Book 5: Chapter 155: Lily versus Minamoto no Tsukawa (1)
The lights illuminating the premises under the curtain of the night gave it an amorous mood. Yuuta the racc.o.o.n demon spied on the memorial premises from a distant rooftop underneath a tree despite all the dangers his actions heralded. He took the form of a young child and snuck into the crowd so that he could see his worrisome sister’s match.
“On this side of the arena, we have the top talent from the Seiwa Genji, Minamoto no Tsukawa, who is also acclaimed as the second coming of Yos.h.i.+tsune!” The judge changed into a pair of lavisher robes and waved the flag in his hand as he introduced the compet.i.tors.
About 60% of the Heian-kyo samurai belonged to the Seiwa Genji faction, so the crowd welcomed Tsukawa with a shower of applause and cheers when he appeared in the arena.
“Minamoto no Tsukawa thought he would face his fated opponent, Taira no s.h.i.+zuru, in today’s tournament, yet she suffered an unexpected defeat! His current opponent is a newcomer to Heian-kyo, yet she is also a legend in the making. No one knows how Kagami Lily’s presence will affect the tournament’s outcome,” Sasaki executed a blade-step and gestured towards the spectators, “Let’s welcome the Mirror Girl—Lily—onto the arena!”
Surprisingly, Lily received even more cheers than Tsukawa.
The prettiest woman of the East had become a star of Heian-kyo the night she arrived and had a lot of notable battles adding to her fame. She was the ultimate dream of all men in her generation.
The circ.u.mstances of the Heian Empire were terrible with the common man’s life in the hands of the monsters. It was also rife with the chaos of war and multiple natural disasters that threatened its stability. It was natural for the instincts of humans to work towards survival in such dire conditions! As such, the clans view producing progeny with immense importance!
This was the reason a charming woman like Lily had gained so much popularity and adoration! It was as if she was the incarnation of life and hope in this dismal world!
“Good luck, Lady Kagami!”
“Win, Lady Kagami!”
“Give it your best, Lady Kagami!”
The reason for the cheers wasn’t just Lily’s feats and beauty. It was also because of the cruelty Tsukawa had shown in the arena. Although some samurai were blood-thirsty fanatics, most of the warmongering samurai didn’t take well to Tsukawa beheading Oniwa when the latter was set to lose the match already, so they cheered for Lily instead.
A woman wearing a s.e.xy open-shoulder black silk dress with white straps affixed onto her shoulders firmly climbed on top of the bronze dog sculpture in the arena, showing off her thighs dauntlessly as she waved a white banner on the dog’s back.
“Do your best, Lily!”
Tsukako cheered until her voice went hoa.r.s.e while crying, using all her strength to wave the banner with the words “Good Luck Lily, Avenge My Husband” on it.
The spectators felt the mood turn heavy after seeing this.
“Miss Tsukako…” Lily paused in the middle of the steps leading to the arena and felt touched, “She’s too pitiful. I should consider enacting justice for her.”
A few plain-clothed Genji samurai surrounded the dog sculpture in the next moment and dragged Tsukako down before taking her away forcibly.
“Give it your best, Lily! Good luck!” Tsukako refused to weaken her grip on the banner even as half-a-dozen men pulled her away and continued to cheer for Lily while waving the banner with all her strength.
“Kagami Lily! Fight however you want! I don’t need you to kill him for me or betray your principles! Just fight and win, Lily! You must win!”
Tsukako squeezed out these final words as the group of samurai dragged her away…
“Miss Tsukako…” Lily felt power well-up inside her. No matter how strong the opponent was, her soul burned with endless fury, just as her emotions did. Lily had realized that the power gained through emotions came from deep within the soul.
The red-dressed Lily’s long hair fluttered freely in the cold nightly wind as she walked onto the arena.
Minamoto no Tsukawa entered the arena from the other end with his chained scythe on his back. He showed contempt after seeing Lily receive more cheers than him, “These foolish ma.s.ses are just infatuated with your cleavage and b.u.t.tocks! Do you think you can win the match if you wear a dress with such deep cleavage?”
