|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3097 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1726 words|
“Excuse me, senior, but who are you?” Lily asked politely.
“Y-You are…” Ayaka looked at the armored young man in front of her in astonishment.
The silver-red armored man possessed warm eyes that gazed at Lily, and he graced her with a gentle, profound smile that seemed incongruous with his youthful appearance.
“I am Minamoto no Yoshitsune,” he revealed.
“What?” Lily’s heart skipped a beat. From the moment she laid eyes on him, she had suspected his identity, but she couldn’t lightly speculate about the guardian of the Heavenly Gate.
“Y-You’re truly Lord Yoshitsune? The renowned hero of the empire, the one who has guided me since the day I visited the shrine to pay my respects to you?” Gratitude swelled within Lily’s eyes, causing her lashes to tremble.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune had become her teacher and guide in this world, a legendary figure of the Heian Empire who still held the unwavering reverence of the masses despite his passing—a true hero.
Lily took a step forward, intending to kneel and bow in a show of respect, but Yoshitsune emitted a golden aura that prevented her from doing so.
“I am but a samurai who fell in battle long ago, Ms. Kagami. I cannot accept your bow,” Yoshitsune gently remarked.
“B-But… You have been so kind to me, Lord Yoshitsune,” Lily protested, her voice filled with sincerity.
“It is the amalgamation of your obsession, kindness, and conflicts that has brought you to this point. I implore you not to bow to me for that,” Yoshitsune responded, his words dissuading Lily from expressing her reverence.
Although Yoshitsune’s soul emitted a powerful aura, not a trace of grudge could be sensed. Souls in such a state would ascend to the heavens, so it was a wonder why his soul remained in the mortal world.
As a hero who met an untimely demise, it seemed odd for him to lack resentment towards the world. Lily wondered where his soul’s power came from if it wasn’t fueled by the grudges he held.
Has he become a heroic spirit??!
While this dark world was filled with vengeful spirits, there were also genuinely selfless, benevolent, and righteous spirits. Their unwavering ideals could become obsessions that prevented them from ascending to the heavens or descending to hell.
These spirits were known as heroic spirits.
Becoming a vengeful spirit was a simple feat, but becoming a heroic spirit was a rarity. Despite falling in battle and dying prematurely, they held no hatred for the world, humanity, or the heavens. Within their hearts burned a righteous obsession. Only spirits as majestic as them could become heroic spirits.
Ayaka had also regarded Yoshitsune as her hero during her childhood. However, upon witnessing his unexplainable connection with Lily, she bowed silently and stepped back to the side.
Yoshitsune wore a gentle smile, looking at Lily with a sense of familial affection.
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“For a long time, the fragments of my consciousness left in various shrines searched for the right person to inherit my legacy and life’s mission, Lily. The descendants of the Genji clan in recent years have left me disappointed. However, everything changed when I encountered you. I’m genuinely surprised at how far you’ve come in less than a year. Your aptitude and luck are unprecedented.”
“Please, Lord Yoshitsune, I only wished to protect my sisters. As a woman, I am aware that without courage and strength, I would be defenseless against the miseries of the world.”
“I cannot fathom the burden of fate you carry, Lily, but I respect your defiance of it. Only an extraordinary genius can challenge the schemes of fate and break free from its shackles. I once believed I would be the one to achieve it, but my overconfidence led to failure, blinding me to the horrors of this world.” Yoshitsune’s gaze turned slightly downcast.
“I hope you will guide me, Lord Yoshitsune. I have come this far solely due to the favor you have bestowed upon me. I am willing to do anything you ask. I would not hesitate to risk my life,” Lily replied with unwavering determination.
While she had never felt responsible for maintaining world peace or upholding justice, she had no qualms about endangering her life and chastity if it meant protecting Rinne and her sisters.
As a resident of the Heian world, it was natural for Lily to uphold righteousness. However, she would always prioritize her own and her sisters’ interests. She would offer help within her capabilities, but not if it exceeded her power.
Yoshitsune, on the other hand, was different.
Lily would not have made it this far without his assistance, and she wanted to repay him for his kindness.
“Ms. Lily…” Yoshitsune’s eyes welled up with emotion as he witnessed Lily’s camaraderie. He reassured himself that he had indeed found the right person.
“The reason I didn’t reveal anything to you at the shrine before was because you were too weak back then, Lily. Merely possessing the knowledge would have put you in great danger1. However, despite the world still being fraught with peril for you, you have already proven your strength and luck by coming this far.”
