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Chapter 22 – Musashibo Benkei

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3261 characters
Translator: Keissen English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1941 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

“Lord Yoshitsune, you’ve been silently guarding us all this time…” Lily expressed her gratitude sincerely.

Observing the transformation in Lily, Yoshitsune nodded in satisfaction. “Lily, it appears you have learned a great deal during these two months.”

Lily modestly replied, “There is still much for me to learn…”

“Such modesty and grace.” Yoshitsune nodded again. Lily was truly a captivating individual, reminiscent of the charm possessed by Shizuka Gozen in her time. However, Lily had a unique ability to captivate others subtly. Being a person of immense strength, Yoshitsune could only feel a mix of melancholy and joy upon witnessing such a remarkable protégé. He harbored no ill intentions whatsoever.

“However, Lily, Shuten Doji was already an ancient Archdemon who occupied Mount Ooe in my time. While he may not be as audacious as he is now, he remains treacherous and cunning. You must exercise caution. Your current strength and experience are insufficient to confront him directly,” Yoshitsune cautioned.

Lily nodded, taking his advice to heart. “I understand.”

“And above all, be wary of falling into his traps,” Yoshitsune emphasized.

Lily solemnly nodded once more, fully grasping the gravity of the situation.

“Lord Yoshitsune, is there anything else you wish to impart to me?” Lily inquired respectfully.

“Lily, I have imparted all the knowledge you require. What lies ahead is now in your hands. If you have any further questions, you may always seek me out at the Heavenly Gate. As long as I remain here…” Yoshitsune paused briefly. “By the way, remember what I advised you about avoiding Benkei.”

“Yes, I understand,” Lily replied, assuring him of her comprehension.

Yoshitsune’s voice softened. “And… should you encounter Shizuka.”

“Lord Yoshitsune?” Lily murmured quietly.

Yoshitsune hesitated for a moment before continuing, “…forget it. Do not say anything to her.”

“I understand,” Lily bowed in silence.

“Very well, you may go,” Yoshitsune acknowledged her understanding with a nod of satisfaction before dissipating into golden light.

He had once been a hero of his generation, now reduced to a heroic spirit bound by his unwavering sense of justice. Despite his inability to depart from this realm, he continued to safeguard the world. Yoshitsune was a figure deserving of utmost respect.

Regrettably, this heroic spirit could no longer reunite with his beloved1.

After bidding their farewells, Lily and Ayaka retraced their steps on the Ascending Road, their minds filled with thoughts and uncertainties. Lily couldn’t help but steal glances at Ayaka, contemplating whether her sister held any knowledge about the Mirror Girl’s destiny, as hinted in her dreams. The questions lingered, but with their pressing mission at hand, Lily had no time to dwell on them further.

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As they journeyed back, they encountered no guardians to impede their progress. Following Yoshitsune’s advice, they covered their heads with scarves, an attempt to mimic his previous crossing. With each step, trepidation coursed through Lily’s veins. Ahead, within the ruins of the temple, the imposing figure of Musashibo Benkei basked in the moonlight, casting an ominous presence.

As they approached Benkei, Lily couldn’t shake off the sense of trepidation that enveloped her. Both she and Ayaka instinctively lowered their heads and proceeded cautiously, adhering to the method Yoshitsune had advised them.

“Lily, I just recalled a myth from long ago,” Ayaka whispered, breaking the silence. “We must walk across one by one. Yoshitsune crossed the bridge alone, wearing the scarf. If we were to walk together, it wouldn’t recreate the scene. He might try to stop us.”

Ayaka’s observation resonated with Lily. “You’re right, sister.”

Determined to forge ahead, Ayaka made her intentions clear. “Let’s proceed, Lily. I’ll go first.”

Lily, equally resolved, refused to let Ayaka shoulder the risk alone. “No, I’ll take the first step.”

Understanding the logic that the first attempt would be more precarious, with subsequent crossings becoming safer, they couldn’t afford to bicker. Ayaka’s determination flared. “Lily, there’s no need to argue. I insist on going first!”

With a gentle push, Ayaka propelled herself forward, leaving Lily no choice but to acquiesce. Lily, too, had made her own preparations, ready to react swiftly and protect Ayaka if the need arose. She held her resolve, knowing she had the strength to fight back and ensure their escape.

Ayaka proceeded calmly and assertively, clutching her scarf and bowing her head as she walked past Benkei. Lily strained to catch a glimpse of his expression, but all she noticed were his eyes glowing, as if evoking memories of something sorrowful. The realization hit Lily that their passage served as a reminder of Benkei’s tragic past, leaving a tinge of sadness within her.

However, it was evident that Benkei, in his current state, remained entrenched in perpetual sadness or anger. Ayaka continued her steady stride until she reached a hillside far away, where she turned back to glance at Lily. It was a sign that she had safely made it through.

Thus, Lily followed suit, bowing her head and gripping her scarf tightly as she advanced in silence. With each step, anxiety consumed her. The imposing presence of the colossal warrior monk, Benkei, intensified the closer she drew to him, instilling a deep-rooted fear.

Just as she was about to pass him, Benkei’s voice resonated like a thunderous roar, shattering the tranquility. “Who goes there? How dare you traverse this path at such a late hour? Have you not heard of Musashibo Benkei?”

His booming voice reverberated through the air, causing Lily’s heart to plummet. But wait, there was no bridge on this mountain path. Was Benkei reliving a conversation from his past encounters with Yoshitsune?

Benkei leaped down the slope, causing the ground to tremble beneath him. He positioned himself on the path, his back turned towards Lily. Slowly, he pivoted around to face her before speaking, “All warriors passing through must surrender their weapons. However, I, Musashibo Benkei, never challenge women. You may proceed.”

