The nights of Kamakura City were always dark and chaotic so long as the morning sun had yet to rise.
Time and again, an inhuman sound could be heard from the inconspicuous area of this old city. Either that or an oppressive roar. Occasionally, visible lights could be seen flashing in one corner of the city.
Even if the night parade had already left, the demons and monsters that humans feared were still hiding in various dark corners of the city. They were still wandering even on this eerie night, attacking or harming any unsuspecting human.
And nocturnal warriors like the female samurai earlier were also proceeding with their night hunt day after day.
“Miss Kagami,” Hojo looked at the gradually dispersing fog as he faced Lily and said, “I doubt there is any matter more significant than running into a girl from the Kagami family like you tonight. How about I escort you back? May I ask where you live? Is it the lodging house in the city or a certain lord’s manor?”
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“Eh…” It was truly a headache to think about this question with no correct answer. There’s no way Lily could tell him she came from a world with airplane, train, and skyscraper.
Looking at Lily holding her head with a worried frown, Hojo seemed to have understood something. He looked at Lily with a sympathetic face and took a step back, “I see… did Miss Kagami lose your memory?”
“In the Heian Empire that is now shrouded in darkness and chaos, there are all kinds of misfortune. There are many travelers unlucky enough to run into monsters attack on the road, which led to young girls losing their memories. This is not my first time meeting someone like that.”
“I apologize for making you recall those unpleasant things… that was due to my thoughtlessness.”
“Eh?” Lily was stupefied and looked at this tall samurai, whose eyes were filled with sorrow. She hadn’t said anything, and yet he already made up a good reason for her?
“No way, it is I who should apologize for making you think of me as a suspicious person. However, it is true I cannot recall many things…” Lily said as she held her face and turned her head slightly towards the side. Her long hair hanging on her shoulders.
“No way! Miss Kagami is definitely not someone suspicious!” Hojo hurriedly disproved, “Please don’t try to recall those sad memories again! After all, this era is already cruel enough! Maybe it might be a good thing if you can’t remember them.”
Lily was speechless, she was disgusted by her own feminine gesture. However, this was in order to survive in this mysterious world. What else could Lily do when she hadn’t gained enough strength to protect herself?
After Hojo finished organizing his thoughts promptly, he finally made a decision, “Miss Kagami, Kansai region is really really far away from here. We need to cover at least seven to eight thousand miles to reach there. This journey will be very perilous. All kinds of monsters occupied the dangerous zones, and the power struggle between samurais are happening all year round. Let’s not mention me, even our Hojo family wouldn’t be able to mobilize enough strength to safely send a girl back to the Kansai region in short order. Moreover, even if we arrived at the distant Kansai region, I fear that our Hojo family might not be able to move freely… Miss Kagami, although this one wishes to send you back, it is truly beyond my power.”
“Is that so…” Lily wanted to say something but hesitated. In fact, she was not really a girl from the Kagami family so she didn’t really have the thoughts of returning.
“Miss Kagami, I still have some official business so I cannot return to my hometown, then how about this,” Hojo seemed to emphasize my hometown deliberately. After that, he continued, “In the outskirts of Kamakura City, there is a vassal house of our Hojo family, Matsuda clan’s territory. Matsuda Nagahide is the kendo instructor of our Hojo clan’s army. How about I send you to the Matsuda family for temporary residence? We’ll talk about this matter again after reporting to my father and uncle.
Matsuda family? Kendo instructor? That did arouse Lily’s interest.
However, Lily still pretended to be reserved as she considered the option for a moment, then she inclined her head slightly and used the sleeve to cover up her face before she sighed helplessly, “Then I’ll be troubling you for that Mister Hojo.”
“No problem! On the contrary, I feel like I have wronged you, Miss Kagami. Just rest assured, I will definitely report this matter to my father and uncle as soon as possible.” Hojo seemed to feel very proud to be of assistance to this pitiful girl.
Lily followed Hojo along the main road and walked towards the outskirts. Ujizane1 even reduced his speed deliberately so that Lily could keep up, but even so, Lily was still falling a little bit behind. She felt annoyed in her heart. This Hojo Ujizane was so terrified when he ran into the demon, but it seemed like he was still a samurai with considerable strength. It was precisely because he had the strength that he could tell how powerful that demon was.
