Book 4: Chapter 44: Jinmu Legion of Eight
A bold and cheerful laughter echoed throughout the dark cavern, leaving the samurai at a loss about the source for a while.
But Lily revealed a look of relief when he heard this laughter.
Lily intended to use the magatama she had to summon the Four-Tailed Monster Cat and the Soultaker from the Record of One Hundred Demons if the trio from the West were to attack her while she battled past the samurai.
The Soultaker’s abilities worked well to restrict opponents and there was no need to worry about it dying since it was just a shadow avatar. It would just vanish once the eldritch energies powering it was depleted by the spirit attacks from enemies and could be resummoned again using magatama after some time. As such, shadow avatars and grudge embodiments had no fear of death.
As for the Four-Tailed Monster Cat, it was a fabled archdemon at the Throne level that possessed world-destroying abilities, so its shadow avatar’s strength was at the apex of the Permanence level! This was enough to fend off the trio from the West even if it couldn’t kill them.
However, Lily had few magatama in her possession and also didn’t wish to expose this hand of hers that easily. It required her to kill her enemies with certainty if she were to use it.
But Lily didn’t feel the necessity to use the Record of One Hundred Demons now.
A stout, dark-skinned man with messy bound hair walked out from one of the pa.s.sages on the cavern’s walls. He was dressed in a shabby white vest and pants that had tattered sleeve edges, but his exposed arms were pretty buff. He also held a black-sheathed broadsword that had a wine pot hanging from its hilt in one of his hands.
“W-Who is this man?” The samurai gave way to him after seeing his bold, flashy and imposing behavior.
“W-Why is he here?” Tamurakonoe’s lips twitched as he turned tense.
“Who’s this uncle?” Ui asked puzzledly.
A layer of sweat formed on Kiuchidera Tess.h.i.+n’s forehead, “Tenba Goro. He’s one of the unrivaled legends of the Heian Empire and also one of the Jinmu Legion of Eight, who are treated with due respect by even the imperial court.”
“Jinmu Legion of Eight? It sounds familiar,” Ui tilted her head.
Tamurakonoe’s expression turned grim, “Jinmu Legion of Eight. It was created by our founding emperor, Emperor Jinmu, and each succeeding emperor has personally awarded this t.i.tle to eight vagabonds in their generation! It can be said that each generation of the Jinmu Legion of Eight are apex existences from the world’s wandering samurai and heroes. Tenba Goro is one of this generation’s Jinmu Legion of Eight.”
“Oh! He’s such an amazing uncle?” Ui leaped onto a stone lantern at the edge of the wooden platform and shouted at the distant Tenba Goro, “Are you here for the treasure too, uncle? You’re quite unlucky since the treasure already has an owner now.”
“Don’t be rude, Ui!” Tamurakonoe warned her tensely.
“Lord Tamurakonoe. Why is Tenba Goro here? Isn’t he pretty late if he’s here for the treasure?” Tess.h.i.+n felt puzzled.
Tamurakonoe answered uncertainly, “Is he here to kill the mirror girl as well? Hmph. If that’s the case, we might not even need to act as she will have no chances of making it out alive from this place.”
“Brother!” Lily waved her hand at Tenba Goro in glee after seeing him appear from the crowd of samurai.
“Sister! Forgive me for arriving late! Hahaha!” Tenba Goro said frankly while scratching his head.
Tamurakonoe’s expression hardened immediately.
Tenba Goro continued speaking while moving towards Lily, “I wasn’t late on purpose. Obtaining an emblem was just trickier than what I thought.”
Okado Yuzo stepped forward to block Goro’s way at this moment, “Tell me, brother. Are you that woman’s brother?”
Goro smiled brightly after hearing this, “Indeed.”
“Your sister has robbed us of our treasure. All of us clearly worked together to obtain the treasure, but she intends to hog it all. As her brother, you must discipline her and make her divide the treasures of equivalent value to give us an account,” Okado stated.
“Brother, I obtained the treasure all alone. Although none of them dared to attack Kyūbōzu when he was occupying the platform previously, they surrounded me once I defeated him and obtained the treasure. They demanded that I hand over my blades and other treasures in exchange and refused to let me leave unless I complied!” Lily explained aggrievedly.
s.h.i.+mizu felt displeased when she saw this, Why are you requesting a man’s help, Lil’ Sis?
s.h.i.+mizu failed to understand that Lily treated Goro like her real brother.
Tenba Goro looked at Lily solemnly and seemed to get lost in thought after looking at the samurai who waited patiently for his response.
Goro revealed a frank smile as he raised his head, “So that’s what happened. Hahaha!”
“Huh?!” The samurai were taken aback.
“Don’t tell me you’re going to believe her just like that, brother?!”
Goro took a sip from the wine pot and chuckled loudly, “Hahahahahaha! I believe whatever my sister says!”
Okado’s expression darkened, “What do you mean by that? Don’t tell me you’re going to let that woman leave?”
The cavern quaked at this moment and a stone door manifested aboveground before one of the chains. A series of stone steps flew out from the cavern’s walls next to form stairs that connected the door to the wooden platform and a water portal similar to the one in the lakebed palace filled the hollow section of the door suspended in midair.
