Chapter 41 – Rewards Of The Three Clans

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3451 characters
Translator: LazyButAmbitious English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 2330 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

Lily ate behind closed doors in the morning and headed to the Bureau of Divination in a somewhat sour mood, wanting to see what was going on. If there was nothing, she would dedicate the next few days to her physical training1. According to Lily’s position at the School of Onmyo, her salary would be twenty-six silvers per year.

Yes, there was no official position at the School of Onmyo, but her position still carried a bit of authority. Yet, the salary was only twenty-six silver a year!

It was not as good as the salary of a samurai in Kanto.

Of course, the salary of a samurai was used to sustain a whole house of retainers as well as to facilitate the military expenses needed to guard their territory. Even so, her displeasure wasn’t unfounded.

Twenty-six silver was about five years of salary for an ordinary worker in Heian-kyō and ten years of income for a peasant family in Kanto.

It was not a small amount, to say the least.

However, this amount of money was not enough for Lily to properly reward the raccoon, though she didn’t really care about such a trivial sum of money.

It was no wonder that the court was so full of corruption. With only a few dozen silvers a year, wouldn’t an upright official die in poverty? The wealth gap between corrupt and honest officials was utterly outrageous!

How much money did it cost for a magatama fragment? There was no place to buy or trade them at all. They may cost tens of thousands if one went to the black market, but even then, there was barely a market for them! After all, money was not very useful for powerful adepts, unlike real treasures which could be exchanged for magatama. Of course, money was still a necessary strategic resource for powerful people who had large clans or armies to support.

Overall, money had its own use. Training relied on magatama while ordinary life still depended on money. An average Spirit Jade expert only possessed a few magatama fragments but they would need around a few dozen in order to reach the peak of the Spirit Jade stage. Such precious resources couldn’t be used to buy ordinary goods and regular people wouldn’t accept them as payment. A ‘mobile treasury’ like Lily, who had swept more than two thousand magatamas from the Bureau of Divination’s treasury, was a completely special case.

The current imperial court had no money. In fact, the warriors of the Genji and Taira clans who served the court received money from the two clans to make up for their poor salary from the court. The court’s salary was really only symbolic.

Lily walked straight into the Bureau of Divination and the guards saluted when they saw her. After all, she was now an official in the Bureau of Divination.

In the courtyard, there was a tall man wandering aimlessly. Lily chose to ignore him but he took the initiative to walk over.

“That…excuse me, Young Miss.” The man called out to her.

“And you are?”

The man came forward, “I am Minamoto no Hiromasa from the Criminal Division of the Bureau of Justice. Young Miss, do you know where Seimei went?”

Lily shook her head, “I don’t know.”

“Sigh, I went to his residence to look for him, but he was not there at such a critical moment!” Hiromasa was so anxious that he asked Lily again, “Young Miss, can you help me?”

“Eh?”

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…….

After listening to Hiromasa’s recount of the incident regarding Amako Haruhiro’s disappearance, Lily’s originally nonchalant attitude gradually faded.

“Lord Hiromasa, you’re saying that Lady Amako likely went missing after listening to the music of the biwa?”

Hiromasa nodded, looking just as confused as Lily, “I also find this matter bizarre so I sought out Lord Seimei for help but couldn’t find him.”

“The sound of the biwa…could it be…”

In the morning when Lily went to see Lady Ayaka, she was pushed out the door by the old man, but he said something extraneous at that time: ‘Lady Ayaka has recently become obsessed with music. Is it necessary to explain this kind of thing to idlers who are not qualified to see Lady Ayaka? The melody, the sound of the biwa…’

“Lord Hiromasa, please tell me more details!” Lily’s sudden change in attitude stunned Hiromasa for a while.

“Mistress Kagami!” At this time, an attendant hurried out from inside, “I heard that you were here. Lord Kamo wants to see you right away!”

“Oh?” Lily looked at Hiromasa who was stunned once again, “Since Lord Hiromasa is from the Bureau of Justice, I think Lord Kamo is in a hurry to find me for this matter as well. Why don’t we go together?”

