Book 3: Chapter 32: Infiltrating the Castle Tower
“That’s the Tokugawa clan crest.”
s.h.i.+u stated in a low voice next to Lily after seeing the clan crest depicted on the banners held by banner holders among the troops.
Lily had also noticed that, but she didn’t employ a spirit probe carelessly to test the waters as Lord Tokugawa and Lord Takeda’s strength were above hers. Furthermore, the antler-horned, black-armored samurai felt much more threatening to Lily for some reason.
She scoured the ranks and fixed her gaze on a short-looking, hardened samurai who rode a majestic bull.
With such a robust aura, there’s no doubt this man’s stronger than me.He’s probably Tokugawa s.h.i.+gemori. Fortunately, his son doesn’t seem to be present among the group.
The group arrived in front of the castle tower’s gates and sent a messenger, after which, the gates opened briefly. The group of about one hundred people consisted of samurai attendants as well as a few carriages that were packed to the brim with gifts.
There was also a very luxurious carriage among the group which seemed to be the medium of transport for the women of the family. On the outside, it looked as if Lord Tokugawa had come to the land of the Takeda to pay a friendly visit, but since he was allowed to bring in so many soldiers, it was clear that the two parties had an exceptional relations.h.i.+p.
“To visit at such a time, is Tokugawa unaware of the strange occurrences in the Takeda territory?”
The timing is really too suspicious.
“s.h.i.+u, prepare the rope,” Lily commanded in a low voice.
As a kunoichi, s.h.i.+u always carried a rope on her, and the rope she used at the moment was gifted to her by Lily. It was made from the spider silk Lily had obtained after slaying Genja, so it was pretty tough and durable.
Once the patrols pa.s.sed by, s.h.i.+u used the opportunity to throw the hook attached to the rope towards the castle tower’s stone wall and climbed up the wall alongside Lily with ease.
From the top, Lily saw Tokugawa’s and his entourage split into two groups. Tokugawa s.h.i.+gemori, the black-armored samurai, and a few other va.s.sals entered the castle tower under the guidance of a Takeda clan samurai. From the looks of it, it seemed that Tokugawa planned to meet with Takeda on this very night, but after pondering about it again, Lily concluded that it was probably afternoon in reality, so there wasn’t anything wrong with meeting right now.
The other members of the group laid down the large number of gifts before accompanying the luxurious women’s carriage led by a Takeda clan retainer to a three-storied side tower that stood behind the castle tower. That seemed to be the dwelling arranged for Tokugawa’s entourage.
“Although the castle tower probably has over a thousand soldiers, allowing about one hundred armored Tokugawa troops to reside in the castle is pretty unusual,” Lily speculated.
Lily and s.h.i.+u jumped off the wall and landed on the branches of an old and tall pine tree.
“Sis, I’ll infiltrate the tower and try to eavesdrop on Tokugawa and Takeda’s conversation. Please wait for me here,” s.h.i.+u suggested.
“No way!” Lily rejected, “Tokugawa and Takeda are both members of the Furinkazan and are apex powerhouses of the East. It’s very likely that they might see through your disguise, so it’s too dangerous to do that. Go shadow the women of the Tokugawa clan and investigate their situation while I infiltrate the tower.”
“Huh?! Sis, you aren’t a ninja, so how will you take covert action to obtain information?” “Hmph,” Lily chuckled, “Have you never heard about hiding in plain sight?” “Sis?” “I have my methods, s.h.i.+u, just follow my orders.” “Understood.”
Lily and s.h.i.+u split up temporarily after that and thought about how to infiltrate their respective target buildings.
Lily arrived at the base of the tower and detoured around it, arriving at the back courtyard that had been built on an elevated rock platform that had storerooms as well as the kitchen and other premises built on it.
A group of maids holding dish platters pa.s.sed by the rock that Lily was using as a hiding spot soon after and made for the tower. Lily remained hidden behind the rock and approached the kitchen stealthily after they pa.s.sed by.
There, she saw a tall and slender maid waiting alongside an old lady within the preparation room outside the kitchen.
