Book 1: Chapter 114: Fuma Ninja
Rain fell upon Mount Aoame, shrouding it in a dense fog. From the look of the cloudy scene, the daytime should have already arrived. But it was still black with no daylight to be seen as the rain continued to fall.
More than a dozen of samurai proceeded steadily toward the deepest part of Mount Aoame.
Among this group of men, however, was a girl with a red parasol. She had the alluring figure of a mature woman, yet the smooth skin of a young girl.
Lily did not find it embarra.s.sing at all to hold up an umbrella only for herself and let so many samurai get wet in the rain. After all, they were men, and she was a woman.1
As these thoughts crossed her mind, a blush couldn’t help but set upon Lily’s face. ‘How long has it been already? It seemed like there are plenty of times I couldn’t remember that I was once a boy.’
Or more like, hadn’t she already become intoxicated by the comfort and beauty that comes from being a girl?2
She didn’t know if that was really the case, nor did she want to think about it.
Sometimes Lily even thought that perhaps her life as a boy was all a dream?
During the whole journey, Lily could feel Nagasaki and his men watching attentively at her. If she made any unusual moves, they would immediately report to Dijon even if they couldn’t stop her. Lily was not confident enough to be able to get away if she was being chased by Dijon.
Maybe she might have her chance to escape when the battle begins and everyone gets caught up in the melee.
“Miss Kagami, you really don’t want this cape?” Kanzaki got beside Lily and asked.
“No need, thank you.”
Seeing that Lily’s clothing was thin, Kanzaki offered his brown cape to Lily. She naturally refused. Lily wasn’t afraid of the cold, so she had no reason at all to accept this undue kindness.
In fact, Lily had already realized that although Kimura and Kanzaki were honest and considerate, they still harbored some feelings for her. That was very normal, it would actually be weirder if they didn’t feel anything for a woman as beautiful as herself.3
However, as Lily was once a guy, it was impossible for her to accept their feelings. Though she wouldn’t go as far as to stop other people from harboring feelings for her. If it was herself, how could she not be moved by a beauty like senior sister? There’s nothing wrong with harboring feelings toward herself, but if they dared to hara.s.s her, then Lily would fight back fiercely.
The group continued to pioneer in the mountain wood. There was naturally no more road this deep in the mountain. Everyone pushed forward through the bushes and was already dripping wet from the water on the leaves.
Lily suddenly felt lonely. If she was with Nanako or s.h.i.+u, they could at least embrace each other to keep warm. But now, not only was she traveling with dozens of men who looked at her with covetous eyes, she could even be confronted with danger at any time!
“Be careful! It’s the Fire Imp!” It became noisy in the front.
Under the rain, a few fireb.a.l.l.s trailing with black smoke flew over from the bushes in the distant hillside. They exploded near the front rank of the troops. Many of the samurai let out a howl as they rushed up the hill with katana in hand. Then the imps began to utilize their specialty run and hit tactic. There were also some samurai who began to release arrows at the Fire Imp.
The trouble of not having firearms finally became clear for all to see. If they possessed firearms, it could be used even with a little rain. They would indeed be very effective against the Fire Imps.
All of a sudden, a ball of fire flew towards Kimura, who was currently facing a different direction.
What to do? Lily had an internal struggle with herself. Should she save him and expose her strength? If not, the kindhearted Kimura would be hit!
“Hah!” Lily suddenly pulled out the Seiwa Tamas.h.i.+. The sword flashed past with a swish and hit squarely on the fireball. It caused a small explosion before changing direction and fell under the hill.
“Huh?” Kimura turned around and didn’t see anything. All he saw was Lily staying on alert with her sword unsheathed.
However, this scene was seen by Matsuda Nagahide, who was not far behind. Although his power was so-so, he had plenty of experience. Nagahide squinted his eyes and didn’t say anything. He only looked at Lily while thinking to himself, ‘Is this girl a celestial being from somewhere? That slash was too perfect compared to the time she fought with Taro! How did this pretty girl make so much progress in such a short two months?’
Though Nagahide was surprised at Lily’s progress, that was still far from her full strength.
With one gravely injured and three lightly wounded, they finally fended off the Fire Imps. However, even with such a big cost, they only managed to kill two of the imps. It was clear just how disadvantageous it was for the samurai to deal with these crafty long-ranged monsters.
If the onmyoji hired by Akira was still around, they wouldn’t need to suffer as much loss. But it was such a pity that the old fellow wasn’t a respectable elder. He tried in vain to harm Lily and had already been beaten to death by Sakura.
Braving the hazy weather and cold mountain wind, the group continued to push forward.
By nighttime, they finally arrived at the foot of the main peak.
Hojo’s group spread out a square-shaped cloth on the flat ground. There were three triangles drawn on the cloth, which represented the crest of the Hojo clan.
Lily and Nagahide were invited to enter the square-shaped formation to join the pre-meeting for the monster subjugation. Since they said they would let Lily gain some first-hand experience, it was still necessary to put up some act.
And of course, Kimura and Kanzaki didn’t have the qualifications to enter this square-shaped formation.
There was a foldable wooden desk set up in the center of this formation. The map of Mount Aoame laid atop the desk. Hojo Dijon sat on the seat of the General. To his sides were seven to eight mighty samurai of the same clan. Lily didn’t dare to casually scan them with her Spirit Power, but her intuition told her that they were much stronger than Akira! Nagahide and Lily had the good fortune of being allowed to stand behind them and watch.