“Yes, yes!” Hiromasa nodded repeatedly.

They came to the hall of the onmyoji head where Kamo, Kujo, and many other onmyojis seemed to have been discussing the matter for a long time. Noticing Lily’s arrival, Kamo immediately said, “Mistress Kagami, you came at just the right time… Isn’t this Lord Hiromasa of the Criminal Division? Why are you here too?”

“Lord Kamo, this…I was looking for Seimei…”

“Seimei went out for a trip to the suburbs last night2, alas, at this time!” Kamo also seemed very anxious.

“What?!” Hiromasa was shocked.

“Since Lord Hiromasa is here, it must be for the biwa sound case. Why don’t we all exchange information and discuss how to deal with the matter together?!” Kamo adopted a formal tone and suggested.

Hiromasa was overjoyed and sat down happily, but the other onmyojis had more complicated expressions.

Lily was unaware of the internal struggles between different factions so she calmly sat down and listened to Kamo as he spoke.

“Everyone, judging from the current situation, it is highly possible that this matter was done by demons. We in the Bureau of Divination are naturally obliged to investigate this matter to the best of our abilities. The empress’ sister has gone missing in Heian-kyō, causing the emperor and the empress to be greatly worried. This happened shortly after the emperor ascended the throne. If this is not resolved as soon as possible, it may shake the people’s confidence in the current court!” Kamo said solemnly.

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A young onmyoji master beside Lily said to her, “To have confidence in the current court is to deceive oneself and others.”

Lily smiled and whispered, “Aren’t Lord Chief Advisor’s new policies meant to bring hope to this world?”

“Hmph, I’m afraid that rotten wood cannot be carved; it’s useless…”

Kamo began to assign tasks to each onmyoji master and soon came to Lily, “Mistress Kagami, although you were just officially appointed as the lesser secretary, you are the one who has been commended by the Cloistered Emperor. Last time, you also contributed to capturing the phantom thief. Now that Seimei is not here, this old man hopes that you can stand up to share the worries of the court and investigate this incident. This old man can allocate as much manpower or other things that you might need.”

“Lord Kamo,” Lily replied, “Lily will definitely not stand idly by. I have my own means to investigate so you don’t need to bother offering me any assistance.”

“Oh, is that so? That’s great. The Bureau of Divination is already short on manpower. Anyway, we’ll split up and whoever can solve this incident will accomplish a great achievement that will shock the court and the public!” Kamo said.

At this point, Kujo added, “Everyone, we are all under the care of the chief advisor who is from the Fujiwara Clan. Now, the Genji, Taira, and Fujiwara Clan have altogether issued their own reward. I will remind everyone that, according to the practice of our dynasty, it is possible to receive the reward of any clan while you investigate this case, but don’t forget that your own backing is also good.”

Before he could finish his words, Hiromasa shouted, “We, the Genji Clan, will grant the right to gain enlightenment from the Eight-sided Bodhisattva Statue for one day. Plus, you will be given five merit points in the Genji merit book. If you can solve this case, you can come to our Genji Clan to collect the reward!”

“Lord Hiromasa!” Kujo interrupted with a stern face, “Lord Kamo gave you permission to attend the meeting of our Bureau of Divination to discuss official matters, but you are here offering the reward of your own Genji Clan. What is the meaning of this?”

“Ah, I lost my tongue in a moment of excitement. Don’t mind me, my lords. Forgive me.” Hiromasa rubbed his head and said.

“Lord Kujo, Lord Hiromasa is a quick talker and a righteous man at heart. We must not speak to him like this,” Kamo said, “Although our Bureau of Divination has been repeatedly favored by the Fujiwara Clan and Fujiwara no Ayaka, the former onmyoji head and the current chief advisor, we work for the court and the emperor. I don’t object to anyone who wants to collect the reward, but we must first be sincere and united to solve this case together! Do not compete for fame and fortune or interfere with each other! In short, rescuing Lady Amako to relieve the emperor’s worries and restoring stability to the court is our top priority, understood?!”