“Take this warm shōchūhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sh%C5%8Dch%C5%AB”>1 to the main hall on the topmost floor and serve it to the lord and the distinguished guest,” the old lady instructed the slender maid.
Lily had a moment of eureka about how to infiltrate inside after overhearing this.
The maid exited the room with the sake and left the courtyard alone. Lily checked the surroundings and hand-chopped the back of the maid’s neck gently after ensuring there weren’t any patrols looking at them, and the maid lost consciousness immediately. Lily then caught the sake platter and dragged the maid towards a secluded storeroom that hadn’t been used for a long time. After entering inside, she discovered it was full of old axles and other worn-out items.
Lily stripped the woman’s outer garments2 and tied her mouth shut with a cloth3 before tying her firmly against a wooden pillar of the room. At the same time, she injected some spirit power into the maid’s body and whispered, “This spirit power will ensure that you remain unconscious for three days while keeping your life unharmed.”
After that, she changed into the maid’s clothes, which albeit being tight in the chest department, were still quite well-fitting. She then picked up the platter that had shōchū cups on it and left the storeroom lithely, making for the tower like a normal maid.
As for her katana and the Sakura Parasol, she stored them within the mirror as she could take them out at any moment using the art of no-thought.
Lily entered the tower with the sake and felt a bit jittery after seeing the two guards at the entrance. Fortunately, they didn’t stop her even though they gawked at Lily’s b.r.e.a.s.t.s excessively for a few moments nefariously.
After Lily pa.s.sed by them, the two guards proceeded to gawk at her sashaying b.u.t.tocks and swallowed their spittle.
“I-Is she a new maid? How come I’ve never seen her before? She’s so s.e.xy.”
“All right, whether she’s s.e.xy or not, at most, we can only gawk at her. With how gorgeous she is, it’s only a matter of days before she becomes the lord’s possession, so it’s best for us to behave.”
The two guards bantered casually.
The slender and elegant Lily carried the shōchū upstairs in a prim and proper fas.h.i.+on, minding her speed and att.i.tude as she couldn’t appear too refined as a maid.
Lily pa.s.sed by a lot of guards as she climbed up the tower, which had a total of four stories, but she trembled all over when she reached the entrance that led to the fourth story.
The guards at the entrance of the stairs consisted of two unusually tall masked and heavily-armored samurai, and she could feel an inhuman aura from underneath their formidable masks.
“They’re demon samurai!” Lily exclaimed internally yet showed no abnormal reaction on the outside other than the nervousness an ordinary woman would show after seeing such fearsome samurai and walked past them vigilantly.
After ascending to the fourth story, she saw a few maids come out of a room with pale and frightened faces, so she didn’t need to wonder about which room to enter. This room also had two demon samurai guarding it.
Lily lifted the shōchū and showed it to the demon samurai, their returning gazes making Lily experience gooseb.u.mps. It seemed like she had already grasped the role of a weak and powerless maid adequately.
In fact, the intelligence of the demon samurai had reduced to a great extent, so they only possessed the intelligence of a child. When they saw the shōchū platter in Lily’s hands, they opened the door immediately and allowed her to go inside.
The first person who came into Lily’s view after the door opened was a majestic samurai seated at the center of the room.
The man was donned in an impressive red and gold armor that consisted of a white Yak-haired golden helmet that looked like a lion’s mane was adorned with a demon effigy atop of the helmet/uploads/images/%img%/%book%”>4.
He had a purplish complexion and a greyish-black beard with some white strands and was shrouded in a robust and steady aura.
Even though she hadn’t seen him before, Lily was convinced this man was none other than Takeda Tsunen.o.bu!
However, Lord Tsunen.o.bu’s complexion looked a little abnormal and even though she inferred that he still possessed a complete mind based on his expression and movements, she could sense that the robust and steady aura he was shrouded in contained a trace of a formidable and turbulent fiendish energy!
