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Chapter 10 – Marching into Ayabe

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3263 characters
Translator: Aoi English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 2125 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

A samurai woman under Makoto’s command laid out a map on the large wooden table in the center of the tent. It was the most accurate map of Tanba that the imperial court possessed right now.

Although Tanba’s main castle, Tange River, cities, towns and villages were marked on the map, Mt. Ooe did not exist on it. The endless mountains of Tanba were just drawn as a simple mountain range on it to express that they were untraversable.

As such, no one knew where Mt. Ooe was.

Lily noticed that the short-haired samurai woman, who wore a revealing set of armor, and was in charge of the map, looked a bit familiar.

‘It’s Ms. Airi?’ Lily questioned internally.

The samurai woman was none other than Shiina Airi, Uesugi Rei’s aide. Lily did not find it strange that she was here as it made sense for her to join the expedition when considering her position.

Makoto got up from her seat and pointed at a corner on the map with the whip bound in white-red fabric before she said, “We’re here right now.”

Airi placed a small flag with the Genji’s crest on it at the spot where Makoto had pointed. The generals stood up in succession and surrounded the table so that they could see the massive three meter by two meter map.

“And this is Kameyama Castle.” Makoto pointed at a castle on the map and continued, “Many years have passed since Shuten Doji took over Tanba, so one knows what’s the situation in Kameyama Castle, to be honest, and the path leading to it has long vanished because of its distance.”

Makoto looked at everyone and paused before saying, “Tanba is quite vast, so we have no idea where Mt. Ooe is. There’s one thing for certain, though, which is that it’s not near the border. Otherwise, we would’ve long found it. This means that it’s probably deep within Tanba.”

Makoto drew a huge circle on the center of the map, “The central region of Tanba accounts for at least sixty percent of its land, so it’s highly likely that Mt. Ooe is in this region. Tanba has no open plains and is filled with mountains, which means that any one of them could be Mt. Ooe.”

“F̲u̲c̲k̲. Where are we supposed to march if that’s the case, Commander Ashikaga? Does the court want us to just march around randomly until we find Mt. Ooe? Have the imperial officials and advisors lost their minds?” The obese Takamune cussed.

“Please mind your language, Lord Takamune. Although you are the commander-in-chief’s son, we are in the commander’s tent right now. Don’t forget that you are in the presence of the commander of 100,000 men!” Minamoto no Yoshitada warned.

Although he said 100,000 men, the army just had 70,000 men.

Makoto just ignored Takamune’s foul language and pointed at a river, “As for this long river, it’s called Tange River, and has Tanaba’s sole port city, Ayabe, lying on its path. It will take our army one week to pass through the mountain range and arrive in Ayabe. The situation of the port is unclear to us, so there’s a chance that it has already fallen to the monsters or the rebels under their control. Our first objective is to seize control of Ayabe so that we can rely on Tange River as a supply route. Port Ayabe is the best location to create a base for attacking Tanba in the long run.”

“Damn it! Why take such a roundabout land route to attack Port Ayabe instead of just using the water route if it exists?!” Takamune complained.

“That sounds like a plan, Lord Jujiro, but the army had to take the land route to gather our forces. Tange River is also surrounded by cliffs on both sides, making it difficult for the army to march alongside it. We also don’t have enough warships to take our army via the water route.” Makoto explained.

“That’s right.” Minamoto no Yoshitada added, “We would just be throwing our lives away if we use the water route without warships when the circumstances of the port aren’t clear. Using the land route is the best way to catch the enemies off guard. We can use the water route to transport supplies once we’ve captured the port.”

Lily nodded silently when she heard their conversation from afar and concluded that Mrs. Ashikaga was really well versed in the arts of war. She still could not understand the advantages and disadvantages of this strategy, though.

“We aren’t going to advance deeper into Tanba without a plan and are going to consolidate our forces first.” Makoto said.

“Lord Jujiro’s achievements in the first battle with the monsters of Tanba are enough to prove that he’s a valiant hero. Considering the Dewa troop’s incredible strength, I suggest that we should allow Lord Jujiro to act as the vanguard.” Taien Ryuji, the burly, bearded nobleman with armor that revealed his bare, hairy chest, made a suggestion.

Taien just intended to curry favor with Takamune, but he ended up putting him in a troublesome spot instead.

“Well…” Although Takamune was arrogant enough to steal Lily’s credit for decimating the monsters, he was not a fool, and had already experienced how terrifying the monsters of Tanba were from the first clash. They were simply on another level when compared to the monsters in central and eastern Dewa.

He also did not want to die.

Ida Nobutada, who was standing beside Takamune, spoke up at this moment. “Although the Dewa troop won, we’ve also suffered considerable losses. I’m afraid we aren’t suitable to act as the vanguard for attacking Port Ayabe.”

No matter how greedy the Dewa troop was, they were not crazy enough to throw their lives away by choosing to act as the vanguard for attacking Port Ayabe after experiencing how powerful Tanba’s monsters were.

Takamune actually had not reported the monsters’ strength properly.

Makoto nodded at them, as she did not intend to force the position onto them and looked at the other generals in the tent instead. “Who among you wishes to take the role, then?”

The generals turned silent for a moment.

“Please leave this task to us, the Izumi Genji, Commander!” An oval faced armored samurai who wore an Eboshi hat on his head, and had a bow and quiver on his back, stepped forward.

