Book 4: Chapter 42: Treasure
Lily emptied her mind within the darkness and moved according to the silver images of the killing intent visible in her vision.
The images were so clear that Lily was able to perceive them even better than when she had her eyes open.
Sensing intense killing intent from some of these tentacles as they lashed at her while drawing out luminescent tails in the darkness allowed Lily to know whether they intended to attack her the moment they moved.
Her sleeves fluttered in the air as she sidestepped slowly with grace, which was then followed by a tentacle a.s.saulting her previous position, just inches away from her current position. Yet Lily remained as calm as ever and performed a half-spin blade strike subsequently.
The killing intent vanished from Lily’s sight at the same moment the samurai saw her severing the tentacle.
Lily was blindfolded and moving slower than before, yet severed tentacles kept raining down one after the other. It was as if she were performing a step dance with light footwork, and no matter how much faster those tentacles were, they still failed to hit Lily.
There were some tentacles that tried to catch Lily’s feet, but she just happened to evade their a.s.sault with subconscious step movements.
Lily then sped up suddenly and turned into a crimson shadow as she clashed with the tentacles a.s.saulting her. For a moment, it looked as if there were several copies of her executing distinct blade strikes as she shuttled past the intense attacks of the tentacles with poise.
A series of crimson crescent moons blossomed in the darkness of Lily’s mind as she severed the silver threads of killing intent one by one, leaving the killing intent to explode purposelessly with no weapon to a.s.sault her.
Lily came to a stop at one side of the platform with her blade raised upward and her pretty hair as well as her elegant sleeves at the crook of her arms floated down gently.
The mace-like tentacles were severed into pieces in the next moment and rained down on the platform.
Kyūbōzu screamed in rage as the loss of the tentacles had depleted both his power and lifeblood essence. Although he was an extremely powerful existence at the middle-stage Permanence level, Lily’s evasion skills were so irregular that his destructive strength was powerless against her.
However, Kyūbōzu had long lost his reason and continued to a.s.sault Lily despite knowing that his attacks were harmless to her.
Kyūbōzu’s ma.s.sive body charged forward with intense momentum and Lily felt a powerful wind pressure her intuitively.
Lily evaded to the side swiftly to dodge the enraged Kyūbōzu’s clumsy charge, but he pounced at her immediately like a beast using its four limbs after falling down.
The pounce packed incredible power despite having predictable movements, so Lily was bound to incur heavy injuries if struck by it.
Lily thus rolled aside to the edge of the platform while sticking close to it and almost fell into the chasm, which although thrilling, gave the spectating samurai quite the scare.
Kyūbōzu seized this chance to claw at Lily who had just crouched up, so she pressed her blade against the platform while holding its hilt firmly and performed a flip, swinging her blade down towards Kyūbōzu’s thick arm during her descent.
“Spurt!” Kyūbōzu’s arm strength as well as the strike from Lily’s razor-sharp Yasutsuna severed his arm.
“Argh!” Kyūbōzu screamed loudly in rage as dark-green blood jetted out from his severed arm.
Lily’s sight landed on the translucent disk on Kyūbōzu’s head, a kappa’s vital organ, when she landed on the platform. Lily charged forward swiftly before he could stand up and jumped onto his back.
Kyūbōzu stood up suddenly with the support of his remaining arm at this moment and straightened his back immediately, but Lily was quicker and zigzagged across his almost straightened back to arrive on his shoulder. Kyūbōzu rocked his body intensely to shake her off, but Lily stabbed her blade into his shoulder and swayed sideways in the air with a firm grip on her blade’s hilt while adjusting the form of her hips and thighs to eliminate the momentum from the sways.
“This woman’s sense of balance is that good?” Konoe felt angrier.
Kyūbōzu clawed at Lily, but she dodged the killing intent’s path with precise calculations and actually released her blade while dodging the claw strike and landed on her blade’s hilt with one foot, causing the archdemon to scream in pain as the blade moved inside him.
Kyūbōzu rolled on the platform with reckless abandon next, so Lily was forced to jump off from her blade and retrieve it from his shoulder while descending. She then released a sword beam from her blade and struck the rolling Kyūbōzu’s face with it.
The blade strike gave Kyūbōzu a terrible lacerated wound on his face’s left side, turning his left eye blind in the process. He had lost his power in the previous exchanges and had also depleted most of his lifeblood essence. A kappa was bound to die if the water in their disk dries up and would end up just like a dried fish. Although Kyūbōzu was a powerhouse, he was no exception to this rule.
Kyūbōzu felt the call of death for the first time ever in his life. He barely managed to stand up with his skin regaining its original color, indicating that he had weakened by a lot compared to before.
“Just wait, samurai woman…” Kyūbōzu turned back to look at the water humanoids carrying the treasure chest and dashed towards them suddenly.
“No, you don’t!”