Senior sister’s physical constitution was really much much better than his male body. However, to keep pace with a trained samurai, even if the other side was deliberately slowing down, it was still a little strenuous!
Samurai, they were indeed very strong!
Hojo left the city along with Lily. This Kamakura City was different from Lily’s image of ancient Japan2, there were no walls or gate. As they walked on, the buildings around them were getting shabbier and less in number. They finally arrived at the outskirts.
The outskirts of Kamakura City was bountiful with nature. The trees were growing everywhere, and there was a barely audible cry either caused by the wind blowing past the trees or some creatures hiding in the dark. Even if there were no ghosts hiding in this kind of place, it still aroused one’s fear.
Hojo pulled a horse over from the roadside. Riding a horse to move swiftly during the night parade would attract the attention of powerful demons, so Hojo had to tie the horse under a tree here.
Lily, on the other hand, had a weird thought, “Tying up the horse here, was it not scared of being eaten alive?”
“Miss Kagami, please mount the horse. I’ll pull the horse in front.” Hojo didn’t know what Lily was thinking.
Lily was a little uneasy at first: Are we going to ride on that horse together? That would be too indecent!
It would seem that, in this world, there was still some man with polite behavior.
Lily also didn’t hold back, she didn’t wait for Hojo to come over to lend an arm. She pressed the horseback and did a graceful leap as she mounted the horse.
“Miss Kagami? You know how to ride a horse?!” Hojo was a little astonished at Lily’s smooth movement.
Lily only relied on her senior sister’s physical fitness, and that she didn’t want a man to touch her, so she forced herself to jump onto the horse. To ride a horse, she really couldn’t do it.
“I heard that the Kagami family’s riding and shooting skills are quite famous in the Kansai region. If Miss Kagami is a man, I’m sure you will definitely be a skillful rider!” Hojo led along the horse as he happily praised.
“Why a man? Can’t girls also ride and fight on horseback?”Lily frowned as she asked.
“Oh… naturally, they can. In the Heian Empire now, the demons and ghosts are going on a rampage everywhere, and the warriors are not united. We wage wars against each other and killing non-stop! The future outlook of the world is bleak. Even at the outskirts of Kamakura City, monsters appear occasionally. For a man, if they don’t die at the hands of demons, they will be enlisted in the army and die in a power struggle! Even the women are forced to pick up the sword and walk the path of meaningless slaughter, sigh! This one is ashamed as fellow men.” Hojo kept sighing with sorrow as he pulled the horse along.
The future outlook of the world huh…
What a safe and sound3 empire indeed!
Apart from the golden age of Heian Era, perhaps the hundred forms of humans were in full throttle here?
And she herself was in this kind of world, just what kind of path should she take from now on?
“Senior sister… I… Can I really protect your beautiful body and survive in this world? Can I really walk the path of a female samurai? Senior sister… by myself… I really… will become lost… and doubtful… Senior sister, if you are me, what will you do?”
For some reason, when she thought of senior sister, there was a faint prick in her heart.
The night was long, and where lies Lily’s path?
Maybe because she was too tired, or maybe because she received too much shock and were unable to bear these stress anymore, Lily’s fatigue spread quickly as she was rocked by the moving horse. She unconsciously started to doze off.
Gradually, Lily entered the land of dreams while riding the horse.
And not known to anyone, that mirror, right when she fell asleep, was emitting a faint gleam in her sash.
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In the darkness, a continuous rumbling sound could be heard.
That sounded like… a rumbling sound from some kind of machine.
“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for riding with Osaka Airline. We are now eighteen thousand kilometers above the Sea of Japan. We will arrive at the capital of Japan in one and a half hour of flight…”
A delicate boy was sitting at the window seat of the plane. At this moment, he was very nervous. It was not only because this was his first time riding the plane, but the main reason was also that, right beside him seated a girl who wore the same uniform as him. She had long black hair and graceful features. The girl wore over-knee black socks over her long legs. It seemed like she didn’t pay any mind to the boy’s nervousness as she just read her book in a calm manner.
Who could have thought, the one sitting beside the boy was none other than the senior sister he was always secretly in love with, yet were unable to get close.
The ray of the setting sun filtered through the gap in the clouds and shone upon the cabin. The dusk brought about some kind of dreamy atmosphere.