It was dusk. The light of the sunset shone over the white wall crested with black tiles at an angle, illuminating the courtyard of the Genji Dojo. The courtyard, one so spacious that a person could easily lose their bearings inside, took a reddish hue wherever it was struck by the rays of the sun.
For some reason, Lily always felt that the sunset in this world was picturesque.
It didn’t appear as if Lily could ever get lost though. When she was still a boy, her sense of direction was pretty good. She felt that all her good points from when she was a boy had been combined with senior sister’s strong point. Lily thought of that as she looked at her own breasts.
According to Sakiko, the tools shop were located at the southwest side of Genji Dojo’s outer courtyard. After she walked past a red bridge and entered an island-shaped garden, Lily looked around and there were indeed a few shops hidden among the pine trees and bushes.
Among them was a tool shop that hanged a sword-shaped signboard.
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Presently, this place was rather quiet. It was dubious if there was even anyone looking after the shop.
Lily walked into the weapon shop. The lighting was pretty dark inside and a really old-fashioned sales counter was placed right in front of the entrance. On the wooden stands, the walls, and even in the barrels, all kinds of katanas were put on display.
Just a quick look was enough to make Lily spoilt for choice.
She didn’t know why but just looking at those katanas with exquisite workmanship and beautiful curve, Lily couldn’t help but feel fluttery in her stomach. She just couldn’t contain her joy and excitement.
‘At last, I am finally going to have my own sword!’
One could only be called a samurai with a sword right?
“Excuse me, is the young lady here to buy a sword?” An old man with a small build and ash-colored beard walked in from the outside with the support of a walking stick. He had a kind face and wore a gray-colored hakama. The old man had a healthy skin color and his eyes were so narrow it almost formed a line.1
“Ah… that’s right, it’s just that… this is my first time buying a sword, so I have no idea how to choose one from so many selections?” Lily was puzzled and frankly told him the truth.
The old man slowly walked towards the sales counter and said while facing Lily, “Then allow me to make an introduction to the young lady. This is the dojo’s internal weapon shop. The price is fair and the quality is guaranteed by the dojo.”
“Those stuffed in the barrels are degraded katanas for the most part. They are cheap, roughly around 100 mon to 1 kwan. They are mainly used by new apprentices or foot soldiers. However, they couldn’t bear a samurai’s penetration force and are likely to break apart.”
“Mhm,” Lily nodded. She knew all too well that an inferior quality katana broke apart very easily. However, a genuine sword wouldn’t break even after cutting rocks continuously!
The old man continued, “The ones on these stands are comparatively better katanas, with the majority of them around Grade One. The price is around 3~5 kwan. If the young lady is a samurai, then you need to use this kind of sword at the very least. If the gap in strength is not too much, swords of this grade and above are very unlikely to break apart. These kinds of swords are enough for the common samurai clans to use in a duel and even in group battles.”
Lily felt relieved upon hearing these. It seemed like she would be able to afford a Grade One katana. Even though they were just Grade One, these were still so much better than the scrap metals the bandits were using.
And then, the old man’s narrow eyes flickered with a strong flash as he turned around and used the walking stick to point at the katanas hanging behind the sales counter, “These— are but Grade Two Katanas! The quality of these katanas is extremely high. Most of them are forged by the disciples of famous swordsmiths. They are forged from high-quality alloy and meticulously smithed through complex processes. Each and every katana could be said to be incredibly durable and sharp! However, they are more expensive in comparison, even the more common ones cost at least a dozen or more kwan. The best among the Grade Two katanas will cost no less than 30 kwan!”
“T-that expensive?!” Lily was excited just a moment ago, but now she’s a little concerned. They were too expensive and she couldn’t afford it!
“Young lady, if you know how hard is it to refine alloy and how arduous is it to forge a katana in the future, you will not say something like this. Besides, these are Grade Two katanas, not to mention the average samurais, they can even withstand the power of a kengo!” The old man earnestly explained.
