DARK MODE 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022 @

Chapter 1

 New project! If there are many readers, I might consider continuing.

  It was the night of the full moon. The big blue-white round moon was shining faintly on the snow-covered mountains of the northern country covered with forests.
  
 
 "..."
 
 Numerous shadows emerged from the dense forest. They stand in masked figures dressed in special black clothes that have been carefully washed and clean of odors.
 
 One of them was me (ore).
 
 "..."
 
 We exchange information with each other by hand signals. And then... the black shadows all scatter at once. Sprinting. Through the darkness of night.
 
 That's right, we're black shadows running through the forest. We didn't speak. We were silent, not making a sound with our footsteps, not even breathing hard by using a special breathing technique. But we were running through the unpaved path as if we were top athletes.
 
 "...!"
 
 However, one of our companions in the lead noticed something and signaled with a hand signal. At the same time, we stopped running and hid in the shadows. And then we peek out from the shadows of the trees. From there, we see something huge.
 
 "..."
 
 Of course, I hide in the shadow of a big tree and slowly peer into the shadow of 'it'. At the same time, I gasp.
 
 After all, the moonlight reveals its figure. Its total length could be ten meters. It was a huge wolf covered in silvery white fur, which roared.
 
 ...Obviously, it was not a creature of nature. No matter how I look at it, there is no way a wolf could have grown to this size on Earth. No, that's not the point. I didn't need to bother with such logic to know. Because at first glance... it was something unworldly to me.
 
 After all, it was visible to me. A black ghastly light flooded out of its body. Did those foreigners (Gaijin) call it a 'specter (Youki/妖気)'? To wear such an ominous, nauseating presence meant that the creature before us was not a mere creature, but a being out of the world's order... a 'youkai'. And...
 
 (D*mn!!! It's different from the original information...! No matter how you look at it, it's not a medium youkai! It's a great youkai!)
 
 I resist the urge to click my tongue at the clumsy work of those hiding in the dark. Because the moment I click my tongue, that youkai will surely sense our location and attack us. Although the distance between us and the target may be 30 meters, the "Great Youkai" will certainly hear the sound from that distance. Their five senses were out of the range of us humans, or even wild beasts.
 
 "..."
 
 I touch the charm around my neck. I knew that it had no magical effect because I had checked it just in case. But since it was given to me by that power gorilla princess who had nothing but mines, I couldn't help not wearing it... Though it was annoying, I might as well have asked for a really effective charm.
 
 (Bad luck... or maybe it was a set-up...?)
 
 That's a possibility. After all, it's that d*mn family. It's not surprising from what they have done to the main character in the original story. Even the main character with a good family was treated like that. And if it were me, a man of low status, I'd be treated like this...
 
 (If that's the case, I feel bad for my friends)
 
 It is not that there is a special friendship among the servants who accompany me. Because as seen in the original story, we servants are trained to kill our hearts and fight cold-heartedly, like machines. Even if we are not set up, we do not know many people because we are worn out. In fact, only one in three of my acquaintances is still alive today.
 
 But that doesn't change the fact that they were involved in this because of me.
 
 "..."
 
 The leader of the front-row squad of underlings gives a new command with a hand signal. We each draw our weapons accordingly. Swords, bows and arrows, spears... they were coated with charcoal to prevent them from reflecting the moonlight, and with herbs to prevent them from smelling of metal and blood. And on top of that, there was an odorless, tasteless, and deleterious poison.
 
 These were all for the monsters in front of us. If it was a medium youkai, we could fool it with this... but since this was the first time we were dealing with a great youkai, it was hard to say whether we could go on like this or not. Even if we couldn't, we had to do it. By the way, the weapon in my hand is a spear.
 
 The other squads should already surround the monster. With four squads of about five servants per squad, this should be enough against a medium youkai... but it won't be enough to destroy it if the youkai is strong. But...
 
