|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3257 characters|
|Translator: Yuki||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1844 words|
Lily concealed herself beneath the ancient tree, nestled among the dense foliage. Her gaze fixated on the imposing mountain before her, pondering the most effective way to infiltrate its formidable walls. Venturing through the front was far too perilous, as it would undoubtedly draw attention to her presence. The notion of masquerading as a captive female samurai, escorted by her phantom Yomi demons, seemed plausible at first, but it would likely unravel under scrutiny. Sometimes, simplicity held the key to success.
Surely, Mount Ooe possessed more than one entrance. Lily withdrew into the shadows, her eyes scanning the surroundings even in the cover of night. Her keen vision sought out any alternative passage that might reveal itself. The sheer enormity of Mount Ooe had already consumed much of her time, navigating its treacherous paths along its towering slopes.
“Hmm?” Lily’s gaze was drawn to a series of pavilions nestled on the mountainside, near the far end. “Pavilions? Shuten Doji must have constructed them for a reason.”
Mount Ooe stood as a colossal titan, soaring to towering heights and stretching across hundreds of miles, encircled by desolate wastelands. Lily cautiously pressed forward, her steps guided by darkness. This area likely fell within the purview of Shuten Doji’s watchful eye. Suppressing her spiritual energy entirely, she relied solely on her physical prowess, moving stealthily toward the mountain’s base to begin her arduous ascent.
While Shuten Doji would periodically release his domain, emanating waves of scrutinizing spiritual fluctuations, tonight seemed to be an exception. He had yet to unleash his full eldritch power. Few adversaries remained who could pose a significant threat to Shuten Doji within Mount Ooe, with Tamamo-no-Mae and Fujiwara no Ayaka incapacitated. Fear seemed absent from his heart.
“Hmph, I’ll seize this opportunity while he remains heedless,” Lily whispered resolutely.
Spirit energy remained dormant within her, relying instead on acute senses and intuition to detect any traps or spells. Fortunately, this portion of Mount Ooe appeared devoid of such hindrances. The mountain’s vast expanse itself acted as a formidable natural defense, requiring its demon and monster inhabitants to guard only a handful of entrances and the labyrinthine interior.
Throughout the remainder of the night, Lily persevered, scaling the unforgiving terrain until she reached the base of the pavilions. Concealing herself behind rocky outcrops, she meticulously observed the surroundings. Beneath the pavilions lay a spring, accompanied by withered trees and a courtyard adorned with crumbled stone lamps. It was in this very space that Lily witnessed a disheartening sight—the presence of scantily clad female slaves engaged in the menial tasks of washing and laundering.
Surrounding the pavilions stood a formidable assembly of robust demon guards adorned in animal skins. These imposing sentinels boasted considerable strength, their power reaching the levels of the spirit jade and permanence realms. Lily’s realization dawned upon her—these pavilions existed solely for Shuten Doji’s indulgence in the company of these unfortunate captives.
Lily’s instincts warned her of the multitude of defensive restrictions that enshrouded the area.
“Kagura, can you break through these restrictive spell formations? Or is there a way for us to enter undetected?” Lily inquired urgently.
“Fear not, Master. Though my strength remains diminished, these defense mechanisms are rudimentary and amateurish. It is only the ancient formation at the center of Mount Ooe that poses a challenge. Grant me some time, and I shall dismantle them,” Kagura assured her, “Master, follow my guidance closely…”
As a shikigami, Kagura’s presence in the physical world could easily be detected, for the life force fluctuations of a shikigami differed significantly from those of a regular being. Therefore, Kagura analyzed the spell formations from within the mirror space through the mental transmissions from Lily. Within a certain range, master and shikigami could share their senses with one another.
Under Kagura’s expert tutelage, Lily employed astute and advanced techniques to unravel the web of restrictions and curses, infiltrating the pavilion. Within its confines, there were no more hindrances or hexes; it served as a dwelling for the ordinary female slaves who moved about freely.
These hapless captives had been snatched from various places. If Lily could eliminate Shuten Doji, she would have the opportunity to rescue them.
Nimbly evading both the female slaves and guards, Lily traversed the pavilion with caution. Towards the rear, she stumbled upon a crudely constructed stone stairway leading into the depths of the mountain.
Silently bypassing the patrolling guards, Lily ascended the stone steps in a single bound. Upon landing, she felt a presence by her foot and gazed down, discovering the lifeless body of a woman.
Lily couldn’t help but feel a pang of sorrow in her heart as she witnessed the plight of these female slaves. Even in death, their bodies were left unattended and uncared for.
Without wasting a moment, Lily hastened towards the exit of the stairway. At the exit, another barrier stood in her way. With Kagura’s assistance, she broke through the barrier and entered the hidden depths of the mountain undetected.
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While the main entrance of Mount Ooe boasted formidable force fields, this area was comparatively weaker.
“Now, I just need to locate Shuten,” Lily mused. “He should be deep within the sinister heart of Mount Ooe. I’ve been there before, but never through this path.”
