|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3113 characters|
|Translator: LazyButAmbitious||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1777 words|
As Lily initiated her attack, strangling Hagewashi’s familiars and monsters with her Sakura Blizzard, Shuten launched his countermove. His gaze was a blazing inferno of gold that plunged the entire world into a crimson gloom. Heart-wrenching cries of torment echoed from every direction.
An ominous, age-old mountain cast a towering shadow across the sky, seemingly hovering over Suno. This behemoth resembled Mount Ooe, but its landscape was vastly different – countless ruined pavilions teeming with demons and specters that howled and prowled ominously.
Looking closely, numerous young girls clothed in ragged attire could be seen running in sheer terror, desperately trying to escape the unyielding pursuit of the mountain’s resident demons. Many of these women met a dire fate, succumbing to the demons and subjected to indescribable suffering. Despite its illusory nature, the sight was enough to bring tears to Lily’s eyes. It was a pitiless sight.
The illusion reflected a harsh reality, representing the grievous experiences of the women who fell prey to Shuten and his followers over countless years. It was the manifestation of Shuten Doji’s soul world: Enkindling Desire Ibuki!
Ordinarily, when this mountain projection appeared, it would align nearly perfectly with Mount Ooe. After lying dormant for thousands of years, the true form of Shuten’s soul world was now laid bare for all to see. A soul world, encapsulating one’s real-world realm, sat on a higher plane of consciousness than a domain.
After learning the intent, one could look into the levels of domains, which were structured in seven layers. By transcending these layers, one could attain a soul world, a projection far more extensive and potent than a domain! The power of Lily’s Sakura Blizzard paled instantly in the face of this world.
The effect was immediate. Nearby young women froze in their tracks; some even collapsed, paralyzed and covered in cold sweat from the immense pain. The men and demons of Suno, whether villagers or otherwise, fell under the projection’s sway, their eyes turning blood-red and expressions distorted into malevolent snarls.
A wave of brutality ensued as men and demons alike turned on the nearby female villagers and the Tsunaga Sisters.
“Brother, what are you doing?!”
Those villagers who couldn’t flee the projection’s range began inflicting harm on their kin and neighbors, a gruesome spectacle of mindless violence. The Tsunaga Sisters, rendered immobile, were defenseless against the maddened villagers.
“Hahahahahahaha! You humans are such pitiful and foul creatures! Unmask your true desires and natures in this world made from lust and the resentment of thousands of women! Kagami Lily, see the kind of women you are defending; behold those villagers, observe their lasciviousness and wickedness! If they had the strength and audacity, they would be far more brutal than any demons, hahahahahahahahaha!” Shuten, having freed himself from the binding spell, floated in the air, laughing maniacally.
“B̲a̲s̲t̲a̲r̲d̲…” Lily shook uncontrollably. Her domain had been suppressed; she was powerless against the Enkindling Desire Ibuki. The only way to dissolve this world projection was to slay or gravely wound Shuten Doji!
With her present strength, if she were to harness all her power, she would match ordinary quadruple-soul Big Dipper Stage masters. Even when opposing legendary entities at the quadruple-soul Big Dipper Stage like Tomoe Gozen and Taira no Masakado, she might stand a fighting chance!
Yet, at this moment, her adversary was none other than Shuten Doji. He was a supreme archdemon at the quintuple-soul Big Dipper Stage!
“Enough…I am your opponent, Shuten Doji!” Lily’s body exploded with a deep purple lunar force, transforming into an intense violet flame that shot towards Shuten!
“Your desires are your own depravity; don’t pretend others are as contemptible as you, you disgraceful demon!”
Fired by rage, Lily’s black hair swirled and her red sleeves billowed as she quickly neared the attractive, towering archdemon, Shuten Doji. The sword in her grasp, Yasutsuna, quivered violently, radiating an unstoppable force. She launched a formidable blow with all her strength, determined to slice through Shuten!
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“Hmph, you think to wound me with a mere mortal blade1?” Shuten sneered, a malicious grin on his face, completely dismissing Lily’s attack. He transformed one of his hands into a colossal ghost claw, intending to snatch the blade directly.
Once he had the blade, he could effortlessly conquer her with his next move! Shuten’s spectral hand reached for Yasutsuna, while with his other hand, he discharged a wave of demonic energy. His eye technique was ineffective against Lily, but this energy wave would directly hit her body, causing severe damage and corrupting her mind. By then, she would be confused and docile, like the other women!
“I’ll crush your sword without a second thought!”
The massive ghost claw spread open before clenching to grip the oncoming Yasutsuna!
“Yah!!!” Lily’s eyes widened in fury as she exploded with monstrous power!
Yasutsuna ruthlessly sliced through Shuten’s huge ghost claw, which was as sturdy as a low-grade spirit artifact, leaving a visible, deep wound. Crimson blood, heavy with potent lust, sprayed everywhere!
“What?!” Shuten turned deathly pale in shock, “Ah!”
Smoke started to hiss from the wound on his ghost claw. It was not only painful, but also resistant to healing!
Gripping his ghost claw, Shuten couldn’t help but scream in agony, “Ah! Ah! Argh!!!”
