|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3140 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1814 words|
The confession had touched Lily and the scenes of Ayaka kissing her, whispering sweet nothings to her, and dominating like her a lover flashed through her mind subconsciously.
“Hah…” Lily shuddered internally.
The translucent rain drops on the parasol’s tip trickled down one by one.
The fact that she had teleported to Izumo right after the confession calmed her down though, as she feared that she would make an unforgivable mistake had she received the confession within Ayaka’s arms.
Lily’s throbbing heart returned to normal now that there was a lot of distance between them, and the guilt that she felt also receded gradually.
The sunlit scenery’s scent rejuvenated her.
Lily checked the map she had prepared in advance and concluded that she was in Izumo now. Izumo had a vast territory and was more or less the same size as Tanba and Yamashiro and was naturally named after Mt. Izumo.
Lily surmised that she was in the edge of the valley behind Izumo Shrine since the Fujiwara clan’s teleportation formation existed there. She just needed to walk a kilometer on the path ahead of her to reach the Izumo Shrine.
The valley had guards on both sides to prevent unauthorized persons from entering it and had no guards near the actual teleportation formation.
Lily stored the Sakura Parasol in the bamboo basket on her back once she confirmed her location. She was dressed in a fitting red kimono at the moment and looked just like a samurai woman with Yasutsuna tied to her waist.
Ayaka had actually insisted on giving her attendants, but Lily had turned down the offer since her strength made them practically useless as guards, and she also found it much more convenient to operate alone.
Lily felt refreshed as she traversed the lush path ahead of her under the speckled sunlight.
The shrine gate came into view once she passed through the woods, and she then climbed up the stone steps in front of it. Lily then passed through the shrine gate, which had two white-dressed guards armed with a round-tipped staff on either side.
The guards stepped back in surprise when they saw her and showed astonishment on their faces when they saw her beautiful looks and sensual figure. They determined that she was not someone ordinary as only people from the capital could use this gate.
One of the guards asked politely, “You are…?”
Lily smiled faintly and answered, “I’m Kagami Lily from the capital.”
“You must’ve come via the clan’s teleportation formation, then. May I know the purpose of your visit?”
“I was ordered by the chief advisor to… what was it again?” Lily forgot why she had come here for a moment because of the embarrassing scenes that had flashed through her mind moments ago. “Oh, yes. I was ordered to supervise and stand witness to the shrine master succession ceremony.”
“The shrine master succession ceremony?” The two guards asked in shock.
“A-Are you the Miko administrator dispatched by the court, miss?!”
“I am, indeed.”
“Did you come alone, miss? Where are the attendants and the guards?”
“Haha. It’s just me,” Lily answered with a smile.
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The two guards looked at Lily with astonishment and suspicion. The fact that she had come from the teleportation formation meant that she was telling the truth, but none of the Miko administrators had come alone to the shrine in the past.
“Your appearance is enough to tell us you come from an unusual background, miss, but I must still request you to show us the identity plate issued by the court to confirm your statement. I hope you aren’t offended by this,” One of the guards said embarrassedly, as he feared that she would get angry.
Lily just showed a bright smile in response to his demand though, and said, “Sure.”
She then took out her identity plate and handed it to the guards. Lily had actually prepared the priestess outfit and the other required items within the storage jade before she had set out.
The guards had seen the identity plate several times previously, so they recognized it immediately.
They kneeled down and offered the identity plate up, “Please forgive us for failing to recognize you, Ms. Kagami! We’re willing to accept any kind of punishment for our sin!”
Lily stored the identity plate and said gently, “There’s no need for you to do that.”
The guards exchanged whispers after that. One of them darted towards the shrine hall while the other got up and said, “Please follow me, Ms. Kagami. He’s gone to inform the shrine to make preparations for your visit.”
The Miko administrator’s sudden visit threw the usually serene Izumo Shrine into chaos temporarily1. Lily followed the guard up the trail and saw a shrine built behind a torii gate when she arrived at its foot.
A gray-haired, dark-skinned old man with a hooked hose and a huge beard had arrived at the torii along with a group of white-dressed, blue-coated middle-aged priests and priestesses to welcome her.
The old man bowed respectfully when he saw Lily approach the torii, and the middle-aged priests and priestesses behind him divided into two rows on either side of it. Two lines of young priestesses dressed in white clothes and red coats rushed forward from behind the middle-aged group and bowed their heads to her after that.