“However, I still cannot disclose what it is that you need to do. Even I, who was once hailed as the most powerful hero in the world, am powerless against the machinations of fate. I… may even be mistaken about certain matters,” Yoshitsune spoke frankly.
Yoshitsune turned and gazed at the deep blue sea. “My elder brother, Yoritomo, and I had a vision of the heavens collapsing. We foresaw an unprecedented crisis that would threaten the imperial court and the entire world, resulting in the loss of tens of millions of lives in the empire.”
“Yoritomo?” Lily furrowed her brow.
Yoshitsune faced Lily and continued, “I am aware of only a few secrets, and they might not be complete. Lily, you have already opposed Yoritomo, and it is fortunate that you are still alive. You must remain cautious of that man. If I had not underestimated his ambitions, I would not have…”
“Forget it. Let bygones be bygones. Yoritomo is different from those evil archdemons and demon gods. His aim is not the world’s destruction. He is working towards the future, much like me, striving to ensure the survival of the world and its people amidst the impending collapse of the heavens. After all, he is still human. However, our perspectives and goals diverge completely. I believe that if humanity must adapt to his ways, it might as well be considered the end of humanity itself2.”
Yoshitsune’s eyes gleamed as he continued, “Yoritomo seeks to transform humans so that they can adapt to the dark future that awaits. My goal, on the other hand, is to fight for humanity’s freedom! Lily, due to the stance I have taken, I cannot tell you who is right or wrong. You must forge your own path towards the future.”
“A person might as well be dead if they do not have freedom, Lord Yoshitsune. I stand before you now, indifferent to who is right—whether it is you or Yoritomo. I will fight for those I respect, for those who have aided me, and for my sisters. That is my sense of righteousness. As a woman, I may lack the capacity to comprehend the intricacies of fate or grasp the bigger picture, but I do know one thing: one must always remain true to their heart and repay the kindness they have received,” Lily stated candidly.
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Yoshitsune had not anticipated such a response from Lily. “Lily… Only someone with a clear conscience like you can find the right path. At the very least, I am grateful that you disapprove of Yoritomo’s methods.”
“I refuse to believe an old coot who has repeatedly attempted to kill me and my sisters, even if he may be right!” Lily declared, her words filled with icy resolve.
Once again, Yoshitsune was taken aback. He had not expected someone as beautiful as Lily to possess such a fearsome and unwavering spirit.
Yoshitsune nodded and remarked, “I suppose the reason I failed was that I tried to shoulder too much. Your words truly make me envious.”
“Huh?” Lily’s cheeks turned red as she hurriedly replied, “I’m sorry, Lord Yoshitsune. I didn’t mean to say that.”
“Hahaha. There’s no need to hide it, Lily. You are a generous person, but you are not a hypocrite, and you don’t even attempt to hide it. Perhaps that’s how humans should be! Blind generosity will only corrupt those who receive it. A utopia where one can be endlessly happy will only lead to ruin. Just follow your heart, Lily.” Yoshitsune admired Lily’s authenticity and nobility, perhaps because she was more grounded in reality while he had been too idealistic with his thoughts.
“I got carried away because you were so kind, Lord Yoshitsune. I still hope that you will guide me,” Lily said.
She’s stubborn yet humble and unbiased. She may possess boundless potential, Yoshitsune thought.
“I have already explained that Yoritomo’s ambitions pose the greatest threat to the Heian Empire, Lily. However, I also do not know how to address the situation considering the impending collapse of the heavens. I attempted to create a utopia where people could live freely but failed in my endeavors. I cannot show you the exact path. It is beyond my capabilities,” Yoshitsune admitted.
“However, I believe that the mirror girls are the key factor in all of this, and you are the most exceptional among them,” he continued. “Pursue the mission of the mirror girl, Lily, and you may discover the clues to unraveling the secrets of the heavens.”
Lily narrowed her eyes and questioned, “The mission of the mirror girl? It has puzzled me for a long time, Lord Yoshitsune. I traveled all the way from Kanto to Heian-kyo in pursuit of my mission as a mirror girl, but all the clues I have found seem to lead to dead ends. Each mirror girl has her own mission, but I have no idea what mine is.”
Yoshitsune’s eyes shimmered with profound wisdom as he replied, “If you have lost sight of your mission, Lily, let me remind you that the end is where everything begins anew3.”
Yoshitsune then turned his gaze towards Ayaka, who had been silently listening to their conversation.