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Chapter 51 – The Treacherous Uesugi

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3182 characters
Translator: LazyButAmbitious English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1986 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

“Lily!” Ashikaga Makoto was wearing silver-white battle armor with a short skirt and black leggings. After all, they were marching in this gloomy and unending mountain forest, so she had to wear lighter clothes.

Makoto looked a little haggard, but she was very happy that Lily returned.

“Mother Makoto.”
“Great! Lily, you’re back…”

“Mother Makoto, how is the situation in the army?” Lily saw the worry in Makoto’s eyes.

“The army lacks food, and along the way, we were attacked by demons multiple times at night. Those demons didn’t attack us directly and just used sneak attacks. Coupled with our army’s low morale, the casualties are not small…”

“How many casualties?”

“The elites of the leading army are fine, but for the central and rear army, I’m afraid their combined casualties sum up to five or six thousand people,” Makoto shook her head and took Lily’s hand, “Lily… Anyway, it’s good that you are back. It’s already too much that we always let you take the lead in the expedition, but nowadays, the army really can’t do without you.”

“You flatter me, Mother Makoto. Although Lily has some tricks up her sleeve, it was a fluke that I was able to discover Kameyama Castle. But, to me, Kameyama Castle looks like an empty place that has been abandoned for a long time, not a major place valued by Shuten. Even if there are people inside, they are just vagrants at best.” Lily said.

“I have also considered this. After all, Shuten is a demon who occupies the whole Mount Ooe, but our imperial army is good at attacking and defending cities. Without a city as a stronghold, it is difficult to last.”

“Yeah.” Lily nodded.
“Lily, you should be tired. Go and get some rest first.”
“Mother Makoto, then, Miss Hatano…”
“It’s alright. Now that Kameyama Castle has been found, no one is bothered with her anymore. After all, she was flogged according to military law, and now she has been released and is in the Ijuin formation.”
“Thank you, Mother Makato.”

In her heart, Lily roughly knew why Hatano lied that she was familiar with the road to Kameyama Castle. It was probably to find Sister Uesugi.

When Lily returned to the Ijuin army formation, she went straight to see Hatano.

At this time, she was lying alone on a patch of horse fur. After all, she got whipped and was unable to walk.

“Miss Hatano…” Lily looked at her worriedly.

But Hatano smiled bitterly, “Sister Lily doesn’t have to worry about me. I violated military law, so it’s already good that I only received a few beatings. It’s a pity that we marched all the way here, but there is still no news from Sister Uesugi…”

“Sister Uesugi…” Lily saw a mural of a celestial maiden resembling Sister Uesugi in the mine, but it was an ancient mural after all, and obviously had nothing to do with Uesugi Rei’s whereabouts.

That night, Lily came to Ashikaga Makoto again.

“Lily, what’s the matter?”
“Mother Makato, do you know about Bishamonten?”

“Bishamonten? That…should be one of the legendary gods of Takamagahara, right? He is often worshiped in various mountain temples everywhere.” Makoto was a little surprised why Lily was asking such a question out of nowhere.

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“What if Bishamonten actually exists in the world today?”

“Ah? That’s…not possible, right? Aren’t things like gods manifesting themselves mostly legends?” Makoto really didn’t seem to care about this matter.

“Oh…Then what kind of strength does a god like Bishamonten have?”

“Strength? Haha, Lily, those things about gods are just legends, and they are supreme and ethereal existences. How can we talk about their strength? However, when it comes to the matter of adepts, Lily, you should know much more than I do. Your strength and attainments have far surpassed mine. I’m afraid I can’t answer your many questions in this regard.” Makoto said.

“I see… Sorry for disturbing you.”

“Hehe, it’s okay, Lily. You should rest early.”

Lily did not get any useful information, but why was the mural of Bishamonten so similar to Sister Uesugi, and why was the Uesugi family known as the incarnation of Bishamonten during this period. Could there really be a connection? Or was it just some legend?

Lily returned to the Ijuin female army formation. After all, they were camping at night in enemy territory and conditions were poor. If the women stayed together with the male army, it was too easy to be accidentally seen when bathing, so the female army was mostly enclosed.

Lily bathed in the mountain spring dedicated to women before returning to the campsite, where she would naturally rest in the enclosed formation due to her status.

However, although Makoto instructed Lily to rest time and time again, the soldier she sent woke her up after only a few hours of sleep.

“Lady Kagami! Please go to the main formation’s military meeting quickly. There is an urgent situation!” The soldier said as he knelt outside the formation’s fabric fencing.

“What? Urgent military situation?” Lily got up in a daze but was soon startled.

She hurriedly rushed to the main formation.

At this time, within the main formation, most of the commanders had arrived.

Once the people like Takamune, Minamoto no Tsukawa, and others who had problems with Lily saw that she was still fine, they couldn’t help but show some malice.

“This little b̲i̲t̲c̲h̲ went deep into the demon forces of Kameyama Castle to investigate and was able to come back safely! It’s really hateful1!” Minamoto no Tsukawa was the one who wished for Lily’s downfall the most.

Although Takamune also hated Lily, he still harbored a lot of evil thoughts toward her in his heart, after all. Instead of wanting her to die in war, he hoped that she would fall into his own hands one day.

“Everyone!” Makoto stood up directly. Despite the fact that she was only wearing white battle armor with a short skirt and black leggings, which was not the most formal chief commander attire, her face was grim, “I just got news from the capital that the battle situation has changed drastically and is very unfavorable for our army.”

