This is one of the yurified fairy tales ("Yurimm Fairy Tales") from Yuri Shimai/Hime magazine. I've translated it in full rather than writing up notes on it.
For scanlations of manga from Yuri Shimai/Hime, see Lililicious. Lililicious is also planning to scanlate this story, along with "Lily White" (from Yuri Hime 1) and "Rapunzel" (from Yuri Hime 2).
They were really yuri?! Yurimm Fairy Tales for maidens.
It's been confirmed that around 90% of legends are yuri?!
And so the fourth installment of this hugely popular series takes place here in Japan. [star] Where is the selfish princess's love?
Story: Ruri Hozuki
Art: Sakura Shio
Many years ago, there lived in the city of Kyoto a beautiful princess called "Princess Kaguya of the Young Bamboo."
This princess was concealing a secret: she was a mysterious girl found in a shining stalk of bamboo by a pair of twin girls working as bamboo cutters. Her loveliness and beauty were such that they could not imagine she belonged to this world.
"I have heard there is a princess of matchless beauty living with the bamboo-cutting sisters."
The rumor quickly spread through the town, and suitors were soon lining up outside the sisters' dwelling.
Among the suitors, there were five who were exceptionally passionate; they were also quite skilled in the art of romance. They were: a renowned female diviner clothed in a dark hunting robe; a widow-killer who wore the garments of a shirabyoshi[note: A female dancer dressed in men's clothing.]; a daughter of the Minister of the Right[note: A very high-ranking minister.], noble but self-centered; a beautiful foreign woman seeking out the world's other beautiful women; and a daughter of the Chuunagon[note: A high-ranking minister.], an expert archer resplendent in military garments.
*Pay it soon!*
@You want some too?@
Princess Kaguya, who had been flooded with an unrelenting stream of love letters, set a series of impossible tasks for these determined five women.
"Ah! My word! How vexing! Very well. The diviner shall bring me the holy basin of the Buddha, which is said to exist in India! The Shirabyoshi Lady, the jewel bough made of silver and gold, said to exist in China! The Minister of the Right's daughter, the fur of the fire-mouse, said to be impossible to burn! The foreign lady, the shining gem said to be worn by a dragon around its neck! The Chuunagon's daughter, the swallows' cowrie shell, used as a charm for easy delivery! I shall accept whichever of you brings me the item I have requested. Now, begone!"
But of course, no person could accomplish such impossible tasks.
Rumors of Princess Kaguya, who had rejected five beautiful women, reached even the imperial court.
The empress had a weakness for beautiful girls. Garbed in a hunting robe, she pushed her way into the princess's residence.
"So you are Princess Kaguya."
"P-... please tell me what it is you wish to attempt."
The empress could hardly believe her eyes. To her surprise, her heart began to pound. That smooth white skin, those fierce black eyes! That black hair, like the finest threads of silk... those lips, like ripe berries...... Ah, such exquisite beauty!
"She will return to the court with me. Fetch my palanquin!"
In that instant, Princess Kaguya vanished.
"What a boor! I should rather bite my tongue and perish than allow you to spirit me away to your court~!"
"What nonsense is this...? Please, I promise I shan't coerce you into returning with me. I beg you, return to your normal form."
Even the formidable Princess Kaguya was touched by the empress's feigned panic.
And thus their pure love began with an exchange of letters. The empress discovered the stubborn Princess Kaguya possessed a sweet, innocent side as well, and fell even more deeply in love with her. Touched by the empress's unexpected kindness, Princess Kaguya began to open her heart to her.
They passed the seasons thus. One fall evening, Princess Kaguya gazed up at the moon, lost in meditation. A party from the Moon Capital would be coming to fetch her on the fifteenth eve.
"What is the matter? You look on the verge of tears."
Princess Kaguya buried her face in the empress's soft chest.
"I come from the Moon Capital. When the moon is full, I shall have no choice but to return there."
"I shan't allow it!"
Princess Kaguya simply gazed at the empress, thick tears falling from her eyes.
The fifteenth eve arrived. The empress's stalwart defenses proved futile, and the escort from the heavens arrived to collect Princess Kaguya, their brilliance illuminating the night sky.
"Do not go, Princess Kaguya!"
"Release me! I do not yet wish to return!"
The heavenly beings hadn't the slightest interest in Princess Kaguya's situation. They simply placed her inside their cloud-shaped flying craft. The moment they did so, however, a shrill alarm began to sound.
"Ohhh? Have you found love here, Princess Kaguya? My word! That means you cannot return to the Moon Capital."
The empress and all others present were shocked. Princess Kaguya's cheeks were tinted red.
"Princess Kaguya, might you be..."
"Oh, my silly empress, please do not force me to say the words."
Under the beautiful moonlight, their lips brushed for the first time.
"I could kiss those lips a hundred times and still be left wanting," the empress murmured, and their two shadows blended into one once more......
Even the noises of the insects, persistent throughout the long autumn nights, were as a blessing to the pair.
It was these "leeleeee" noises that brought about the convention of calling love between maidens "lily."