“Enough with showing off your perverseness now. Your ignorance is just going to humiliate all the Genji samurai present in the premises. This is just the beginning,” Lily retorted coolly to Tsukawa’s rude remarks.
“Hah! To think you’d mention something like that, Kagami Lily!” A Genji samurai stood up from the viewing platform, “I’m from the East and know all about you. You’re a traitorous woman who learned from the Genji Dojo and even received land from the Genji. Yet here you are standing as an enemy to the Genji clan by being shameless enough to have the backing of the Fujiwara clan! What right does a traitor like you who has sold their soul for gain have to stand in the arena today?”
“What?” The Genji members sitting on the viewing platform were stunned by this information, “Lily is from the East’s Genji?”
“So she was a traitor!”
“This traitorous b̲i̲t̲c̲h̲! Pull her down from the arena right now!”
Although most of the spectators believed that the man’s words explained nothing at all, almost 70% of the samurai clans consisted of the Genji, and a lot of influential high-ranking Fujiwara officials were also among them.
However, some of the radical supporters of Tsukawa seized this chance to make a fuss on the viewing-platform and reduce Lily’s momentum.
Lily also found it hard to justify her reasons when faced with this sudden questioning.
A deep and resounding feminine voice traveled through the lower viewing-platform suddenly.
A sepia-haired mature woman dressed in a light-green kimono walked onto the platform and bowed to Ayaka and Prince Narinaga first, following which she sat down beside the prince. An ordinary high official wasn’t qualified to take a seat beside the prince, so it was quite obvious that she was a true n.o.ble.
The area she sat in was reserved for the Shogun and his closest subjects, but it had remained empty until now since he hadn’t come to watch the tournament.
“W-Who are you?” One of the radical Tsukawa supporters questioned her despite knowing that sitting there already proved her status was high enough.
“I’ve received orders from the Shogun to spectate the tournament as his representative and am Kanto’s administrator, Supreme Judicator As.h.i.+kaga Makoto.”
“Mother Makoto,” Lily felt quite touched after seeing As.h.i.+kaga Makoto show up at this moment.
The As.h.i.+kaga clan was Kanto’s most powerful n.o.ble clan and was the leader of all Eastern samurai if the direct Genji descendants weren’t considered. She was more than qualified to represent the Shogun.
“She’s the recently appointed Kanto administrator that we’ve been hearing about?” The Genji members didn’t dare to act rashly.
As.h.i.+kaga Makoto continued, “Kagami Lily has shown her loyalty to the East’s Genji through her blood, sweat and tears. A lot of you lavish brats haven’t even fought on the battlefield and have just loafered around in Heian-kyo. Do you believe you’re qualified to criticize her?”
The crowd was left speechless momentarily.
“As for whether she pledged her loyalty to the Fujiwara clan. I don’t believe that might be true, isn’t that so, Lily?” Makoto questioned Lily.
“Mother Makoto…” Lily looked at Ayaka and stated firmly, “I’ve only sworn loyalty to the Chief Advisor, not the Fujiwara clan! I’d like to ask the people of the Heian Empire what’s wrong with doing that.”
“Although I accepted a reward from the Fujiwara clan, I only received what I deserved for my doings and not a coin more.”
Lily looked at everyone, “You keep saying that I’ve betrayed the Genji, but I would like to ask you in return that which one of you recalled all that I’d done for the East’s Genji when the Genji samurai from the Ministry of Justice framed me with the false charge of murdering my teacher, Lady Yoruko, and almost subjected me to torture and humiliation. I had indeed developed my skills under the Genji, but it was all thanks to my friend and teacher, Lady Sakiko! I’ve long repaid her by partic.i.p.ating in the Odawara Expedition and beheading Hojo Dijon. I even got rid of the Land of Hundred Demons’ Amanojaku and solved the commotion of the Takeda clan. Is all that still not enough to repay the debt of favor I received from the Genji? How come you’re calling me a traitor when the Genji are trying to kill each other over land?”