Lily nodded in response, her movements cautious as she continued her journey forward.

“Wait! I don’t believe… you are truly a woman!”

His eyes widened suddenly, emanating an overwhelming aura. In a swift motion, he swung his naginata towards Lily with lightning-like speed!

Reacting swiftly, Lily leaped to evade the strike, narrowly missing as it struck a dilapidated stone lantern by the cliffside.

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“Skilled! With such abilities, why would you disguise yourself as a woman?”

He attacked again, delivering a powerful blow aimed at Lily!

Although formidable, Lily was prepared to face his assault. Swiftly dodging, she accelerated and slid towards Benkei.

Thud! Benkei crouched and struck the ground, causing it to crack. Meanwhile, the agile young girl closed in on him, unsheathing her Cursed Blade. She transformed into a blur of light, aiming for his neck.

While Benkei possessed the agility to evade her attack, for some reason, Benkei found himself momentarily dazed upon witnessing her movements and strike.

Underneath the shadow cast by his weathered features, a worn face emerged, bearing an expression of profound sadness.

“Lord Yoshitsune… Are you Lord Yoshitsune?” Benkei’s voice trembled, tears streaming down his wide eyes.

Simultaneously, Lily halted her assault, holding her blade near his neck.

Her scarf had been blown away during the fierce exchange. Why was Benkei still unable to recognize her?

Could it be that her movements, sword style, and techniques mirrored those of Yoshitsune? After all, the Yoshitsune Sword Style originated from the Tsukuyomi Sword Style.

Benkei sank to his knees.

“Lord Yoshitsune… Oh, Lord Yoshitsune!” He bellowed, his cries filled with anguish.

Despite his imposing figure, he was overcome by deep-seated emotions at that moment.

However, he simply assumed Lily to be his master based on her sword style and fluidity of movement.

Lily cast a sorrowful and helpless glance at Benkei but could only turn away and continue her journey. After passing him, Ayaka and Lily emerged from the ancient mountain path and reached the shores of Ise.

As Lily gazed back at the Ise Heavenly Gate, a premonition stirred within her. She had a feeling that she would return to this place sooner than she expected.

Summoning the demon bird, Lily and Ayaka mounted the creature and took to the skies, heading towards Suno.

In the dark and desolate Shogun’s residence in Heian-kyo, Minamoto no Yoritomo entered through a side entrance and settled in the main hall.

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“Lord Shogun!”

A bleeding head of an Onmyoji floated inside, its appearance utterly wretched.

“Lord Abe no Taisei?” Yoritomo was taken aback by the sight of the severed head. “What has happened to you? How did you end up like this?”

“Lord Shogun… You… You’ve finally returned! It’s terrible! Those two women… they did this to me!” Abe no Taisei’s disheveled head, covered in dirt, blood, and fallen leaves, conveyed his distress.

“Lord Taisei, please calm down. What exactly happened? Take your time and explain. Weren’t you with Hakure?” Yoritomo inquired. After the conflict on the ritual site, he had been absent from Heian-kyo for a while, attending to other matters.

Abe no Taisei’s head, mistaken for a demon, had been relentlessly pursued when attempting to enter Heian-kyo. Only a select few knew of his true identity. With no choice, he sought refuge in the Shogun’s residence, but Yoritomo was absent. Fearing for his life if he revealed himself, he had no choice but to hide.

“Lord Shogun, Young Master Hakure… he… he was killed by two women!”

“What?” Yoritomo’s eyes grew sharp, though his expression remained impassive. Nevertheless, the entire residence quaked with tension.

Taisei proceeded to recount the events that had unfolded.

“I see…” Yoritomo’s countenance remained inscrutable, yet a tinge of sadness seemed to flicker across his stoic face. “So, it was Kagami Lily once again? Lord Taisei, I can almost confirm that it was Kagami Lily and Fujiwara no Ayaka who took the life of my son, Hakure. He was the most talented among all my children.”

Based on Taisei’s description, the culprits consisted of a towering female Onmyoji and a dazzling female samurai clad in red. Considering their abilities, it could only be them among the countless individuals in the Heian Dynasty. However, Taisei did not recognize Kagami Lily.

“Lord Shogun, you must avenge Young Master’s death! Those women entered the Ascending Road in Ise. I don’t know their intentions, but they even seized the Lunar Crystal!”

Yoritomo appeared indifferent upon hearing that the Lunar Crystal had been stolen. However, an undercurrent of anguish surpassed the loss of his son.

“Kagami Lily and Fujiwara no Ayaka are now the Empire’s most wanted fugitives. I will spare no effort in capturing them. However, it has been two months, and I am uncertain if they are still within the confines of the Ise Heavenly Gate.”

Yoritomo promptly ordered an investigation, yet he refrained from taking immediate action. Due to various circumstances, he had not personally approached the Ise Heavenly Gate unless absolutely necessary. Moreover, significant time had already passed, making his intervention too late.

Engulfed in numerous responsibilities, he found himself unable to venture far. Meanwhile, his clone, Kamakura, was occupied with other matters and unavailable. Lily and Ayaka had managed to defeat Taisei and four single-soul Big Dippers. At present, Yoritomo likely lacked capable individuals to confront them.

“The heavenly order is collapsing. These two demonesses are wreaking havoc upon the world2. Even Heian-kyo itself suffers from the Empire’s weakness,” Yoritomo realized, his tone tinged with resignation.

“Lord Shogun, are we to let Young Master’s death go unanswered?”

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“Lord Taisei, I will arrange for medical attention for you. Please, calm yourself. For the sake of stability in the world and to completely eradicate these demonesses, I have been toiling relentlessly, as you are well aware.”


  1. Robinxen: Could they not just like… send letters?
  2. Robinxen: That’s what you see them as huh?
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