During the evening that day.
“Bang!” Taro was so angry that he immediately stomped the ground as soon as he got home.
“Aunt Hiroko is absolutely overreaching herself!”
In order to get rid of a potential threat like Lily, Hiroko unintentionally ended up informing his uncle, Daidouji Akira, of Lily’s beauty and good points. He was a scoundrel and pervert who was one level above him when it came to shrewdness!
Besides, he didn’t have the skill to cut a teacup with eyes closed as Lily did. It’s not that he was afraid that he would lose to Lily, so what if her skills were good? No matter how good her acrobatic skills were, just one heavy punch was enough to kill her!
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In real battles, what they competed against were ferociousness and ruthlessness! At least that’s what Taro thought.
However, Lily improved way too fast. She was so bright that he started to feel uneasy.
And more importantly, would he gain anything if he won? Though he could vent his anger, Lily would be sent to Akira of Daidouji. In other words, she would be sent to his uncle!
In the first place, Taro had fallen for Lily and he didn’t expect things would become like this. So how about if he lost on purpose?
But if he lost to a woman, how would he have the face to mingle in this region?
“I must think of a way, a means to kill two birds with one stone…” Taro mulled over it for a while, then he clapped his hands and walked towards the direction of the mountain woods.
It was already a well-known fact that Taro regularly stayed outside for the whole night due to various reasons; such as making friends with people of various trades, street fights, playing with women, etc. That’s why the Matsuda Clan was also very mindful of it.
The dawn of the next day, in the yard of the Matsuda Clan, the white-clothed Lily was practicing archery with the other youngsters. Taro didn’t show up, but everyone just thought that he didn’t like archery. This was not his first time skipping class after all.
“Stand straight and exert your strength moderately. Remember the way I taught you to draw the bow. Do not panic when nocking the arrow, you must remain calm. Exert strength into your forearm and pull it back slowly. When the arrow reached the anchor point, it will naturally form the standard stance of archery!”1
Lily was standing quite a few steps away from the feral brats. After all, there were differences between male and female.
Only after two weeks of practice, Lily already had a beautiful stance. It was practically a textbook example. Even Kimura Tetsuo was nodding repeatedly and considered it as a work of art.
Archery and horsemanship had multipurpose in a group battle. Unless they were using the bow as their main weapon, it was rare to find lone samurais carrying them in the battlefield.
However, this was one of the required skills for samurai’s qualification test since ancient times. Lily thought that it was the same in the modern world, where many of the tested subjects didn’t get to see immediate practical use.
Take Taro for example; he always complained that archery was useless every time they practiced with the bow.
But Lily thought differently, she believed there’s a reason in itself since this was a tradition passed down from time immemorial.
Maybe she wouldn’t be using the bow frequently, but it was hard to say whether she would participate in a war or not. As a samurai, there were times when they would be forced to adapt to the situation depending on the circumstances.
Moreover, Lily also came to understood many things after learning archery.
Archery was different from kenjutsu and horsemanship. It was a martial art that didn’t involve much movement. Its requirement for stability and a calm state of mind was very high.
Instead of learning archery, it would be better described as honing one’s own mind.
The fight between master martial artists happened within seconds. Victory or defeat could be decided by one’s state of mind.
As a person who came from modern Eastern civilization, Lily valued the importance of mentality. If she could enter a state of “selflessness”, maybe she could bring out extraordinary strength! If her mind was in a mess, her skills and actions would be restricted. She wouldn’t be able to bring out the strength she originally possessed. Just like that time when she just encountered the night parade at Kamakura City, Lily was so scared that she was unable to move her legs. Even if she had the power, it would be useless if she was unable to utilize it!
And the influence of the mental state would only get bigger along with her spirit training, as her body would transcend the limits of what was normally possible.
As she trained in archery these days, not only had Lily mastered the skills to shoot with great precision, even her psyche improved drastically. When she remained stationary, she was as still as a rock. When she moved, she was as quick as a runaway rabbit. With the combination of her bow and sword training, Lily’s ability to command over her mind and body became even better!
Although Lily didn’t plan to make the bow her main weapon, she was very gifted in archery. Senior sister’s body had an incredible aptitude for it.
This was also why Lily had been working so hard these days. Even if other people couldn’t become a samurai, they could go farming, but how about Lily? As a lone girl from a parallel world, how could she protect herself if she didn’t exert great effort?
However, after going through such an unimaginable experience, Lily’s vision, knowledge, and even mentality were a lot higher than the locals.