“Yes!!” Everyone echoed.

“Then let’s act as soon as possible! The meeting is dismissed!”

All the onmyoji masters got up and left one after another, but there were a few who grouped in twos and threes to investigate together.

Some even invited Lily to join their investigation team, but she declined.

When Lily walked to the big hall, Hiromasa chased and caught up with her.

“Mistress Kagami, Mistress Kagami!”
“Lord Hiromasa?”
“To be honest, our Criminal Division also requests the help of an onmyoji master. I wonder if Mistress Kagami can go to the Criminal Division with me to solve this case together?!”
Lily replied, “I am new to Heian-kyō so I don’t know enough about anything to provide any substantial help. You’d be better off going to Lord Seimei instead.”
“It’s just that we can’t find him!” Hiromasa spoke straightforwardly.
Lily looked at Hiromasa and couldn’t help smiling, “If I see Lord Seimei, I will tell him that you are looking for him.”
“Well, thanks a lot, Young Miss.” Hiromasa felt helpless.
“By the way, Lord Hiromasa, you said that each clan is offering a reward, right?”
“Ah, this, Mistress Kagami, let’s step aside for a moment.”

Lily stared at Hiromasa’s face without blinking. He was a rarely seen upright and warm-hearted man so she decided to go with him.

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The two came to a quiet pavilion in the courtyard of the Bureau of Divination and sat opposite each other in a kneeling posture. Hiromasa spoke first, “Mistress Kagami, you have just arrived in Heian-kyō so you don’t know many things. In the current dynasty, the emperor is young and the treasury is empty, but the Fujiwara Clan is rich. Although the Genji Clan is not as wealthy as the Fujiwara Clan, they control most of the samurai and territories in the world, making them a terrifying power. Meanwhile, the Taira Clan occupies nearly half of the Western land and most of the navy is also controlled by the Taira Clan. They are like sturdy trees that have planted their roots firmly in the Heian Dynasty— holding extraordinary power. Although I am a Genji, I’m not afraid of being laughed at for telling you this. In this world, demons are rampant, materials are scarce, prices are soaring, and whether you are an official or an adept, you can barely afford anything. With the court’s paltry salary, if you don’t starve to death, your colleagues will disdain you so much that you’d rather die!”

Hiromasa was full of complaints, “Who would willingly serve as a court official in these kinds of conditions? Every official in the court opts to join an influential power. When the major powers issue a variety of court-related or unrelated tasks, the many officials will carry out these imperial tasks while going to the various clans to receive similar assignments and earn credits and rewards. The rewards offer much more than the imperial salary!”

“In order to fight for power and the right to make decisions in the court, each clan will rally huge sums of money to issue tasks and assignments that would benefit them. Of course, the most profitable rewards come from emergency incidents like this! In fact, this time, all three clans have offered tempting rewards. If anyone receives the reward from a specific clan, then the credit would go to that clan!”

“After all, the emperor knows in his heart that no one will risk their lives or do anything with only the court’s small salary. Even if there are a few upright officials, they won’t be able to defeat demons. A single precious magatama is only enough for one to train and absorb for a few days, and even then, how many people can afford to use one? Upright officials wouldn’t be able to afford a single fragment in their entire lifetime, and without strength, how can they handle these terrible demon cases at the moment?”

Lily nodded her head, “There is indeed some truth to Lord Hiromasa’s words. Thank you for informing me. Although Lily can’t help you solve this case, Lily can try to find Seimei for you. If I can find him, I will definitely bring word for him to come to you, how about it?”

“Great! Seimei is my best friend so if you can find him, he will not leave me in a lurch! He will help me with this favor! Then I’ll thank you, Mistress Kagami, in advance!

“You don’t have to be polite. Besides, I can’t guarantee whether I will be able to find Seimei or not.”



References

  1. Silva: This doesn’t feel right…
  2. Robinxen: Sus.

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