The cave tunnels sprawled out in multiple directions like a labyrinth. Darkness enveloped the surroundings, with only a few demons carrying torches while others roamed in obscurity. Lily cautiously waited for the patrolling demons to pass before proceeding.
However, there were instances when hiding was impossible. As she walked down a long and narrow cave, devoid of any rocks or boulders for cover, two corpulent demons emerged on the other side.
“Oh no!” Lily swiftly stashed her weapons in the mirror space and flung herself to the side of the passage, feigning sobs.
The two demons noticed her presence.
“Who goes there?”
“We’ve never seen you before!”
Lily lifted her head, her eyes glistening with faux tears as a potent wave of seductive allure emanated from her.
“I-I was just captured… I’m the eldest daughter of the Kagami clan in Kansai. The two elder brothers were escorting me to meet His Highness Shuten, but they suddenly had some urgent matter and left me here. I’m so frightened…”
Under normal circumstances, such a poorly concocted lie wouldn’t fool even the simplest-minded demons. However, Lily’s profound understanding of the true intent of seduction, combined with her natural beauty, effortlessly affected the minds of these two early-stage permanence realm demons.
Empowered by Lily’s realm and pure seductive intent, she had the ability to influence anyone below the throne realm, unless they were naturally resistant entities like female wraiths or other exceptional beings.
While full control over these demons might prove challenging, persuading them was relatively easy. The impact of her seductive allure relied on a certain level of rationality and willingness. If she were to command them to die, they would undoubtedly disobey and snap out of their stupor.
Lily, however, had never specialized in the arts of charm or manipulation. The two demons exchanged bewildered glances, their grotesque faces showing signs of confusion.
“Oh, right! We still have errands to attend to. His Highness Shuten Doji’s palace is located at the center of the mountain. Take this path, make a left, and be prepared for a more intricate route ahead. You might need to ask for further directions along the way.”
“Yes, since you’re going to meet Shuten Doji, don’t delay any longer!”
The two demons offered more advice, yet their eyes remained fixated on Lily’s chest and slender legs. They could only gulp and suppress their desires, understanding that this woman belonged to Shuten Doji and was off-limits.
“Thank you, kind brothers.”
Silently disposing of the two demons before her wouldn’t pose too much difficulty for Lily. However, this was Shuten Doji’s domain, and even the slightest ripple of battle could expose her presence. If she could avoid a confrontation, she would. Besides, she still required directions to Shuten’s palace.
“Go, hurry!” the demons urged before making their own departure.
“I must proceed without raising any alarms. Otherwise, all my efforts will be in vain. Given his realm, forcefully obtaining the antidote from him is out of the question.”
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Lily pressed on, navigating the depths of the mountain with caution. Whenever she encountered a demon or monster, she sought hiding spots. If hiding proved impossible, she relied on her seductive intent to convince them that she was a lost maid.
Finally, she arrived at a familiar, spacious passageway adorned with a gigantic stone gate and ancient demon god statues. It was exactly as she remembered. Positioned in front of the gates were several guards at the throne realm.
“This is not good. Throne realms are not easily swayed by seductive intent,” Lily murmured to herself. “But there’s a high chance that Shuten is within these halls. I must proceed with utmost care. Any alarms raised, and all my efforts will go to waste.”
Lily concealed herself behind a massive boulder, keeping her eyes fixed on the stone gates, searching for an opportunity to slip inside unnoticed.
From another passageway, a group of maids emerged, unaccompanied. They appeared dazed and worn, their clothing torn and revealing.
Escaping from Mount Ooe was beyond the capabilities of these maids. Any attempt to flee would result in a tragic fate. Hence, unaccompanied or not, these maids served Shuten Doji and the other fiendish kings, carrying out tasks such as serving food and delivering wine.
Gritting her teeth, Lily shed her kimono, leaving only a celestial maiden garment, suspender panties, and black stockings. She grabbed a silk scarf and intentionally tore it before draping it around herself. She proceeded to create deliberate holes in her black stockings. In this manner, she managed to maintain a semblance of modesty, resembling the other maids. With her figure slightly blurred, she positioned herself behind the maids and adopted a vacant expression.
None of the maids took notice, but if any of them had, Lily was prepared to employ her seductive intent without delay. Though it was generally more challenging to affect individuals of the female gender, these maids were merely at the awakened stage, while Lily possessed strength equivalent to that of a big dipper—a stark contrast in realms that would make charming them a simple task.
Lowering her head, Lily quietly followed behind the maids1.
As they approached the stone gate, the guards cracked it open to allow them passage. Since these maids frequented the area for work, they faced little resistance.
Lily’s heart raced as she passed by. Several guards fixated their gaze on her body and long legs. If she were discovered, she would have no choice but to attack. However, the guards were solely captivated by the taller and more alluring Lily. They wondered where such a stunning beauty had come from, but since she was with the other maids, there was no cause for suspicion.
And so, Lily infiltrated the devil’s den, entering under the watchful eyes of the guards.