It was certain that he wasn’t a demon samurai and highly likely that he had demi-demonized like Hojo Dijon. However, Lily wasn’t sure how much stronger he was compared to Dijon, and this filled her with fear that caused her slender calves to quiver a little.
Naturally, it was pretty normal for a new maid to tremble after seeing Lord Takeda.
Although Lily was certain this man had given the order to kill her, he had never seen her before, so she believed she would go undiscovered as even he couldn’t have predicted that she would actually appear in front of him with shōchū in hand.
Lily didn’t stare at him too much and entered the room cautiously, but she panicked after entering inside.
As someone who had never acted as a servant, she didn’t know which order she was supposed to serve the sake in.
Lily peeked at the people within the room and noticed Tokugawa s.h.i.+gemori and the black-armored samurai to one side with the company of two valiant and old retainers, Sakai and Sakakibara.
On the other side were the retainers of the Takeda clan, Amari Naoto, Oda n.o.butada… and Itagaki n.o.buyos.h.i.+.
It was just that he had a grim look on his face and seemed to be in the middle of collecting his thoughts regarding the ongoing conversation, so he hadn’t noticed the newly arrived maid’s incongruousness.
These majestic and straightforward samurai naturally didn’t stop their talks because of a maid’s arrival. Tokugawa s.h.i.+gemori continued speaking, “Brother Takeda, Lord Kamakura can’t leave Kamakura City because of that, so other than the people of the Minamoto clan, the only people Lord Kamakura can control in the East are that woman, As.h.i.+kaga Makoto, and the silly brat, Kiyos.h.i.+, from the As.h.i.+kaga clan.”
Lily stepped forth while s.h.i.+gemori spoke and arrived beside Tsunen.o.bu, and after a show of slight hesitation, she feigned reverence and kneeled down sideways to put the cup of shōchū in front of Tsunen.o.bu.
However, Lily found herself in a conundrum soon after as there were only six cups of shōchū while there were seven people within the room.
But she didn’t have the time to ponder about this issue and turned towards Tokugawa’s side before placing down the cups in the sequence that she believed to be correct.
“Thus, we can expand our territories with you advancing north and west from Kai, Brother Takeda, while I advance east from Mikawa. I’m willing to move at your command if you’re willing to undertake this campaign,” s.h.i.+gemori added.
Lily felt dread after hearing this and wondered if he was planning to rebel.
“Lord Tokugawa. You must speak with prudence. Your words are akin to rebelling!” Itagaki n.o.buyos.h.i.+ pointed at Tokugawa s.h.i.+gemori from the back just as Lily planned to place the next cup of sake in front of s.h.i.+gemori.
“You are mistaken, Master Itagaki. Lord Kamakura’s overly conservative strategies have caused the Hundred Demons to surround us from all ends, so we should be taking the initiative to attack them instead of staying on the defense! Although we respect Lord Kamakura, in terms of strategies, it’s best not to heed the elder’s instructions all the time,” the honest-looking Sakai interjected.
“Master Sakai, are you planning to make the Minamoto clan a mere figurehead?” Itagaki’s subsequent question turned the mood tenser.
As Lily had finished placing the sake in front of s.h.i.+gemori, she intended to move.
However, s.h.i.+gemori’s callused and oversized palm, which was incongruous with his height and almost as huge as half-a-was.h.i.+ng-basin, caught Lily’s slender hand before he questioned her, “Who are you?”
As they were in the middle of discussing provincial matters, none of the people within the room had minded this maid and they were arguing so intensely that at least half of them had overlooked Lily’s beauty. However, all of their gazes fell on Lily when s.h.i.+gemori changed the topic suddenly.
“I-I’m a new maid,” Lily trembled all over and pretended to be quite hurt from s.h.i.+gemori’s grip and a.s.sumed a restrained puckered expression that seemed to convey that she was holding back from screaming in pain.
When Itagaki n.o.buyos.h.i.+ saw Lily evade s.h.i.+gemori’s gaze faintly, his eyes opened wide suddenly, and he almost lost his voice.
- Silva: Leeeewd!
- Silva: Nooo! Don’t do it! You’re underaged!