Chapter 15 – Details of the Samurai’s Test

Demon Sword Maiden


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After the penetration test was over, Nagahide let his disciples practice on their own as he was having a talk with Lily in the main hall. This place was where the samurais of Matsuda clan receive their guests.

Lily was sitting in seiza on the dark-brown floor of the main hall.1 She appeared graceful, yet possessed the calm aura of a martial artist.2

And Nagahide was sitting on the seat of the family head.

Nagahide was a very old-fashioned samurai, it was quite inappropriate for a man and woman to spend time alone, much less a beautiful girl that would stimulate one’s desire. As such, he chose the main hall that directly faced the yard. There were a lot of brats making noise and training at the outside, so it was naturally not a problem.

“Miss Kagami, I have a question. May I?” Nagahide asked seriously.

“Elder, please go ahead.”

“For a young lady of an affluent family like you, why must you learn fencing?”

“As I told the elder before, I have my own reason, a reason why I have no choice but to learn fencing.” Lily’s tone carried a manly resolution.

“Oh… if Miss Kagami is not willing to say it, I won’t pursue further than this. I can see your determination from your sword intent. Since I have already promised to teach you, I will naturally strive my hardest. It’s just that… what are your plans after learning how to fence?”

“Elder, I want to participate in the samurai’s qualification test.” Lily bowed lightly. Though her gentle voice was soft, she was not fazed at all.

“Samurai’s qualification test?!” Nagahide was astounded, “You want to participate in the samurai’s qualification test? Why would you, a pampered young lady from the Kansai region, want to become a samurai?”

“Elder, this is for the same reason why I want to learn the kenjutsu.”3

“Oh…” Nagahide looked at Lily’s watery eyes that seemed to carry a hint of grief and determination. Just what had this woman went through, it was probably something even someone as experienced as him couldn’t imagine.

Nagahide decided to stop asking about Lily’s past, so he said, “Since that’s the case, I will stop hiding it from you. Your sword moved me. It’s the only reason I’m willing to teach you without any restrictions, such as making you serve the Matsuda Clan or calling me “Master”. I have been an instructor for the Hojo clan for many years, but I have never come across a person with such a sword intent. Moreover, from a girl no less. If I don’t teach you, that will be such a waste of natural talent. If you are a man, you might even become a famous samurai in Kamakura City in the future.”

“Elder, you once said there’s only attack and defend in kenjutsu, what does being a man and woman matter? I also have no intention to become famous.” Lily calmly said.

Nagahide nodded in silence, “Hehe, when you put it that way, it seems like my way of the sword has been somewhat tainted by worldly desires.”

“Not at all, Lily sincerely receive the elder’s teaching.” Lily bowed one more time.

“Since that’s the case, then I will tell you about the course of the samurai’s qualification test first. It is so that you can mentally prepare yourself,” said Nagahide.

“This samurai qualification test is divided into the practical examination and combat examination. This practical examination is set by the Heian Dynasty. Those who have the qualifications of a samurai will be tested their penetration force, riding skill, and archery in the dojo. If these three meet the standard required, they will be a samurai-in-training. After that, according to the requirement of the dojo, they will be sent to kill a monster. If they managed to bring the monster corpse back to the dojo, they will be issued a certificate. Only then will they become a real samurai.”

“Penetration force, riding skill, and archery…” Lily was overwhelmed. She was completely clueless when it came to riding and archery.

“That’s right! Fencing, riding, and archery, these three are the special skills every real samurai is required to possess!” Nagahide continued, “This samurai qualification test can be said to be the hardest trial for all who practice martial arts in Kamakura City. It is possible that not even one among hundreds of martial artists is able to pass this trial!”

“Becoming a samurai is as hard as it should be, but it comes with many benefits. You can make a considerable sum of money by being recruited by a distinguished clan or a dojo. You can also choose to wander around the world and rely on monster suppression to earn a reward! And if you have a valid reason, you can kill a person without being investigated. For example, if a thug purposely humiliates a samurai, then that samurai can kill him without feeling guilty.”

Legally killing a person? Lily was startled, she naturally wasn’t fond of randomly killing the innocent, but with her circumstances, she was afraid that it would be unavoidable to run into some hoodlum during her travel. Hmph, if anyone dares to assault me once I become a samurai, I will cut them down!