“Hm?” Lily always felt that whenever she nocked an arrow and drew the bow, a subtle reaction was formed between herself, the arrow that was about to fly out, and her surroundings.
With the arrow as the guide, the spirits of the surrounding creatures as the soul, and the vitality of the lifeforms as the body, a simple yet relaxing image of the real world was vaguely formed in Lily’s mind. This image seemed to be changing to some extent depending on her mood. On the other hand, Lily faintly felt that this image in her heart could also affect herself a little, even to the point of affecting her surroundings.
What is this feeling?
At the moment, Lily could only feel it to a slight extent. She still didn’t know this feeling signified…
Just like how senior sister always got top marks for studies and behavior in the modern world, Lily had completely mastered what they referred to as the “three fundamental skills” of a samurai.
During the afternoon, Lily began her horse riding exercise under the guidance of Kanzaki.
According to Kimura and Kanzaki, the participants were required to stand fifty steps away from the target during the archery examination. They were only given five arrows and three shots needed to be within seven rings. With the red mark in the dead center, the target had up to ten rings.
As for the horse riding examination, the participants were required to urge their horse to turn back three times on the race track. Then they needed to jump over some obstacles. And finally, touch the obstacles with speed specified by the examiner. They would be given points based on how well they performed, only by meeting the required points would they be able to pass. Horse riding examination was the only test that was completely judged by the examiners.
With Lily’s performance in archery, from a distance of fifty steps, it was commonplace for her to shoot within eight rings. As long as she was able to shoot normally, passing the test was not a big problem. It’s just that luck also played a big factor in archery so she shouldn’t be overconfident. There was a probability that she could get distracted.
As for horsemanship, the Matsuda Clan didn’t see the need to create an imitation test site so they could only practice in the wild by placing some tree trunks on the track as obstacles. Although Lily’s training progressed smoothly, she still felt uncertain in her heart.
“The most unreliable factor right now is the horse riding. I haven’t had the chance to go and practice on-site after all.” Lily was anxious.
During the time Lily was working hard on archery and horse riding training. In the deep mountains a few dozen miles away from Matsuda Clan, there was a worn out temple.
That temple was long abandoned and no priests could be seen around. Four to five mountain bandits occupied this temple and treated it as their base.
These messy-haired mountain bandits with ragged clothing were having a meal while sitting in a circle. Among them was a fat-aȿȿ with visibly better clothing. That was without a doubt, Daidouji Taro.
He was having a meal with these mountain bandits, and quite passionate at that. These liquors and meats were bought from the village by Taro.
“Brother Mifune! You better not let anyone know this matter is related to me!” Taro warned him repeatedly.
Among the mountain bandits, a burly middle-aged man with a mustache and dirty yellowish teeth said while biting on a piece of meat, “Don’t worry about that! Young master, this isn’t like the first time we helped you do this kind of things! The last time when you do away with that Takeshita lass, weren’t we the one who had to deal with the aftermath?!”
“Brother Mifune, this girl knows kenjutsu, you shouldn’t be careless!”
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“Hahahahahaha!” That bandit chief Goro Mifune laughed out loud and said, “So what if the girl knows kenjutsu! Young master, are you treating us as ordinary mountain bandits? We are but wandering samurais who lived through the battlefield! Let me tell you, we have even killed a quite few female samurais! Besides, that girl is just an apprentice! Just relax! Leave her to us and she’ll never see the light of day again! All you need to do is to find a way to lure her out. If she remains hidden in the Matsuda Clan, we won’t be able to do anything.”
“Now that Mifune has said this much, I feel reassured! Hahaha, let me fill your cup for you, brother! Hmph! Lily, how dare you fight against the great me, see if you can still keep up with your facade in a few days!” Taro had a savage expression as he filled the cups of a few bandits.2
These mountain bandits claimed to be wandering samurais, but they were in fact deserters and not genuine samurais approved by the dojos. However, though these men may be deserters, they were ruthless and cruel men who experienced real war.
As they carried out their activities in this mountain region, who knew how many innocent victims had already fallen into their evil clutches. They were just like stray dogs and hungry wolves. As long as there was a chance, they would even kill a lone samurai and steal their properties!
- I don’t have any idea of the terms used in archery, so I had to look it up. Not sure if I used the terms correctly in this context or not though.
- Okay~ I guess we’ll be seeing Lily kicking the aȿȿ of some bandits in the near future.