Demon Sword Maiden

Volume - Yomi-no-kuni: Chapter 12 – Night Parade of One Hundred Maidens (Part 2)



Volume - Yomi-no-kuni: Chapter 12 – Night Parade of One Hundred Maidens (Part 2)

“Ah, an oversight on my part. Many here might already recognize me. I am Renka, responsible for capturing at least half of you. And this,” Renka gestured, “is Captain Isshiki.”

Flanked by the two captains, one leading and the other following, the ensemble of Rakshasa guards shepherded the hundred women through the winding corridors.

The duration of their walk eluded Lily. Surrounded by dark courtyards that mirrored the ancient Nara castle albeit cloaked in a tapestry of vines, thorns, and other peculiar flora, where demonic stone statues lurked amongst the foliage. The pathway was lit by stone lamps, fueled by luminescent crystals, casting demonic silhouettes from the towering trees, altogether conjuring an eerie ambiance.

The ponds, too, appeared ominously dark and seemingly unfathomable.

“Tread carefully, avoid the water. These ponds diverge from those in the human realm, harboring entities potent enough to slay quintuple-soul big dipper adepts,” Renka cautioned.

Guided by the captains, Lily and her companions ventured into a dilapidated courtyard, resonating with an aura of desolation.

The courtyard appeared uninhabited for years, yet Lily detected an enduring bitterness embedded in its very grass and stones.

Nestled within the courtyard stood three expansive terrace houses, each linked by a network of corridors.

“Consider this your provisional abode,” Renka declared. “Each house accommodates thirty individuals. Organize your sleeping arrangements accordingly.”

The opening of the doors revealed nothing but darkness within. Although the houses appeared long deserted, the distinct temporal flow of Yomi meant that years of abandonment didn’t result in the accumulation of dust.

The terrace houses extended in length, bare except for the tiled flooring, void of any furnishings.

One adept inquired, “May we utilize the belongings we’ve brought?”

“Certainly, provided there are no objections from the others,” Renka responded.

Moving forward, the Night Parade members needed to remain cautious around each other. In this competition, only one could emerge victorious.

Following any failure, a daunting hundred years of hard labor and a future filled with uncertainty loomed over them.

Truthfully, some of the women here would prefer the role of a concubine to a handsome and domineering demon over enduring a century of hard labor. Yet, what if they were bound to an exceptionally unattractive one? Would they not be left without tears to shed?

The others took note of Lily. Unfamiliar and indifferent towards each other, they nonetheless felt a sense of relief that she hadn’t received a jade token.

“I’ll be sleeping here, next to the window. The area to the right of this screen is mine; without my consent, no one crosses this line,” declared the woman with the pink ponytail, setting up a screen to delineate her claimed space.

Despite the spaciousness of the house accommodating thirty individuals, this woman claimed a portion of the communal area with a screen.

“Why must you be this way…”

“Aren’t the Rakshasa guards going to intervene?”

A number of adepts voiced their discontent angrily.

“Destruction of property, murder, and escape attempts are prohibited. Beyond that, we are unconcerned,” replied a Rakshasa guard.

Approaching from the side, a blade maiden adorned in attire featuring an unusual spider pattern, with short hair, made her way to the side of the woman with the pink ponytail to offer her perspective, “This is Miss Tamai Tomoko, of the esteemed and mighty Yomi Tamai clan lineage. Deliberately allowing herself to be captured, she has purposefully entered this competition. Her stature and vision far surpass yours. Is it not reasonable for her to claim a bit of personal space to preserve her grace and nobility?”

Tamai Tomoki, a septuple-soul big dipper adept who was slightly stronger than Lily, emerged as the most formidable among the Night Parade. Consequently, the others were hesitant to provoke her.

Yet, the pursuit of alliances so soon came as a surprise to them.

Lily felt a mix of helplessness and shame. Surrounded by unparalleled experts, each capable of ruling as overlords in Heian-kyo, these women, likely sovereigns of vast lands at home, now contested mere square feet of floor in Yomi and the Rakshasa Dojo, sacrificing the dignity of a powerhouse for safety.

Heroes may not easily shed tears, but this place was an exception.

In such an environment, where vital interests are at stake and surrounded by equals or superiors, what worth does the pride of a big dipper adept hold?

What, then, distinguishes them now from the lesser female warriors of Heian-kyo, known for their modest strength?

While Lily didn’t see herself as being in a position to display arrogance, she resolved to preserve at least the basic dignity of an expert.

Without engaging in arguments or protests, Lily quietly chose a corner to settle down in.

Lily pondered the origins of these hundred big dipper female adepts and blade maidens. Where had they been born, and how had they ascended to the big dipper realm?

