Chapter 35 – The Chancellor’s Conspiracy

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3111 characters
Translator: LazyButAmbitious English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1681 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

During the nights of Heian-kyo, screams of ghosts echoed everywhere in the streets. Though the streetlights were lit up like stars, civilians dared not go out. Most streets at night had become monster habitats.

At the edge of the courtyard in the Bureau of Divination, in a dark secluded room. Kamo Tadayuki, Fuen Toshiyuki, Kujo Nishimoto, and the previously injured Sukeya sat and discussed secrets below an oil lamp.

“Master Kamo, why didn’t you arrest and force a confession from that Kagami?” Sukeya had been injured by her and hated her the most.

Kamo’s resolute face showed a troubled expression, “She was sent here by the chief advisor, if we forced a confession out of her, do you really think we’d get out unscathed?”

“Perhaps the culprit really is the phantom thief?” Kujo wondered.

Kamo refuted, “With the way the scene looked, my long experience says the possibility is low. The question should be, why did the chief advisor name the phantom thief? This is inconsistent with her usual pragmatism and cleverness.”

The four looked around worried there might be spies, confirming there were no eavesdroppers, they continued the discussion, “Lord, whether it was Kagami or the phantom thief, we can blame the several dozen thousand magatama deficits and material shortage on the culprit. We can consider this a solution to our problems!”

“Silence!” Kamo seethed, “You dare consider that a problem? Don’t forget, the enormous amount of magatamas and materials were all used for the Cloistered Emperor’s great plans. It was both righteous and for the world!”

Sukeya impassionately replied, “True, but this thievery has already been publicized, a thorough investigation of the treasury cannot be prevented anymore. No matter what we report, the chief advisor will send her subordinates to check. In addition, Seimei may not be trustworthy, this matter cannot be concealed!”

Kamo frowned, revealing a bitter expression, “I had no idea, otherwise I would not have assigned Seimei to catalog the losses back then. Though, if it was another person making the list, the chief advisor might not have believed it. It’s a coincidence, but I have to admit that this has become an opportunity for us to solve this mess. I will have you three make a vow, that the previous thievery was not caused by embezzlement.”

The three were startled, in truth, while the bureau of divination’s treasury had been emptied in recent years, Sukeya, Fuen, and Kujo had all secretly kept some parts of the treasures they were supposed to hand over to the cloistered emperor subordinates. It had been easily accomplished considering the only people involved had been the three. Kamo, while a collaborator, had not been involved in the transfer of the treasure.

This time, they really didn’t embezzle… only they were uneasy because they had previously done so1.

“We swear, we did not commit any embezzlement in the previous theft!” They deceptively vowed.

“Nnn……” Kamo nodded, “Now I can feel reassured, whether it is Kagami or the phantom thief, the amount stolen is enough for a beheading conviction, adding to the accusations won’t change a thing. If we can resolve some hidden dangers for the cloistered emperor and the chancellor, then it’s worth some unscrupulous actions. Only… I’ve been honorable my entire life, to think I would have to do something so dishonorable and to a young lady at that.”

“Lord, allow us to handle this!” Fuen requested.

“I understand. Truthfully, I had a feeling from the start. I was prepared for this when I had Seimei catalog the losses. How could I evade the responsibility? For the greater good, we can only proceed.” Kamo declared.

“Lord Kamo, if that Kagami catches the phantom thief, how will we handle them?” Sukeya asked.

“Then don’t ask anything, directly hand the criminal over to the chief advisor to deal with,” Kamo replied.

“Will the chief advisor not discover the discrepancies?” Kujo asked.

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“Things won’t be that clear and cut, we can insist that the thief stole everything!” Fuen stated, “Several ten thousand magatamas and a massive amount of treasures and materials were stolen but we can insist that the theft was ten times larger2! A national case of thievery!”

“Such a large deficit would be discovered sooner or later, the chief advisor should have long been suspicious. But if the person she sent captures the criminal, even if she’s suspicious, what can she say?” Kujo smugly stroked his beard.

“Yes,” Kamo looked far away, “this is how things are done in court, even if you know the truth, you can only admit the publicly acknowledged lies.”

“Ok, then we’re all in agreement. We’ll push the deficit onto Kagami or the phantom thief.” Kujo got up, “I need to go report to the chancellor of the realm now.”

“Be careful, don’t let others get suspicious. Only we and the chancellor know about this issue, the ministry of internal affairs is unaware, so do not involve them!” Kamo ordered.

