The Zashiki Warashi of Intellectual Village:Volume6 Epilogue
Epilogue: Destruction, Execution
Jinnai Shinobu was suddenly thrown into an unbelievable situation and he was on the verge of tears from the very beginning. But he knew just how serious Hyakki Yakou and similar groups were. He knew how easily precious human life would be lost once a legitimate battle began.
Several faces appeared in his mind’s eye, but he started by running into the thatch-roof house. He had to tell his father, mother, grandfather, and grandmother of the threat. Or so he thought.
His grandmother was collapsed in the middle of the hall. He thought it may have been a sudden illness, but he was wrong. He was only an amateur, but he didn’t see anything obvious like pain or paleness on her face. It almost looked like she was sleeping.
But she would not wake up no matter how much he called for her or shook her shoulders.
“Shinobu, something’s wrong in the brewery too. I don’t hear any of the young men yelling.”
“So it isn’t just granny?”
Something was happening, but he did not know what.
He left his grandmother with the Zashiki Warashi and made his way from the backyard to the brewery. It was a delicate facility, so he had to wear a simple white protective suit to keep germs out. After being slowed down by that preparation, he peered through the heavy door he was normally not allowed through and saw men dressed in the same type of protective suit collapsed on the floor. One of them was his father. A bubbling sound came from a bucket twice as tall as he was, so he initially suspected it was some kind of gas.
But he was wrong again. That was not what was going on here.
“Zashiki Warashi, Succubus, Furutsubaki! Put on protective suits and help me carry out my dad and the others. Oh, not you Yuki Onna. They’ve told you to stay away from the brewery, haven’t they!?”
Inhuman Youkai were convenient at times like this. They easily lifted up the human bodies like they were paper bags. They also found and gathered Shinobu’s mother and grandfather.
It was obvious where they had to go.
Shinobu could not imagine what those bombers held inside, but he knew they could not outlast it just by trembling inside their house.
And the one with the greatest power was the Yuki Onna.
“We’ll be using your ice room.”
After stating his intention, Shinobu opened the door on the kitchen floor. An intense chill rose from it, but he went on to say more.
“Listen, Yuki Onna. Everyone here is only sleeping. If we just threw them inside the ice room, they’d die. So I don’t care if it’s an igloo or what. Just make something out of snow to keep them warm. And make it as solid as possible on the outside. Solid enough to defend against a bomb. Can you do that?”
Shinobu thought while he and the Youkai removed their protective suits.
He thought of the Zashiki Warashi, the Nekomata, both Furutsubaki, and the harmless Youkai his mother had brought in, but none of them were enough to deal with Hyakki Yakou in their mobile base. Who could properly deal with an entire group or organization? After some more thought, he spoke up.
“Yes, what is it?”
“You controlled a large organization known as the European Security Force, right? Lend me your knowledge to fight against these people and drive them off.”
“Well, you are my current master. If you make a contract to that end, I will obey.”
“I know it’s dangerous! But Madoka, Nagisa, the Love King, Tarou, and tons of other people are still in the village! I’m not going to let them destroy it all for their own convenience!”
With that said, Shinobu ran from the thatch-roof house with the Succubus in tow.
Things were not much better outside.
People were lying collapsed on the ground, a light electric truck had crashed into a dry paddy field, and he spotted a Lamp Obake and Umbrella Obake panicking on a farm road.
“S-someone! Anyone! Is there a doctor around!?”
“Mhh, was everyone really wiped out? 119 isn’t even answering.”
Shinobu’s face turned blue, not red.
He did not even have it in him to feel anger.
(You should have stayed inside the house! I’m sure the other Youkai have all fled already!!)
“Hey, Lantern and Umbrella! Come with me if you want to live!!”
“Eh? What? B-but Hiro-sama and his mother are…”
“We need to figure out what caused that and you can’t rely on the fact that Youkai don’t die. So don’t just wander around, got it!?”
