|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3069 characters|
|Translator: LazyButAmbitious||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2007 words|
“The ones causing disorder in the world are the three archdemons?”
All the ministers looked at each other in surprise and concern.
After careful consideration, Ayaka decided to announce the heavenly oracle. She wanted to test the reaction of the ministers, but these guys were prudent and scheming. Even if some of them had really colluded with the three archdemons, they wouldn’t show it on their faces.
The point that puzzled Ayaka was that, although the so-called three archdemons stood above all other demons in terms of strength, they had distinct behaviors and didn’t seem to foster a close relationship with each other. Why did the heavenly oracle refer to the three of them?
Was it because they had committed unforgivable sins in the eyes of the gods above the high heavens, or were the three archdemons doing something to offend the gods?
Ayaka had no answers in her heart.
Although the emperor was afraid once the three archdemons were mentioned, he showed a bit of heroic spirit as he clenched his small fists and said, “The three archdemons occupy nearly half of the land in Kansai and they are the great enemies of the imperial court. Now that they have angered the gods and triggered a heavenly oracle, the court can no longer sit back and watch the three archdemons run around rampantly. I vow to deploy the imperial army to crush the three archdemons!”
“Your Majesty!” Minamoto no Yoshitada cupped his hands and said, “The three archdemons are not ordinary demons. They have been entrenched in the Heian Dynasty for hundreds of years and their power is beyond imagination. They aren’t something a few demon crusaders and warriors can deal with. To defeat them, we not only need to mobilize a large army, but the army of the entire world… We still need to wait for the Lord Shogun to come back before a decision can be made.”
“Then how many troops can the imperial court mobilize now?” Emperor Go-Toba asked with some concern.
Minamoto no Yoshitada shook his head, “If we exclude the necessary troops required to guard Heian-kyō, I am afraid that only a maximum of 10,000 to 20,000 people can be mobilized. In addition to Your Majesty’s edict, we would also need the Lord Shogun’s order, otherwise, not to mention the military forces outside of Heian-kyō, even the samurai of my Genji clan will not obey me…”
“This…” The young emperor was worried, “How should this matter be addressed?”
He looked helplessly at Ayaka.
“Your Majesty,” Ayaka said, “Let’s not talk about military strength; we must first determine the current approach. I think that the three archdemons shouldn’t be lumped together. Each of the three archdemons are extremely powerful and beyond the imagination of the army. If we deal with the three archdemons at the same time, the imperial court will be disadvantaged even if we really employ all the forces of the country. The whereabouts of the three archdemons are unknown so even if we want to deal with them, there is no clear target. We need to continue to investigate further.”
“Tamamo-no-Mae, the head of the three archdemons… Honestly, even I have no certainty of victory if I fight against Tamamo-no-Mae. Moreover, although she is domineering, unruly, and shows contempt for the court, thinking about it carefully, Tamamo-no-Mae and her subordinates haven’t done a lot of harm to the world over the past few years. I think it is better to appease her to keep the others in check and not act rashly.”
“As for that Shuten Doji, he has led all the demons of Mount Ooe and occupied the Tenba Province, becoming its ruler. Even the court officials do not dare to enter Tanba Province. Shuten Doji is also infamous for harming countless people, especially women. What is even more outrageous is that the Rashomon spirit, Ibaraki Doji, is one of Shuten Doji’s subordinates. Not only did he kill many women in Heian-kyō, but even the sister of Her Majesty the Empress nearly fell into his clutches. Luckily, Kagami Lily and the others arrived in time to rescue her. In my opinion, among the three archdemons, the real evil is that Shuten Doji. We should appease one of the three archdemons to restrain and combat the others. With the current state of the court, this is the best approach.”
The emperor listened and nodded repeatedly. His eyes contained a secret fondness for Ayaka’s maturity, softness, and wisdom…
“Dear minister, what you said is true. Then according to dear minister…”
“Your Majesty!” Minamoto no Yoshitada spoke, “Tamamo-no-Mae has enough power to wipe out Kansai, and now, she is lying dormant at our doorstep. Every day, I fear that she is spying on Your Majesty’s Purple Serenity Hall and even the harem! Such arrogance, like a tiger in the neighborhood! Allowing such an archdemon to fly around Heian-kyō while ignoring the court’s laws makes my Genji generals deeply ashamed! Lord Shogun has also said many times that we are too lenient with Tamamo-no-Mae! As the saying goes, we must first secure the internal affairs of the country. The head of the three major archdemons is still in Heian-kyō, acting lawlessly and doing whatever she wishes. Yet, we still want to talk about expeditions and crusades? The Heian Dynasty is beset by a female demon, how can the warriors of the world follow us sincerely?”
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“Ah…this… what Lord Yoshitada said is not unreasonable…” The emperor hesitated again1.
“Your Majesty!” Ayaka said sternly, “Tamamo-no-Mae used to be the head of the three archdemons. Her strength is unfathomable and her origin is a mystery. She poses no real threat to Your Majesty so there is no need to risk a war with her. If we experience both internal and external troubles, things will get more difficult to deal with at that time!”