Lily caught up with Kyūbōzu swiftly and slashed his foot, causing him to fall down and slide forward because of the momentum. Lily leaped onto Kyūbōzu’s back next and raised her blade to strike the disk on his head after sprinting to the back of his neck.
However, Lily felt her footing weaken and found herself standing inside a water stream suddenly. The water stream then flowed upward like a living organism and escaped from the cracks on the cavern’s top since Lily had no means to stop it.
Lily landed on the platform dumbfoundedly with a damp underbody the next moment. Kyūbōzu fled?
The opponent had fled in the middle of a bitter and breathtaking battle, so even Lily was left at a loss for a few moments.
Kyūbōzu thought of s.n.a.t.c.hing the treasure chest in the end, but Lily stopped him from doing so. No matter how reluctant he felt and how much he hated Lily, he still chose to flee via the Water-Escape Art when he saw that his life was in danger.
The samurai were amazed by this development, but they also recalled a certain matter immediately.
Kyūbōzu’s escape meant that the treasure chest was unguarded now and even though Lily was strong, she didn’t possess as much brute strength as him1, so it was impossible for her to stop so many samurai!
“Take the treasure!”
The samurai summoned their battle will and descended down the chains to reach the platform.
Lily also regained her senses and unleashed the demon hound towards the wooden chest since the water streams had weakened immensely.
“Splas.h.!.+” The demon hound dashed through the stream of water and brought the wooden chest back to Lily by carrying it inside its jaws. The two water humanoids who continued shrinking and looked just like children now cried out in a reproaching manner after seeing that the treasure had been taken away by force against the rules and turned silent after turning into puddles of water.
Lily tried to store the wooden chest inside her mirror when the demon hound placed it in front of her, but she failed to do so. Lily noticed that the water chains locking up the wooden chest had disappeared now, so she opened the chest cautiously with the tip of her blade, which was then followed by an intense light shooting out from inside it. A cascade-like curtain of water descended from the cavern’s top in the next moment and formed a circular barrier around the platform, shrouding Lily inside it.
The samurai dashed to the barrier’s front and a few of them tried to pa.s.s their hands inside, but the water flowing through the barrier severed their hands.
“Argh!” The samurai screamed from the pain of having their hands severed while the others slashed at the barrier. However, their blades actually snapped into two and no matter whether it was arrows or spells, all failed to break through the barrier.
“W-What kind of mechanism is this?” Tamurakonoe also found this incredulous.
A deep and old voice echoed throughout the cavern at this moment.
“I may have been long dead by the time you hear this message.”
The sorrowful, middle-aged voice sounded worn by time and its tone contained a regal charm of the ancient times.
Lily decided to stand still and listen to the voice respectfully after seeing that neither the people outside the barrier could get inside nor she could get outside.
“I’m Fujiwara no Saibin, the lord of Biwa Palace. The fact that you were able to open this chest means that you’re at least a woman since men cannot open this chest of mine even if they obtain it.”
Lily was taken aback by this and looked at the brocade box inside the chest. Although she didn’t know what it contained, Lily found it embarra.s.sing to take the box before the voice finished its explanation.
“It’s not because I don’t want men to obtain or touch the item inside it. It’s because the item is more precious to me than my own life and the Biwa Palace.”
The samurai outside the barrier returned to the ring-shaped wooden platform and guarded the chains after failing to break through it.
Saibin continued, “The treasure in Biwa Palace isn’t some treasure. It is a garment that was once worn by the woman I love.”
“Eh?” Lily’s mind blanked out for a moment. It’s a garment and not a treasure? Did I fight so hard just in vain?
The samurai outside let out their complaints after hearing this.
“What?! You’re saying I worked so hard all for a woman’s garment? Did you swindle us all, lord?”
“You’re lying! Both my brother and lord died in this treasure hunt and you’re now telling me that it was all just for a woman’s garment?!2”
Saibin’s voice continued explaining regardless of the samurai’s complaints, his voice overwhelming the commotion caused by them.
“I happened to pa.s.s by Lake Biwa during my youth and witnessed a celestial maiden bathe in it. I fell in deep love with her instantly, but I knew it was impossible for a celestial maiden to shower her affection on a mortal like me. There was also the possibility of her killing me if she was to discover me. However, I found it hard to hold back my love for her and ended up stealing her chest undergarment that she had left on a lakeside boulder… I knew how shameful such an action was as a n.o.ble’s son, but I swear that I was driven by my love for her and had no thoughts of tainting this sacred relic! I have always treasured the relic with utmost care since then and even resigned from my post in the court to build Biwa Palace at the lakeside of Lake Biwa. I devoted my life to ascension with the hope that I can cross the Heavenly Gate one day and seek that celestial maiden after ascending to Takamagahara. However, I had poor apt.i.tude… and reached the end of my lifespan before I could reach that step…3”
- Robinxen: Lily literally specialises in Crowd Control you idiots.
- Robinxen: Hahahaha.
- Silva: I am imagining the samurai rioting right now. How fun.