Chapter 17 – Proclamation of the Cloistered Emperor

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3233 characters
Translator: Yuki English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1861 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

“Me, wear this armor? Thank you…I appreciate your goodwill, but I already have a preferred set of clothes, so I shall refuse.”

“Miss Kagami, please do not forget that you are being detained now, though we don’t really plan on detaining you but you still must cooperate with our arrangements. Either way, only women are allowed here, so even if you wear nothing it’s fine isn’t it? So what if you wear this armor?” Airi refuted.

Suddenly Lily understood, “So you think if I wear this armor I won’t need guards and I won’t be able to walk out of this block?”

“Miss Kagami is smart.”

Lily silently protested, this is considered smart? Stupid is more like it. If she wore this armor to flee, couldn’t she simply change out of it or wrap a cloth around her waist?

Fine, since it’s like that, she’d just wear it. Let them feel at ease so they wouldn’t come and bother her. If she was going to leave, they couldn’t stop her, and if she didn’t leave, she wouldn’t have to constantly be bothered by these women.

“I understand, I’ll wear it, but please leave.”
“I think I need to witness you wear it.”

Lily’s face turned bright red, she couldn’t bear the thought of another person even if the other was a woman, “No! Get out!”

Airi gave a small smile, “So fussy, we’re all women, what’s the problem1? Forget it, then please do as you will Miss Kagami.”

At this time, within the mansion in the main formation while Makoto was arranging the defense of the port.

A female ninja arrived to report, “Commander, we’ve discovered a great number of demon corpses and traces of battle between powerful experts across the river a few miles away from the port. According to our investigations, most of the demons died from stab wounds, most likely from a very heavy tachi, there were no human corpses found but we did discover fragments of female clothing.”

Makoto was both happy and worried at the same time, “Is that so? Looks like it is as Hatano reported, Uesugi Rei and the demons had a battle there. Only…did she escape or was she captured? Lily said that she would never surrender, so the chance of escape is higher? Go and report your findings to Airi and Lily and my conclusion.”

“I obey!”

As the female ninja withdrew, Yoshitada returned.

“Commander, the elites of my Genji army have occupied the key points of the port and nearby mountains. The surrounding terrain has been identified and we have started deploying a defensive formation. As long as we have five or six days we can complete the deployment of the formation. When that time comes, even if Shuten Doji attacks in person, our army will not be afraid.”

“That’s too long, the formation must be done within three days.”

Yoshitada grimaced and forced out a nod, “We shall do our best. Commander, once the port is defended, how shall we proceed?”

“I learned a lesson in the previous skirmish, our formations are effective but they need a certain amount of space and time to deploy. In this Tanba where the terrain is rugged and rough, it is not easy to deploy a formation. We can no longer advance rashly, for the time being we will rest here in port Ayabe and make plans for the long run. Either way, just capturing port Ayabe was a big blow to the Shuten family.”

“I completely agree with the commander. With our formations, we won’t be disadvantaged on the defense, but if we dare carelessly advance, we will definitely suffer heavy casualties!”

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“Defense, defense and even more defense. Shuten’s shadow hasn’t even appeared and all we’re doing is defending, are you not afraid of shaming the imperial court?” Hirohikari ridiculed, “As the war advisor, I request you to deploy the troops! Do not let down the cloistered emperor and shogun!”

Makoto frowned, this Hirohikari had no understanding of tactics, his strength was weak and acted domineering all day, but she kept herself calm, “Lord Hirohikari, when deploying troops you must also consider the tactics and terrain. As long as we can maintain our strength there will be a chance, but if we recklessly march the problem isn’t disappointing the imperial court but if we can keep our lives.”

Those words sent a chill down Hirohikari’s back, but he flicked his sleeve imperiously, “Then arrange the tactics! That’s your job is it not?”

Suddenly, a black clothed minister approached and for some reason didn’t announce himself.

This person had a white face and raised eyebrows, they were shaved into two dots to display his status as a state minister.

The black clad minister arrogantly announced, “Ashikaga Makoto, I bring the edict of the Cloistered Emperor, approach and receive!”

“The Cloistered Emperor?” Makoto immediately stood up and followed this black clad minister out.

Besides the imperial court’s supervisor, the Cloistered Emperor had dispatched a team of ministers called the Judicial Chief, who specialized in monitoring the army’s operations. Though they represented the authority of the Cloistered Emperor they were not allowed to intervene in the battles. They were responsible for conveying the actual military situation to the Cloistered Emperor or the Cloistered Emperor’s will to the army. Only with the Cloistered Emperor’s express permission would they participate and supervise a battle to complete the Cloistered Emperor’s will.

Makoto followed the black clothed minister to the room occupied by the judicial chief. This room was filled with magic formations and talismans, but they were not for defense but for strengthening the transmissions of the voice transmission orbs.

