Book 5: Chapter 117: First Prize
Wait…hadn’t she agreed to face someone in battle in the tournament? Either way, she no longer remembered.
“Miss Kagami, the first prize this time is really amazing!”
“So, what is so amazing about the reward?”
The miko took a deep breath before answering, “The champion gets the privilege and honor of a face to face meeting with the emperor himself, an official fifth rank military position, and a large amount of royal merits. You can exchange the merits for visiting the four shrines, or various treasures, materials, or secret manuals!”
“Oh?” Lily’s eyebrows lifted as if she was interested.
Lily cared not much about the emperor or the official positions, but Heian-kyo’s four shrines? That she had an interest in.
The miko continued, “There’s more!”
“This has never appeared before as a prize, a prize valuable enough to attract the world’s partic.i.p.ants——Izumo Mountain’s Invitation Scroll.”
“Izumo Mountain’s Invitation Scroll?” Lily asked, shocked.
“That’s right, that Izumo Mountain. The place where the G.o.ds met countless years ago, though the G.o.ds have all left, Izumo Mountain is still a celestial mountain and spiritual valley. Many legends say that Izumo Mountain is a relic left behind by the G.o.ds and contains uncountable profound mysteries and treasures!”
“Also, there are countless reclusive faction dojos, miko temples and celestial ninja temples on the outskirts of Izumo Mountain, even the birthplace of my Fujiwara clan’s onmyouji faction is there. Lady Ayaka trained at Izumo Mountain to become the world’s foremost onmyouji.”
“The world’s greatest Sacred Relic is also on Izumo Mountain!”
After hearing the miko’s introduction of Izumo Mountain, Lily came to understand what an extraordinary holy land it was. She really wanted to visit.
“If I want to visit Izumo Mountain, will it be difficult? What’s with that Invitation Scroll? Is someone actually selling admission scrolls?”
“Hehe, Miss Kagami, you should definitely not say that in public, the world would say that female samurai of the eastern land are all ignorant.”
“It’s not like I know about this.” Lily pouted.
“Miss Kagami, no one is selling Izumo Mountain’s Invitation Scroll. There are only so many of these scrolls in the world, use one and it’s gone forever, it will never appear again.”
“Izumo Mountain is a gigantic, mysterious mountain range. It’s separated into the outskirt valley and the main peak. The main peak is incomparably high, reaching the sky. Though Izumo Mountain is known far and wide, no one has ever climbed to the top of the main peak.”
“What? No one has ever climbed to the peak? What in the world is on that peak?”
“It’s beyond difficult to climb to the peak! Even our master Lady Ayaka, has only gotten infinitesimally close to the peak! It is said that if you climb the peak, you can pray to the G.o.ds in Takamagahara. It is the only place in this world where you can directly commune with the G.o.ds.”
“You can pray to the G.o.ds in Takamagahara?”
Lily’s chest heaved in excitement. The obsession within her, that determination to sacrifice everything for the desire within her heart, once again ignited.
“Izumo Mountain’s reclusive faction dojos, miko temples and celestial ninja temples are all built on the outskirts just to share in that bit of Izumo Mountain’s celestial energy. But only those with Izumo Mountain’s Invitation Scroll may enter the main peak. According to legend, the remaining Invitation Scrolls are leftovers from when the G.o.ds would invite mortals as guests. Today, there are very few left in the world, and you can only use it once, even if you get a second scroll, you can no longer enter.
“No wonder, with Lady Ayaka’s status, she should have been able to get more scrolls.”
“That’s why this prize is such a surprise, no one ever thought Izumo Mountain’s Invitation Scroll would be offered as a prize. This is a great opportunity! Only, I don’t have that power, otherwise I would also try to compete. There is no miko who does not want to visit Izumo Mountain once.”
Lily felt excited but also disappointed, she was not from a powerful clan, she probably didn’t have the right to partic.i.p.ate in the tournament.
“What? Kagami Lily???” The Fujiwara elders couldn’t help but be surprised.
“I’ve heard of this Kagami Lily, she’s a young female samurai who’s been active lately, only she’s not of our Fujiwara clan, how can we let her represent us?” The blue cloth minister objected.
“No! This tournament seed belongs to our Fujiwara clan! How can we give it to an outsider?”
“Isn’t there a preliminary compet.i.tion? Anyone can attend that, have her go there. Our Fujiwara admission allows direct entry into the tournament, giving it away would be too much of a waste!”
“Hahahaha!” The bald fatty laughed, “Kagami Lily, she’s only a young girl, no fame, no position, and no strength. You want her to represent our Fujiwara clan? How ridiculous! Instead of her, why don’t we send my second son instead!”
“Could it be that our Fujiwara clan is destined to be mocked at this Yos.h.i.+tsune Memorial? You want to let an outsider girl represent us? Ridiculous!”
