Book 1: Chapter 33: The Street of Takes.h.i.+ta
It was already night time when Lily arrived at Takes.h.i.+ta.
This was a small town built at the riverside, purple wisterias bloom abundantly at the road that led to the small town. It started to drizzle so Lily unfurled the Sakura Parasol as she walked on the damp stone-paved road. She was mesmerized by the beautiful scenery so she slowed down her pace. As a result, she arrived at her destination later than expected.
It was at this moment that the rain stopped. Lily put away her parasol and walked over a wooden arch bridge with short red railing. When she arrived at the opposite bank, she saw a bamboo garden at the other end of the bridge. In front of the garden was a big boulder with “Takes.h.i.+ta Town” carved into it.
I finally arrived, but I had to travel for one whole day. It is fortunate that I didn’t run into any trouble.
Lily made a detour around the bamboo garden and walked along the riverside as she entered Takes.h.i.+ta.
This river was flowing through a moat made by piling up stones. At the opposite side of the river was a forest with dense fog.
And this side of the river was kind of desolate yet lively. The street was lit up by the flickering lights of the lanterns hanged at the side.
Why was it lively yet desolate at the same time? That was because there were more shops than the pedestrian.
The shops filled the street from beginning to end. There were many colorful signboards, each with distinct shop name next to a lantern hanged under the roof. Some shops also hanged small banners to attract customers.
The rhythm of the drum and pan flute could be heard from somewhere far away. It would seem that a kabuki performance was being conducted somewhere in the depths of that street.
However, there were indeed too few pa.s.sers-by and customers.
She was not bothered by it at first, but after walking into the first shop, a peddler with ebos.h.i.+ cap hawked his wares at Lily, “Samurai sister, come take a look. This is a first-cla.s.s straw sandal. We also have leather shoes and wooden sandals! Come in and look around.”
Lily looked around the store and found tags with hiragana and old kanji characters are written on it. The tags were hanged on the shelves by rice straws and the shoes were put in there for display.
Lily felt that her shoes were not bad and didn’t see the need to change it.
The peddler looked to be around twenty-six to twenty-seven years old, and yet he was calling her sister? It seemed like that was just an honorific.
Lily asked, “Why are you referring to me as a samurai?”
“Hehe, I’ve been in this business for a long time so I have a good judge of character. What’s more, Takes.h.i.+ta is one of the three biggest samurai towns in the surroundings of Kamakura City. The outsiders who came here were either businessmen or samurais. From the way this sister walks, I can naturally tell you are a samurai with extraordinary skills,” said the peddler.
Lily revealed a slight smile, there’s an expert among the people! Although the peddler didn’t know any martial arts, he was able to perfect the ability to make discerning judgments after meeting countless people. Of course, there was an exaggerated part as well, just like how the salesperson at every other place would refer to their customer as boss.
“Is that so, but you only guessed half-correct. Oh, that’s right… may I ask for the location of Genji Dojo?” asked Lily.
“Genji Dojo is it? Samurai sister, it is actually harder to be unable to find it. Just follow this road and go straight, the biggest building you see there is the Genji Dojo. It occupied almost half of this entire town. As a matter of fact, even if you just walk around randomly, you’ll eventually run into it!”
“Oh, is that so? Thank you.”
Lily was satisfied with the answer and turned around to leave. She then made her way towards the town plaza.
“Eh… not going to buy a pair of shoes?”
As Lily walked on the street, a certain store attracted her attention. That store was selling all kinds of fantastic gadgets.
Among them was a red paper goldfish attached on top of a bamboo pole. The craftsmans.h.i.+p was realistic and very elaborate.koin.o.bori, but then again, the raw says the goldfish is realistic and lifelike, so a koin.o.bori doesn’t really fit the bill. But then again, why would anyone want a paper goldfish like this other than during a lion dance performance?”>1
For a moment, Lily had the urge to buy it.2
“Lady samurai, why not buy one? It will bring you good luck,” said an elderly woman with a hunchback. She had a kind smile as she sat at the doorway of the shop.
When Lily looked at the price, she gave up on the idea of buying it.
It cost 50 mon, but she only had 300 mon in total. What would she do about her food and lodging if she spent it all on unnecessary expenses?
However, she still couldn’t resist asking, “Granny, I really don’t have any other meaning, I only wanted to ask, why is everything here so expensive?”
The reason Lily asked was that she had roughly understood the current state of Heian Empire during her studies at Matsuda Clan. If an ordinary household could earn up to one kan annually, it was already pretty good. There were so many poor people out there who couldn’t earn enough to eat their fill.
One kan was equivalent to 1000 mon3. In other words, the 300 mon Nagahide Matsuda gave her was about an ordinary household’s earnings in one season. It was quite a hefty amount.