“Kengo?” Lily was confused, “May I ask what is a…”
“Heh heh,” The old man turned back to the sales counter and drank a mouthful of tea without a sense of urgency. Only then did he slowly open his mouth. His gentle voice sounded a little more excited than before, “Kengo… they are an existence one class higher than the samurais! According to their strength, the samurais can be divided into low class, middle class, and high class. As for the kengo, they are more powerful than even the high-class samurais! The kengo can go anywhere freely and unrestrained! With their status and power, if they are not heroes that hunt down the ghosts and demons, then they be a major figure in a large clan! It is no exaggeration to say that the kengos are the core power of any major samurai clan!”2
“Kengo… stands at the top of the samurai hierarchy,” Lily knew that there were super strong ones even among the samurais. She only just found out that the samurais were divided into low class, middle class, high class, and kengo! She suddenly felt like she had really just taken the first step towards the path of samurais.
That old man was getting more excited as he went on and on. He suddenly stabbed the ground with his walking stick and even his squinted eyes became wide open all of a sudden. He had a distant and reverent look in his eyes. He spoke with deep emotion as though Lily was not around, “And even higher than kengo is the kensei-sword saint.”3
“Kensei?!” Lily’s entire body jolted once upon hearing that one word. She intuitively recalled the beautiful female samurai who beheaded the demon under that moonlit night. Her power was already beyond the category of an ordinary person, it could even be rated as saintly!
“That’s right!” The old man had emotional tears and his aged hands trembled constantly. He continued to speak in an excited manner, “Kensei, even with my long life in this dojo, I have only seen them a few times. They are an existence that could move unhindered in the Heian Empire. Just one of them is enough to destroy an entire army and siege a castle! Each one of them is capable of standing on equal footing with the distinguished clans of one region!”
“Kensei…” The heroic figure of a powerful individual who annihilated a swarm of demons seemed to materialize in front of Lily’s eyes!
Her slender hands tightened around the parasol, as if she was holding a katana. A distinctive sound resulted from how powerfully she gripped the handle. Those who walked this path and experienced the ecstasy of waving a sword, just who wouldn’t wish to reach the pinnacle of strength? Just who wouldn’t want to become one with the wind and walk side-by-side along those grandmasters?
Despite the fact that Lily was a girl, her dream to become stronger had now been ignited.
What’s more, she was also shouldering the fate of her sweetheart!
And let’s not forget that her soul was still that of a boy!
‘I want to become a kensei!’
‘I want to stand by the side of that silver-haired sister one of these days…’
Lily couldn’t help but get excited and her breasts bounced up.
Those not in the know might have thought she was yearning for love, but she was in fact, thirsting for the elation of reaching the pinnacle!
“Young lady… young lady?”
“Huh? Ah… I’m sorry, I was daydreaming…” Lily’s face still had a hint of excitement. Then she looked at the katanas and said, “I-I want to buy Grade Two katana!”
Lily had decided!
In order to walk further along this path, she naturally needed a good sword!
One that was capable of walking alongside her on this path and protect her from dangers!
Lily’s eyes fell directly on the katanas hanging on the wall. Not only were the workmanship of these swords exceptional, but Lily could also feel a strong aura coming from them with her strong perception.
However, Lily had a feeling that they were lacking something.
When the old man noticed the hesitation in Lily’s eyes, he nodded with a smile, “Even though this is the first time the young lady is buying a sword, you have an indescribable connection with them… How long does the young lady prefer the sword to be? And what kind of sword?”
“Three feet seven inches, tachi,” Lily was actually still in a daze so she answered unconsciously. The first wooden sword she used was precisely three feet seven inches. This length was just perfect for her.
“Please wait here for a moment.”
The old man walked into the back of the store and returned shortly. What he retrieved from the back was a long katana with black handle and dark green scabbard. The sword handle was wrapped by a black silk cloth that gave off green light in the dark. The lustrous wooden scabbard had golden and green-jade decorative designs drawn on it.
One look at the sword the old man was holding, Lily was already captivated by the exquisite workmanship of the sword handle and scabbard. The design was stylish, yet it carried a hint of delicacy. This was precisely the trait Lily was looking for.
