Demon Sword Maiden - Chapter 400
Lily traveled across the Owari wasteland for a few days while checking the route with the map she possessed and finally reached the outskirts of Kiyosu Castle.
Nanako had spent the past few days training within the mirror space and had long attained early-stage Sword Saint strength by using magatama.
As Lily didn’t know how long it would take for her to return, she had informed Kotoka and the others in advance to use a portion of the extracted magatama for the sake of the sisters’ advancement.
Lily estimated that Nanako would have to keep training within the mirror space until her strength reaches the Spirit Jade Stage as she would be of help in battle only after that. However, Lily didn’t have that many magatamas in her possession currently and had barely 7-8 of them, so Nanako mainly used magatama fragments to advance.
It was night right now, so Lily had unleashed some of her spirit power to investigate the surroundings of Kiyosu Castle’s gate vigilantly by limiting the range of the probe. Even if there were powerhouses present in Kiyosu Castle, it was highly likely for them to be inside the castle tower instead of loitering at the front gate every day, so the chances of Lily’s probe getting discovered were pretty low.
“Hmm?” This city is actually guarded by humans. It even seems to have ordinary humans living inside the houses close to the city gate.
Isn’t it rumored that the Endless Wastelands have long been occupied by the demons?
Lily arrived at the Kiyosu Castle’s front gate, which was a makeshift wooden gate with claw marks of monsters left behind on it.
“Stop! Show us an identity proof, traveler,” two soldiers advanced forward to block her path.
Show an identity proof?
Lily reflected on the thought for a moment. Although she was a liege lord, she had left her official seal back with Kotoka and hadn’t brought anything of the like with her.
“Oh, yes,” Lily fetched the samurai certificate that she had obtained after passing the samurai qualification test in Takeshita Town.
The soldier checked it and said, “Oh. It’s the lowest-ranked samurai certificate from the East. Are you a low-ranked samurai?”
“Well, you could say that’s the case,” Lily nodded. The undead samurai that she had come across during the journey had screamed about preventing the mirror girl from journeying west, which made Lily suspicious about the situation. It seemed that the information about her journeying west had leaked already and it also seemed that some force was trying to prevent her from journeying west.
Therefore, Lily planned to hide her identity as much as possible afterwards on this journey.
The two soldiers didn’t hold much respect for low-ranked samurai, especially those from outside, but Lily’s looks managed to pique their interest contrarily.
However, as Lily was a samurai, they didn’t dare to harass her that casually. After all, samurai possessed ranks and low-ranked samurai were ranked slightly higher than ordinary foot soldiers.
“State your name, where you’re from and your business in the city,” said the soldier.
“What? When did you start interrogating the samurai going in and out of this city like this?” Lily questioned.
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“It’s natural for us to do that! The monsters have been rampant recently and Owari only has a few regions remaining where ordinary people can still live. This Kiyosu Castle is surrounded by monsters on all sides and requires us to defend it from the attacks of monsters and demon samurai that might appear at any time. How could we let a traveler inside without an interrogation?” the soldier chided.
“The interrogation aside, we’ll even perform a body search if we think you’re suspicious, got it?!” the other soldier threatened.
Lily nodded after a moment of contemplation. As most of Owari was occupied by monsters, it had led to the obstruction of information exchange, making it seem like all of Owari had surrendered in the perspective of the East. However, there were still human strongholds left within Owari that strived wholly to protect the final remaining population.
Lily’s respect for the Kiyosu Castle’s lord and the soldiers deepened after arriving at this conclusion.
“My name is Lynne. I hail from Kamakura and intend to pass through this land. I wish to lodge inside the city for the night since the demons rampaging outside make me feel uneasy and also plan to buy some travel items in passing,” Lily answered.
The two soldiers nodded after hearing her answer. Lily’s flushed complexion as well as her bewitching looks made her believe that she was a trustable beauty, but they still didn’t dare to trust her completely.
Therefore, they summoned an onmyōji to verify that Lily wasn’t a monster.
“You can go in now. The security inside the city is relatively disorderly and since you’re a samurai woman from outside, it’s best if you behave and don’t cause any trouble. Endure it as much as possible even if someone tries to harass you and report it to the authorities if you can’t do that as fights are banned inside the city,” the soldier explained.
The other soldier added, “The city is in the middle of recruiting samurai right now since we’re short of military power from the long resistance against the monsters. You can sign up at the recruiting office if you wish to earn some money for the travel expenses. We’re quite welcoming towards samurai outsiders who join our Kiyosu forces.”
“Thank you for the reminder, I will consider it,” Lily nodded.
Lily found Kiyosu Castle to be as desolate and ruined as she had expected, and she could even hear weeping sounds occasionally along with the sight of drunk men fighting each other on the street.
The monsters were rampaging outside the city, so it was natural for the city to lack supplies and bring together people from all trades, resulting in chaos.
Lily contemplated for a while and decided to find an inn first to take a bath, have some food and get some rest.
Lily found an inn with broken lanterns at the street side and lifted the front door’s curtain to walk inside.
Although it was an inn, it was much different from the inn back in Kamakura.
The inn consisted of two halves, the front and the back, that were separated by a latticed wooden wall, and the entrance hall’s floor was elevated by half a foot from the ground.
A middle-aged woman and an old man were in the middle of cooking something in the front room with a square-shaped stove.
The woman stood up when she saw Lily and greeted her, “Hello, young lady. Do you wish to lodge in?”