Shinobu sounded full of himself, but that was only due to his experience in a few different incidents. In truth, he was only a high school boy. He could use a Package against itself, but he could not produce any paranormal power himself.
But they could.
Hyakki Yakou and similar groups most definitely could.
It was a peaceful village.
Areas of woods remained among the expanses of dry paddy fields. Hafuri, leader of Hyakki Yakou, built up her formation hidden inside one such area. It looked like a scene from a battle in the Warring States period. Except, that is, for the many invisibility and defense barriers set up around her. No one could see her and no one could get through to her. That was her position as the brains.
The airborne warning and control aircraft and strategic stealth bombers overhead were only a diversion.
They did not know how many people were in the Aoandon’s group, but that group’s focus would be on the heavens. And while they carelessly looked skyward, Hyakki Yakou would tear out their windpipe from below.
“The Top Five are all in position.”
“Understood. Everyone, begin the attack. Use the bombing and paranormal together to complete this as quickly as possible. It would help if you could keep the damage to civilians to a minimum, but if you deem that impossible, make your own decision.”
As soon as she gave those orders, an explosive sound reached her.
But it did not come from the smart bombs dropped from the bombers flying overhead or from a largescale attack carried out by Hyakki Yakou’s elite warriors.
Far, far too suddenly, the Aoandon had run up to Hafuri’s side.
Her speed was so great that the countless broken barriers only burst after the fact.
Before she could cry out, a young aide’s windpipe was slashed in a horizontal line.
And before the fresh blood could spray out, the Aoandon’s claws turned around to target Hafuri’s vitals.
The Mamedanuki that acted as her body double (she was a tanuki Youkai that was as small as a stuffed animal) cut in. The entire scenery grew distorted and they all vanished, but the Aoandon did not even look surprised. She breathed in just once and blew flames from her lips like a bluish-white flamethrower.
“Ah ha ha! Tanuki transform by spreading their ballsack, but it’s commonly said they’ll reveal their true form after dropping ashes from their pipe!!”
The Aoandon spoke up in delight when she saw the scenery grow distorted again and Hafuri’s group appear out of thin air.
“Hi there. I’m the final boss. Nice to meet you. Were you surprised that I broke through the middle right off the bat?”
“It’s no use. Those Top Five of yours are busy with my team members. Kada-chan sends out a sandstorm made of the soot and impurities found on Buddhist temples and statues. Sakogawa-chan uses a Makura-Gaeshi to directly remove the target’s soul from their body. Iko-chan converts all of someone’s emotions into hatred to spread curses around. …Oh, wait. Saiki Kazu crushed that one. Well, there’s plenty of others. They might be in trouble if they tried to force their way through, but they can at least buy some time.”
The blue female oni smiled while extending her unnaturally sharp claws.
“And Hyakki Yakou is all about bloodline, so if I kill you, they’ll all lose their mental pillar of support. This is just like shogi or chess; take one particular piece and you win the game.”
“Do you really think we’ll let you do that so easily?”
“Let me tell you something neat.” The Aoandon giggled and continued. “I bring together and exist beyond one hundred fears. By gathering all of those scary stories, I can combine different parts to reproduce paranormal powers that I didn’t originally have.”
Some stories were quite similar.
For example, the Yuki Onna and the Ubume were entirely different Youkai, but depending on the legend, they both stood on the side of the road, they both begged a traveler to hold their baby, and they both crushed that traveler under the ever-growing weight of the baby.
Had a well-known legend influenced another Youkai or were they both products of the same basic fear and had thus been developed independently in different times and places? That did not particularly matter.
What mattered was that similar legends could be created.
The individual Youkai traits were not exclusive to those individual Youkai.
“Do these combinations give me 100 x 100? Or is it 100 to the 100th power? No, it’s like paint. The materials are limited, but the possibilities are limitless. Saiki Kazu’s paranormal techniques and Matsukai Hiroshi’s search program really are the best. You could even call them art. Thanks to that, I have surpassed the concept of numbers.”
“What are you trying to say?”