Tanba’s terrain was complex and filled with eldritch energy, voice transmission orbs would not be able to operate normally so it was necessary to deploy such methods to maintain communication with the capital.

Within the room, around an enshrined jewel, several black clad onmyoji waited.

As Makoto strode in, the public minister waved his hand and had the onmyoji depart, leaving her alone within the room.

Soon, the orb lit up. Within the orb, Makoto could see the Cloistered Emperor’s old shiny bald head, the mole between his eyebrows, and that pair of wrinkled big eyes with an eerie and unpredictable look.

“His majesty the Cloistered Emperor.” Makoto kneeled and saluted.

“Rise Madam Ashikaga, the war is hard, I hear you have captured port Ayabe of Tanba and won our first important victory against Shuten, the capital is rejoicing!”

“This…this is only a small port, the army’s losses aren’t small, it is not worth commending. We lost lord Taira no Shigemori in the battle.”

“The casualties have already been reported to me, there are always sacrifices in war. Madam Ashikaga, now is the time to take advantage of Shuten’s mistake and speed up your advance. Drive in and capture the mountains and rivers, give Shuten a heavy blow! You must not give the enemy time to recover!” The Cloistered Emperor’s eyes were bright, but chilling.

“Your majesty, the situation in the frontlines is not as you think. Our victory was but a fluke, our experts in the army are not strong enough and our trump card, the formations cannot be used in the mountains or forests. We are able to guard, but the casualties we will take on the offense will be crippling. In our current situation it is not advisable to go on the offense.” Her forehead was coated with sweat, the crime of disobeying the Cloistered Emperor was no joke.

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“Ashikaga Makoto, do not falter, if you do not act when the enemy has made a mistake, then when will you act? Also, I have good news for you, I have convinced Tamamo no Mae to dispatch troops from Suno to target Shuten’s rear. Our two armies shall pincer Shuten and deal a devastating blow! You shall cooperate with Tamamo no Mae and not cause the two armies to lose coordination! Depart now, do not make me lose face in front of Tamamo no Mae!”

“Tamamo no Mae is marching from Suno…” This information made all the difference, if the two armies could cooperate and pincer Shuten, then the situation would be different.

Though… the other party was a thousand year old demon fox, it was hard to say if this other army was true or false…but she no longer query about it, the prestige of the Cloistered Emperor was not something she could question.

“Understood! As soon as preparations are made, the army will depart at once!”

“Mm, that’s more like it, don’t delay and miss the opportunity. Right, you said the experts in the army are insufficient, I shall send you some. Expect them to arrive in a few days by boat, and then depart!”

Since arrangements had been made to this degree, what else could she say?

“I obey!”

“Madam Ashikaga, one more thing. I received news that the sword miko squad that departed in advance a few months ago is currently surrounded. Their situation is critical, you shall urgently send them reinforcements!”

“Eh? Sword miko squad?” Makoto was taken aback, why would the Cloistered Emperor care about whether this young girl squad lived or died?

“Where shall I send the reinforcements?”

“I cannot tell you their exact location, they seem to have established a formation to strengthen the voice transmission beads and sent a request for help. The Bureau of Divination has recorded this with artes, I shall have them send it to you. You shall send them reinforcements at once, do you understand?”

“Yes…most of the sword mikos and jade maidens are well known noble ladies of Heian-kyo. The impact they would have on Heian-kyo is significant, we will do our best to rescue them.”

“It’s not just those ignorant little girls! I only just received news that Prince Narinaga crossdressed and is pretending to be a sword miko in that squad. Right now he’s besieged in the dense forests of Tanba!” The Cloistered Emperor’s voice sounded nervous, “That’s my cute grandson! How can I not be worried…”

So it was like that…

Indeed, how could the Cloistered Emperor care about the lives and deaths of a few sword mikos. It turns out that the younger brother of the emperor had joined the squad! What was that prince thinking?

“Ashikaga Makoto, you should know that the emperor, though kind and benevolent, has a weak body and no heirs…in the worst case, Prince Narinaga is the only heir to the throne. If something happened to him, my royal family would have no successors. The world will be thrown into chaos, the stakes here are very important, you must send the most capable of subordinates to rescue him!”

“Yes——!”

The Cloistered Emperor’s eyes swirled before he added a last sentence, “I think, just send that Kagami Lily.”

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“Eh!??”

“Kagami Lily, the one who slew that archdemon. She’s beautiful, courageous and resourceful, decisive yet cautious. It’s not that I look down upon the other members of the army but she is one of the best, it must be her!” The Cloistered Emperor’s eyes shone with bright light, as if he really believed in Kagami Lily2



References

  1. Robinxen: She’s literally famous for womanly engagements.
  2. Silva: something smells fishy, seems like a trap

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