The night of this parallel world was very dark, yet the daytime was always not bright enough.
Like now, for instance, it was morning and the sun had already shone upon the courtyard of the Matsuda Clan, yet it was hard to differentiate it from the late afternoon. It felt as though the darkness was still clinging to the vast sky.
Matsuda Nagahide, Kimura, and Kanzaki were sitting sternly on the stage. Each wearing a serious expression.
Directly below the stage stood Taro and the other kenjutsu disciples.
Nagahide had an ugly expression as he asked Kimura again in a low voice, “Are you still unable to find Miss Kagami?”
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Kimura could only shake his head helplessly.
“Hahahahahaha!” That Taro laughed foolishly, “Uncle, that girlie must be scared of me and decided to hide!”
“That’s right! That’s right!” One petite youngster cut in, “Since the result is obvious, who would willingly come and get beaten up!”
“Hmph,” Taro complemented, “She must have known that she can’t beat me, so she ran away through the night in fear that she might become a slave!”
Nagahide frowned and thought, ‘Miss Kagami is very talented, will she really do something like this? Although it is hard to believe, it is not impossible either.’
“Uncle, I bet that woman has already run away, is there still a need to continue this competition?” said Taro proudly as he waved his wooden sword.
“Hmm…” Nagahide felt a little awkward. Why did Lily disappear without a word, she shouldn’t be this kind of person.
“Master!” The other youth with tanned skin said, “There’s a big discrepancy in strength between us and brother Taro, there’d be no point in this competition. We forfeit the match!”
“Forfeit! Forfeit!” The other brats shouted in unison. These brats were usually either beat up by Taro and frightened by him or followed him around to earn some pocket change. One could say they were already Taro’s underlings.
“Uncle! Can you please decide to let me join the samurai’s qualification test quickly? Taro urged him with an air of complacency. Despite the fact that he didn’t receive any news from the mountain bandits last night, he didn’t think it was a problem.
“Ugh…” Nagahide regarded bushido as his way of life so he naturally couldn’t take back his words. Since Lily didn’t show up, then he had no choice but to keep his promise.
“If that’s the case, the winner of today’s competition is—”
Just when Nagahide was about to declare the winner with great reluctance, he suddenly saw a figure with messy yukata walking over from the main gate.
“Miss Kagami!” Nagahide’s senile eyes lit up.
“What?!?!” Taro turned around in shock to find Lily looking at him with slightly cold eyes.
“How is this possible!” Taro was greatly surprised, “How is this girlie able to come back! Did Goro and gang fail to take care of her? Or they didn’t meet up in the first place?”
Lily narrowed her beautiful eyes slightly. She was almost certain who incited the event last night after taking one look at Taro’s expression.
“Miss Kagami! You didn’t come back for the whole night, just where did you go?” Nagahide had a face full of dissatisfaction and resisted the urge to stand up.
“Elder, the fact is… I was a little unsettled last night so I went to take a stroll. I unexpectedly lost my way in the forest and only managed to find the way back at daybreak. I apologize for making the elder worry.” Lily said it flatly and cast a cold glance at Taro.
That glance was cold enough to cause even Taro’s ginormous body to shake.
Lily didn’t mention about the ambush from last night due to two main reasons. Firstly, it was pointless as long as Taro continued to feign ignorance. With his background, perhaps he would even go to the Hojos and claim that he had been framed. Secondly, she had killed the bandits. Nobody could care about these evildoers even if they were to die at the roadside, but it would be troublesome if she were to admit it.
Lily wholehearted hoped to gain enough strength to travel this dangerous parallel world and look for a way to awaken senior sister’s soul. After that, she would return home with her beloved senior sister. She didn’t want to be drawn into the cycle of hatred in this parallel world.
“Going out to take a stroll?!” Kimura lashed out, “Did you know how worried we were? Besides, you should be fully aware that today is the day of the competition, how can you be so careless?!”
“Forget it!” Nagahide frowned as he waved his hand. He had a complicated look on his face. It was obvious to him that Lily didn’t tell the truth, but since she didn’t want to say it, then she wouldn’t spill the beans no matter how much they asked.
Matsuda raised his voice and said, “Since Miss Kagami is already here, and the appointed time has already passed, we shall begin the competition now!”
“Elder… I want to take a bath first,” said Lily as she brushed her hair with a gentle look.
“Miss Kagami! Did you know we had already waited for you the entire morning? You didn’t come back the whole now, almost missed the competition, and you still dare to say something like this!” Kimura was unable to hold his anger anymore.
Taro followed up with a sarcastic remark, “Hmph, why don’t you just admit defeat if you are scared to fight with me?”
Lily helplessly flung her hair and said light-heartedly, “If that’s the case, then let’s finish this quickly.”
Veins popped out from Taro’s forehead. Why is this woman so easygoing? Is she so indifferent because she had already given up on winning or she just didn’t put me in her eyes?
“F*cking vixen! This great me will let you taste my power in a moment later!” Taro cursed in his heart.
“Miss Kagami, Taro! This is a fight with my Matsuda Clan’s one and only recommendation letter on the line, it is not a child’s play!” Nagahide said sternly.