“Are you familiar with the Youkai known as the Aburatori? That child-killing Youkai has lost the traditions of fear. It simply appears, simply abducts, and simply kills. That’s all it does.”
She pointed straight at Hafuri.
Yes, at the center of the ten-year-old girl’s chest.
“If I emulate that, you can’t escape. I don’t know any other Youkai more perfect for killing a child.”
That made this checkmate.
That announcement meant it was already over.
Or so it would have been.
If only the girl had not muttered those two words.
A moment later, something stood up next to the girl.
Something grew from the ground like a fast-forwarded video of a mushroom or bamboo shoot growing. It was the girl known as Hafuri. However, her height had increased, her facial features had changed, her chest had grown, and the shape of her waist had become much more seductive. She was wearing black mourning clothes that hid her frame, but the curves of her body still showed through. Her arms and legs were long and slender.
Adult and child stood there.
And the two Hafuris were linked by marionette-like strings made of hyphae.
“This is my predicted body at the age of twenty. The power of Illness Magic can accomplish even this sort of heresy.”
The technique had originally been developed in case a successor was needed in a hurry. In other words, it was an artificial surrogate mother. After studying Hafuri’s current young form, a substitute body had been thoroughly redesigned based on what she would look like as an adult. And it was of course accurate enough to take Hafuri’s ovum into its artificial womb and give birth in her place. Even if Hafuri herself had ordered him to make it, the Illness Magic User had essentially created the ultimate Dutch wife based on his master’s adult form. On the day of its completion, he had reported his success and then attempted suicide on the spot. It had taken the combined efforts of the other Top Five to stop him.
“This will have removed me from the fatal range of the Aburatori. After all, I am both a child and an adult. Just as the umbilical cord connecting mother and child combines them into the single category of a ‘pregnant woman’, the individual known as Hafuri now exists as both the large and the small.”
“I see. But didn’t I tell you? My limited materials provide unlimited possibilities. I have plenty of other fatal Youkai in stock!!”
“Then Venom Clairvoyant, lend me your eyes.”
A pale red light came from the sexy Hafuri’s eyes.
A moment later, the Aoandon sent her deadly claws out quickly enough to create multiple afterimages, but the two Hafuris moved together to easily dodge them. They moved at the same time, in the same direction, and with the same movements. They were entirely synchronized.
“If you wish to kill me, I recommend making more than one hundred attacks in less than two seconds. And Superhuman Trainer, lend me your knowledge.”
Everything immediately changed.
Hafuri had only been escaping before, but that clearly changed. As they quickly moved together like acrobat planes, they lowered their hips, focused on shifting their body weight, and stepped forward. They charged into the center of those deadly claws and fangs, received not a single scratch, and thrust a large and small palm into the center of the Aoandon’s soft belly.
The blow sounded like a hit on a drum taller than she was.
The sounds of breaking tree trunks continued for a while as the Aoandon flew away like a shell.
“Many regions still tell of Youkai teaching humans the superhuman techniques of the gods: the Tengu that trained Ushiwakamaru, the Yamaba that trained Kintarou, and the fox that trained Abe no Seimei. Similarly, I now have superhuman combat techniques.”
The Aoandon rolled along in confusion and saw something as she got back up.
The sexy Hafuri held the hilt of a Japanese sword contained in a scabbard held out by one of her subordinates.
“Heirloom Transcender, perfect my weapon.”
As soon as the large Hafuri drew the sword, a repulsively beautiful shine filled it.
“It is a very common legend for paranormal power to fill a tool or animal after one hundred years. Akki Rasetsu and Udou Utsuki’s body double both struggled to create a specific technique out of it, but the answer was actually quite nearby.”
The Aoandon honestly thought that sword was dangerous. It had been a surprise attack with no advance knowledge of the situation, but that girl had outdone her empty-handed. Now that she had an artificially enhanced weapon, it was anyone’s guess who would win this.
Needless to say, chopping off her head or tearing out her heart would not be enough to kill the Aoandon.