The old man handed the sword to Lily, “Young lady, please draw the sword and take a look.”
‘Draw the sword?’
Lily suddenly recalled that she had always been using a wooden sword and didn’t have a chance to draw a sword yet!
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She took the sword in hands.
It was much too heavy compared to a wooden sword of the same length!
It was also several times heavier than the scrap metals the bandits were using!
‘So this is a genuine katana!’
The old man introduced, “Forged by the apprentice of Munechika, the most well-known swordsmith clan in Kamakura City. The sword name: Seiwa Tamashi!4 Three feet seven inches, weighing 9.6 kilograms.”
9.6 kilograms… It sounded a lot lighter compared to the heavy weaponry in Lily’s world, such as the Chinese board sword or cyclone ax. However, it was already very heavy for a katana. Please be reminded that the handle of a katana was only one foot long. Moreover, what the katana sought after was lightweight and speed! A katana normally weighted between 1.2 to 4.8 kilograms. Due to the length of this tachi, more materials were needed, and it was made thicker in order to maintain its durability. It became this heavy as a result.
“This is forged by a Grade Two alloy. The blade of this Grade Two katana was fortified by a Grade Three black ironwood carbon. The price is 36 kwan. This is a rarely seen perfect work among the Grade Two sword. I heard that from now on, the great disciple of Munechika will no longer forge a Grade Two sword and moves on to forge higher grade swords. This could be said to be his Grade Two masterpiece! The price is fixed and no discount will be given. As for the other swords, I might be able to give you some discount though,” the old man continued, “Why don’t the young lady go and take a look at the other swords.”
Lily gripped the sword handle and felt a wave of numbness in the palm of her hands. It was as though the spirit of this sword was coursing through her hands. She could see the scene of the sweaty swordsmith waving his hammer in front of a blazing furnace.
Lily took two steps back.
A streak of green light flashed through with lightning speed!
“My god—!” That old man staggered from fright and nearly fell down. It was fortunate that the sales counter was behind him and stopped him mid-fall.
Sweats trickled down from the old man’s forehead as he got the shock of his life. This young lady looked so gentle and beautiful, yet she was able to draw such a long and heavy tachi so quickly with her slender hands!
The back of the blade had a beautiful design, the bladed part was clear and the other half was blurry. Lily’s face was reflected on the blade. The blade formed an arc as beautiful as the flowing water, it was quite an enchanting sight.
Even though this room was not that bright, the blade still emitted a light.
“Uncle, this sword… I’m buying it.”
The moment Lily grabbed hold of this Seiwa Tamashi, she was unwilling to part with it anymore.
36 kwan, since Lily had joined the dojo, she could buy Grade Two swords with half price. That would put the price down to 18 kwan, she… could barely just afford it!
Needless to say, one must stay within the bounds of fairness in order to buy the swords. It was impossible to buy all the stocks at half price and resell them at the outside to get rich quick.
The moment she took out ninety percent of her entire fortune and almost emptied out her pouch, not only did Lily’s hand not tremble, but she was even feeling great.
‘Could it be that I have really become a shopping maniac?’
Of course, as far as Lily was concerned, she didn’t need any protective armor at all. Her only equipment was this sword, so it was understandable that she would spend it all in one go.
What’s more, she liked this sword!
There’s no reason not to buy it!
It seemed like Lily was stupidly in love with swords.
“Take care, young lady…” The old man waved at Lily beside the wooden door.
Lily was perfectly satisfied as she embraced her very first katana —the “Seiwa Tamashi”— as she walked out the door.
- Like Brock from Pokemon series?
- Kengo kinda reminds me of a certain samurai class in Granblue Fantasy…
- Not sure if I should stick to literal translation of sword saint or stick to the Japanese term of kensei, what are your thoughts?
- Anyone wanna get creative and come up with some chuuni-inducing sword name? The direct translation would be “Clear and Soul” AKA Clear Soul…