Book 5: Chapter 118: Faraway Tanba
“Lily, the Memorial Tournament will be held in two weeks and will last a month. The preliminaries will start first, then the main tournament followed by the ceremony. You should prepare as soon as you can.” Ayaka reminded, “With your strength, entering the main tournament should not be a problem, but do not be careless. You might meet a hidden expert from the Sinless Domain.”
Lily happily nodded, no matter what expert or powerhouse, as long as she was qualified to partic.i.p.ate, she was happy.
If it was for fame, fortune, or treasures, Lily had many other methods of gaining them, not to mention, the Heavenly Oracle had not been complete and the whereabouts of Shenzu was still unknown. However, Lily’s true intent was to climb Izumo Mountain’s peak. If she could win the champions.h.i.+p, even if it cost her untold efforts, she would still climb to the peak of the mountain, and pray to the G.o.ds, to awaken her senior sister! Regardless of success or failure, she would try, she believed the G.o.ds would be moved by her sincerity.
This was Lily’s true motivation! For her senior sister, Lily would not miss any opportunity!
“In any case, I must win the champions.h.i.+p!” Lily secretly swore.
“That…Lady Ayaka, I have an issue I would like to consult with you.”
The relations.h.i.+p between them was different from when they first met. The trust and intimacy between the two had greatly increased, Lily felt that issue could now be brought up.
“Lady Ayaka, in the backyard, I discovered an ancient ruin, it’s likely to be the Divine Sun Formation, and very possibly corresponds to the one I discovered in Kanto.”
“What? My mansion’s backyard has a Divine Sun Formation?” Ayaka was more than familiar with the teleportation arrays. “Hurry, take me to see it.”
Though this was the Chief Advisor’s Mansion, she was in charge of many issues and the mansion covered an area of several kilometers. Where would Ayaka find the time to inspect every abandoned house or courtyard in her backyard. Ayaka was a person who liked a clean household, besides a few powerful attendants, no one could enter the inner courtyard or backyard.
Lily brought Ayaka to the location she found. Using her domain, she blew away the leaves and moss revealing a stone formation exuding an ancient aura.
Slightly shocked, Ayaka examined the array, “This is without a doubt a Divine Sun Formation, Lily, you’ve really made a great contribution here. As far as I know, there are less than ten ancient arrays like this in Heian-kyo. My Fujiwara clan controls two of them, one to the birthplace of my Fujiwara clan in the west, and the other to Mutsu in the far northeast. As for teleportation arrays from Kanto to Kansai, there is only one in Heian-kyo, under the control of the Genji.”
“Lily, where in Kanto is this array connected to?”
“This Divine Sun Formation should be connected to my territory in Kanto. A hidden valley in the mountains between the Kai Province and s.h.i.+nano, it’s called Cherry Blossom Valley.
“Ha, so fortunate? The corresponding array is under your control? Though I don’t need to go to Kanto, when I master this array, it could be said that I’ll be in control of one of the methods to influence the world.“ Ayaka excitedly said.
“But…” Ayaka held Lily’s hand, “This belongs to you Lily, I will not force you to use this array for the Fujiwara clan or the Imperial Court.”
“Lady Ayaka, I have no intentions of getting into the imperial court conflicts, but if Lady Ayaka ever needs it, please freely use it. Only, the other side is in the core grounds of the home of me and my sisters. Please don’t let untrustworthy people enter.”
“Don’t worry, this array belongs to you…wait, you said sisters?”
“Eh? Yes, the sisters that I met in my adventures in the eastern land live in the Cherry Blossom Valley.”
“What!? You’re raising that many women? What is their relations.h.i.+p with you?” Ayaka asked with displeasure.
“Eh? This…they’re all companions that I’ve met due to battle and adventure.”
Ayaka was a bit skeptical.
“Never mind, I don’t think you’re that type of woman. First activate this array, you must be absolutely sure. This type of array might lead to some dangerous forbidden lands.”
“Please rest easy, I’m very sure of the destination.” As Lily stimulated her aura in the method to activate a Divine Sun Formation, a wind started blowing from the ancient array as the mottled array lines started glowing gold…
The Divine Sun Formation activated! An ancient and deep time s.p.a.ce aura hovered over the array.
“Lily, for precautions, I will dispatch a s.h.i.+kigami to explore first.”
“Nn.” Lily nodded.
In the tall mountains, within the vast mist and fog. Here, ancient trees towered in the sky and thorns covered the land.
Some th.o.r.n.y vines stretched like thousand meter snakes, intertwined with the thick giantlike trees and roots of the forest. Just by entering, any foreign creature could instinctively feel that gloomy, thick eldritch energy!