But even if it did not kill her, being chopped into tiny little pieces would be very bad for her.
(I’m a paranormal being made up of one hundred different scary stories. If I’m broken into one hundred equal parts, I lose what makes me special. The stories will be separated and weakened. I doubt I would even retain my sense of self.)
There were examples of a powerful Youkai being broken up and sealed away. For example, the Yamanba being chopped up and sealed in forty-two mounds or the Tsuchigumo’s corpse being sliced in three and buried. There were exceptions like the Killing Stone containing the curse of a nine-tailed fox. When the stone was broken, the small fragments created a new type of Youkai known as the Kuda-Gitsune. Regardless, the Aoandon’s sense of self and very existence would be destroyed.
“Did I forget to mention this?”
The small Hafuri spoke while the large Hafuri adjusted her grip on the sword.
“I have their assistance, so it would be foolish indeed to forget about their presence.”
The Aoandon slowly turned around.
Everything was already over as far as the eye could see.
One was the Illness Magic User.
The large man wore the black special combat uniform of a SWAT member and the magazine holders held curse charms. That walking strategic weapon used the power of the charms to transform his own hatred into Illness Magic and create an ever changing attack and defense based on all forms of germs and bacteria.
One was the Venom Clairvoyant.
The beautiful woman had long black hair and pale white skin. She wore a shrine maiden outfit with a thin coat held in place by a decorative clasp made of St John's wort. A red cloth was bound tightly to her face such that it covered her eyes. It was said insects would warn of coming danger and she gained a special power by raising such things inside her own body. Sticking from her sleeves were two old German handguns decorated with bells and string. She was the ultimate observation device that never hid behind cover and never looked down the sights of those guns as she danced in a circle and brought destruction to everything around her.
One was the Supernatural Trainer.
The gentleman wore glasses and a black butler’s uniform and he held a riding crop. He had the power to instantly teach every one of his targets superhuman combat techniques such as unbelievable strength or the ability to jump extreme distances. If he assisted an army, every single soldier would become a match for countless enemy soldiers. And of course, that special military advisor could make himself a target of that power.
One was the Passionate Predator.
The teenage girl wore a greenish-brown twelve-layered kimono. By gaining a phantom pregnancy with her target, she would gain a false bond with them. Then her immense jealousy and hatred would become a blazing curse that was sure to assassinate that target. She had broadly interpreted and twisted the negative emotions of a woman seen in legends such as Kiyohime. The more she loved them, the more the flames grew, so that precision guided weapon could burn down even the temples and shrines protected by buddhas and gods.
One was the Heirloom Transcender.
The dried-up old man in Japanese clothing sat in a worn-out old wheelchair with a large canopy covering his face. It could be a sword, a spear, a cat, a dog, or anything else. Anything he threw in his furnace, heated up, and diligently beat with his hammer would become part of the paranormal. The sword would become a spiritual sword capable of slaying countless foes and the cat would become a monster cat that could speak the human tongue. Without even needing to reference Suzuka Gozen, that paranormal weapon designer and developer could even create floating weapons that automatically cut down their targets to protect him.
Altogether, they were Hyakki Yakou’s Top Five.
If used correctly, those ultimate trump cards could each conquer one of the five continents and hold the entire world in their hands.
They had already taken care of everything and stood in the center of the piles of corpses. Their eyes were directed straight at the Aoandon who had bared her fangs against their master.
It was not that the team the Aoandon had gathered was weak.
It had been a great army with strength in both quantity and quality.
It was just that the Top Five were even greater monsters who made defeating them look like plucking weeds from the ground.
(That just leaves Sachi-chan, the Oomukade, Saiki Kazu, the Byouki user, and a few more. Drat, that’s mostly just the newcomers.)
The Aoandon honestly accepted the state of the battlefield.
Even after all of her preparations and all of the dominoes she had lined up, this was the result. A massive hand had blocked the way and the boring pre-established harmony had ruined everything.
