Book 3: Chapter 114: Hachiman Palace Under the Extended Night
It was morning in Kamakura already, but unfortunately, it was an extended night yet again on this day1.
The streets seemed more crowded than at night, they were also bleaker than the usual daytime.
A few samurai were patrolling the streets as usual while carrying lanterns.
“The occurrence of recent extended nights is really a lot higher than last year, Lord Motohas.h.i.+.2”
“You’re right, Brother Tsuchiya. Even rural samurai like us have been drafted to patrol Kamakura, but there’s nothing we can do about it since there aren’t enough people. I heard that monsters have been frequenting Kamakura a lot at night.”
“Well, there’s nothing wrong with that. The people have all fled their homes and we aren’t even capable of paying the annual agricultural tax. We can at least get an official’s wages by working here, 50 kan a year!”
“That’s also true…”
Two short-heighted yet well-built samurai chatted with each other while patrolling the outskirts of Kamakura City.
A ma.s.sive silver shadow flitted past them under the cover of night, just like a ray of light!
“What was that?!”
The samurai’s hair and clothes were blown back by the strong wind.
They turned around hurriedly but only managed to catch the shadow of a wolf-like creature disappearing into the street’s horizon.
“W-What was that, Lord Motohas.h.i.+?”
The other middle-aged samurai kneaded his eyes, “It was too fast to see clearly. It’s probably a monster?”
Hachiman Palace had a pretty steady appearance without that many distinguis.h.i.+ng features, but it still left a deep impression on others as its sole distinguis.h.i.+ng feature was its size.
Although it looked the same as an official residence, it was nearly ten times larger.
The dark interior of the palace was illuminated by the palely lit lanterns fixed at the centers of the ma.s.sive wooden pillars.
A red-dressed woman walked into this ma.s.sive wooden structure. As people weren’t allowed to carry blades when having an audience with Lord Kamakura, Lily decided that she might as well store Yasutsuna and Crescent Moon inside the mirror and just carried Spring Soul with her, which she handed over to the handsome attendant outside the door.
Even though Lily had an innocent and kindhearted nature when she arrived in this Heian world, she was also a little clever.
Lily sat down in seiza at the center of the palace and heard footsteps that sounded the same as a normal human a short while later, but the person who arrived was actually a gigantic 10 m tall middle-aged samurai who possessed a rather meek and scholarly appearance.
Lord Kamakura sat down solemnly and tilted his head slightly. However, he looked at Lily with quite a serious expression and expressed his sincerity through earnest words, “You’ve finally returned, Lily. I’ve really troubled you this time.”
“Although the Takeda clan’s matter has been clarified, I feel that the East’s situation has actually become grimmer after my return this time,” Lily’s eyes reflected the light of the lanterns as she looked up at Lord Kamakura. This man was really deep and unmeasurable and even though she didn’t probe him with spirit power, Lily was certain that his power far exceeded her current imagination. It was actually pretty naïve of her to place him and the Furinkazan on the same level in the past.
The current Lily could easily defeat any of the Furinkazan, but she still felt powerless in front of Lord Kamakura.
Lily could also feel that the Lord Kamakura in front of her was unlike a normal samurai and powerhouse, but she didn’t know what exactly was different.
Lord Kamakura remained calm even after hearing Lily’s words, “It seems like you’ve finally seen Kamakura City under the extended night. The current Kamakura is exactly as you’ve said. The sight of monsters and humans coexisting together arrives whenever night falls and this is really quite dangerous for the people of Kamakura who aren’t used to it.”
“Monsters and humans coexisting together?” Lily felt astonished as it was her first time hearing such a phrase, and that too from Lord Kamakura, the ruler of the East. She concealed her doubtful expression and asked with a wooden expression, “Are there places where humans are used to coexisting together with monsters?”
“Indeed. It’s not that much of a rare sight in Heian-kyo,” Lord Kamakura answered.
Monsters and humans coexist together in Heian-kyo?
Lily found it hard to imagine the sight of such a scene as she planned to visit it sooner or later.
