Chapter 6 – Joining the Vanguard

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3253 characters
Translator: Aoi English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 2136 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

Two boorish samurai walked towards Lily when she was in the middle of drinking tea.

“Looks like you are having fun there, lady. How could you drink tea so leisurely here when we’re all so busy setting up camp1?”

The two samurai wore silver-brown armors and were not part of the Dewa troops.

Lily refused to answer them when she saw the duo give her lustful looks.

“What’s your name, lady?”
“You must be bored drinking tea alone. How about we give you some company, huh?”

Lily felt helpless internally and wondered which clan’s troops had such undisciplined samurai.

“No thanks. Please stay away from me.” Lily said indifferently.

“That’s quite arrogant of you, lady. A woman like you must’ve joined the army alone so that we can vent out frustrations on you, right2?”

“Yeah. Let’s get to know each other better in the deep woods, lady.” The samurai leaned forward to grab Lily’s arm.

Lily shook her head in silence. It was her first time joining the army, so she did not want to create trouble. However, she never expected such ruffians to find trouble with her instead and gathered power at her fingertips secretly.

“Get lost, you scumbags!” A loud voice reached their ears.

“F̲u̲c̲k̲! Who do you think you are to tell us to get lost, huh?!”

The duo turned around with malice on their faces, but their expressions changed immediately when they saw a short-haired girl dressed in a short-skirted armor with a white and red breastplate which exposed her thighs outside standing behind them.

Lily also looked at the girl and noticed that it was none other than Taira no Shizuru, the woman who she had helped after she had lost to Shenzu in the Yoshitsune Memorial Competition.

“Ms. Shizuru…” The samurai turned pale and shuddered in fear.
“Why haven’t you scrammed yet?!”
“Yes, miss!” The samurai pair ran away immediately.

Only then did Lily realize that they were Taira clan’s samurai.

“Ms. Shizuru?” Lily found her arrival slightly unexpected.

“Sister Kagami!” Shizuru kneeled in front of Lily and said, “Thank you for saving me back then, Sister Kagami!”

“Please stand up, Ms. Shizuru! There’s no need for you to do this. I just helped you because I couldn’t bear to see how they treated you.” Lily helped Shizuru stand up and made her sit on the blanket before brewing a cup of tea for her.

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“How come you are among the Taira troops, Ms. Shizuru?”

“It’s an embarrassing matter to speak about, Sister Kagami. After recovering from my injuries in Sister Mizue’s tavern, I continued living in seclusion there for a while. However, I got worried when I heard that you had gotten into trouble a while later. The Taira clan found me at that time and brought me back to the clan. However, our ancestor, Taira no Kiyomori, took interest in the matter because you blew things up back then, and forgave my sins. I was ordered to participate in this battle to make up for my failure, which is why I’m here. I never expected I’d run into my savior here, though.”

“It wasn’t much trouble for me to help you, so you don’t need to mind it that much, Ms. Shizuru.”

“It’s the motto of our clan to always return the favors we’ve received, Sister Kagami! I…” Shizuru blushed embarrassedly all of a sudden, but remembering that she had to repay the favor, she continued in a small voice, “Most of my treasures got confiscated after I lost last time, so I have nothing that would catch your eye. Although I… don’t have such tendencies, I heard that you embrace sapphism, Sister Kagami3. I-I’m willing to… accompany you at night during this march, and let you…”

“Hah? What are you saying, Ms. Shizuru?!” Lily interrupted Shizuru’s weird proposition immediately.

Sapphism was a word used to refer to romantic or sexual attractions between women by the noble daughters in Heian-kyo.

Heian-kyo was a pretty liberal city, so even though gay love between fellow women and fellow men was not that common, they were still a decent among of people who embraced it in the city. This was why Shizuru knew what it meant even though she did not embrace it.

She would have never made such a proposition if it were anyone else, but she was willing to offer herself to Lily, her savior, even if she did not embrace such love, and allow her to make a mess of her.

Lily had no such intentions, though, so it was just her jumping the gun.

“Please don’t do that, Ms. Shizuru. That would only make things hard on me. I just helped you because I thought it was the right thing to do and had no other intention behind it.”

“Sister Kagami…”

“This battle is going to be pretty dangerous, so you must act with great caution, Ms. Shizuru. We can just help each other when required. That’s the right way to return the favor.”

“Sister Kagami!” Shizuru sighed in relief as she thought that she had to devote her mind and body to Lily for returning the favor.

Shizuru chatted with Lily for a while before she left, as she was the leader of a hundred troops and had a lot of matters that she needed to deal with.

A windstorm passed through the mountain at night, and even though Lily did not fear it, she found it classless to brace the storm outside when she saw those male soldiers scutter back into their tents. She was also afraid that someone would invite her into the camp and harass her, so she took out her tent charm from the storage jade.

Although the charm in Lily’s hand just had a tent drawn on it, it was a pretty expensive treasure used by onmyōji.

Poof!

A small, elegant, white tent appeared underneath the tree following a puff of smoke. Lily retrieved her parasol and spent her first night of the Tanba expedition in the tent.

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Half-a-month passed by in the blink of an eye…

The Tanba expedition army had set up camp in a spacious valley within the mountain.

The mountain range ahead of the valley was taller and steeper than the mountain they were in right now, and the woods were also much older and denser. The mountains and the woods were also shrouded by a gloomy mist that concealed hidden dangers within them.

