Book 2: Chapter 88: Entering Deep into the Mountain Accidentally
The crackles of the bonfire still resounded under the azure skies of the night. Although these disciples weren’t ordinary students and had some experience with battles and slaughter, they trained in the dojos most of the time and had never risked their lives in the outside world till now.
Although they had ventured outside on this training excursion to learn the ways of the world and expected to run into some danger, they never thought they would encounter such terrible monsters just half a day after entering the mountain and result in the instantaneous death of 5-6 disciples.
When the disciples had abandoned all hope, they were shocked by the fact that someone who they considered a wallflower, a woman who they believed had entered the main dojo of the Genji through improper means, had actually killed the monsters that could slaughter all the disciples in just an instant.
Itamoto Yas.h.i.+ro stared at Lily blankly and questioned, “J-Just who are you?”
As things had reached this state, Lily didn’t need to hide her ident.i.ty any longer. Hence, she turned around and answered him, “Kagami Lily.”
“Miss Kagami… Kagami Lily…” The horse-faced samurai came to a sudden realization at this moment, “Are you perhaps the same Lady Kagami Lily who killed four late-stage sword masters of the Hojo clan in Suruga province with a swing of your blade, the 3rd ranked member of the Genji Main Dojo, the first-cla.s.s merit holder in the Battle of Odawara who received the praise of Lord Kamakura and were awarded a fiefdom along with the t.i.tle of fief lord?!”
“What?!” The other disciples were all shocked.
“T-This young and beautiful woman is actually that Kagami Lily who’s become famous in all of East recently?”
“You’re kidding me, right… I just thought she looked pretty das.h.i.+ng, but I never expected she was actually my idol and role model!” A female disciple exclaimed while covering her mouth. Although Lily’s fame had only begun to spread recently, she wasn’t born into n.o.bility and had continued forging her own path without submitting to force. The tales of her rapid growth had spread to all samurai and thus, she had indeed become the role model of quite a few female samurai.
“Miss Kagami was so strong…?” The ponytailed disciple asked obliviously.
Shota wiped the blood off his mouth and gazed at Lily as well, “Kagami Lily, Queen… My Queen is truly an amazing woman!1”
s.h.i.+mizu felt a bit displeased when she saw everyone look at Lily with reverence. Although she was obviously the number one person among the youths of the East, Lily s.n.a.t.c.hed the limelight from her time and time again.
Although it was her little sister who s.h.i.+mizu had acknowledged personally, she felt it was normal for the elder sister to have the lead over the little sister in all aspects. As such, it was inevitable for her to feel frustrated as the elder sister whose little sister was becoming even more famous than her.
Lily had become aware of s.h.i.+mizu’s sensitive situation, so she added immediately, “This is my elder sister, Lady Minamoto no s.h.i.+mizu.”
“Minamoto no s.h.i.+mizu? The former first sword of the Six Swords who lost to Uesugi Rei recently?” The girl who fawned on Instructor Tanaka and then on Yas.h.i.+ro blurted out foolishly and then regretted it a bit after doing so.
The people who were planning to sing praises swallowed their words and began whispering to each other. s.h.i.+mizu’s expression also became unsightly after hearing these words.
Lily’s heart ached when she saw this as she knew that her Sister s.h.i.+muzu was bothered about that time’s humiliating defeat a lot. And out of all things, this foolish woman had the gall to mention it at such a moment. Lily was displeased with this gold-digger of a woman who fawned on Instructor Tanaka first and then stuck close to Itamoto Yas.h.i.+ro.
She walked before the woman in silence and gave her a hard slap to the cheeks without the slightest hesitation.
“Apologize to Sister s.h.i.+mizu,” Lily stated icily.
The woman obviously felt resentment after getting slapped by Lily and looked at Yas.h.i.+ro with an aggrieved expression, hoping that her ‘man’ would help her get out of this predicament, but Yas.h.i.+ro actually turned his head away as no sane man would dare to offend the 1st and 3rd ranked members of the Genji Main Dojo at the same time.