A woman wearing a revealing black sleeveless kimono top, and only a front-back black gold cloth on the bottom walked through the maze-like mountain forest. She was tall and beautiful, her hair fluttering behind her like a silver river and she carried a heavy long ancient sword on her back.
Legends say that entering this Tanba Province was like entering a country of labyrinths. No exits, no destinations, no matter how good your luck was, you would only occasionally discover a relay village, and then set off for the next labyrinth.
And Mount Ooe, resided within this ancient forest, at the deepest, and most dangerous place.
Talking about subjugating Shuten Doji in the bright and comfortable imperial court was easy, but when you took a step into the Tanba province, you would find out that it was nothing more than a fool’s dream.
The first powerful enemy was not a demon, but this endless, hintless, forest labyrinth!
This place was filled with fog all year, the sun wasn’t visible and one could only see a hundred meters out. Any secret method or treasure to distinguish directions would almost always fail here. Whether it was an army, or a small group of adepts, they would always end up trapped in an endless labyrinth when stepping foot here. Finding an exit was as difficult as ascending, let alone finding Mount Ooe.
The terrain of the mountain and forest was extremely convoluted and complicated, even if you wanted to walk in one direction, you would find it impossible and fall into endless wandering.
Uesugi Rei and her comrades were all trapped within this labyrinth of trees, they had long lost their directions.
Not only was the mountain forest extremely foggy, it was a chilling humid cold. Even a samurai with a strong physique couldn’t resist for long.
Only, Uesugi Rei was a woman from the northern countries with an outrageously good physique, she didn’t feel any discomfort in this forest maze.
But her companions were not having such an easy time.
“Wait, wait a moment, I…I can’t keep walking.” A samurai in thick armor pulled off that helmet with golden cloud patterns and sat down on a rock. His face was extremely thin, dark circles surrounded his unfocused eyes, and his complexion was gray, he looked very weak.
There were three people besides the samurai, one was an iron cannon maiden, she wore dark red short armor1, on her back was an iron cannon arcane mechanism weapon with a bra.s.s beast head.
Another, was a tall young hermit wielding a long staff, dressed as a monk.
The last, was a black clothed black masked person with a gloomy aura, a ninja with a strong posture.
In addition, there was a person standing far away. He wore simple exquisite red black armor with no helm. He had long hair, and was tall and handsome, the leader of this small expeditionary squad, Minamoto no Kenki.
Uesugi Rei didn’t look at the sitting samurai, she continued to stare out into the fog, “Rest? Sure, it seems like Mr. Nakajou plans on staying in this forest labyrinth for the rest of his life?”
“Miss Uesugi!” The exhausted samurai Nakajou wheezed, “The situation is already like this and you’re still speaking as if it doesn’t concern you! We’ve been wandering the mountains and forests of Tanba for months already! If this goes on, we’ll die within this forest before setting foot on Mount Ooe! Aren’t you called the G.o.ddess of War? Can’t you think of a solution?”
The Iron Cannon Maiden Hatano Kana also interjected, “Miss Uesugi, we’re not like you, we can’t replenish our spirit power in battle, nor do we have endless vigor or such st.u.r.dy physiques. We can only slowly absorb the energy of heaven and earth to recover. You can’t only take care of yourself, you also have to care about your teammate’s situations, especially teammates like lord Nakajou Mikazuchi whose body was originally weak.”
“Oof— there are so many monsters here, and it’s so cold and abnormal, no suns.h.i.+ne during the day and my feet, my rheumatism is flaring up again!” Nakajou howled, gripping his feet.
Rei slowly turned to look at them, her face showing pity, “I can understand your suffering, but it’s precisely because of this that we have to speed up. I shall lead the way, with my sense of heaven and earth, I shall lead you out of this forest labyrinth.”
“Pfft——” Hearing the words, the hermit who had just taken a gulp of water spat it out uncontrollably.
He rushed over, “No, no! Sister Uesugi, you just take care of killing the demon! We’ll go, we can get up and move immediately right? We’re already deep in the labyrinth already, you must not lead the way2!”
“Huh? Why?” Uesugi Rei’s purple pupils were like moist crystals, she gently combed her long hair as she asked the tall hermit. He was tall, but not much taller than Rei who was wearing high heels.
Minamoto no Kenki walked over, “Since we left as a group to partic.i.p.ate this time, we must unite and never give up before we complete our mission. Since Lord Nakajou can no longer walk, let us rest here for a while. Uh, as for leading…how about brother Toyama lead the way…”
Kenki winked at the hermit who wore a dirty white s.h.i.+rt and black pants and a large string of buddhist beads.
- Yuki: Is she famous for getting lost?