|Author: Luo Jiang Shen||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 1796 characters|
|Translator: Sigma||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1164 words|
Lily arrived at the elegant inner courtyard that Sakiko called home, and found Nanako already there. Lily didn’t have any problems since she fell asleep in the bath – what problems could have occured when she was sleeping? – yet it felt like Nanako was always directing an unusual gaze towards her.
“Did you- Did sister buy the tea utensils? ” Nanako struggled to say, still unused to calling Lily as her master. .
Previously, Nanako had told Lily that they should address each other as sisters, especially in front of Sakiko, as to save the face and reputation of the Saikanji House; Lily had agreed with her.
“Yeah, we should go in. Don’t let Master Sakiko wait for too long.”
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Lily and Nanako waited outside, immediately entering the room after they received permission.
Right after Lily got into the room, she separated a little from Nanako. With elegant manner, she sat down on her knees opposite to Sakiko. Although Nanako was often quite willful, she was still the eldest daughter of an affluent house, so she had mastered such etiquettes.
After Lily sat down, she noticed that Sakiko was holding yet another uncommon tea utensil. That was a black teacup with drawings of gold lotus leaves.
“Show me your tea utensils. I want to admire them for a while,” said Sakiko.
Lily was a little embarrassed since her tea utensil was bought from a shop by the riverbank. She noticed that Nanako took out a tiny maroon teacup with white inner coating from an exquisite paper box.
“True Red Sand?” Sakiko seemed to recognize the teacup immediately.
“Yes…” Nanako shyly answered and bowed to Sakiko. She was truly an embodiment of a tender and obedient little girl now.
“So this is the Saikanji House’s True Red Sand that Duke Fujiwara had bestowed the head of the Saikanji Clan one hundred years ago. Could you let me look at it for a while?”
“Here, Master Sakiko ——” Nanako handed the maroon teacup to Sakiko.
“As expected of Saikanji House’s daughter. Even on a journey, you’ve brought along such a precious item. I’m guessing this teacup is Grade Four,” Sakiko examined the teacup and said.
“What?! Grade Four? How many valuable items does Nanako have!” Lily felt embarrassed, what she bought by the riverbank was only a Grade Two teacup…
“Miss Kagami, let me see yours,” said Sakiko.
Lily took out her white porcelain teacup while feeling really embarrassed.
As soon as Sakiko saw the teacup, she knew why Lily looked strangely timid. She said, “Miss Kagami, this tea utensil is pure white. It is spotless and incorruptible. It matches you well. It’s quite an extraordinary feat that you managed to buy a Grade Two tea utensil with the money you have earned in a short period of several weeks.”
“No, it’s not… Lily doesn’t have such good fortune to find a nice tea utensil that’s worthy of Lady Sakiko’s tea ceremony… Please forgive me.” Lily bangs hung as she apologised with a blushing face.
“Hehe, you don’t need to ask for redemption, but punishment is still needed. Remember that you owe me one,” teased Sakiko.
“Hehe, let’s not talk about irrelevant topics in an elegant tea ceremony. Miss Kagami, don’t be so upset. You’re still a beginner, a Grade Two utensil is more than enough. And as I’ve told you, you have fate with chado. Who knows, perhaps the predestined encounter is just around the corner,” Sakiko comforted her.
“Thank you Master,” Lily felt somewhat comforted. As her tea utensil wasn’t good enough, she had to put more effort. Regardless, Lily still loved her pure white Nameless Teacup a lot.
“Alright, before you two start to learn with me, I should brief you on the foundation of tea ceremony. Miss Saikanji might already know this. Miss Kagami, you have to listen to me well.”
“Yes,” Lily, of course, was eager to learn.
Sakiko continued, “Chado, or tea ceremony, even though it looks like an elegant, stylish art, it’s actually an important, noble, and powerful technique that the samurai need to master. It’s similar to archery, horse riding, or arcane artes. You’re at the first stage as a beginner. The ninth stage is the highest attainment. From the third stage onward, you can be called a chajin. It’s similar to the third level of riding techniques where you can mount an untamed horse to jump across a river and dash several hundred of meters within a blink of an eye!”
“Ah…” Lily opened her small mouth, looking a little absorbed with Sakiko’s lecture. She knew that horse riding and archery were the required subjects in samurai’s qualification, but she didn’t expect these outstanding techniques to be divided into levels. As Uesugi Rei could ride the Black Nioh, just what level of horse riding had she achieved…
She could understand why those techniques were fundamental to a samurai, but why was chado put on the same level with such lethal techniques?
“Miss Kagami, you don’t need to look at me skeptically like that. You like chado, don’t you? But this is more than just a hobby. The most fundamental function of chado to a samurai is to help them erase the demon in their hearts and enlighten their minds. After all, only a calm heart and a relaxed mind could benefit your training. Your inner state is also an important part of your training. If you don’t handle it well, your progress would be shackled and halted.”
“But it’s just the most primary function. Chado has more important functions to samurais and onmyojis!” Sakiko’s eyes brightened.
“And that is— the comprehension of the creative concept.”
“Creative concept?” Lily had some experience but it was still a vague concept to her.
“When your Kendo reaches a profound level, of course, you’ll start to pursue creativity. And, the creative concept focuses on the harmony between body and mind. Kendo trains your body and chado trains your mind. They are the foundation for mastering the Genji Swordstyle’s ultimate techniques.”
“Ultimate techniques?” Lily was startled. “Master Sakiko, the elegant chado is related to the ultimates somehow?”
“Cut it off,” Nanako snapped disdainfully, “You didn’t even know this. Without a creative concept, even if you have extreme resentment, hatred, or great ambition, you still wouldn’t be able to trigger your ultimate technique!”
“Hehe, although I have to comment something about Miss Saikanji’s tone and manner, she’s right,” smiled Sakiko.
Lily was astonished. That was why the Genji Swordstyle didn’t lecture about ultimate techniques. It was because everybody had their own experiences, which led to different inner states, the creative concepts they could perceive in this great wide world would be full of extraordinary things. Master Ieyoshi’s inner state wouldn’t be suitable to the later generations who wanted to learn his Swordstyle so he didn’t write it down.
One could only create and obtain an ultimate technique depending on the most profound creative concept that they could feel.
‘So what’s my creative concept?’ Lily thought.