“Do you want me to repeat it?” Lily looked down on the woman who was relatively shorter than her and possessed a decent yet somewhat tacky appearance with a cold gaze.
The woman was also frightened by Lily’s gaze and could only resign herself to go and apologize.
“Forget about it. What you said is the truth, I don’t blame you,” s.h.i.+mizu could only respond in such a manner even though she was actually feeling pretty depressed and it would take a long time for her to dispel these negative feelings.
At the same time, Yas.h.i.+ro, Shota, the horse-faced disciple and the others gathered around Lily.
“What do we do now, Miss Kagami?” A few of them inquired in succession. “Hah? You’re asking me?” Lily was taken aback for a moment.
The gloomy monk also stepped forward, “Miss Kagami, please allow this poor monk to atone for the crime of speaking delirious statements and coming to a rash conclusion… the tales of Miss Kagami seizing the tamahagane under the siege of the Hojo samurai in Suruga province and dispatching the sword masters has become an anecdote pa.s.sed down in our temple. We believe Miss Kagami must have a plan to respond to this crisis and wish to hear about your thoughts!”
Lily looked at s.h.i.+mizu embarra.s.sedly, who in turn nodded back at her.
Lily proceeded to explain the matter, “Actually… you don’t need to attach so much importance to me. Sister s.h.i.+mizu and I received a mission to protect you all in secret, so we will do our best in doing that. However, you still need to rely on your own strength. There are so many people in the group, so we can only protect so many when the monsters attack us at the same time. As for the current situation, these snake women definitely aren’t monsters that belong to Mt. Inda and their strength actually far exceeded the predictions made for the monsters on this mountain. Thus, this place isn’t suitable for training any longer. If you choose to remain here, it won’t help with your training and will be simply equivalent to throwing your lives away.”
Everyone wore embarra.s.sed expressions on their faces. Lily’s words indeed made them feel down, but they had no choice but to acknowledge it since it was the truth.
Lily continued, “There’s nothing shameful about turning back at this point in time after having such a strange encounter where so many powerful monsters emerged suddenly. We should descend down the mountain immediately and return to the safe zones as quickly as possible.”
Under the current circ.u.mstances, none of them had any objections towards Lily’s proposition.
s.h.i.+mizu also stepped forward from aside and stated, “It’s best for us to descend the mountain immediately.”
All of them nodded and began packing up. It was just that the girls were a bit slower in doing so.
“Put out the fire so there are no traces left behind,” Itamoto stated cleverly.
“Forget about that! Let’s leave quickly!” Lily felt anxious as she had a bad feeling about their situation.
“Hmm?” Lily and s.h.i.+mizu reacted at almost the same time by deploying spirit probes. As the mist had thinned a bit, their probing range had increased to a radius of 50 meters. However, they sensed a few powerful yet strange spiritual auras approach them at the extremity of their probing range.
“Oh, no!” Lily yelled out.
However, followed by a series of whoos.h.i.+ng sounds, a volley of arrows accompanied by strong eldritch energies2 shot out from the woods before she could warn the others.
A few disciples simply didn’t even have the time to react and were struck by the arrows one after the other.
A few swift and powerful black arrows clad in spirit power also shot over towards Lily and s.h.i.+mizu.
They unsheathed their blades and slashed at the arrows at once.
“These arrows can only be shot by those who are at least late-stage sword masters or higher in terms of strength! And there’s so many of them!” Lily was shocked momentarily and yelled out, “Run for it, everyone! Get away from the woods!”
However, with a cliff behind them and the woods in all the other directions that seemed to be shooting out arrows, they had no place to run to.
Around a dozen or so disciples had fallen in this moment of crisis and even Lily didn’t couldn’t do much about it. Hence, she reached in front of Nanako and block the arrows for her.
The Sakura Parasol on her back yelled at this moment3, “Open me! I can block these arrows!”
Nanako opened the Sakura Parasol immediately and as it had stated, the red paper parasol could really bounce off the arrows clad in potent dark eldritch energies without receiving any damage at all.
“Senior! Come over here quickly!” Lily called out to the ponytailed disciple who had been lucky enough to have avoided getting hit by the arrows till now. She rushed towards Nanako while lowering her head and got under the cover of the parasol at once.