Lily’s words left everyone dumbfounded.
“Let alone, I’ve never betrayed the Genji! Since we’re at the Yos.h.i.+tsune Memorial today, I might as well show you this…”
Lily fetched the book that Minamoto no Yos.h.i.+tsune’s spirit had entrusted to her from her cleavage and raised it up.
“Look at this, you blind fools of the Genji! This is the 10th book of the ‘Genji Swordstyle’ handwritten by the hero of the Genji, Minamoto Kuro Yos.h.i.+tsune. Lord Yos.h.i.+tsune’s spirit entrusted it to me, and I am unafraid of going through any kind of perils to fulfill his final wishes!”
“As for you all? Here you are showing support for this so-called second coming of Yos.h.i.+tsune who’s nothing more than an outlandish brute, unable to distinguish between right and wrong. Tell me! Is it me who has dishonored Lord Yos.h.i.+tsune?!” Lily screamed with deep emotion, her voice pitching up a little.
Yos.h.i.+tsune had pointed towards the light in this dark Heian world when Lily had just arrived here, so she felt deep grat.i.tude towards him for it.
“Lord Yos.h.i.+tsune entrusted his most precious inheritance to an outsider like me. Tell me. Do you not feel ashamed about calling yourself a direct descendent of the Genji? Who do you think has betrayed the Genji? Me? Or you?”
“I’ve never received much education about the chivalry and loyalty of samurai in my childhood and don’t understand the so-called ethics and etiquette you speak of. However, I’ve always followed my heart and you have no right to tell me to whom I must pledge my loyalty! All I care about is living up to those who are close to me—my sisters, and my teachers!”
Lily grabbed her left b.r.e.a.s.t.s firmly, “I just want to live up to my heart!”
The Genji samurai were left speechless for a few moments. Although the ancient swordplay book was far from them, most of the Genji descendants felt their souls instinctively respond to its surreal aura.
“Does she… really have the lost 10th book of Yos.h.i.+tsune’s Genji Swordstyle?” Minamoto no Yos.h.i.+tada was also shocked by this revelation.
“There’s no proof that you haven’t stolen it! Since you’ve taken it out now, you better return it to the Genji now and wait to serve the punishment for your crime of stealing it!” The middle-counselor Minamoto no Hirohikari thundered.
“You better watch your words, Lord Hirohikari!” Yos.h.i.+tada also didn’t remain silent and chided his superior, “If it’s really Lord Yos.h.i.+tsune’s book, how could she steal it so simply? You cannot insult an inheritor of Lord Yos.h.i.+tsune’s legacy in such a manner!”
“Yeah!” Taira no Mori, who stood against Lily previously, voiced out in support at this moment, “Kagami Lily is no fool. Why would she take it out in public if she really stole it?”
“Enough!” As.h.i.+kaga Makoto bellowed, “Everyone from the Genji knows what kind of existence Lord Yos.h.i.+tsune is. It’s impossible for someone with an insincere heart to obtain his legacy. You aren’t just insulting Lily here; you’re also insulting Lord Yos.h.i.+tsune! We should be feeling ashamed that Lily received the final and most valuable book of the Genji Swordstyle instead of a Genji clan member! Where is your loyalty to the Genji? Lord Yos.h.i.+tsune fought for the realm dauntlessly with wholehearted loyalty and selflessness. However, just look at you all. Each one of you is tall and strong, yet you’re weaker than a single woman. You only know to relish in the pleasures of life, engage in power struggles and act with arrogance. Is this the loyalty you all speak of? What qualifications do you have to question Lily? Shut up your mouths and think about it now!1”
- Robinxen: Someone please shut this person up. I mean I know he’s on our side and all, but this is a very long speech. I guess I’ll forgive them for supporting Lily.