The entire group of Fujiwara quickly expressed their disapproval.
The Imperial Chancellor pondered for a while before answering Ayaka, “Lord Chief Advisor, our Fujiwara clan is full of talents, why would you consider a little girl who only just joined our faction? She may have some achievements, but achievements relying on luck, or using feminine charm to rely on others, is not really suitable. It is not as if we are lacking in capability. Recently, I have heard rumors of Lord Chief Advisor and her…I hope Lord Chief Advisor will consider the interests of the Fujiwara clan first.”
“That’s right, Ayaka, you are one of the pillars of our Fujiwara clan, you can’t make decisions based on emotions anymore. Since this girl is not from our Fujiwara clan, young and lacks strength, I think we should let another partic.i.p.ate.” Even the patriarch chided Ayaka.
Ayaka shook her head, “Just a while ago you were all lamenting the younger generation’s lack of talent. Having Kagami Lily represent our Fujiwara clan is for the benefit of our clan. It is only a seeded position, with Lily’s strength, she can easily reach that position herself. Rather than saying I’m giving my retainer benefits, it would be more appropriate to say that we’re benefiting from Lily’s aura.”
“Lord Chief Advisor, you’re going overboard! That female samurai from the eastern land was merely lucky enough to make a fake name in Heian-kyo. If her luck allowed her to enter the tournament and face off against the elite younger generation, only humiliation awaits! Don’t let her shame our Fujiwara clan! Instead of her, let my son go!”
“That’s right! My grandson would have a higher chance of victory! How can we waste our seeded position on a destined failure?”
The various elders of the Fujiwara clan started to compete for the position again.
Speechless, Ayaka got up.
“Lord Chief Advisor, what are you…”
“Continue, Lily will partic.i.p.ate in the preliminaries under my name as Chief Advisor. I still have business, farewell!”
“Lord Chief Advisor…the candidate hasn’t been selected, why are you leaving?”
“Lord Chief Advisor!”
Ayaka walked away.
The group left behind her, started whispering between themselves.
“I heard rumors saying that girl is the Lord Chief Advisor’s mistress.”
“What? No wonder the Lord Chief Advisor wanted to give the position to an outsider.”
“To want an outsider to represent our Fujiwara clan, Lord Chief Advisor is too arrogant, doing as she wants!
“But…if that Lily really marries Lord Chief Advisor, couldn’t it be said that she’s a part of our Fujiwara clan?”
“B̲u̲l̲l̲s̲h̲i̲t̲! There may be same-s.e.x marriages in Heian-kyo, but how can our Fujiwara clan do something so disgraceful!”
“That Kagami Lily must have used her beauty to mystify others and create a name. She won’t get past the preliminaries!”
“Wait, I heard that Kagami Lily triumphed over the marial saint’s son in a duel on Ryu Island…”
“What? Impossible! It must be a rumor! Or she used some foul method, I heard that girl is very coquettish, maybe she sold herself for some treasure and manipulated the martial saint’s son to death.”
“Nn…women. It’s very possible she used some method, but this is the Yos.h.i.+tsune Memorial, cheating results in death! We cannot allow this Kagami Lily to represent our Fujiwara clan, even if we lose, we can’t allow our dignity to be besmirched!”
“Hmph, it must be that girl tempting Lord Chief Advisor at night, serving Lord Chief Advisor every night and begging for a spot!”
“That’s right, if Lord Chief Advisor insists on doing so, let her. But we can’t follow the example and give the Genji and Taira a target to mock.”
“Silence!” The patriarch commanded, “Uh… I say, shouldn’t we decide on a candidate already?”
The group of Fujiwara eldes nodded and stopped gossiping.
“How about we have Uma Family’s third son partic.i.p.ate?”
“……Didn’t he have his leg broken by the Genjis? Why are you mentioning him again?”
Even after returning to the mansion, Ayaka’s scowl had not left her face. Those Fujiwara elders only desired to fight for fame and benefits, yet were so pedantic!
Hearing that Ayaka had returned, Lily ran out to greet her. Seeing Ayaka, Lily’s face blushed as she asked, “Lady Ayaka, that…I have a request to ask, that is, can I…”
“Lily!” Ayaka angrily ordered, “You will partic.i.p.ate in the Memorial Tournament!”
“Eh!?!?” Before Lily’s request could come out, Ayaka had already returned the answer.
“Lady Ayaka, you, which Memorial Tournament are you talking about?” Lily couldn’t believe what she had heard.
“What other Memorial Tournament is there at this time! Of course it’s the Yos.h.i.+tsune Memorial Tournament! Go and train! Prepare yourself!” Ayaka was, for some reason, extremely fierce today.
Despite Ayaka’s fierceness, Lily was secretly happy.
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