|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3085 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1777 words|
Lily wondered whether she had chosen the wrong path at the fork. Just a single soul monster could perish her soul and thousands of them filled the land and skies around her now.
The chances of her escaping from here were close to nil. The tattered Lily’s chest heaved up and down slowly and the stabbing pain her soul felt weakened her knees. She gasped for breath and had strands of hair stuck to her cheeks.
The soul monster closest ahead of her pounced towards her in the next moment.
Lily narrowed her eyes and endured the pain her soul felt as she strengthened her grip on Yasutsuna.
A purple sword beam shot out from her blade and cleaved the soul monster apart. The monster’s wounds ignited with a spirit flame and made it scream in pain.
Lily staggered after executing the attack and paled a bit, her will and perception weaking a little. She had ignited some of her soul power to release an attack that could injure these soul monsters.
However, there were too many monsters around her. She just did not have enough soul power for this and was bound to die after killing a few of them if she continued this. The soul monsters in front of Lily pounced towards her, and the monsters from within the canyon also caught up to her at the same time.
“It was a trap, huh? Hmph… I knew that before I had entered the gate, but I still chose to enter the gate! I’d make the same choice even if you gave me another chance! I don’t regret it1!”
Lily raised her blade, which was clad in soul power, and showed a ruthless expression as she confronted the endless monsters that filled the land and skies around her. “All right…”
“Come at me, you monsters!” Lily cried out as she charged into the endless swarm of monsters desperately.
The monsters also rushed towards her like a tempest.
Even a Big Dipper level soul would have perished instantly under so many soul attacks, let alone a Permanence level soul, but Rinne’s soul, which was asleep on the cold stone bed within the mirror space, exuded a gentle radiance that resonated with the Jōmon characters carved on the mirror space’s walls and made them glow in a golden color.
The fifth door within the mirror space opened slowly a few moments later, but it had nothing but light inside it. The light within the fifth room was so bright that it was impossible to see what was inside it.
The light illuminated the entire mirror space just like the Sun. The light transformed into golden strands of light and entered Lily’s spirit palace once after exiting the mirror space, all without her control.
The night sky within the spirit palace looked just like the daytime sky now.
The golden light which filled the spirit palace was so bright that it made Lily’s purple moon permanence spirit look dim and inconspicuous. However, the golden light did not remain stationary for long and moved towards her permanence spirit and formed into a golden rune above the purple moon.
Lily’s injured soul got healed immediately, but the golden rune still continued to glow and illuminate the purple moon from above it.
All this occurred within an instant.
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The countless tentacles ignored Lily’s defense and attacked her soul directly, but the golden rune released a golden barrier which just protected Lily’s purple moon permanence spirit.
The endless soul attacks vanished the moment they struck the golden barrier, but the barrier remained unmoved even then.
“What’s going on…?”
Lily, who had been forced to a dead end, confirmed the changes inside her with an incredulous expression on her face. She did not feel cold anymore and felt a warmth permeate her body. The painful soul attacks also had no effect on her now.
The innumerable soul attacks from the monsters, vengeful spirits and wraiths, which could kill even a Big Dipper level ascender, could not injure Lily at all now.
Lily’s eyes glazed over, and for the first time ever, she felt that this dark world which was full of countless drifting souls was beautiful. She passed through the souls as if she were walking in a dream world which was set apart from reality.
Lily saw an endless chasm, chaos, sea of blood, suffering, and manifested grudge as she made towards the end of this world and saw a wall when she arrived at it. This wall had a square stone gate with glowing edges on it and showed nothing but the void on the other side, just like the previous gate she had gone through.
However, Lily still entered it and saw her surroundings ripple. Her body vanished from this world the next moment and appeared in an endless darkness. Lily lost all control of her senses and felt as if she was drifting within the cold darkness. Her will drifted within this darkness and reached a barren world with red skies.
She saw a dilapidated temple and a broken statue here as well, but it looked a bit different from the one that she had come across. A tall, lean, white-dressed girl walked the sole path in this world alone.
The girl looked quite beautiful and looked similar to Ayaka, albeit a lot younger.
