Book 3: Chapter 113: Airi’s Worry
Airi1 drank the water offered by Kotoka and soothed her parched throat a bit, “I rushed back to Kamakura’s Takes.h.i.+ta Town from Mino because I want to let Kagami Lily, Lady Kagami, know that… Lady Uesugi… might be in danger.”
“Just what exactly happened, Airi? Why do you have such severe injuries and where is Sister Uesugi right now?” Lily became worried after hearing that Rei might be in danger and grabbed Airi’s hand anxiously, “Tell me quickly. I’ll go save her right away!”
Airi’s eyes, however, lost light as she answered feebly, “E-Even I don’t know where she is right now. It’s highly likely that she went to Kansai.”
“To Kansai?” Lily was taken aback, “Were you not in danger together with Sister Uesugi? Is she injured as well? Tell me!”
Kotoka patted Lily’s shoulder, “Don’t rush her, Lily. Let Airi answer slowly.”
Airi continued, “I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood me, Lady Kagami. I got these injuries from a consecutive ambush of demon samurai and monsters on my way back to Kamakura from Mino after I had parted with my lady. I almost fell in battle…”
“Eh?” Lily was taken aback by this answer, “What about Sister Uesugi then?”
“She was well, at least at the time we parted,” Airi answered.
Lily felt even more confused, “Forgive me, Airi, but I still don’t get what you mean.”
Kotoka, Yukiko and the rest wore perplexed expressions as well.
Airi explained further, “With my lady’s strength, I believe she’s still safe right now even though she might be in danger. I got ambushed by demon samurai and monsters on my way back because of my carelessness and suffered heavy injuries because of that, but the two matters might be unrelated.”
Airi’s condition had improved a lot after getting some additional spirit power, so she continued explaining, “What worries me more is Lady Uesugi and her companions’ destination as well as their journey’s target.”
Lily stabilized her emotions by taking a deep breath and allowed her mind to calm down. She then caressed Airi’s hand gently to placate her as well, “Tell me who she is with and where they are going.”
“Lady Uesugi, Minamoto no Kenki and a few other ambitious n.o.ble samurai teens have set off towards Kansai from Mino and plan to go through the Endless Wasteland.”
Lily’s heart was filled with worry, “Kansai is thousands of kilometers away and there are demons rampaging the route in between. The journey is quite dangerous. Why has Sister Uesugi left for Kansai?”
Airi’s eyes seemed to reflect the deep worry in her heart, and she looked even more worried than when she narrated the event of narrowly losing her life from the heavy injuries.
“They’re aiming for Mt. Ooe in Kansai’s Tanba province and plan to subjugate Shuten Doji.”
Airi began quivering as she said this. Just the mere thought of Shuten Doji, who had been ruling the darkness of Tanba province’s Mt. Ooe for a long time, was enough to make her s.h.i.+ver physically and mentally.
“Shuten Doji?!” A chill pa.s.sed through Lily’s heart as well. She was one of the very few samurai in Kanto who were still alive after seeing Shuten. Shuten Doji was one of the Three Supreme Great Demons of the Heian Empire who led their demon parades unimpeded through the Heian world with no human having the courage to stop them. Even Lord Kamakura could only defend his position in Hachiman Palace while Great Demons like Shuten and Michizane paraded their demons at nighttime in Kamakura. He had never come out to stop them.
Just a mere Blood Spirit Magatama from Shuten Doji’s waist enabled Kagura to recover her strength momentarily and execute a world-rending attack that insta-killed Amanojaku without even giving him any time to react and also kill several thousand demons in pa.s.sing.
Even the current Lily felt fear well up from the depths of her soul at night whenever she recalled her encounter with Shuten Doji.
Lily knew Rei was quite a brave and powerful woman who was exceptionally valiant and adept in the art of war, but even if that were the case, it was still hard for her to imagine that Rei would actually go to Shuten Doji’s lair to subjugate him.
“Just what is Sis thinking?” Lily felt quite worried.
Airi continued, “I didn’t hesitate to defy Lady Uesugi, who I’ve never questioned until now, and even persuaded her against going to Kansai in spite of my ident.i.ty and tried to stop her from going to Mt. Ooe where the darkness of Kansai lurks in order to subjugate Shuten Doji, a Supreme Great Demon who has lived for thousands of years! However, she turned a deaf ear to my pleas and still insisted to go and even commanded me to return so that I don’t follow after her.”
“I felt really helpless and could only return back to find you, Lady Kagami, hoping that you would be able to beseech Lord Kamakura to use the power of the Minamoto clan to bring Lady Uesugi back for the sake of the sisterhood between you and her… Lady Kagami, there’s no communication between Kansai and Kanto, so it might be too late to contact Lord Kamakura now, but I really don’t know what to do. I could only think of requesting you for help… Lady Kagami…”
Lily hugged Airi gently, “You needn’t say such things, Miss Airi. As far as I’m concerned, Sister Uesugi’s matters are my matters as well.”
Lily recalled the time when she had parted with Sister Uesugi.
“Lil’ Sis, I also want to ask you something. If a day comes when I’m misfortunate enough to get captured by a Supreme Great Demon during a battle and that Great Demon is a powerhouse that you can never hope to match, what will you do, Lil’ Sis?”
Lily didn’t even need to recall the answer since she knew the answer very clearly. No matter how many times she was asked this kind of question and no matter what the circ.u.mstances are, her answer would still remain unchanging.