And yet this nice-looking goldfish gadget cost 50 mon…4
“Hehe, lady samurai, this is not much of a secret. The items at Takes.h.i.+ta’s shopping district are indeed expensive, but their craftsmans.h.i.+p is very elaborate and the quality is excellent. That’s because the items here are specifically targetted at samurais. Since the samurais are always having an expedition out there or fighting demons, they have a really high standard for quality goods. How would common goods be able to endure those kinds of harsh battles? What’s more, samurais are comparatively rich, fighting demons and treasure hunting made for a good profit after all. They are earning so much more than an ordinary civilian. That’s why they are more willing to spend. Lady samurai, even if you buy this little goldfish and take it along with you to hunt demons, it will not break. On the contrary, it can even help you ward off evil spirits!”
When Lily left the store, her hand was holding on to a pink-colored goldfish.5
“Just… what am I doing…”
Not only was she a cold-blooded murderer and an occasional seductress, but she was also a shopping maniac!
She had only become a girl for a little more than half a month, so how did she already manage to master the greatest weak-point of a typical girl? Just where did her dignity as a boy went to?
Could it be that the feeling from her heavy b.r.e.a.s.t.s quickened the feminization of her soul with each step she took?
However, she really couldn’t resist buying it…
There were so many shops here, and so many pretty items to choose from. She felt everything on display were very useful. Perhaps they were essential items for adventurers and demon hunters?
For example, like this evil warding goldfish?
‘No! I have obviously been tricked!’ Lily’s male self was shouting in her heart.
Lily helplessly shook her head, “I… I am not here for shopping. I-I need to go to the Genji Dojo!”
“I will chop off my hand if I dare to buy anything else!” Lily silently persuaded herself.
Be that as it may, but when Lily walked past a simple and hardly luxurious shop, even her male consciousness permitted herself to enter.
That was a shop that deals with weapons.
“Samurai sister!” A tall and honest-looking man with gray hat introduced the wares by himself, “How can a general go without a horse, and a samurai without a sword?! Just take a look, we have katanas that come in all shapes6, there must be one that is fitting for you, samurai sister!”
Lily ignored the salesperson and walked into the shop. There were all kinds of weapons displayed. They were mainly swords such as tachi, uchigatana, wakizas.h.i.+, tanto, and nagitanathe wiki for reference”>7. In addition, there were also long spear and cross-shaped spear.
Lily felt emotional when looking at them.
Her eyes involuntarily teared up.
These were not the same as the shoddy metal swords those evildoers were using. They were genuinely forged katanas!
However, Lily was shocked when she saw the price.
Even the cheapest one required 5 kan!8
This made the teary-eyed almost cry for real.
‘What peasant’s living expenses for three months? Isn’t old man Matsuda too stingy?!’9
“Samurai sister, w-why… are you crying?”
“Excuse me… do you have katanas cheaper than these?” Lily asked without confidence.
The tone of that tall man immediately became cold, “The cheapest sword here is 5 kan. If you want something cheaper, go to the town at some back mountain to buy their inferior products.”
Lily left the shop in shame, not only could she not afford the katana, she was being looked down upon.
‘Don’t look down on a poor girl!’
In front of her, on the other side of the byway, there was a wall so tall that she couldn’t see the top. Trees were growing everywhere inside the wall, and roofs could be spotted among them. She could even see a tower at the rear.
‘This must be the Genji Dojo,’ Lily thought to herself.
Just when she was crossing the byway, a deranged man who was sitting at the corner of the street faced upwards and said, “The nights are getting longer and longer…”
“Huh?” Lily turned around to look at him, but he had eyes and didn’t seem to take any notice of Lily. He was only minding his own business and continued to say, “The daytime is getting shorter. The nights from ten years ago wasn’t this long. Maybe one day… the nights will become eternal…”10
He looked like a mindless person, Lily had no idea what drivel was he spouting, so she didn’t mind about it and made her way towards the dojo.
- I have a feeling that it’s a koin.o.bori, but then again, the raw says the goldfish is realistic and lifelike, so a koin.o.bori doesn’t really fit the bill. But then again, why would anyone want a paper goldfish like this other than during a lion dance performance?
- Okay… I take back what I said, there is a weirdo here who wants to buy a goldfish like that…
- Now that I think about it, Taro did say one kan was equal to the weight of one thousand coins, which is equivalent to one hundred ryo. But then again, wiki tells me 1 ryo equals to 4000 mon. Yeah, let’s stop thinking about it. I’m only confusing myself.
- Big thanks to “Starve” for clearing up the misunderstanding. You know how ancient coins had a hole in them right? People in ancient times strung together 1000 mon on a piece of string and referred to that as 1 kan. That would still put 1 ryo at 10 mon though. Still inaccurate according to the values in wiki, but oh well, we’ll just roll with that.
- She went and buy it… 50 cents that this will turn out to be a cheat item. 1 dollar that this is just a normal item. Cast your bet now!
- Omitted long, short, thick, and thin.
- Yea I know, there’s so many different types of sword, refer to the wiki for reference
- That’d be… 5000 mon according to the author’s value right?
- Haha, her mood swings are so wild! Just a moment ago, she was feeling thankful to him.
- Wow what, some kind of flag?