“Don’t worry Lord. The secretary of internal affairs is the emperor’s subordinate, we can let him know.”

At this time, Lily returned to the night-market inn, took a shower and reviewed the insights gained. The magatama cost for comprehending the Himemiya Sen-no-Hana Painting was far too expensive, but Lily treasured the experience. She took advantage of how clear her memories were to consolidate her gains. Only then would she have gained the most out of this session.

After all, Lily’s magatamas were completely insufficient if she wanted more time with the painting, and she could not recklessly spend. As for serving Kimiko at night, though she had some goodwill towards Kimiko, she would not do such a shameful thing.

A few days passed just like that, Lily has consolidated her thoughts, experience and training. The sliver of charm energy had melded deep into her body, the limited body enhancement had been completed for she had only just begun on the path of body reinforcement. The night of training had mostly been wasted on discovering the application of charm, so in truth, the number of insights she could apply toward her bodybuilding was limited.

“Only one session, totally not enough, I really want to go see the Himemiya Sen-no-Hana Painting one more time… I’d gain so much…” Lily mindlessly muttered.

Only, the deadline of a month was about to arrive, the issue of magatama spending had to be placed to the side.

Looking out into the clear sky, she wondered, “What should I do? Though I captured the phantom thief, I can’t hand her over to the chief advisor… nor can I make Nariaki take the blame for the theft… but, how should I face Lady Ayaka’s decree?”

Go accept the Bureau of Divination’s torture? Naturally, impossible. But if she didn’t, then that would be disobeying the chief advisor’s decree, and that would be a massive disaster.

Lady Ayaka was a key person involved in the mirror girl’s secret, even if she wanted to oppose her, she had no ability to. But to flee from Heian-kyo? What nonsense, she had taken immense risks over the thousands of miles traveled to arrive here, to leave just like that?

Then how would she investigate how to awaken her senior sister?

Sister Uesugi was still in the Yamashiro Province, she could not rely on her, but she couldn’t really flee back to the Kanto region. What if sister Uesugi needed her help someday? And sister Shimizu, where did she go? Definitely some battlefield… how could she retreat!

Right or wrong, she had already done it, Lily wouldn’t care! Whatever the consequences, Lily would bear it herself! But regardless of her determination… what should she do?

To return to the Bureau of Divination for torture… absolutely impossible. But why not go to Lady Ayaka to accept punishment, she would report that she had captured the phantom thief, but the thief had gotten away in the end.

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“No!”

If the Phantom Thief was someone else, then fine, but how could she consider having little Nariaki take the blame? Little Nariaki would still be active around the night-markets, wouldn’t that be putting her in massive danger?”

What to do? What should she do?
Lily’s strength had improved by a large step in the past few days, especially on the physical side, but this issue had been troubling her so much that she hadn’t looked at the training records Lady Kimiko gave her.

“Lady Kimiko!?”

Lily had an idea. Not only was Lady Kimiko powerful beyond comprehension, but she was also a demon. Definitely not on the same side as the government, if Lily told her about the situation, perhaps she would have some useful advice.

Even though Lady Kimiko was a bit… like that… Only, in front of the big problem, Lily could only endure.

Magatamas, materials, and emishi’s spirits are all things I need to gather. I don’t regret it, only…I also need to meet Lady Ayaka, I can’t make her an enemy.

In the end, she could only go find Lady Kimiko for some advice…even if she would get teased and bullied3.

Lily took a bath before the skies darkened, meditated over the intent of charm, and then dressed up. She wore a black short-skirted kimono top, covered her legs with black stockings, slipped on a pair of beautiful red satin, jade inlaid high heels, and to finish the look she lightly applied some lipstick. The kimono top bared her shoulders and upper arms, the big sleeves started from golden straps tied to the middle of her upper arms.

Because she had sweated a bit when meditating over the intent of charm, Lily sprayed a bit of celestial maiden perfume, then combed and styled her hair. Only then did she walk out of the night-market toward Kimiko’s Kiyoszawa.

The night-market was bustling and Lily’s outfit attracted a lot of attention, but on Suzaku Avenue, there was not a soul. The cool night wind blew past, chilling her, but when she considered that she was about to go plead with Kimiko for help, her body involuntarily heated up with tension.



References

  1. Robinxen: I have no more qualms about Lily’s behaviour.
  2. Robinxen: These guys……..
  3. Robinxen: Oh no.

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