Furthermore, she questioned the number of powerhouses residing in Yomi.

Given the reputed scarcity of female experts in Yomi and the Rakshasa Dojo’s ability to capture so many, it begged the question of how many male powerhouses existed in Yomi.

Lily acknowledged her limited knowledge of Yomi. Since her arrival, she had been ensnared in relentless life-and-death struggles, yet now, she could finally sense a momentary reprieve of safety.

The other Night Parade members had battled in Yomi for countless years. Lily hesitated to claim any superiority over the most distinguished among them.

Chaos reigned in the three terrace houses, as a multitude of female experts quarreled over scant space, leaving Lily feeling ashamed.

Gradually, the chaos subsided as the spaces among everyone were delineated.

Yet, even in the newfound quiet, trouble sought Lily out. The spider woman approached, appraising Lily with a gaze that mingled heartfelt admiration and jealousy.

“Hey, you,” the spider woman addressed Lily. “Miss Tamai summons you.”

“Huh?” Lily was taken aback. Without vying for territory, why was she sought out?

The spider woman reiterated, “Miss Tamai has beckoned you. Go accompany her.”

“Eh?” Lily remained perplexed.

“What’s with the dumb face? Miss Tamai requests your company, finding you intriguing. Despite your silence, she notes your distinctive temperament among the Night Parade. Will you keep Miss Tamai waiting?”

Lily felt aggrieved. She was open to a courteous dialogue but bristled at the commanding tone.

“Sorry, I’m not inclined,” Lily responded coldly. “Should she truly wish to speak, she can approach me.”

“Fine… just you wait.”

The spider woman retreated behind the screen to converse with Tamai.

Shortly thereafter, Tamai approached Lily. She gazed down at her, silent for an extended period.

Abruptly, Tamai squatted and gently lifted Lily’s chin with her finger.

“Such beauty truly captivates. May I know your name?” Tamai inquired.

Lily brushed Tamai’s finger aside, replying, “I presumed my name was known throughout Yomi.”

“Heh, quite full of ourselves, aren’t we?”

“Conceited? On the contrary, I wish to remain unknown.”

“Unknown? While I may not have known you, having seen you now, you’re unforgettable. Wherever you may go, there will be those eager to acquaint themselves with you.” Get your 𝒇avorite 𝒏ovels at novelb𝒊n(.)com

Lily felt a sense of helplessness. She had encountered similar issues in the Heian dynasty, but the denizens of Yomi were unabashed in their desires—a natural outcome, given many were originally monsters, not humans.

Yet, having faced numerous trials and dangers since her descent into Yomi, Lily’s spirits were understandably low.

“As Night Parade members, you’ll learn my name in due course. For now, allow me my secrecy.”

“Oh? Quite the delicate one, aren’t you? That’s unique, and I appreciate uniqueness. How about this? I’ll look after you, ensuring you face less harassment here.” Tamai’s gaze wandered across Lily’s face and torn attire. Given that many Night Parade members were similarly disheveled, she didn’t see it as an issue.

“No, thank you.” Lily rejected the offer coldly.

Tamai seized Lily’s collar, “What was that? You dare to defy me here? Perhaps you’d prefer to leave? Find shelter in another building; I won’t bother you there.”

“…Please restrain yourself.” Lily issued a cold warning.

“Ahahaha, should I be afraid of you? Even if I leave you be, others here will not, and they may not extend the courtesy I have. Considering it’s our first encounter and you’ve evidently been through a lot, I’ll refrain from making your situation harder. Think over my offer carefully!” Tamai cornered Lily against the wall, her eyes briefly lingering before she withdrew.

Despite Lily’s refusal, Tamai’s actions inadvertently shielded her. The sight of Tamai engaging with Lily deterred other adepts and blade maidens, effectively isolating her in silence.

The night passed in silence.

Lily finally had a moment to rest, and her consciousness shifted into the mirror space.

“Lily!”

Upon Lily’s arrival, her sisters immediately converged around her, full of concern.

“Lily, how are you faring?”

“Where are you now? Is it safe?”

“Have you been hurt?”

“When will you return?”

……

Overwhelmed by questions, Lily found it impossible to address them all promptly.

I’m…I’m fine,” Lily assured with a smile, though her heart was heavy with unspoken troubles.

“No need to worry about me. I’m training in a mysterious locale within Yomi. It’s only the beginning, so I’ll share my progress when there’s something substantial. There’s no need for you to wait here daily. It would be best if you continued your own training; any enhancement to your abilities benefits us all,” Lily encouraged, smiling gently.


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