“Whether it be treading through the Boundary of Yomi, or going through the Gate of Rash.o.m.on in Nara, no matter where you are, I shall definitely save you, Sis!”
Lily’s bountiful bosom heaved up and down intensely. She then looked at Kotoka and asked, “How long will it take to extract and trans.m.u.te the next batch of magatama, Madam Kotoka?”
“Oh. It won’t take that long actually, ten days at most,” Kotoka answered after making the calculations.
Lily nodded silently as she had already made a decision.
*It looks like it’s time for me to journey towards Kansai.2”
“I’m going to make a trip back to Kamakura, Madam Kotoka. I’m expecting those magatamas to be ready by the time I return.” “Understood, rest a.s.sured about it.”
Although Lily still had a bunch of magatamas, they were meant for activating the ‘Record of One Hundred Demons.’ The long journey towards Kansai was bound to be rife with untold dangers and making such a trip without something up her sleeve was completely out of the question. Otherwise, there was a chance that she might actually fall into danger before she could even find Rei and become unable to rescue her.
No matter how anxious she was or how much she wished to catch up with Rei as soon as possible, she had to bear with it and make ample preparations before setting off.
Lily had Kotoka make arrangements for Airi’s care until she’s healed and planned to rush back to Kamakura immediately.
However, Kotoka pulled Lily’s sleeve the moment she got up, “Lily, something unusual was found this morning. It’s best if you take a look at it.”
“Is it quite important?” Lily felt a little impatient.
“It was discovered in the northern depths of Cherry Valley. Just go take a look,” Kotoka answered.
“Mhm. Let’s go now then.”
Lily returned to Cherry Valley along with Kotoka and followed her towards the endless sakura grove. They pa.s.sed by the water stream, the grove, and the hillside before finally arriving in the depths of the woods that had ma.s.sive trees which towered hundreds of meters. An ancient stone formation surrounded by boulders and ma.s.sive trees was visible beneath the thousands of meters tall cliff walls of the secluded Sakura Blossom Valley.
The stone formation was octagonal in shape and had been weathered by time with snow and moss covering it. Although it looked decrepit, the engravings on the stone formation could be still seen after clearing some of the snow and they gave Lily an eternal and transcendent feel.
Lily waved her sleeve to the side and employed a small-scale domain in order to generate a gust with spirit power and blow most of the snow covering the stone formation away. Lily could sense that the lines engraved on the stone formation seemed to resemble the Jōmon characters on the mirror s.p.a.ce’s stone walls a lot even though she didn’t know what exactly they meant.
Lily knew that this stone formation was a place of wonder for sure, but she failed to find any kind of mechanism or specialness even after checking the stone formation’s surroundings carefully.
“Madam Kotoka. Have two of Haihime’s Itsura kunoichi guard this stone formation. Although I’ve yet to solve its mystery, I’m certain that it’s an abnormal region and it might even be hiding the secret of the whole valley,” Lily instructed.
“Mhm. I also believe that this stone formation isn’t as simple as an ancient structure,” Kotoka nodded.
Lily returned to the wooden cottage, where Airi was already asleep in one of the rooms under Yukiko’s care. It seemed that she was recovering pretty well, so she left some magatama fragments behind for her.
It was already nighttime by now, but Lily planned to make a trip back to Kamakura through the night.
Lily was just about to leave the courtyard under the cover of night when she heard the voice of a charming and mature woman from behind her.
“Master,” Haihime stood in the corridor while dressed in a long-sleeved light blue kimono.
Lily walked over towards her, “Sister Haihime…”
“Are you going out now, Lily?”
“Yes, I have something urgent to deal with and need to make a trip back to Kamakura. What is it? Do you need anything from me, Sister Haihime?” Lily stood on the lawn and gazed up at Haihime with limpid eyes.
Haihime hesitated momentarily and just gave her a sunny smile instead, “It’s nothing. You can leave first and be careful on the way back. I’ll wait for you to return.”
Lily gazed at Haihime’s glossy pink lips and felt that she had something that she wanted to say to her, but she seemed unable to do so for now.
“Got it,” Lily nodded with a smile and turned around to leave the courtyard.
Lily arrived at the valley’s mouth alone in a long-sleeved red kimono3 with Evil Slayer Yasutsuna at her waist. She then pulled out Yasutsuna a little and a powerful, silver-white grudge manifested from within to form a 3 meter or so tall white hound in front of Lily.
The hound crouched beside Lily and she grabbed its fur to stride across its back in order to ride the grudge embodiment, which filled her with a subtle feeling as it felt both real and unreal to her.
“Make for Kamakura.” “Yes, Master.”
The demon hound leaped forward and shuttled through the complicated topography of the snow-capped woods with the speed of a silver arrow. At the very least, it was much faster and convenient than riding a horse in this mountainous region.
She planned to report the completion of the mission to Lord Kamakura properly in this time’s visit and see if Madam As.h.i.+kaga and Lady Sakiko could do anything to help her in regard to Rei’s matter.
In addition, Lily also wanted to meet them once before setting off to Kansai as it laid thousands of kilometers away and even she didn’t know when they would be able to see each other again.
- Robinxen: This darn name will confuse me forever now.
- Robinxen: And so the plot rolls forward
- Robinxen: Honestly misread this as silver at first, thought the author was going for some intense imagery.