“It’s the exit!” As the treasure had an owner, it was natural for the exit to appear, and everyone present realized this immediately.
The exit was pretty close to Goro’s position.
Goro arrived beside the stairs, drank a mouthful of sake and sat down cross-legged before stating with an icy gaze, “Just focus on leaving, Sister. They won’t make it hard for you with me here.”
“Brother,” Lily smiled joyfully.
Tamurakonoe’s expression distorted, “Dammit! How did Tenba Goro, who has always been active in Kansai and never in Kanto become this mirror girl’s brother so soon? Doesn’t this render our objectives void? We can neither kill the mirror girl nor prevent her from leaving with the treasure now!
“What? Is this uncle stronger than you, Brother Tamurakonoe?” Ui asked.
“Shut up,” Tamurakonoe snapped at Ui, “Do you realize what you’ve just spoken? We’re fortunate that Tenba Goro is a reasonable man. If it were one of the brutal fellows from the Legion of Eight, we three might’ve lost our lives by now. Got it?!”
“Eh? T-They’re that fierce? This isn’t fun,” Ui played with her kendama with a pouting mouth.
“Listen. No matter what these idiots do, we will refrain from taking any action while Tenba Goro and the mirror girl are together. We’ll follow them vigilantly from afar instead. Tenba Goro doesn’t have a fixed base and wanders all the lands, so he won’t always remain with that woman. We’ll kill her and also plunder her treasures in pa.s.sing when they part. This mirror girl seems to have a lot of treasures besides the celestial maiden’s undergarment she obtained just prior,” Tamurakonoe stated solemnly in a soft voice.
Lily sighed in relief after seeing Tenba Goro stand on her side, especially so because she had guessed that the trio from the West also feared him after catching sight of Tamurakonoe’s distorted expression from the corner of her vision.
Lily thus crossed the chain in a calm and collected manner.
However, a few samurai stood at the chain’s end to block Lily in spite of Goro’s warning.
“We won’t let you pa.s.s, Kagami Lily!” Okado took command of the scene while pointing at Lily in ire and looked at Goro, who was seated next to the stairs after that, “Keep an eye on this man and kill him if he dares to intervene!”
The samurai drew out their katanas to pressure Goro, but he still maintained a smile.
“Hmph. Fools,” Tamurakonoe snorted, “This is going to cost them dearly.”
“Brother…” Lily looked at Goro when she saw the samurai block the area around the chain’s end. Her height allowed her to do this as most samurai weren’t tall enough to block her sight.
“Hahaha. I’ve said it already once, Sister. Just focus on leaving,” Tenba Goro stated candidly.
Lily revealed a knowing smile and sprinted towards the samurai suddenly.
“You’re just rus.h.i.+ng to your death! Kill her!” The samurai raised their blades towards her.
However, all they saw was a crimson shadow.
The shadow shuttled through the samurai and arrived beside the stairs instantly.
By the time the samurai finished swinging their blades, Lily had long arrived behind them, so they just stood still with stunned looks.
“Spurt! Spurt! Spurt!”
Blood jetted out from the wrists of the samurai and their katanas fell to the ground.
“What?!” The others were shocked. “Argh!” “My hand! My hand!” “Argh! My hand’s tendon has been severed! My life as a samurai is over now!”
The samurai screamed in pain while clutching their bleeding wrists.
“Let’s go, Sister s.h.i.+mizu, Mizue.”
s.h.i.+mizu had long arrived beside the stairs along with Mizue unnoticed.
Although s.h.i.+mizu wasn’t that fond of receiving a man’s a.s.sistance, now wasn’t the time for arguments. She nodded and took Mizue up the stairs first with no one stopping them this time.
Lily also sashayed towards the stairs behind them.
“You aren’t going anywhere!” Okado Yuzo unleashed his spirit power and drew out his tachi by grabbing its bearpaw-shaped hilt while donning the murderous expression of a bear!
Yuzo then charged towards Lily like a bear charging forward violently.
Lily had come quite close to Tenba Goro by now and continued walking towards the stairs without looking back.
The blades of the samurai pressed towards Goro’s neck and Okado’s raised blade was moments away from slas.h.i.+ng Lily’s back now.
“Hah!” Goro hardened his muscles suddenly at this moment and released an earth-quaking roar before rising up.
“Shatter!” The blades pressing against Goro’s neck shattered and the samurai surrounding him were also blasted away.
Goro drew out the s.h.i.+mmering blade of his broadsword, Sorrowful Terror, and raised it high before sprinting forward, arriving beside Lily almost instantly to fend off Okado’s tachi with Sorrowful Terror.
In contrast to Sorrowful Terror that remained stable after fending the attack off, Okado’s tachi, as well as his wrist, trembled from the aftershocks of the exchange.
“Hah!” Goro gave out a wrathful shout with a flushed face and struck down at Okado’s blade fiercely.
“Bam!” A dazzling explosion of light rippled outwards like waves beating against a sh.o.r.e.
“Argh!” Okado was blasted away along with a bunch of the samurai behind him and crashed through the wooden platform while giving rise to wood dust.
The lucky samurai landed on the round stone platform and the chains while the unlucky ones plunged into the bottomless chasm.
Okado Yuzo’s screams echoed out from the chasm before fading out gradually.
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