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Lily nodded, “Yes, I do. I wish to purchase some food too.”
“Please follow me, young lady,” the middle-aged woman guided Lily towards the wooden floor and tried to help move Lily’s sandals over to the shelf, but she quivered all over when she tried to lift the sandals and almost cramped her muscles. Those pair of exquisite wooden sandals, however, still remained unmoving.
“Urgh, my arm… young lady… just how heavy are these sandals of yours?” the middle-aged woman cried out in alarm.
Lily’s sandals were made from grade 9 Azure Dragon Wood, so it was naturally impossible for an ordinary middle-aged woman to lift them.
Lily thus turned around and bent over, causing her kimono to stretch against her rounded buttocks as she lifted her sandals and placed them at the bottom of the wooden shelf, “It’s fine to just leave them like this.”
It was impossible for ordinary thieves to steal the wooden sandals even if they wanted.
The middle-aged woman looked at Lily in astonishment and then at the exquisite katana fixed at her waist, showing a prudent smile on her face, “Do you want a single room or a shared room, young lady? The shared room is mixed-gender by the way.”
“Make it a single room then,” Lily stated. It was impossible for her to lodge into a mixed-gender room.
“Alright. A single room it is then. It’s 20 mon a day. It’s not that expensive to lodge in this inn, but the food is quite expensive right now. There’s not much we can do about it though since the materials are also expensive and we also have to earn our living. I hope you understand this, young lady.”
“I do. I’ll be paying the money, so could you please take me to see the room?”
The middle-aged woman guided Lily to the back of the latticed wooden wall which had a spacious shared room whose floor was damaged in several locations and patched with a lot of hay. There were about six to seven filthy wandering samurai and people of unknown professions lying on the hay, which included two women, one quite old and in her thirties, who was dressed in a kimono and had her back against the corner as she sat in seiza with a conical bamboo hat over her head. A few of them looked at Lily with impatient expressions, especially those filthy wandering samurai since they hadn’t seen such a pretty woman in quite a long time.
Lily felt glad that she hadn’t chosen to lodge into a shared room as the occupants were no different from beggars. She followed the middle-aged woman into the corridor, which had a latticed wooden wall at one side and single rooms on the other side. The woman opened one of the rooms, which was as empty as anything and had antiquated wallpapers and walls, but it was still quite tidy.
“How about this room, young lady? It’s our best room.”
“This one is fine,” Lily answered.
“It’s 25 mon per day though.”
“Is there anywhere to take a bath?” Lily inquired.
“Take a bath?” The woman looked at Lily in surprise, “Do you come from some rich family, young lady? How could such a region have a place customized for taking a bath? However, I can arrange for a huge bucket and some firewood to heat the water in the backyard if you wish to wash up. Worry not since I’ll keep watch to prevent those samurai outside from coming in accidentally, but firewood is quite expensive these days and I’ll be attending to you personally, so a bath will cost quite a fair price.”
Lily fetched a small piece of gold weighing about 250 g and handed them over, “Prepare the cleanest water and food for me.”
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The woman received the gold piece and weighed it in her hand before biting it with her mouth, and her eyes lit up instantly along with her attitude becoming more respectful and enthusiastic, “Just which family’s princess are you, young lady?! T-This is pure gold! It’s my first time holding such a huge piece of gold in my whole life! Please rest in the room while I prepare the hot water at once, young lady, and don’t hesitate to make any demands. The gruel I make definitely won’t suit your tastes, so let me fetch the best meal set and tea from the sake dealer on the street!”
Lily shook her head faintly after seeing the woman leave in such high spirits. Lily didn’t want to act too high-profile, but she really didn’t have any copper pieces on her, possessing only gold. After all, it was only possible to store gold within the mirror space.
The woman returned with a brand new bedding1 for Lily soon after and went to the back to heat water with the old man after that. She then invited Lily to take a bath once the water was ready and did her best to keep watch in the backyard by driving away the drunk wandering samurai who tried to go inside.
Lily was finally able to take a hot and comfortable bath and changed into a new light green yukata before taking a tea break within her room for now.
Lily didn’t use the inn’s teacup and simply boiled water before pouring it into the grade 7 teacup in her possession, Fuji-san, and drank tea from it.
Lily had been attended to quite well on this day.
She left the inn early in the morning of the next day before the sun had even risen, but it was still an extended night outside. The fact that she had paid 250 grams of gold and actually checked out after lodging just for a single day, however, filled the middle-aged woman and the old man with extreme joy.
Lily planned to leave Kiyosu Castle today after leaving the inn and saw a ramen stall lit with red lanterns at the alley ahead while walking on the street. Lily actually quite liked eating ramen and wondered what the difference between the ramen of Kiyosu and the ramen of East was.
Therefore, she sat down at the stall and ordered a bowl of ramen.
The stall owner, a benign-faced middle-aged man who wore a cap on his head, prepared a bowl of ramen for Lily under the red light of the lanterns and served it in front of her, the broth looking cool and clear.
Lily also revealed a jolly smile as she picked up the ramen bowl.
“Don’t drink it, Master! There’s poison in this ramen’s broth!” Kagura’s voice reached Lily from within the mirror space suddenly.2
ReferencesSilva: Dang, she’s already putting the gold she just earned to good use! Silva: Oh My. Lily don’t have poison resistance even after reaching such a high power realm?
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