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“What’s wrong?” The commanders were all puzzled.

Lily couldn’t help but look at Makoto, who had a look of disbelief in her eyes.

Makoto shook her head slightly and said, “Uesugi Rei, the head of the Uesugi family in Eastern land, betrayed us2.”

“What?!” The commanders were flabbergasted.

Lily even stood up directly, her expression frozen in shock, “Mother Makoto…you, what did you say?”

Ashikaga Makoto calmed her emotions and continued, “Uesugi Rei has betrayed us. According to the news from Heian-kyō. The Suno Army dispatched by Tamamo-no-Mae was surprise attacked by an army led by Uesugi Rei after entering Tanba and was defeated. We are now alone deep in enemy territory.”

“That’s impossible!” Lily rushed out of the crowd of commanders and ran through the central army, “Mother Makoto, where did you get this news?”

“According to the information coming from both the Commander Intelligence Office and the Palace of the Cloistered Emperor, there is no discrepancy. It is said that in Heian-kyō, Tamamo-no-Mae even personally questioned the court, nearly causing a conflict, and she said herself that the army she sent was attacked by the imperial army led by Uesugi Rei!”

“The imperial army?” The commanders looked left and right, “Where did Uesugi Rei get an army from the court, and I’ve never heard of the Uesugi family’s army entering Tanba?”

Ashikaga Makoto added, “Moreover, all the troops of the Uesugi Army investigated by the Intelligence Office are in our army, and Uesugi Rei had indeed entered Tanba alone. Both Lily and Hatano know this, so it seems that Uesugi Rei must have defected and then led the Tanba’s Vagabond Army with armaments of the imperial army to attack the Suno Army. That way, they could repel the Suno Army and destroy the alliance between the imperial court and Tamamo-no-Mae. This move from Shuten Doji is really vicious3!”

“It’s also possible that Sister Uesugi subdued a group of vagrants and mistakenly thought that the Suno Army was one of Shuten’s demon forces, so she led them to attack the Suno Army?” Lily theorized.

“No. According to what Tamamo-no-Mae said before, her demon foxes saw Uesugi Rei’s army and Shuten’s group of blue demons together, and they attacked and killed many demon foxes!” Makoto said with a heavy expression.

“How could this be…” The commanders were also confused.

“No, it can’t be!” Lily looked at the commanders and then at Shiina Airi, “Airi! Say something! You know that Sister Uesugi would never betray us!”

Airi’s eyes flickered and looked a little strange. She avoided Lily’s gaze and lowered her head.

What did she mean by that?

“Airi! Sister Uesugi is your leader, why aren’t you saying anything?”

“Miss Lily, I…”

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“Lily,” Makoto said in a soft voice, “I understand your feelings, but since something like this happened, it’s either Uesugi Rei really betrayed us or Tamamo-no-Mae is lying. But, is it necessary for Tamamo-no-Mae to break the alliance with such a lie?”

Makoto continued, “After the incident, the Shogun Imperial Palace also contacted the Mori family and confirmed the matter. It is absolutely true.”

Lily was dumbfounded. If it was really Lady Kimiko, even if she wanted to impose some kind of stance on the court, there was no need to frame Sister Uesugi for no reason. There was no conflict between them at all.

The whereabouts of Sister Uesugi were unknown after Tanba fell into a heavy siege of demons.

But even so, Lily absolutely did not believe that Sister Uesugi would betray them.

Minamoto no Yoshitada stood up, his resolute face clouded over by gloom, “Chief Commander, what should we do now? Without Tamamo-no-Mae behind us, should we continue to attack?”

“But, Chief Commander, our army has almost run out of food and supplies. We are only a few days away from Kameyama Castle. If we want to return to Port Ayabe, I’m afraid it will take more than half a month. The army can’t last that long. Now we have no way back. We can only capture Kameyama Castle first!” Minamoto no Hiromasa said.

The commanders listened. Although they had lost confidence in the expedition, it was difficult to refute this.

Makoto was silent for a while, then said, “The message from His Majesty The Emperor is the same. Now we are on the edge of the bow, and there is no way back. Even if we know that we are going in alone, we can only forcibly capture Kameyama Castle, seize the supplies inside, and hold on while we wait for more supplies through the waterway before planning for the long term.”

When Lily heard this, she couldn’t help but feel worried, “I’m just afraid that there are no supplies in the deserted Kameyama Castle…”

“Lily, have you checked Kameyama Castle carefully?” Minamoto no Yoshitada asked.

Lily shook her head, “I encountered Ibaraki Doji’s group of ghosts there, so I retreated and did not carefully check the city.”

“Then there is still hope! The residences of those demons and vagrants are already dilapidated, so they may not have hoarded a lot of food, but they still need to eat4, right?” A military commander said.

Everyone nodded when they heard this. In fact, even if they didn’t believe it, they had no choice but to believe. For a few strong people, having no food or supplies meant nothing, but for the army, having no food meant annihilation!

“Everyone, although the situation is very unfavorable for our army at the moment, we can only continue to march on and capture Kameyama Castle!” Makoto also had her worries, but her eyes remained firm.



 

Footnotes:

  1. Robinxen: Wow he really wants her dead.
  2. Robinxen: Gasp!
  3. Robinxen: I’m impressed they worked it out honestly.
  4. Robinxen: Do they need to eat what humans eat though?
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