“By the way, it seems like I’ve caused you a lot of troubles after revealing your ident.i.ty as a Mirror Girl unintentionally and even placed you in danger. Forgive me for that. I didn’t expect there to be people who actually harbor such dogmatic and antiquated hostility in our East as well.”
“I’ve engraved the favor you’ve shown me deep in my heart, Lord Kamakura, and have no complaints on this subject,” Lily replied with a bow.
“You’re a really kind and wide-bosomed girl3. I really regret being unable to meet such a good woman like you when I was young.”
“Hahahaha. It was just a joke… You’ve shown exceptional results in Kai province, Lily. I’ve heard all about it. I only sent you to investigate it, but I never expected you to actually settle the whole issue alone. You’re the most dazzling samurai woman in the East right now and it’s quite astonis.h.i.+ng that you’re a young talent who began blooming just half a year ago,” Lord Kamakura stated with gleaming eyes.
“Tell me, Lily. What kind of reward do you want from me? Although there’s no surplus land to give you in the East, with your current strength, it’s easy to make Owari and Mino yours as long as you invade them.”
“I’m not interested in annexing large territories for now, Lord Kamakura, as I don’t possess the means to protect them even if I win them over in battle. I actually heard about a certain matter and came to request your help in regard to it, Lord Kamakura.”
“Hahaha. So you also have something you need my help with, Lily? Tell me what it is.”
“I received pressing information that Uesugi Rei, Minamoto no Kenki and Taira no Seina have left for Kansai’s Mt. Ooe to subjugate Shuten Doji.”
“Subjugate Shuten Doji?” Even Lord Kamakura’s ever-calm expression twitched a little.
“Although I’m lacking in experience, even I’ve heard that Shuten Doji is a Great Demon who has existed for over a thousand years in the Heian Empire, Lord Kamakura. Although Lady Uesugi is powerful, it’s too dangerous to fight Shuten Doji right now and is quite a worrisome matter. However, they’ve long left Mino and their current whereabouts are unknown. Even if I wish to stop them, I don’t know where exactly to go. I wonder if I can request you to summon them back, Lord Kamakura?” Lily bowed deeply and almost pressed her forehead to the floor, but her bosom had touched the floor first.
“Lily,” Lord Kamakura tilted his head and furrowed his brows slightly, revealing a somewhat troubled expression on his unwavering face, “Although I might have such a method, I’m afraid that I cannot help you regarding this matter.”
“Why?” Lily raised her head. Although she knew it was quite rude to speak to Lord Kamakura like this, Lily still questioned him, “Sister Uesugi is the liege lord of Echigo, which acts as the northern barrier of the East, and is an important retainer under your command. Are you not worried about her at all, Lord Kamakura?”
“How dare you question Lord Kamakura like this?!” The handsome bald youth, Kamakura Maruzaki, who acted as Lord Kamakura’s sword-bearer at his side, chided Lily.
Lord Kamakura, however, raised his ma.s.sive hand to stop the youth from chiding Lily.
After a moment of silence, he looked at Lily with a sincere yet resolute expression and answered her, “I understand that you’re worried, Lily, but even if I do this, it will actually tarnish the samurai’s heart even if their life gets saved.”
“A samurai is someone who needs to advance bravely even when they’re aware it’s simply impossible to accomplish a task sometimes. The samurai of the East will be able to propagate endlessly as long as we have such samurai no matter what the outcome is and live on strongly in these dark times. I know you care about Uesugi Rei much more than the other samurai of East, Lily, but do you really understand her intentions? Have you wondered whether a woman like her would want you to intervene in this matter?”
“Sister Uesugi’s intentions…4” Lord Kamakura’s words stumped Lily as she was fixated on ensuring Rei’s safety and hadn’t actually taken her intentions into consideration.
- Robinxen: I thought these were supposed to be a little bit rare?
- Robinxen: Oh it’s vaguely acknowledged.
- Robinxen: Wow imagining just flat out telling someone that they have nice knockers.
- Robinxen: To protect you! Soppy drama story time.