Seeing that Lily was filled with expectations, Nagahide also felt complacent as he continued, “You should know that our Kanagawa prefecture is the center of activities for samurais of the entire Kanto region! And at the heart of it all, is naturally the Kamakura City. However, the common samurai qualification test does not have a place in Kamakura City. There are two dojos eighty miles away from the city, the test will be taking place there. Those two dojos are called Genji Dojo and Taira Dojo respectively. Regardless of which, they are the two dojos with rights to hold a test and issue samurai certificates.”

When Nagahide mentioned Genji and Taira Dojo, his strict face showed reverence and adoration. From his obviously glittering eyes, Lily could tell how much this middle-aged samurai respected and yearned for the two dojos.

“Genjo Dojo and Taira Dojo huh…” Even a fencing instructor of the Hojo clan like Nagahide was so respectful when speaking of these two dojos. It seemed like they possessed great power in this Heian Empire!

“That’s right, since Miss Kagami come from a wealthy family, I suspect you are already familiar with the Genji and Taira. They are the two biggest power in the Heian Dynasty. It is not an exaggeration to say that Genji and Taira stand at the top of every samurai! They are the leaders of all samurais in the world! Their dojos can be found almost everywhere. You can find traces of those two dojos all the way from the northernmost Hokkaido to the southernmost Kyushu!”

Genji and Taira, their dojos could be found everywhere?

Lily was also a little excited after hearing these, but she still maintained her calmness and only committed this information to her memory.

After listening to everything Nagahide had to say, Lily returned to her house at the backyard to take a bath. Then she leaned on the sliding door that was painted blue by the moonlight.

She received too much information today and finally had an initial understanding of this world.

From tomorrow onwards, she would immediately begin fencing training under the tutelage of Matsuda Nagahide.

She naturally had to learn horsemanship and bow technique as well. Oh, and there’s also the cultural history. According to Nagahide, though samurai was not a high-ranking officer, their identity was still far greater than poor people so it was necessary to have some educational training.

There were still so many things she needed to learn! Since she came from a modern metropolis, she had to start from zero in regards to horse riding and archery. Besides, even her only saving grace —the penetration force— was still lacking 8 kwan. It was indeed not that easy to become a samurai.

Regarding her unexpected performance at the test for penetration force today, Lily was also very puzzled. She shouldn’t have that much power, and Lily had not learned fencing when she was a boy. However, senior sister previously participated in all kinds of sport, including kendo. Lily even went to steal a glance, her standard was apparently not bad!

Maybe it was due to this body’s physical memories that allowed her to so easily swing a sword.

But according to Lily’s estimation, even if senior sister’s body was athletic and had learned competitive kendo with a shinai4 in the modern world, it was still impossible for her penetration force to surpass 20 kwan. She was a girl after all!

And yet her strength was measured at 72 kwan. Moreover, it was the penetration force for actual combat, not one that was swung blindly for the sake of grading. Lily guessed she could surpass 80 kwan if she really swung without caring about anything!

It felt like ever since her soul entered the mirror’s domain, her body’s basic qualities had improved all at once in a single night.

Lily turned her body to let the moonlight pass through the paper sliding door and shone on her back, then she took out the mirror to look over in full details.

“This mirror might really be an unimaginable treasure! It is very possible that my sudden increase in strength has something to do with this mirror. It’s just that… I still have no idea how to send my consciousness into the mirror’s domain. Who knows, there might be a chance that my strength will increase again!”

The mirror gradually became clearer and she could see her charming reflection emerge on its surface.

Lily couldn’t hold herself back from kissing the red lips reflected in the mirror.

“My god! Just what am I doing? Am I a narcissist?”

“No… that’s not it…” Lily suddenly became depressed, “It’s only because this is the face of my first love. That’s why I couldn’t restrain myself… isn’t that right, senior sister?”

“Senior sister, your Lily is going to work hard to become a samurai. Senior sister, are you cold inside the world of this mirror? Just wait for me, senior sister…”

Lily continued to speak foolishly like that to the mirror…

Just at this time, a light source could suddenly be seen from the outside and granny Ayashi was kneeling in front of the door, “Miss Kagami, are you asleep? The madam is here.”

“The madam?!” Right now, Lily was only wearing a bathrobe with nothing inside. She hastily put the mirror into her clothes and sit upright.

“That’s right! Granny Ayashi did tell me there is a madam in this house. I was engrossed in fencing the whole day and didn’t pay this madam a visit, that was lacking manners of me!”

Just when Lily thought of that, the door already slid open.

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References

  1. The raw mentioned her purple-colored kimono with ice crystal patterns, but it feels completely redundant in this context.
  2. Wew, since when did Lily become an expert all of a sudden?
  3. Do you have to start your sentence with elder all the time, Lily?
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinai
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