|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3135 characters|
|Translator: LazyButAmbitious||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1568 words|
Lily walked along the dark silent courtyard and silently sent Kagura and Yuki-onna back into the mirror. Arriving at the study room, she saw Ayaka reading a tome of ancient poems and saluted at the entrance, “Lady Ayaka.”
Putting down the book Ayaka looked at Lily, “Lily, you’ve returned. Enter.”
“Lily, where did you go? Why didn’t you return all night?” Ayaka sternly asked her.
Lily thought of the figure on the fifth floor who looked like Ayaka, but decided not to ask. “I went to the Fuyutsuki, I needed to purchase training materials and crafting treasures.”
“Oh?” Ayaka gained a bit of interest, but when Lily mentioned the Fuyutsuki, Ayaka’s expression did not change one bit. Perhaps she had really seen another person.
“The Fuyutsuki, did you attend the auction?”
“Were there any quality treasures?”
“Most were nothing of note, but I did spend a large amount of magatama to purchase a jade material. It is said that it surpasses the ninth grade.”
“Surpasses the ninth grade? What treasure is it? Can you show me?”
Lily presented the black lacquered wood box to Ayaka. “I feel that this jade material is without equal. Lady Ayaka, please help me evaluate it.”
As Ayaka opened the box, a cold poignant glow shown through.
“The Chrysanths Ice Crystal?” Ayaka’s unchanging face showed a rare emotion.
“The Lady is knowledgeable.”
Ayaka looked at the iced jade in the box, her eyes reflecting the icy glow. “The Chrysanth Ice Crystal is indeed a material surpassing the ninth grade. It is said that there is only one crystal in this entire Heian-kyo, but to think you managed to buy it. How much did you spend?”
“Four hundred magatamas.”
Ayaka mulled it over, “Not bad, for this treasure, any price below five hundred is still a bargain. But Lily, though this treasure is worth the money, it will not be effective if it’s used in a general manner. How do you plan on using this material?”
Lily didn’t conceal her plans, she brought out the ancient blueprint, “Lady, I plan on using this to make the domain treasure, unmelted snow bracelet.”
“Domain treasure?” Ayaka was surprised at that, “Domain treasures are extremely rare and valuable.”
Taking a look at the blueprint, she felt a fluctuation of rare emotion. Her eyes flashed with excitement as she looked at Lily, “Lily, this treasure and blueprint, can you give them to me? After all, I taught you arcane arts without holding anything back, or perhaps I can take a few treasures to exchange with you?”
Facing Ayaka’s surprising request, Lily was dazed for a few seconds, she bowed respectfully, “Lady Ayaka’s care and guidance cannot be compared to a few treasures. If the lady likes it, I am willing to gift it.”
“What?” Ayaka’s eyes glowed with light, “You won’t be disappointed? Won’t regret?”
“My capabilities are too low. As I am right now, I am incapable of repaying Lady Ayaka’s kindness. To have something that the lady likes, I will give it wholeheartedly.” Lily looked at Ayaka seriously. “This treasure is important to me, I cannot say I won’t be disappointed, but this treasure cannot be compared to my affection for you. I am truly willing to give this.”
Ayaka looked at Lily tenderly and laughed, “Ahahahaha! Lily, as expected, you are a good lady. You value friendship over fame and fortune. I haven’t evaluated you wrongly. Though the Chrysanths Ice Crystal is also a treasure to me, how could I take my family’s lovely samurai’s treasure?”
Ayaka put the ice crystal and blueprint away, “Lily, though you have both the blueprint and ice crystal, who can craft such a jade treasure besides he who is called the heavenly craftsman? Only, very few people can actually request his work. If you went, you wouldn’t even be able to meet him. In truth, those who are familiar with the information trade are already aware you won the ice crystal’s auction. I was just teasing you.”
“Ehh? Lady Ayaka… what to do?” That’s right… if all she had were the materials and no matching craftsman, how would the bracelet be created? Even if she asked Uehara Ehiro, she was a bladesmith, not a jade worker.
“Hehe, don’t worry, it’s why I was teasing you. Let me handle this, I’ll go contact the heavenly craftsman about the unmelted snow bracelet.”
“Really?” Lily was delighted. Big sister Ayaka didn’t want her treasures, she knew Lily had no capable craftsman and planned on helping.