Lily turned around and bowed ninety degrees towards Nagahide, “Yes, elder, this little one understands.”
“Then let the competition commence!” Nagahide declared.
“Elder, may I borrow another wooden sword?” asked Lily.
“Miss Kagami, where is your wooden sword?” asked Kimura.
“I lost it.”
“What?!” Kimura jumped down the stage and ran towards Lily, “Miss Kagami, what am I going to do about you? We only have one such long wooden sword in the storeroom. It was made with top-grade ironwood and cost at least 200 mon!1 How can you say you lost it just like that!”
“I’m sorry…” Lily didn’t know how to answer, she couldn’t just up and say the wooden sword snapped when she used it to cut the bad guy’s skull right?
“Kimura!” Nagahide said, “It’s not necessarily to say too much, take Miss Kagami to the storeroom.”
“Yes.” Kimura accepted the order.
Lily followed Kimura into the storeroom, but everyone was shocked yet again when she came out.2
“Miss Kagami, you want to use this tanto to fight?” Nagahide asked in puzzlement.
Lily said silently, “Well, this is enough.”
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“What?!” Taro shouted furiously, “Kagami Lily! You mother f*cking ⓑⓐⓢⓣⓐⓡⓓ, do you even have the intention to take this competition seriously?! Or are you trying to find an excuse for when you lose?!”
Lily ignored him and asked Nagahide, “Elder, can we begin now? I will end it soon.”
“What?!?! You—” Taro was so angry that his face turned as red as a tomato. The wooden sword in his plump hand let out a cracking sound. Taro had a penetration force that almost reached the samurai’s standard, an ordinary person would be disabled even if they were lucky enough to survive after receiving a hit from Taro.
Nagahide said, “That’s enough, Taro. Since Miss Kagami picked this as her weapon, she will bear the consequences herself. You are competing with the swords, there’s no need for more words.”
“Hmph! F*cking ⓢⓛⓤⓣ! This will be over at once and you won’t even know how you die!” Taro flushed with anger and cursed in his heart.
The two took some distance from each other and stopped when they were approximately ten steps apart. Lily looked especially frail compared to the tall and robust Taro, and the tanto in her hand caused the spectators to worry about her.
Taro held the wooden sword with both hands and pointed it at Lily. A fierce expression was pasted on his face. It’s not like he had never beaten a girl before, and he also had no intention to go easy on Lily.
As for Lily, she assumed a delicate stance. She held the tanto in a reverse grip with her left hand in front of her chest.
They faced each other and stopped speaking, a momentary silence took over the yard.
“Let’s begin,” said Nagahide.
“Ⓢⓛⓤⓣ! C’mere!” Taro waved his wooden sword as a sign of provocation, “This older brother will let you make the first move! Otherwise, you might faint from one hit and won’t even have the chance to wave your sword. Then other people will start saying that I am bullying a woman!”
This Taro was accustomed to insult his opponent in a fight. It looked like he was doing it just for the heck of it, but he was actually preparing to make a dirty move! Taro was very good in a fight, who knew how many opponents had already been beaten by him. There were even some that had been killed by him.
“Since you have said this much, then I will take up your offer.” Lily slid her foot and changed her stance.
A cold glint flashed in her eyes as she sprinted towards Taro with the maximum speed an ordinary girl could reach.
After determining Lily’s speed, Taro revealed a self-satisfied expression as though he had already won. He lifted the wooden sword over his head and began channeling strength starting from his waist!
When she was about to enter Taro’s sword range, Lily’s speed suddenly increased by several-fold!
As a wisp of dust was raised, Lily was already in front of Taro. She held the wooden tanto with her left hand and pushed the handle with her right hand.
With Lily’s kinetic energy as the propulsion, that wooden tanto pierced into Taro’s chest.
Although Taro was stout and strong, his chest didn’t have that much meat. His breastbones fractured from Lily’s merciless stab.
Taro’s wooden sword was still raised over his head. He was stopped in the middle of his action.
“Owwww—!” Due to the severe pain transmitted from his chest, Taro let out a cry and all sounds from him ceased thereafter.
All they saw was Taro’s eyes turning white as his body slowly fell to the side.
With a “thump”, Taro’s heavy body crashed onto the ground.
All the spectators on the scene were slack-jawed, regardless of the samurais or disciples. They were unable to believe what had happened in this split second.
From start to finish, not even two seconds had passed. It happened almost in the blink of an eye.
The outcome had already been decided.
Nagahide was also looking at Lily in shock. He believed that Lily had a chance of winning, but her winning rate shouldn’t be too high. Taro had rich experience in real combat. It was more likely that Lily would suffer losses. However, this was an experience and lesson she needed if she continued to pursue the path of kenjutsu.
He absolutely never anticipated this. The battle was already over before he could take a breath.
“T-The victor is… Miss Kagami—!” Matsuda Nagahide yelled.
“Miss Kagami has obtained the rights to enter the samurai qualification test!”
Nobody present continued to voice out their doubts.
- Here’s a Japanese currency lesson by Wiki sensei. Short version: 4000 mon = 16 shu = 4 bu = 1 ryo
- I’ll bet she chose a real katana?
- Ok… guess not