|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3075 characters|
|Translator: LazyButAmbitious||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2015 words|
Lily wondered why Airi had asked her such a question.
“I’m willing to do anything for Sister Uesugi, Airi, so I hope that you will tell me all that you know. That’s the only way I can—” Lily poured her heart out.
“I asked whether you care about her the most.” Airi’s icy voice interrupted Lily. “I’ve heard the rumors about you and the chief advisor.”
Airi grabbed Lily’s bountiful breast with force and continued with the same icy tone as before while wearing an unnaturally calm expression on her face, “You should stop acting so cocky all the time. What would a woman like you even know? Do you think you can do whatever you want to as long as you’re kind to everyone else?”
Lily frowned slightly and issued a muffled groan when Airi grabbed her breast suddenly. However, she did not argue back with her because she knew what Airi was referring to.
Airi continued with a stony gaze, “Ms. Uesugi has always been my everything, right from when I was still a child. I could only follow behind her silently in spite of knowing that she was heading into danger because I knew she had already found her resolve. Do you know what’s the difference between me and you? All my actions are centered around Ms. Uesugi, while you’re just a self-centered woman who wants everyone you care about to live a happy, peaceful life1. However, that’s just wishful thinking2. You don’t even know what kind of burden Ms. Uesugi is shouldering. All you know is to beguile men and women with your beautiful looks and sensual body, making them pursue and fight over you. Do you believe that your thoughts are the only thing that matter?”
“Airi…” Hearing such harsh words from Airi shocked Lily, leaving her at a complete loss about how she should respond to her.
“You’re obviously stronger than me, so why didn’t you fight back when I grabbed your breast? Why did you show such an aggrieved look instead? Is this how you seduced Ms. Uesugi? I really don’t understand why she likes you so much when you obviously can’t become hers alone and pays no attention to the one person who’s willing to become hers in body and soul. Even if that’s the case, I’m still willing to follow her silently and swear eternal fealty to her. I hope you won’t ask me about her ever again.”
“Airi… I have nothing to say about the fact that you believe your feelings for Sister Uesugi are stronger than mine, but I don’t get why someone as wise as you would let your feelings cloud your judgment. You shouldn’t be hiding things from me in this moment of crisis if you really know something…”
“You’re just overthinking it.”
Even someone as intellectual as Airi felt like crying from the sorrow she felt at this moment, but she held her tears in and released Lily before taking her leave.
Lily just stood on the steps with a blank look on her face. Although the pain from her breast did not torment her physically, she felt a stab of pain in her heart from the intense grudge directed at her from another woman.
Airi had been Rei’s attendant and second-in-command ever since she was a child. She loved her so much that she had dedicated all her feelings to Rei.
Lily felt ashamed as she did not mean to blame Airi. However, she was also convinced that Airi knew something that she did not know.
Ijuin had spent the entire night arranging and checking the defensive measures in the temple, so she had fallen asleep on the terrace like a baby.
Lily returned inside the temple alone with a somber look on her face.
Although Airi had claimed that Lily was popular, she knew better than anyone else that she was actually not good at dealing with girls.
Lily felt vexed that she could not pry the truth from Airi even though the chances of her knowing Rei’s whereabouts were high. However, she also knew that there was no use trying to force this information out of Airi forcefully as she was someone who Rei had trained.
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Lily sat in the temple, took a sip from the long chilled tea, and entered the mirror space with her mind.
The archaic, octagonal stone room within the mirror space was shrouded in darkness right now, with the white-robed, ponytailed frail boy form of Lily’s soul standing in the center.
Lily had tied her soul’s hair into a ponytail because it had grown longer again, believing that it would make her look manlier.
The soul was the manifestation of the mind, so even though it changed form along with the surge of emotions, it always stayed true to one’s will.
Lily had changed her soul’s appearance into that of a girl’s in spite of all the embarrassment she felt because she was determined to restore Sakura, for example. However, she could not even prevent her hair from growing out, let alone prevent the gradual feminization of her soul’s appearance. Although she could cut off her hair in the real world, there was nothing she could do about her soul, which was the manifestation of the mind.
It was equally impossible to induce unreasonable changes in her soul’s appearance. Making her soul look like a leaf, for example, was not possible, as the manifestation needed to truly evolve from the mind.
Although the ponytail made Lily relatively tough, she felt depressed when she realized that it did not make her look manlier at all and that she had just been fooling herself.
It just made her look like a boyish girl.
Lily thought of practicing the Tsukuyomi Swordstyle again because of the dangerous situation she and her companions were in right now. She longed for power, as her current strength was still far from enough to turn the tables even though she had made incredible progress.
She had to become stronger, as that was the only way to survive this ordeal. However, even though Lily had already mastered the main aspects of Tsukuyomi Swordstyle’s Second Path, replicating the movements with perfection, she still failed to gain any kind of enlightenment. It was as if perfecting the sword moves was utterly useless.
