samurai, something happened!” Yuuta stood at her door, his face didn’t show a perverted expression after seeing Lily with her disheveled kimono exposing her full cleavage.

Yuuta’s face was blue and swollen and his spirits were quite low.

“Yuuta, what happened?”
“I, I”m fine, you don’t have to mind me. I received news about the phantom thief.”
“What news?”

“That thief has made an announcement, the target is the famed teamaster Lord Chihisa Nobutoshi’s longevity gift for the cloistered emperor, a famous tea set4,” Yuuta reported

“Is that so? Tell me more. Where is the tea set gift?”

“Because it’s a longevity gift for the cloistered emperor, it’s necessary to enshrine the gift for three weeks, and tomorrow is the first day of enshrining. The phantom thief sent an advance warning to Lord Nobutoshi, if that tea set is enshrined, then on the first day of worship, I shall steal it. But even so, how can the cloistered emperor’s gift be reclaimed. The lord is in panic mode, recruiting guards and setting up security.”

“Is that so?” Lily’s eyes flashed with excitement, “If that’s true, then I have to go check it out, waiting here wasn’t a waste of time after all.”

“Yuuta, you’ve done great. Here, a reward.” Lily pulled out another two gold coins.

Only, Yuuta hesitated but still took the gold coins, he wasn’t as happy as he was in the past.

“What’s wrong? Yuuta?”

“Nothing, nothing’s wrong. Lord Nobutoshi’s recruiting notice was posted in the night market, you should go look it over.” Saying so, Yuuta rushed off with an aura of gloom.

“Yuuta, what’s going on?” Lily watched Yuuta rush off with his tail hanging low, she was starting to get a bit worried. Lily cleaned up a bit and went downstairs. On the streets, she found the recruitment notice surrounded by a crowd.

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“Lord Chihisa Nobutoshi is recruiting treasure guards and samurai to catch a thief5.” advertised a white-clothed attendant.

Plenty of warriors, onmyoji, and monks all looked at the advertisement and felt eager to try the mission.



References

  1. Robinxen: Sudden and unexpected airship!
  2. Robinxen: Oh so it’s a rich person yacht! I want one!
  3. Yuki: Good lord.. that sounds so impolite….
  4. Robinxen: NOT THE TEA!
  5. Robinxen: Oh free money.

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