Nagasaki pointed at the map with a bamboo stick and said, “Everyone, that Demon Hound’s old nest isn’t located at the top of Mount Aoame’s main peak, but in the deep valley behind the peak. A great number of monsters have gathered at the surrounding of this valley. Due to the Demon Hound’s unusual origin, a lot of native monsters had chosen to subordinate themselves and gathered around it.
It seemed that Nagasaki was the tactician of this entire operation, “Your Highness, should I speak about the deployment of the suppression force again?”
“Yeah,” Dijon nodded without much change in expression. “Then…”
All of a sudden, a puff of green smoke appeared in the center of the formation. With Lily’s dynamic vision, she saw a ninja noiselessly jumped down from a tall tree before releasing the smoke. If she didn’t know any better, she would have thought that the ninja appeared in thin air from within the smoke.
The ninja’s attire looked very familiar to Lily, it belonged to none other than the Fuma clan.
Lily suddenly had a bad premonition.
Seeing that it was the Fuma ninja he employed, Dijon paused the meeting and asked, “For you to come at this time, is there an urgent matter?”4
The Fuma ninja knelt in front of everyone and reported, “Your Highness, Lord Motos.h.i.+ge and Master Akira’s situation had been confirmed.”5
“What?!” Dijon frowned. He was getting an ominous feeling from the ninja’s grievous tone, “Where are they? Why aren’t they coming to meet me?”
“Your Highness,” The Fuma ninja continued with a calm yet heavy tone, “At Mount Tama, on the path connecting Takes.h.i.+ta and Suruga, we have found the corpses of Lord Hojo Motosige, Master Daidouji Akira, and a dozen other men.”
“What?!” Dijon slammed the foldable desk with his big hand. “Bang!” The poor desk was shattered almost instantly by the force behind that slam. The big guy jumped up from his seat with an angry face reminiscent of the angry G.o.d statues/uploads/images/%img%/%book%”>6 in the temple. “What the h.e.l.l happened? Who killed my brother and Master Akira?!”
“Your Highness…” Even the ninja’s voice shook a little, “Lord Motos.h.i.+ge and Master Akira… are in a rather tragic state. Lord Motos.h.i.+ge was cut in half from the waist, and Master Akira was split into two halves from head to foot. As for the rest of the men… only a few managed to escape. The others were all dead. What’s more, apart from the onmyoji who was killed by a blunt weapon, the rest are killed by the same sword! Moreover…”7
“What is it?! Speak!!8” Dijon was seething in rage, he was so angry that his eyes became as round as a bell!
“At the site, we discovered… tattered clothes of a woman. Yet we didn’t find the dead body of the woman in question. And according to our information, Master Akira shouldn’t have a woman in their group.”9
Hearing these, Lily’s heart began to beat like crazy.
‘No, I must remain calm! Lily, you must remain calm! Senior sister’s fate lies in your hand! They only said it was a woman, there are so many women in the world, there’s no way they’ll link the event to me!’
Dijon had a complicated yet doubtful expression, “A woman? You are saying that the murderer might be a woman? A woman is capable of killing a dozen of more samurai supported by Motos.h.i.+ge, Akira, and even that onmyoji?”
“One of them was killed by a blunt weapon, right? Maybe the murderers are two people. One of them being a woman, and another man using a blunt weapon?” One of the Hojo samurai spoke up.
At this time, the ninja took out a piece of red cloth. Upon seeing that, Lily’s heart almost jumped out from her throat.
“Calm down! Calm down! n.o.body knows who that cloth belonged to!” Lily kept reminding herself in order to calm her disordered mind!
“Hand it over!”
Hojo Dijon too the cloth and studied it confidently. He even placed it in front of his nose to take a sniff before speaking up, “Looks like it belonged to a young girl. However, even if that is the case, we can’t be sure that the murderer really is a girl. It could be that someone is trying to save the world. Motos.h.i.+ge oh Motos.h.i.+ge… I really didn’t expect you are so short-lived! Just who is it? Who dares to kill my brother and va.s.sals in the Kanagawa prefecture! Don’t let me find you, or else I will make mincemeat out of you! AHhhHHhHhhHHhHHHhh——!”
Dijon faced upward and let out a howl. The cloth that’s been laid on the ground began to flap due to the sound waves. The weaker monsters hiding in the nearby mountain wood were scared by this howl and didn’t dare to come out anymore.
At this time, Dijon suddenly recalled something and abruptly looked towards Lily as though he was trying to see through her disguise, “Miss Kagami, how did you reach Suruga?”
“Eh?” Lily became frozen stiff and didn’t know how to answer momentarily.
- Robinxen: Where’s your chivalrous spirit?!
- Robinxen: Oh dear.
- Robinxen: Conceited much?
- Silva: Uh oh, is the news of Mots.h.i.+ge’s dead is going to be revealed at this time?
- Silva: *feeling nervous*
- Here’s a picture to support your mental image: /uploads/images/%img%/%book%
- Robinxen: Sakura got a promotion to blunt weapon! +1 Bludgeoning Damage
- Silva: Moreover, it is that ⓢⓛⓤⓣ behind you who killed them all!
- Robinxen: Hold up, shouldn’t they also have some remains for Nanako’s clothes too? Because they ripped those too.