“Is this Ms. Ayaka’s past? Is this the world she arrived in after coming to Mt. Izumo?”
Ayaka did not seem to notice her presence, so Lily believed that she was watching an illusion of the past. In any case, there was not much she could do in the current situation.
A few shadow demons surrounded Ayaka, and although they were different from the monsters that had attacked Lily, they also possessed the means to use soul attacks. However, Ayaka did not suffer like Lily did as she was well versed in the arts of Onmyō and knew how to protect herself from soul attacks as a rarely seen genius. She used charms, spells and arrays to resist the attacks of the shadow demons and continued moving forward once she dealt with them.
She encountered the same predicament as Lily though and came across shadow demons that filled the skies. It seemed as if darkness would cover the entire world, and no matter how powerful she was, she could not resist against the world all alone.
Unlike Ayaka, Lily had her incredible ancient mirror, which had released a golden light from the fifth door within it that protected her soul with an unbelievable soul barrier.
No matter how powerful Ayaka was, she had her limits as well, so the shadow demons eroded her soul when she ran out of her treasures. However, she still persisted and continued moving forward until she reached the end of the world, which was filled with boundless darkness.
There was no gate here though, and just an endless void.
Ayaka despaired when she saw this. A lot of shadow demons had entwined around her by this time, so she was forced to take out an ancient jade treasure. The dim ancient jade emitted an incredible aura that made Lily feel it was similar to her copper mirror.
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The ancient jade released an amazing power that forcibly broke the restrictions of the world and ejected Ayaka out of it. However, Lily noticed that the jade had shattered as a result and got ejected out of the world just like Ayaka once it left her hand.
Lily realized that this was the reason Ayaka had failed to reach Mt. Izumo’s summit. She had used the ancient jade’s power to teleport out of this terrifying world, which resulted in her failing the trial.
Does this mean that this world is a trial from the gods for those who they haven’t permitted to enter Mt. Izumo’s peak? That’s just too cruel. Why did they use the person I care the most about for baiting me to take this trial? Is that how gods are supposed to act2? Or is this just a test of character?
No one had forced Lily and Ayaka to climb to the summit of Mt. Izumo, and ascension was an act that defied the heavens, so this could be called a price for that.
Lily recalled how she had entered Ayaka’s nightmare once and how she had seen a sexily dressed version of her dancing erotically in it. The Ayaka in front of her, and the Ayaka in front of everyone else, and the silhouette that she had seen on Fuyutsuki’s fifth floor, she had seen several versions of her until now.
“Which one of these is the real you, Sister Ayaka? Are they all real or is all this a trial as well?”
Lily did know just what secret the strongest woman in the world harbored.
The key to her mission as a mirror girl were the words “Ayaka,” and she had yet to unravel this puzzle. It made Lily wonder if Ayaka really did not know anything about it like she had claimed.
It did not make sense for her to have the incredible ancient jade in the illusion of the past if that was really the case.
Lily came to a sudden realization at this moment and recalled the shattered jade that Shenzu had with her, feeling that the ancient jade which Ayaka had was similar to it.
The darkness swallowed Lily again in the next moment.
Her vision brightened again after an unknown amount of time, and she found herself lying on a square floating rock. Lily got up and saw the gigantic mountain’s visage within the gray skies ahead of her again.
However, she stood on an isolated floating rock this time and had no path connecting it to the mountain.
Lily walked to the edge of the rock and shouted loudly at the peak. “What other trial do you have for me? Just bring it!”
A gust of wind blew by, and a bunch of huge rocks flew towards her from the peak. These rocks spun slowly as they formed a bridge that linked the isolated rock Lily was on with the huge peak.
Lily stepped on the first rock and noticed that it was quite stable, unlike the previous ones that were unstable and could plummet at any moment. She was certain that she had climbed to the peak of Mt. Izumo now, a feat which very few had accomplished since times immemorial.
Lily flicked her long hair to her back and puffed her sweat-drenched chest out as she stepped across the rock bridge solemnly and headed over to the gigantic, floating peak.
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