Makoto looked at the other generals as she did not know much about the Izumi Genji. Minamoto no Hirohikari fanned his face with confidence as he parroted his well-prepared speech. “Although the Izumi Genji live far from the capital, they are valiant, battle-experienced warriors. The Right Imperial Guards’ Division even has an Izumi troop which is in charge of guarding the Genbu Gate and its surrounding districts. They are a strong, wise and trustworthy clan.”

“Lord Hirohikari…” Minamoto no Yoshitada called out to him in worry.

Hirohikari waved his fan aside and asked, “Don’t tell me you don’t trust the Izumi Genji, Lord Yoshitada?”

“Of course I trust them, but Shuten Doji isn’t just known for his strength. He’s quite infamous for his wiles, so I just wanted to remind Lord Muneshige that he must be careful.” Yoshitada said.

The Izumi Genji’s leader looked at Yoshitada and said, “Worry not, Lord Yoshitada. The Izumi Genji doesn’t plan on becoming the main force behind attacking Tanba and just plans to attack the port and the towns. There would be no meaning in joining forces if we left everything to the Seiwa Genji’s forces, after all. Please leave this task to us! I guarantee that the Izumi Genji will capture Port Ayabe within ten days!”

Makoto looked at Muneshige’s confident, valiant expression and nodded in approval. She still felt a bit worried, though, and asked, “May I know many samurai among the 3000 strong troops you have under you are at the Spirit Jade or above level?”

The stalwart-faced Muneshige answered, “The weakest ones among my troops are at the middle-stage samurai level, while those at the Spirit Jade and above level number thirty-four. There are six onmyōji at the Spirit Jade in addition to them. Among those at the higher levels, six samurai are at the early-stage Permanence level, while there are one each at the middle- and late-stage Permanence level. There’s also one onmyōji at the middle-stage Permanence level, while I’m at the peak-stage Permanence level!”

“Oooohhhh!” The generals exclaimed in amazement after hearing about the lineup. Although Minamoto no Muneshige was not the strongest individual within the tent, he still has powerful troops under him and could be considered the leader of an elite force.

“The Izumi samurai are well versed with battling monsters and possess sturdier bodies when compared to those spoiled, phony samurai since we drink the blood of monsters and dine on their flesh, so please rest assured, Commander Ashikaga!” The 160 cm tall, common-looking Muneshige added proudly.

Although some people expressed discontent after hearing this, they did not mind it much as the army needed valiant men right now.

Makoto also felt relieved after hearing his words. “We’ll be waiting for you to return with good news, then, Lord Muneshige!”

“Please rest assured, Commander Ashikaga! The Izumi Genji never fights a losing battle! Although I don’t dare to claim that we will be the first to charge into Mt. Ooe, capturing an insignificant port city is no big deal for us!”

Muneshige bowed towards Makoto and the generals before leaving the tent to go into battle.

Makoto said, “Make preparations to leave, generals. We will follow behind Lord Muneshige and march into Port Ayabe.”

“Yes, ma’am!” The generals bowed.

Lily, Makoto and Airi were the only ones remaining in the tent once the generals left it. Makoto had a thoughtful look on her face as she viewed the map in front of her.

Lily stepped towards her and asked, “Are you still worried about this expedition, Mother Makoto?”

Makoto nodded. “Capturing Port Ayabe shouldn’t be a difficult task. Based on the goods that are being traded in the capital’s black market, I’m pretty sure that either a mob of rebels or masterless samurai are occupying the port city right now. Port Ayabe is in a lowland surrounded by tall mountains, making it an easy target for land attacks. The mob occupying it shouldn’t be a match for the valiant Izumi Genji troop.”

“I see…” Lily still felt worried, though.

“Although creating a base in Ayabe after capturing it will advance our marching speed, it still doesn’t change the fact that it will be a close battle since we don’t know where our destination is…”

“I suppose finding Mt. Ooe is key to deciding our next step. I’m willing to infiltrate deep into Tanba and find out where it is for you, Mother Makoto.” Lily said.

Makoto looked at Lily gratefully and said, “Although I’m touched that you’ve shown such resolve, Lily, a single person can’t win a war. Tanba is pretty vast and filled with labyrinthic mountains and woods. Some of the deeper locations even jam the usage of the voice transmission orb, so the chances of you finding Mt. Ooe alone are pretty slim even if you are good at directions. Shuten Doji is also an expert at dealing with women, so I definitely can’t agree to letting you infiltrate Tanba alone. Just remain at my side, Lily, or else I wouldn’t know how to face Sakiko and Kotoka.”

“It’s not the first time I’ve ventured out, Mother Makoto. I’m strong enough to protect myself, so you don’t need to worry so much.”

“How could I not feel worried when we came across several Permanence level archdemons during our first battle with Tanba’s monsters?”

Lily had returned to Makoto’s side after decimating the monsters because she thought that she needed to inform her about the dangerously powerful monsters of Tanba immediately.

“I killed them, though, didn’t I?”

“We’ve already come across such powerful monsters at the borders. The Heavens have been in chaos these past few years, and the eldritch energies in the world have grown in intensity. I fear that the monsters of Tanba have grown far more powerful than before, their strength far surpassing our expectations. It’s not like I’m completely against you infiltrating the enemy lands alone, but even you haven’t infiltrated the nest of Heian’s top three archdemons during your past adventures, have you? The danger involved is on an entirely different level compared to the adventures you’ve gone on before, so the more confidence you show, the more it worries me, preventing me from letting you go alone. You just need to stay at my side and behave well.” Makoto ordered her.


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