However, this parasol could only shelter two people while there were a lot of disciples who were facing the onslaught of this terrible volley of arrows. Lily and s.h.i.+mizu naturally didn’t need to fear these arrows and also didn’t need to rely on the Sakura Parasol.
“Give it to me!” The gloomy monk went crazy and actually tried to plunder the parasol from Nanako’s hands when he saw that it could resist the arrows.
“What are you doing?! Let go!” Nanako grabbed onto the parasol’s handle tightly and refused to let it go, and their struggle had exposed them to the volley of the arrows again.
A cold light flashed through Lily’s eyes at this moment, following which she raised her katana and swung it down.
“Pfft!” She struck down the monk4!
She had no mercy for those who had the impertinence to cause internal strife at such a critical moment.
“There’s a cave here!” Shota stood at the innermost section of the recession that had a cave entrance the size of a human a dozen or so meters high on the cliff.
“Enter the cave, everyone!” Lily shouted out loudly.
The disciples rushed towards the cave, but it could allow only one person to pa.s.s through it at one time and they even had to climb the cliff. Although it wasn’t that difficult for them to achieve this, the arrows shooting over towards them incessantly didn’t make it any easier for them to do so.
Lily and s.h.i.+mizu stood before the cliff and blocked the arrows for the disciples, but as they could only block some of them, a lot of the disciples were struck by the arrows and there were even a few who were struck again after climbing till the cave’s entrance.
This infuriated Lily and instead of just defending blindly, she released a few sword beams towards the woods, following which a series of screams emerged from the woods along with the trembling of the trees.
s.h.i.+mizu, however, couldn’t waste spirit power by releasing sword beams like Lily as she wasn’t a blade maiden. Although she was pretty strong, her spirit power’s recovery rate was actually pretty slow.
Once Yas.h.i.+ro and Shota had also entered the cave, Lily and s.h.i.+mizu leaped up lithely and reached the entrance of the cave directly as these arrows possessed no threat to them.
Lily stood at the entrance of the cave and gazed at the ashen camp that had the bodies of over 20 disciples lying on the ground.
The dense mist dissipated gradually and people wearing silver Hannya masks emerged from the depths of the woods.
Lily suddenly felt that perhaps this dense mist hadn’t formed at Mt. Inda naturally or perhaps Mt. Inda indeed had a dense mist but a part of it had received the influence of some powerful thaumaturgical spell that obstructed spirit probes gravely or perhaps Mt. Inda had already become a huge trap arranged by some unknown force!
“Why? Which faction would want to attack the disciples of this training group? They even used snake woman, could they be from the Land of Hundred Demons?” “However, why hasn’t the Land of Hundred Demons attacked the strategic strongholds of the Land of East and instead entrapped these disciples in this land of death?”
Lily was utterly puzzled about this.
“This cave seems to be very deep!” Shota’s voice arrived from inside the cave.
Lily observed the Hannya masked men who had encircled them outside and concluded that going outside right now would only make them into a live target as they didn’t know if there were any other monsters still hidden inside the woods.
“This is bad! We can’t return back the way we arrived now,” Lily’s brows locked up slightly.
Their path of return was blocked and although Lily and the others didn’t know where the cave finally lead to, they could only advance forward inside it. If it was just Lily and the others, she didn’t need to fear anything and could kill her way out of the encirclement of the Hannya masked enemies, but it was impossible for her to accomplish this while taking the disciples along!
“Lil’ Sis Lily, go to the front. We don’t know what we may encounter in this cave. I shall hold up the back,” s.h.i.+mizu stated.
“Got it, Sis!”5 Lily nodded obediently and said, “Nanako, Senior Sister. Follow me.”
- Robinxen: Ah…he became a simp.
- Term correction: Demon Fury to Eldritch Energy Aoi: ‘Tis was struggle to settle on the best term for this one. DX. Robinxen: Jesus that’s a jump.
- Robinxen: She lives!
- Silva: Goodbye you fake monk
- Robinxen: She has become obedient