This was the current situation of Tanba.

The army had set out in the beginning of May and had finally reached here after traveling for a month. The weather had also become much humid and hotter because June was almost here now.

Although a few small-scale skirmishes had occurred at the vanguard of the army, and the cargo wagons had gotten ambushed by mountain imps, the army had not entered Tanba yet, so most of the weaker monsters did not dare to mess with such a massive army.

The army had grown to a staggering 70,000 strong troops by the time it arrived at the Tanba’s borders.

Although it was still somewhat off from the predicted 100,000 troops, the numbers were still enough to make Tanba cower in fear.

A tall, obese samurai walked through the camps while loosening his armor with an old samurai accompany him right now.

“It’s so damn hot!” Minamoto Jujiro Takamune was on the way back to his camp from participating in the army’s strategic meeting.

“We shouldn’t have insisted on taking the role of the vanguard, milord! Although our Dewa soldiers are sturdy and good at battle, most of them come from cold plains and aren’t as good as the local Kansai troops in battling in such miasmic, mountainous terrain. We should’ve let them take the role of the vanguard and focused on letting our troops adapt to the terrain first instead of showing initiative to head deeper into the labyrinthic woods of Tanba.” Takamune’s instructor, Ida Nobutada, expressed his worries.

“That’s just rubbish! My father, the commander-in-chief, has high expectations of me. With all the Genji clansmen watching me, I have no choice but to take the role of the vanguard so that I can show them how awesome the future commander-in-chief is!” Takamune retorted spitefully with his thick lips.

“You can’t make such baseless claims about becoming the future commander-in-chief, milord! The commander-in-chief will be displeased if he hears about it…”


Lily was meditating beside a creek within the valley right now.

The army was not just a mob, as even the weakest soldier taking part in the expedition was at least an early-stage samurai and marched much faster than ordinary soldiers. However, the complex terrain, vile weather and the unexpected attack on the supply wagons still delayed the march and made it take almost one whole month to reach the borders of Tanba.

The entire journey felt pretty slow to Lily, though, so she spent her time meditating or training alone within the mountain woods.

“The lord commands you to return to the army and follow his orders, woman!” An old, short samurai came over to pass the message.

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No one in the army showed Lily respect after she had spent twenty days within the army and most of the samurai just called her “woman” and did not give a damn about what her actual name was.

Lily did not bother to reason with the man and just followed after him.

“You’re so bothersome, woman! Can’t you stay in one place instead of moving here and there, huh?! Discipline be damned, I say! Walk faster now, or is it that you want to get punished for delaying our lord’s departure?”

It was not the first time Lily had come across such cynical provocation and just ignored it most of the time. None of the soldiers dared to harass her though, as Ida took care of her and warned them to not cross the line often. This forced them to run their tongues and speak ill about her instead. It was for the better, though, as the Dewa troops would have lost numbers before even entering Tanba had they made a move on her.

Lily arrived in a camp surrounded by flags with the Minamoto clan’s crest on it.

The obese Takamune was seated in the leader’s position in the camp. He was so fat that the small, foldable leather seat he was sitting on could not even be seen and had around seven Dewa generals sitting on his sides.

Ida, who was seated in the front left, pointed at the seat on the far left when he saw Lily come in and said, “Please take a seat, Ms. Kagami.”

Takamune spoke out suddenly when she was about to walk over to the seat, though. “Hold it! This seat is for men. There’s no place for women to sit in my camp!”

Lily shot him a glance and just stood at the side silently after hearing his words.

Takamune showed a content smile when he saw this, but he still felt a bit dissatisfied and continued, “Why are you overlooking us? Do you hate sitting on the dirt that much, huh?! Sit down on the ground and participate in the meeting!”

“No such rule exists.” Lily finally spoke.

“So what? It exists now! How dare you question me when I’m your commander, huh?! You should be feeling thankful that I did not order you to serve me in bed!”

“Hahaha!” The boorish Dewa samurai broke into loud laughter.

Lily’s expression turned cold. She would have already dealt with these ruffians if it were not for the fact that she did not want to create trouble for Commander Ashikaga Makoto.

“Milord!” Although Lily did not sit down, Ida got up and kneeled in front of Takamune instead. “Although Ms. Kagami is under your command, she’s still a military official of the court and is a respectable imperial inspector of the junior fifth rank, which is much higher than your court rank, let alone us, your retainers! I’m afraid that you will lose favor with the court if news of this reaches it!”

“The court, you say? It’s just b̲u̲l̲l̲s̲h̲i̲t̲! The court would’ve long gotten destroyed if not for my father4! The reason I endured this arduous travel is because my father ordered it. I don’t give a f̲u̲c̲k̲i̲n̲g damn about the court!”

“Please refrain from saying such things, milord! It will only embarrass the commander-in-chief if the court learns of this!” Ida bowed to Ida several times.

Takamune shook his head impatiently when he saw Ida’s behavior. “Fine, then. I allow you to take a seat, Kagami Lily, but you must remember that I only allowed it because you are a court official and not because you are a woman. Got it?”

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References

  1. Robinxen: Called it.
  2. Robinxen: I am quite surprised by this inclusion in a Chinese novel, given the history behind it.
  3. Robinxen: The yuri magnet continues to magnetise.
  4. Robinxen: This guy… foolish doesn’t even cut it.

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