“Please forgive me for the late welcome, Ms. Kagami. I, Fujiwara no Shigeyuki, the shrine master, wasn’t aware that the Miko administrator was coming today. I’m willing to do anything to atone for my crime,” the old man said.
“You don’t need to be so polite. I was the one who didn’t inform you in advance about it. There’s no need for such a grand welcome since I was just ordered to stand witness to the succession ceremony. I’m nothing more than a close aide of Ms. Ayaka,” Lily said casually.
Shigeyuki’s lips twitched when he heard her mention the succession ceremony, but he lowered his head to hide his expression from Lily so that she wouldn’t notice it. The fact that she called herself a close aide of the chief advisor made it obvious to him that the young and pretty woman before him had a considerable background.
“Please follow me. Ms. Kagami!”
Lily followed Shigeyuki and passed by the young priestesses, who blushed and whispered with each other when they peeked at her stunning looks.
She walked past platforms that had halls constructed on it as she climbed up the mountain, and all these platforms had young priests and priestesses training or discussing on it.
Shigeyuki introduced the shrine respectfully and pointed towards the platforms and halls at the foot of the mountain, “That’s the shrine’s Onmyō division. Those with talent from the Fujiwara clan learn the Onmyō arts here, and the chief advisor, who is Heian’s best onmyōji, also trained there when she was young.”
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Lily looked at the Onmyō division at the foot of the mountain and sighed ruefully when she imagined the young Ayaka training on the platform in a white dress.
Lily had been a nobody in Heian just a while before and would have been executed for just coming close to this shrine previously. However, even a high-ranked priest like Shigeyuki treated her with respect and introduced the premises to her personally now that she had become an imperial inspector.
She knew that her path of ascension had just begun since she knew how vast this world was and resolved her mind to never lose track of who she was in front of the lures brought by status and authority.
Shigeyuki pointed at a hall halfway up the mountain and said, “That’s where the priestesses live and train.”
He then pointed towards the buildings on the hill beside the left precipice of the mountain and said, “That’s where the priests live. Although they are priests, they are still men, and it’s hard to prevent love from budding between young men and women. However, love is forbidden in the shrine since the priestesses must maintain a chaste body. You can rest assured that no such thing happens here, and I hope that you’ll report the same to the court.”
Lily blushed when she heard this and wondered whether there was a reason for him to emphasize this so much.
“Oh, yes. The chief advisor also assumed the role of a priestess for two years as part of her training.”
Ms. Ayaka had also been a priestess? Don’t tell me she became a lesbian because love is forbidden between a priestess and a man?
Lily knew that priestesses were required to remain chaste until they were twenty-five from the moment their menstrual cycle began, and also heard that it was pretty common for them to comfort each other under this strict and harsh environment because of the ambiguous feelings between them.
She wondered whether Ayaka had also engaged in such actions during her term as priestess here and felt a stab of pain in her heart when she imagined her comfort another priestess. “Hmph. She must’ve had a first love since she confessed to me. They say it’s hard for women to forget their first love. What am I to her then? She should just hook up with her first love instead.”
Lily shook her head to clear her mind. “What am I even thinking about? I don’t have the right to condemn her when there’s nothing going on between us.”
“By the way,” Lily asked as they climbed up the mountain, “When are you planning to hold the succession ceremony, Mr. Shigeyuki, and who is the successor? Can you arrange a meeting between us?”
Although she had come here just as a formality, she still intended to fulfill her duties as Ayaka had dispatched her here.
“Haha. You must be tired since you just arrived here, Ms. Kagami. Please rest in the shrine for a few days and allow us to attend you as we make the preparations2,” Shigeyuki answered with a smile.
Lily asked about the succession several times on the way, but Shigeyuki evaded her questions with non-answers each time, and this aroused suspicion in her. The duo then arrived at the ritual hall of Izumo Shrine, which looked bigger than the usual shrine hall and was also quite elegant and beautiful.
“As expected of the Fujiwara clan. It’s lavisher than the Genji’s Yoshitsune Shrine,” Lily commented internally.
“Please come in.”
The duo came across priestesses who were in the middle of preparing a feast when they entered inside.
Shigeyuki thundered violently at them when he saw this, “What are you girls doing?! Can’t you see the Miko administrator is already here?! Why haven’t you finished the preparations?! Hurry up now!”
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Lily’s expression soured down when she saw him thunder at the young priestesses like this in front of her.
- Robinxen: Wow they really take her position seriously, I think she’s undervaluing it.
- Robinxen: Evasive… it’s definitely Lily.