For some reason, the daytime had always been particularly short in this world. The night had arrived again with but a single moment of inattention. Despite that, it was not like Lily disliked night-time at all.
Lily actually preferred the night over daytime.
The streetlight flickered amidst the flowers under the moonlight, the feeling of taking a stroll after the rain was somewhat refreshing.
However, the cool wind brushing against her thigh reminded Lily that her kimono was torn.
She intended to borrow needle and threads from the granny in Chrysanthemum Inn to sew her kimono. It’s just that, having only one set of clothes was also quite inconvenient, so she turned towards the shopping district at the river bank with the intention to buy a new set of kimono.
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Although it was very convenient to move around with a short-skirted kimono, Lily still wanted a set with a long skirt. There was no particular reason behind it.
Lily wandered through the streets at the river bank and saw a kimono store located at the corner of a dark alley. Thus, she walked over there.
Most of the customers around here were samurais, so this shop that sold kimono for women didn’t see much business. When Lily entered the shop, the only people present were herself and the proprietress.
The shop was decorated in good taste. Aside from the ready-made clothes hanging on the walls, there were also fabrics for sale. Fresh flowers were used as decorations and purple smoke slowly rose from the aromatic incense.
Lily’s attention was quickly attracted by a gorgeous red kimono displayed on the wall.
That kimono had multi-colored floral patterns. There were not too many flowers but each of them was sewed appropriately. Even though it was a kimono for women, it gave off the feel of a samurai gear among a mass of flowers. In this dark, far-away world, where there was an absence of light, that red was so brilliant as though it was a proud Lycoris1. So red that it was beautiful, so red that it was solitary, it was inharmonious with the gloom of the surrounding world. Then again, it was precisely the crucial point that brought life to this murky world, just as the beauties of the night.2
“I want that one,” said Lily as she pointed at the red kimono.
“Hehe,” the proprietress said, “Young lady, that is the treasure of our house. I didn’t sell it even when someone offered 30 kwan for it.”
“Ah…” Lily became dumbfounded, clear was the disappointment in her eyes. Never did she expect this kimono to be so expensive! Even if she really liked this pair of clothes, she didn’t have enough money!
Seeing that Lily was so disappointed, the heartstring of the proprietress was tugged. Then she said with a relieved smile as though she just recalled something, “No matter how beautiful the clothes are, they still need someone appropriate to wear them in order to bring out their true beauty. Although I’m not selling it to others even if they offered a huge sum of money, I don’t mind selling it to you if you truly want it. Just give me half of everything you have, I will sell this set of clothes to you no matter how much you give me.”3
“Eh? Really?” Lily felt a burst of joy.
The proprietress nodded with a smile.
The thought of scamming never crossed Lily’s mind as she honestly took out half of her remaining coins, which amounted to a little more than one kwan.
The proprietress took one kwan and returned the remainder to Lily, “Take these remainder back, you can think of it as my reward for the young lady’s honesty.”
“You sure, aunt? Thank you…” Lily gratefully received the remainder because she really didn’t have much money left.
“Young lady, please go inside and I’ll help you change into the kimono, alright? After all, I would like to see for myself how the kimono would look like on someone who is actually worthy of wearing it.”
“Un,” Lily answered cheerfully.
The night was getting darker and the full moon was hanging on the night sky.
Lily left the alley dressed in a red kimono, propped up by her hands was the paper parasol, “Sakura”, and hanging on her waist was the tachi, “Seiwa Tamashi”, or “Seitama” for short. She looked just like a fairy that had entered the secular world by mistake. Then again, she could also be viewed as a beauty taking a night tour in the town.
The proprietress looked at Lily’s back as she got further away, tears involuntarily trickled down her cheeks, “Oh… my dear Aomi… if you hadn’t been devoured by the Mountain Imp, right now… perhaps you might still be wearing the clothes mommy sewed for you, or even have gotten married already…”4
- I hate it when the author plays with words like that… took me so long to translate this paragraph. =_=
- You sure you won’t regret it? Lily probably don’t have much left…
- Mountain Imp… sounds like another flag…