|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 2109 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2151 words|
A silver-white star ribbon connected the lush mountain to a boulder beside the Heavenly Gate. It was relatively easy for Lily and Ayaka to maintain their balance and cross over to the mountain.
Meanwhile, Yuki-Onna, still consumed by grief, had retreated to the mirror dimension to spend some time alone. However, she found solace in her grief, using it as fuel to enhance her intent. She began refining the Glacial Heart to train and hoped that by focusing on her training, she could eventually overcome the pain of her lost love.
The mountain, though not very tall, emanated a distinct intent. As Lily and Ayaka reached the summit and gazed down at the distant Heavenly Gate rising amidst the mist-filled endless sea, they felt a unique and harmonious sensation fill their hearts.
Yoshitsune sat cross-legged under the boulder, positioned visibly to guard Lily and Ayaka during their training, ensuring no one would disturb them. Once he set his mind to a task, he became immovable. Such was the nature of heroic spirits.
Lily and Ayaka arrived at a cave on the mountain, where ancient candles lined the walls, creating a ritualistic space imbued with magic.
“Everbright Candles,” Ayaka remarked, her long hair fluttering in the wind. “These candles can burn for a long time by absorbing the spirit power present in nature. I never expected to find so many of them here.”
“Perhaps an ancestor trained in this cave,” Lily speculated.
As they looked outside, the sky gradually grew darker.
“Let’s begin our training, Lily,” Ayaka suggested.
“Mm,” Lily nodded.
According to the information Ayaka had gleaned from the monolith about pair training, there were three major levels of unity: Clueless Night, Unplucked Flower, and Waterless Moon. Though Lily was unaware of this, Ayaka knew they could only reach the Unplucked Flower level. The Waterless Moon level required a deep physical relationship between the celestial maiden pair1. Nevertheless, the Unplucked Flower level was more than sufficient to meet the requirements of the Tsukuyomi Swordstyle.
Each level demanded different intents, perceptions, and attire.
Clueless Night could only be trained during the night, as the name implied, and required the pair to dress elegantly and sanctimoniously. Unplucked Flower required the pair to dress in graceful, yet flimsy and alluring celestial raiments. As for the Waterless Moon… According to legends2, it required the pair to wear nothing but the ribbons of the celestial raiment.
Ayaka had already informed Lily about the attire requirements for the first two levels, and Lily had them stored inside her mirror space.
“Let’s change first, Lily,” Ayaka said.
“Mm,” Lily replied, her hair fluttering in the sea breeze.
Ayaka used her mind to light the Everbright Candles, causing the entire cave to be bathed in a pale-yellow glow from the candles’ illumination.
Lily then handed the set of priestess robes she had prepared in advance to Ayaka. The duo turned their backs to each other and began changing into the priestess robes. The requirements for the first level in terms of elegance and ceremoniousness were quite high. The pair had to dress appropriately from the inside out.
The fabric in contact with their skin on the inside had to be pure white, and they were prohibited from wearing anything else underneath. They also needed to cover their bodies firmly, with no exposed skin.
(This chapter is provided to you by Re:Library)
(Please visit Re:Library to show the translators your appreciation!)
As someone who descended from a line of priestesses and had trained at Izumo Shrine during her childhood, Ayaka was quite familiar with this process.
She removed the tattered dress from the battle and set it aside. Then, she leaned forward to reach the edge of her pantyhose, her breathing quickening slightly, as she pulled them down her waist and over her curvaceous buttocks, discarding them. Her smooth legs were illuminated with an alluring glow from the light of the candles.
The duo changed into priestess robes, consisting of a white top combined with a long red skirt that covered their legs.
At the moment, Lily did not have a blade in her hand. Like Ayaka, she held a copper musical instrument known as the kagura bell. Natsu, the demon cat, had borrowed the kagura bell from the shrine in Suno for Lily. It didn’t possess any magical powers and was simply used for ceremonies.
To train in the Tsukuyomi Swordstyle, the duo needed to achieve the second level of unity, Unplucked Flower. Ayaka had already informed Lily about the core aspects of pair training between celestial maidens that she had seen on the monolith. They first needed to achieve a deep level of unity by perfecting the first level, Clueless Night.
In addition to their holy priestess robes, they were required to wear makeup and beautiful golden headdresses.
“Let’s begin,” Ayaka said.
“Mm,” Lily nodded.
Facing each other inside the cave, the duo bowed ceremoniously. The kagura bells in their hands rang out with each step they took, their movements resembling a slow, ritualistic dance.
As they approached each other, the duo crisscrossed past one another, locking eyes for a brief moment before turning around. They then walked to the opposite side, facing the scenic view outside the cave, and began a slow, graceful dance.
Their movements exuded elegance and gravity, creating a melancholic yet fulfilling tempo. With each raise of their hands, the kagura bells swayed gently, producing a clear ringing sound that echoed through the mountain.
An ethereal and sublime intent, unique to this pair in their ephemeral world, manifested between them, carrying a sense of distance and loneliness. However, it was within this loneliness that the pair noticed each other more on this mountain surrounded by the sea. Entering a trance-like state, they danced ceremoniously and sanctimoniously.
For three days and nights, they continued in this state. One could say that as the golden bells chimed, even a celestial maiden lost track of how many nights had passed.
The resounding chime reverberated through the mountain and the sea, casting a radiant glow from the golden kagura bells held by the pair. They had successfully attained the first level of unity, known as Clueless Night.
Though not possessing the same power as true celestial maidens, the joys and sorrows of the mortal world, especially the solitude they experienced, held its own weight, not paling in comparison to the solitude felt by celestial maidens in Takamagahara. Their profound realization had propelled them to swiftly achieve the initial level of unity.
With Clueless Night attained, the pair could now keenly sense each other’s movements, rhythm, and intentions, even without physical contact. The first phase of pair training focused on unity of the physical body, for without this foundation, deeper levels of unity would remain elusive.
Beyond grasping each other’s pace and tempo, the primary purpose of this level was to foster an unspoken understanding of each other’s thoughts and forms.
(This chapter is provided to you by Re:Library)
(If you are reading this from other sites, that means this content is stolen without consent. Please support us by visiting our site.)
The dance movements themselves were not overly complex; it was the harmonization of form and intent that held paramount importance. The merging of their intentions and forms would signify the fulfillment of the first level’s purpose, establishing a solid groundwork for the future training of sword arts and esoteric techniques.
Having danced in silence for three days and nights, the pair paused to rest and prepare for the next stage.
“Let’s take a break and get ready for the second level, Lily.”
Lily and Ayaka entered a brief period of meditation, allowing their minds and bodies to recuperate as they readied themselves for the challenges of the second level of pair training.