Chapter 7 – Ceremonial Fan Dance

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3176 characters
Translator: LazyButAmbitious English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1927 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

Lily got up and let her long sleeves flutter with the motion. It was just that the big tear on the skirt made her appear somewhat indecent1.

Lily pulled the fifteen centimeters wide, several meters long black curtains adorned with red flowers from the beam and used them to cover her waist, forming two ribbons that blocked the tear from view.

She then twirled gracefully to the foot of a wall and picked up the red paper fan with white blossoms that was hung on the wall.

The fan was closed with a rustling sound. Her every gesture up to that point was natural and graceful, not too quick yet not too slow, it was very eye-catching.

Lily arrived at the center of the hall and bowed towards Masakado.

Masakado was very satisfied with this display and nodded, then he waved his hand, “Play a formal ceremonial music.”

Those female apparitions with long necks stopped playing the instruments in their hands. Then the door opened and various instruments used in ceremonial music flew over by themselves.

And gradually, that sorrowful yet solemn ceremonial music started to play.

“Fwish—!” Lily spread open the red fan in her hand and covered half her face.

“Hoh… This is…” Masakado’s eyes lit up. Lily’s posture with the red fan was so noble and elegant that she had inadvertently absorbed everyone’s attention.

It even made Masakado feel as if he wasn’t in a hall filled with monsters, but rather returned to the prime of his life where he was appreciating the dance inside the palace with other big shots such as the Fujiwara.

Although Lily didn’t plan to be indulgent, it was a natural feminine instinct to want the whole world to appreciate their beauty. These base instincts moved her body involuntarily and allowed her to enter this aloof state.

Along with the grief-ladened and modulated music, Lily’s red sleeves began to flicker, and the long ribbons shuffled with her movements. Her clearly lofty and expressionless face immediately did a one-eighty and was now filled with various emotions.

Her long skirt floated up as she spun around, forming a red flower in the center of this dark, gloomy hall that enhanced her presence.

Occasionally, Lily’s dance steps would slow down and become more refined to depict the maiden who were waiting for their loved ones to return from war. That longing, that pain, that anxiety, as well as the conviction and relief, all those emotions were slowly and elegantly illustrated through Lily’s dance.

At other times, the music would become high-spirited and Lily had to change her dance steps along with the rhythm. This time to portray the grief of the maiden when their loved ones didn’t make it back at the appointed time and suddenly heard the grievous news from the frontline. But even so, they have to silently endure this with their weak and delicate body.

This time, Lily directly skipped that sorrowful part and entered an ethereal state where her body danced by itself. It was as though her spirit was already with her loved one.

“Ryoko… Ryoko!!!” With Masakado’s current realm, he was basically unstoppable in this Heian world, but even he had never seen such dance steps before. Even for an expert like him, tears could be seen trickling down his stout face.

It was as though he recalled his own family that was waiting for him to return in triumph.

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Even though she betrayed him in the end, Masakado still loved her deeply.

Masakado’s wife revealed his weakness to the Fujiwara clan which consequently led to the unparalleled hero’s death.

But even so, he did not come to resent Ryoko. If anything, his hate was concentrated on those Fujiwaras and the traitors within the Taira clan.

And when he learned that Ryoko committed suicide due to the mortification, his grief was indescribable and that’s how he became a vengeful spirit.

But right now, he seemed to see his wife in Lily who used to dance solely for him.

Although the two’s figure and appearance were worlds apart, the grace displayed by Lily was a spitting image of Ryoko.

Love and betrayal, Masakado was totally moved by this dance.

“Ryoko… Oh, Ryoko…”

The originally jolly monsters also stopped their merry dance. They were also affected by the sad music and Lily’s dance.

These monsters were all watching the fairy-like dance of Lily with their blank eyes as they recalled their sad past one after another.

None of them were natural-born monsters, to begin with, all of them have the same yearning in their hearts.

For a moment, the monsters seemed to be in a daze as they were caught up in their woes.

And with the end of the music, Lily didn’t perform any specific dance move but instead smiled back as a finish.

“What?!” Masakado’s eyes widened.

That smile… that smile was as if Ryoko wanted to tell him something, yet didn’t get the chance to.

After learning their loved one died in battle, the lonely maiden had to bear with the grief. However, what was left in the end after crying their eyes out was only a smile.

This smile was not one of relief, abandon, nor reassurance, but rather…

“I will go to the afterlife with you.”

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After deciding to end their own life, they could finally be free from the shackles and follow after their loved ones.

“Wuaaaaah!!!! Wuuuuuaaahhhh!!!”

After the music ended, Lily’s dance had come to an end and was replaced by the sound of weeping.

Masakado was also constantly wiping his valorous face with his big hands as he sobbed spasmodically.

Those weak demons also seemed to have recalled sad events from their past.

“Meeew… I miss my master…” Even the striped cat was crying and rubbing their eyes with their hairy-yet-human-like hands.

Even after a long time, the monsters still remained crying.