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“Thank you Lady Ayaka.” Lily knelt and bowed.
“You’re welcome. I understand your attitude a bit more now. From your theft of the Bureau of Divination’s Treasury, I had thought you were a utilitarian type of person, but now it seems that you have a different type of innocent sincerity.” Ayaka nodded in satisfaction.
Ashamed and at a loss, Lily had no idea how to respond.
“This issue, just relax and let me handle it. When the bracelet is finished, I will help you put it on your wrist, ok?”
Lily noticed that once Ayaka understood Lily’s heart, her words became more intimate and trusting. “Lily thanks…Lady Ayaka. Then I shall gather the auxiliary materials and crafting cost as soon as possible.”
“I have plenty of those auxiliary materials here, a small matter, no need to concern yourself.” Ayaka casually replied.
Lily knew that to one of the peak experts of Heian-kyo, it really was nothing but a small matter, she didn’t refuse, for that would be rude. Lady Ayaka’s dignity and face was more important than that small amount of money. She gave her thanks and accepted.
“Right, Lily. I called you to give you an important task.”
“Please tell me.”
Ayaka looked out the window, that worrying phenomenon still visible against the black sky. “These few days we’ve all seen that natural phenomenon. I feel that this extended night is not like the other extended nights. I feel extremely uneasy. Lily, go meet a person for me and ask her what her opinion on this phenomenon is. For various reasons my identity doesn’t let me meet her.”
“Understood. Might I ask who this person is and where she might be?”
“Her name is Fayumi no Yoruko, she’s a well known madam of an aristocratic family in Heian-kyo and a very famous swordmaster. Though she’s called madam, it’s just an honorific, she’s still single.”
“Madam Fayumi is it…” Hearing that she was a famous swordmaster was awe-inspiring. For Ayaka to name her a swordmaster, then she must be an expert among experts.
Ayaka waved a hand pulling the doors closed. Though it was her own residence, she was very careful and sent out two talismans to silence the room.
“Lily, keep this a secret, I’m only telling you because you are a mirror girl. On the surface, Madam Fayumi is a well known madam and swordmaster, but in truth she’s a heaven’s chosen daughter who can receive heavenly oracles! At the same time, she’s also the secret leader of the Heian-kyo sword mikos.”
“Leader of the sword mikos!?” Lily was shocked.
“You understand now why my identity doesn’t allow me to meet her. But this natural phenomenon, I would like to hear her opinion on it. If it’s a heavenly oracle, then bring it to me.” Ayaka solemnly ordered.
“Lily understands and obeys.” Lily knew, this was a big matter. This was not only related to the heavenly path, but also the safety of the imperial court. Lily agreed with the utmost seriousness.
Ayaka nodded, “I will assign an ox-cart to send you there. This matter should be settled sooner rather than later, you should depart now.”
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“Lily…” For some reason, Ayaka’s long fingers lightly caressed Lily’s shoulders and hands. “This may seem like an ordinary guest visit, but it may involve something serious. You… be careful out there.”
Ayaka’s eyes expressed her unspoken words. This was something concerning the heavenly path and the imperial court. Besides Ayaka, there were probably many other forces interested in this phenomenon. Lily knew this task was not without dangers.
“Lily understands. Lady Ayaka, I used to be a powerless woman, but after encountering and overcoming all sorts of dangers, what dangers do I not know? Please be at ease, I will definitely accomplish this task.” Lily assured calmly, she was so calm Ayaka was surprised.
Ayaka’s mood calmed down, perhaps she had really found the right person for the task.
Since it was nighttime, Lily didn’t bother dressing up. She left the study and followed Ayaka’s arrangements and departed from the backdoor. There, the black clad elder had arranged an ox-cart for her.
“Lady Lily, please come aboard.” They were only going to one of Heian-kyo’s mansions, but to think this unfathomably powerful elder was going to drive the cart leaving the backdoor unguarded. This made Lily feel uneasy.
When Lily went to get onto the cart, the elder extended his hand as a step.
“Lady, the lord Chief Advisor has made arrangements. From now on you are one of this manor’s female masters, we must treat you like our lord.”
Lily felt a bit embarrassed, but since she had a heavy responsibility, without any pretentiousness she resolutely and elegantly stepped on the elder’s hand to get on the ox-cart.
In the pitch dark night, the ox-cart secretly travelled toward a place in Heian-kyo.