“What if Tamamo-no-Mae is just waiting for an opportunity after our army sets off and the capital is empty? If she suddenly attacks the palace, what should we do?” The Chancellor, Fujiwara no Renbo, spoke up.
Ayaka glared angrily at the Chancellor who was also from the Fujiwara Clan. This was not his first time taking the initiative to oppose Ayaka’s stance and embarrassing her.
The debate in the imperial court continued and the young emperor was also derailed by the reasoning of the ministers. It would be difficult to achieve a result with just a few imperial assemblies.
At this time, Lily acted on Ayaka’s order without the slightest bit of delay and went to the gate of Madam Yoruko’s residence. Before that, she had already made a trip to the night market.
“Halt!” Several soldiers guarded outside the gate of the manor that emitted a strong smell of blood and blocked Lily’s way.
“This is the place of a crime scene and idlers are not allowed to enter!” One of the soldiers said.
Lily flashed the jade bracelet on her wrist, “I am here to investigate this case under the order of Lord Chief Advisor. Do you still not want to let me in?”
The several soldiers looked at each other and the leader said, “This case is under the Bureau of Justice’s jurisdiction. Without the instructions of the Bureau, I cannot let you in, even if it is the order of the Lord Chief Advisor. You should get the instruction letter from the Bureau of Justice and come back.”
Lily’s gaze turned cold and she surveyed the scene. Although it was already late, it might be more conducive to discover clues a minute earlier. How could it be delayed?
“Get lost!” Lily waved her large sleeve and a strong fragrant wind blew the several soldiers to the ground. She marched straight to the entrance while exuding a palpitating resentment from all over her body.
The soldiers fell to the ground but didn’t dare to obstruct her. They could only send someone back to report.
When Lily entered the courtyard, she felt the killing intent and demonic aura that had stained this place. Yesterday’s elegance was no longer there.
Returning to this place, walking through the path and the pond, remembering Yoruko’s guidance, her voice and smile. Lily could clearly see that this originally simple, quiet, and beautiful courtyard was now messy and bloody, causing her to feel sad.
“Madam Yoruko… Lily will never let the person who killed you go unpunished! Even if they cannot be punished under the law, Lily will avenge you with her own hands!”
Just then, a leaf floated from Lily’s waist, and with a ‘poof’, it turned into a round, fluffy little raccoon with a big tail.
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“Sister samurai, don’t be too sad. This raccoon will definitely go all out to mobilize all my brothers and sisters in the night market to help you find Madam Yoruko’s murderer!” The naive and intelligent racoon followed behind Lily’s legs. Seeing her like this, a hint of sadness couldn’t help but flash through his eyes.
Lily didn’t know much about the black and white world of Heian-kyō and the distribution of power. She was not afraid to fight, but she naturally needed a helper like the raccoon to investigate and solve this matter. When she went to the night market, the first thing she did was to find Yuuta. Fortunately, she had managed to find him today.
Madam Yoruko had been buried and Lily planned to investigate the scene first before going to pay her respects.
This place had a lot of sword marks, which was quite shocking.
The house where Lily and Yoruko had talked at night was marred by huge sword marks which suggested the wielder’s great strength.
“Hm?” Lily felt that those sword marks emitted a strong demonic aura and…a seductive intent.
This made Lily fall into deep suspicion.
“These knife marks are extremely ferocious and fierce like a man or male demon, but they also exude a seductive intent at the same time which hinted that they should be left by a powerful female demon. However, I think the one who left these sword marks is clearly the same person… What exactly is going on here?”
Lily probed for a while, but found no other clues.
“Yuuta, do you know any female demons in Heian-kyō that are not only very powerful, but can also use swordsmanship similar to men?”
“This… Yuuta doesn’t know, but Yuuta can go to the night market and ask around.”
“Well, then please do that.” Lily nodded
At this moment, a harsh aura suddenly came from behind Lily.
“Kagami Lily, why are you here?”
Lily looked back and saw that it was Hoshi Murasaki.
“Miss Hoshi Murasaki?”
Hoshi Murasaki looked at Lily with a bad face. Recently, Ayaka had forcibly rescued Lily in public regardless of the law and even hugged her caringly. The doting Lily received made Hoshi Murasaki very upset to see her.
“Lady Ayaka ordered me to investigate this case,” Lily replied, “I was also deeply favored by Madam Yoruko and want to find the murderer myself.”
“Tsk… I can’t believe that the Lord trusts you so much.” Hoshi Murasaki turned her head and muttered to herself.
Although Hoshi Murasaki was jealous of Lily, she was extremely loyal to Ayaka and naturally wouldn’t make things difficult for Lily on official matters that Ayaka had given. After a while, she took out a piece of rag.
On this white strip of cloth, a shocking character was written in blood. It was the word ‘jade’, but the last stroke was not yet fully written.
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“Jade?” Lily was surprised.
“This, this is…” Lily was keen and felt a trace of soul aura emanating from the bloody words. This was Madam Yoruko’s blood!
Hoshi Murasaki said, “This was left on the inside of Madam Yoruko’s sleeve with her last strength before she died, taking advantage of the killer’s carelessness.”
“Jade!” Lily’s chest heaved violently and tears couldn’t help but blur her eyes. This must be the last message left by Madam Yoruko about the murderer!