Lily patiently waited for everyone to calm down before she curtsied towards the crowd.

Only now did two streaks of tears flow down from Lily’s face.

This dance told a different story for every monster present, it was as though this dance was dedicated to them. However, as a matter of fact, this dance was actually for her senior sister.

“Never did I expect those barbaric Land of the East could produce such a passionate yet pure woman as you.” Masakado shook his head, “Since the day I died, I’ve never once reflected on my past. No, even during my golden age in the Heian Palace, I’ve never seen such a dance before. If I didn’t have such a grievous experience, I’m afraid I would never be able to appreciate the true essence of Miss Lynne’s dance. Come, sit.”

Masakado pointed to a spot just a few distances beside him. It was close but not too close for comfort.

Lily approached slowly and took a seat.

Rather than waiting for Lily to serve him wine, Masakado poured a cup for Lily instead.

This shocked all the monsters on the scene to no end. Just who was capable of getting Masakado, one of Heian’s four great vengeful spirits, to pour a cup for them2?

“Thank you, Lord Masakado,” Lily didn’t decline and accepted the cup coolly and respectfully. She lifted her head and gracefully delivered the wine to her small lips.

“Mmm…” Lily inhaled softly as she let the liquor flow smoothly down her throat.

“Thank you, Lynne.” Masakado said with a melancholy mood, “For allowing me to enjoy such an unforgettable ceremonial dance. Lynne… would you be willing to join under my banner? The condition should be much better than the East’s Land of Hundred Demons.”

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Masakado actually tried to recruit Lily. All the monsters in the hall were greatly shocked. Their Lord Masakado personally invited her! This could be considered one of the greatest honors throughout the whole Heian Dynasty.

“Sis, come join us! Mew!”
“Yea, join us, then we can dance together every night, wouldn’t that be fun?”
“I am honored to receive the lord’s favor, but Lynne cannot betray her sister,” Nevertheless, Lily refused politely.

Disappointment could be seen on every monster’s face.

“Sister? Are you referring to Haihime?” Masakado didn’t censure Lily. Though he did feel disappointed, he gradually started to feel that perhaps this was unavoidable. He sighed helplessly and retrieved a dark red wooden comb that was too small compared to his big hand.

“Since you aren’t willing to join, then I won’t force you. Considering your demeanor, I bet your will is just as firm. This comb was a treasure I came across during my travels. I planned to give it to my wife but I was assaulted before I got the chance to… I’ll give this to you to commemorate our meeting.”

Masakado passed the small wooden comb to Lily.

The comb was as black as the night, yet it gave off a gentle red light. It looked dull and delicate at first glance, but each and every corner of the comb was polished flawlessly.

“This… how can Lynne receive this when I know this is actually a gift for the lord’s wife…”

“Ryoko is no longer alive. I am a grown man, I have no use for this treasure. And in this whole wide world, the one who’s most fitting of this treasure, and the one I want to gift this to the most, is you. Lynne, you didn’t want to pay allegiance to me, but if you don’t receive this gift either, how am I to keep my dignity in front of all these monsters.”

“In that case, Lynne will take it. Many thanks, Lord Masakado,” Lily took the comb. The texture of the wood was as smooth as jade, and it was even emitting an unfathomable spiritual aura.

“Hahaha, Lynne is as perceptive as I thought,” Seeing Lily’s reaction towards the comb, Masakado felt like he made the right choice indeed, “This is no ordinary wooden comb. The materials used to make this was a grade 10 wood known as Raven Red3.

“Grade 10 wood?” Lily was amazed, “Lord Masakado, I thought nine was the highest grade.”

“That is right, under normal circumstances, you can only find grade 9 materials at most. However, under some impossible circumstances or miracles, an exceedingly rare treasure or material that exceeds grade 9 could be born. We generally classified these exceptional treasures as grade 10.” Masakado explained.

“What? Such a valuable treasure, how can Lynne accept it?” Lily blushed and feigned rejection, but her slender fingers had no intention of loosing up.

“Hahaha, don’t be daunted by the rarity of the materials. The grades are merely used to classify the rarity and quality. Since this comb is only made up of a small amount of grade 10 wood, its price shouldn’t be any higher than the highest quality grade 8 weapon. However, there is a little gimmick to this comb other than the rarity of its material.”

A mysterious glint flashed in Masakado’s eyes as he continued to explain, “This comb, if used by a woman with beautiful long hair like you frequently, has the property to boost your soul resilience4.”

“Really? Soul resilience?” Lily was taken aback.

“You heard that right. In this world, there are some special skills that can ignore the spirit power, armor and flesh, and directly target the soul. In many cases, this would be any experts’ greatest dilemma. And just like this comb, there are other special high-grade teacups, flower ceremony tools, books and paintings that can improve one’s soul resilience.” Masakado patiently explained.

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References

  1. Robinxen: AUTHOR.
  2. Robinxen: He’s actually not bad.
  3. 乌皎红
  4. Robinxen: The comb gives a buff!

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