Lily had outstanding talent for the sword and firmly believed that she had already perfected the Tsukuyomi Swordstyle’s Second Path in spite of it showing no effects until now.
She wondered why she was failing.
Lily looked at her reflection within the mirror and questioned herself whether she really didn’t know why she was failing to comprehend it.
She wondered since when she had begun to believe her own lie, and why she had strived so hard until now.
It was all for the woman she loved.
Lily could not help but look towards the room where Rinne’s soul was fast asleep.
Lily opened her eyes in the dark temple.
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An Uesugi clan cavalrywoman came to report to her half-a-minute later. “We found the tracks of a monster unit on the mountain road ahead of the temple, Ms. Kagami.”
Lily had actually discovered them long ago through her domain.
She had sensed eldritch energies from deep within the distant woods when she had visited the steps previously.
Monsters could move freely at night because they could see in the dark. This was one of the advantages that they possessed over the humans. Lily had sensed powerful eldritch energies oozing out from the depths of the woods and could sense vast amounts of monsters even though just a single unit of the demon army had entered her domain’s range.
Airi also exited the temple and looked at Lily with her usual expression, looking no different from normal. Although they had bickered just recently, Airi was not someone who would let her emotions influence her behavior right before an impending battle.
“I’m afraid the demon army’s vanguard will pass through this region soon, Lily. How should we respond to them?” Airi asked.
“Just let them pass.” Lily said.
“Just let them pass as long as they don’t attack us and attack them once they’re halfway through. The narrow mountain road should allow us to cut off their path of retreat.” Lily explained further.
“Wouldn’t they surround us, then?” Ijuin asked.
“Yes, but that’s only if it was just us alone here. However, we have an army of over 10,000 troops behind us, so it’s simply impossible for them to surround us. The commander wouldn’t abandon us and will definitely dispatch a unit to attack the monsters if they surround us. We can just ambush the monsters from behind when that happens and have them surrounded instead,” Lily said.
“Although that sounds reasonable, will it really go that well?” Airi asked.
“I still have some tricks hidden up my sleeve, so I will deal with the situation if things go awry.” Lily said.
“Airi. I’ll have to trouble you to send a messenger to the commander with the message that I’m worried about Ibaraki Doji making a personal appearance in this battle. Even I won’t be able to contend against him if he attacks Honganji Temple personally, so I’d like to request Lord Yoshitada to restrain him using the demon slaying battle formation along with the Genji’s elite. I’m confident in defending Honganji Temple as long as Ibaraki Doji doesn’t attack it personally!”
“All right.” Airi wrote down Lily’s message and told an Uesugi clan cavalrywoman to pass it on to Commander Makoto as fast as possible.
Although Lily had been given the order to defend Honganji Temple, the generals were not fools. They knew that the riverbank would be in danger if Honganji Temple was to fall since it would be hard for them to guard against ambushes while retreating even if they could hold their fort in a frontal confrontation.
Attacking the monsters from both sides, Honganji Temple and the riverbank, was the most effective way to defend against them.
Lily had nothing to fear as long as Ibaraki Doji did not make an appearance, but she needed the demon slaying battle formation’s aid if he were to really show up to attack the temple personally.
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The monsters on the mountain road ahead had already tottered all the way till Honganji Temple a while later, but the samurai woman allowed them to pass silently.
Lily sent down the order to attack once a few thousand monsters had passed through.
The torches on Honganji Temple lit up suddenly, and the sounds of drums echoed.
The Uesugi clan’s cavalrywomen pulled the strings of their bows and unleashed their demon slaying arrows on the monsters.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!
A volley of arrows shot down from the temple.
Although the army was lacking supplies, the Taira clan warships had provided them with these demon slaying arrows. They had given Lily’s unit enough supplies and food to cover the retreat for the court’s army until it retreated fully.
The demon slaying arrows used by the Taira clan’s navy shot down into the valley while lighting it up, leaving the monsters with no place to hide. The demon slaying arrows even scorched the bodies of the weaker monsters after shooting through them, inflicting disastrous losses on the demon army.
Ijuin pulled her blade out and said, “Prepare the spells!”
The spellcaster unit formed from the jade maidens and the mirror girls began casting spells immediately, unleashing a sequence of charms, fireballs, oil bombs, and all kinds of magical spells into the valley, making the monsters scream in pain.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Many monsters tried to climb the cliff so that they could attack Honganji Temple, but its steepness made it hard for them to climb it.
“Shoot them down, Gunners!” Ijuin passed down the next order.
The gunmaiden3 unit aimed their weapons at the monsters.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
A rain of bullets infused with spirit power showered down on the monsters that were struggling to climb the cliff, sending them tumbling down.