But Lily didn’t stop with just a single slash. As she descended, she abruptly lifted her head, her eyes glistening with a faint purple light. Using the drifting cherry blossoms as steps, she ascended into the sky and capitalized on the surprise and torment Shuten was experiencing to aim a final strike at his chest!
“…!” A golden light flashed in Shuten’s eyes, and he quickly retreated!
Although he didn’t believe that Lily’s strength could threaten him, he was astonished to find that contrary to his assumptions, her blade could cause severe damage to his ghost claw. Fear stirred in Shuten’s heart, prompting him to withdraw several tens of meters for the moment.
Under the suppression of the world projection, Shuten Doji, with his larger frame, was faster than Lily in the air, allowing him to dodge her previous slash!
Dozens of meters high in the sky, Shuten’s heart still beats rapidly with residual fear. Had he not been watchful enough, he might have been critically wounded by this woman. His pair of captivating eyes blazed with extreme rage!
“Kagami Lily!!! You…how dare you try to kill me? You, a mere female samurai; how dare you?!” Shuten fumed with anger.
At this moment, Ayaka, who was engaging Hagewashi, swiftly shattered the ball of demonic energy that was hurled at her with a sweep of her naginata.
“What?” Hagewashi was startled.
Ayaka’s gaze was icy, entirely unaffected by Shuten’s world projection. She retaliated with a slash of glittering starlight that sped towards Hagewashi Tengu. He hastily dodged in panic, his black feathers scattering about.
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Ayaka turned her worried gaze back to the villagers and Tsunaga Sisters, whose minds were clouded by the world projection. She seized the opportunity presented by Shuten’s injury to make her move.
Suddenly, Ayaka’s body was enveloped in white silk, and once the silk dispersed, she had changed out of her previously torn miko attire into a beautiful, semi-transparent celestial maiden feathered garment. Her entire being started to radiate a bewitching aura that enraptured the heavens and the earth.
With every step she took, lotuses blossomed as she rose into the sky above Suno village. Holding an ancient wooden wand in her hand, she danced lightly in the air, surrounded by a spiraling nebula.
The nebula spread out over the village and brightened the seemingly infinite expanse of Shuten’s soul world. Dots of starlight transformed into fine, fragrant dew that fell from the sky.
One by one, the villagers and Tsunaga Sisters who were caught in the drizzle slowly calmed down and regained their senses…
“What…what did I do just now?”
“Brother! I…what have I done!”
The villagers seemed to have awakened from a nightmare.
The Tsunaga Sisters were bathed in a subtle silver glow after being nourished by the dew, a beacon against the malignant effects of the Enkindling Desire Ibuki. Still, even though their spirits managed to resist, their physical forms were being oppressed by the world projection, rendering those weaker than the Throne Stage immobile.
Watching this scene unfold, a surge of fury ignited within Shuten. “Fujiwara no Ayaka,” he roared, “I didn’t foresee you retaining such power! You have carelessly squandered Tamamo-no-Mae’s treasures, haven’t you? Those belong to me! They are mine!”
“You believe you can escape my control? Mortals, prepare for your demise!” Shuten exploded in rage.
Boom! Boom! Boom! The unassuming villagers who were trapped within the world projection met a gruesome end, exploding violently one by one. Only some powerful demons and the Tsunaga Sisters, who were safeguarded by the silver radiance from Ayaka’s heavenly rain, survived the carnage. Despite everyone below the Throne Stage being incapacitated and writhing in agony, they persevered…
With a swift whoosh, Shuten extended his hand, recalling the Kurokinsu halberd lodged in the mountainside.
“Fujiwara no Ayaka! You dare intervene?” Fuming, Shuten flung his halberd in Ayaka’s direction.
“Watch out!” Lily materialized between Shuten and Ayaka.
“Lily!” Ayaka tossed over a red parasol she held; the sakura parasol.
Without a second glance, Lily seized it mid-air.
Boom! As the sakura parasol blossomed open and began to rotate, it deflected Shuten’s flying halberd. But the powerful force still thrust Lily backwards.
“Ah!” She collided with Ayaka.
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Bang! They were hurtled through the air before crashing into the mountainside, leaving a deep crater.
The sisters tumbled down the mountainside together, clinging to each other for support. Although the impact was intense, most of the force was absorbed by the sakura parasol, ensuring neither Lily nor Ayaka suffered serious harm.
Supporting each other, they rose from the rubble.
“Lily, are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” Lily responded.
“Lily, this Celestial Spirit Blade should allow you to contend with Shuten Doji.”
Lily examined the Celestial Spirit Blade. Despite its power, it wasn’t a cursed blade she had refined herself, and thus she couldn’t unleash its full potential.
“No need,” Lily gently declined, pushing away the Celestial Spirit Blade. Her grip tightened around the hilt of the trembling Yasutsuna. A peculiar bond seemed to have formed between her and the cursed blade that had always been by her side. She could almost sense Yasutsuna’s seething resentment and its overwhelming desire to draw the blood of the supreme archdemon!
“Yasutsuna, let us battle together, my partner, my love2! Today, we either conquer or perish!”
The cursed blade, Yasutsuna, roared with untamed fury!