(I was already about 50/50 with Perfect Mode Hafuri-chan, so this probably wouldn’t end well if the Top Five began a saturation attack.)
“What’s so funny?”
“Well, I’m the ally of everything who wants change, so this reliable victory of the pre-established harmony isn’t very much fun.”
“But it is reality.”
“Oh? Is it really?”
She snapped her fingers and spoke to one of her few remaining allies.
“Okay, Saiki Kazu. This didn’t work after all, so let’s get started.”
Somewhere in Noukotsu Village, a young man in a dark suit spoke.
“Paranormal being imported by the Southern Barbarians, change your colors and grow scarlet. I desire a blood-red paranormal power, so take on that form.”
The word syncretism was most often used when referring to Japan’s form of Buddhism, but Buddhism had originated in India and crossed through China and Korea before arriving in Japan. And during that process, the names, forms, and roles of the buddhas and deities had changed.
The term Akuma was originally a Buddhist term. It was only later used to refer to Western devils and demons because the Japanese language lacked a more appropriate word.
“Tselika Wien Alpha Chelydia Lumidrier. Appear in the form we desire to grant what we desire to the extent we desire. …Appear, Tsuerika Nyorai. It is time to begin your work.”
An unimaginably sinister whirlwind blew through.
This paranormal being had been intentionally twisted.
This threat had been tuned to match someone’s needs.
Jinnai Shinobu saw it happen as he checked on Noukotsu Village with the Succubus.
Standing in the center of a tornado-like whirlwind was a white woman with a glamorous body and sky blue ribbons at the end of her long blonde hair. It was the Australian witch named Marguerite Steinhols. That assassin had once used the Furutsubaki (Small) in an attempt to get her hands on the Succubus.
The Succubus sounded stunned.
For one, the woman’s clothing was different. This material kept all living creatures away with the hardness of rough gray concrete and yet it somewhat resembled reptilian scales. And that material was wrapped tightly around the beautiful woman’s seductive outline as if eating into her. It mercilessly showed off her cleavage, navel, and thighs, but that almost looked like a way of increasing the number of ports from which to eject her blasphemously ominous power.
And she was the same as the Succubus, which meant…
“That might be her body, but it isn’t her soul. Damn her! Did she borrow Marguerite’s body to appear in this world!?”
A moment later, two twisted horns burst from Margeurite’s forehead and flowed backwards. Bat-like wings came from her back and a long, thick tail came from near her butt. She became the stereotypical image of a demon seen in Western religious art and video games.
With a seductive breath, she slowly embraced her own body…no, the body of the woman she had hijacked. She squeezed the large breasts and traced her fingertips along the smooth curves of her hips as if testing the size and movable range of this new body.
“Yes, yes. It’s been so long since I felt like this. I have once more violated a woman’s womb to be born into this world! I’ve lost count of how many times this is, though! Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!”
She was a legendary-class archdemon.
She had overwhelming power but she had not quite ranked among the seven deadly sins.
She was easily on par with ridiculously well-known beings like Satan or Beelzebub.
She was from an entirely different dimension than Youkai or spirits.
That monster might even surpass a low- or mid-ranked god in a polytheistic religion.
Or perhaps she could call herself a demon lord.
Jinnai Shinobu stood stock still.
The fate of the village had just crossed a certain line. He was hopelessly certain of it.
“Welcome to the world of those who wish for change.”
The Aoandon grinned.
She showed no concern for the Top Five or the two Hafuris who had shown such abnormal power. Emotion filled her face, she spread her arms as if to embrace her enemy, and she made an announcement.
“This is a world with no pre-established harmony! A world of never-ending chaos filled with such great possibility! Now, let us fight to the death as the ultimate form of entertainment! Let’s cheer everyone up!! The people of this country are being crushed by oppressive boredom, so let’s show them something that they’ll think was worth dying to see!!”
As soon as the Aoandon finished shouting, Archdemon Tselika roared toward the heavens and a certain boy’s small world was destroyed.
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