 'Roarrrrrr...!!!'
 "Huh...?"
 
 The youkai suddenly roared, and before we could even realize it, we were hit by a terrible blow. I feel a pain in my head like I've been hit in the head with a blunt object, and my vision spins around and my consciousness becomes blurred.
 
 "Ugh... d*mn it! I can't pass out here...!"
 
 I force myself to wake up from my fading consciousness and roll over to regain my position. I knew very well that if I lost consciousness in such a place, I would die.
 
 "D*mn it... It hurts so much... and that was just one hit...?"
 
 I stood up and bit my lip at the horror of my surroundings. Everyone in the squad except me was dead. They were so miserable that they hardly retained their human forms. It was probably a blow from the tail of that big wolf. That terrible blow blew away every tree and rock that hid us.
 
 And those who came in direct contact with the tail had their upper bodies shredded to pieces, and those who avoided the direct hit had their bodies torn to shreds by the stones and pieces of wood that flew at high speed. The fact that I survived is a miracle. It seemed that I was just blown away by the strong wind. Well, it seems that the gust of wind knocked me to the ground and dislocated my left shoulder.
 
 "D*amn... The surprise attack failed...!"
 
 I let go of my spear and desperately retreat as the three remaining servants fight against the wolf monster. For the record, this is not an attempt to flee before the enemy. A servant whose shoulder is dislocated and whose squad is destroyed will only slow down the others if he rushes into the midst of them.
 
 So, I observe the battle from a distance in the shadow of a big tree. The servants who had survived had already lost nearly half their number. Bows and arrows and sword blows are stopped by its hairs, which was hard as steel, and any kind of spirit or onmyou jutsu is instantly neutralized by its powerful spirit power. There is literally nothing to do. The servants, in their own way, are supposed to behave inhumanly, but they are still nothing compared to the irrational violence wielded by the youkai. One by one, the servants were killed. Still, they do not run away but fight. No, they have to fight. There is no way out for them. They have no choice.
 
 "D*mn... d*mn you!! Sh*t!!"
 
 I slam my left shoulder into a tree trunk. With a gruesome thud, I'm forced into the shoulder, crouching in pain, but soon I'm back on my feet, bracing myself for the pain. There is no escape anyway, so I can't just sit here and let the pain pass me by. The more time I waste, the fewer allies I have, and the less chance I have of surviving.
 
 "D*amn... I have to do it... yeah, I have to do it. You son of a b*tch..."
 
 I stood up after saying those words, but I couldn't formulate any more words. Because despair was in front of my eyes.
 
 'Roarrrrrr...!!'
 
 A roaring wolf looked down at me with red eyes. In its mouth was my fellow servant, covered in blood and with his right hand bent in the wrong direction. His mask was half broken, and he was breathing hard and spitting blood out of his mouth. Who was it? Was it Yahiro of the Kawachi group?
 
 "Ah... Guhhaa... Tomobe (伴部), huh? P-Please! Help me... He—"
 
 Yahiro pleaded with me as he looked me in the eye. But it was no use. Not because I wasn't going to help him. It was because there was no time to help him in the first place.
 
 'Roarrr!!'
 "Ah..."
 
 The next moment, the youkai swallowed my friend in its mouth. And before my friend could scream, he was swallowed into his stomach.
 
 And that fate was coming for me soon.
 
 The big wolf snarls and brings its face close to mine. I cry out in fear at the intimidation with my legs trembling. But even so, I draw my dagger from my pocket and ready it, knowing that it is almost futile. The dagger that the power gorilla princess had forcibly given me is not so bad in terms of sharpness due to the power of the curse, but... even I know how a single small dagger like this would fare against a youkai that even a spear or a great sword could not help. But still... I didn't want to die. I didn't want to end up like this, in a place like this.
 
 Even though I knew it was a futile attempt.
 
 "D*mn it...!!"
 
 With what would be my last words, the monster opened its jaws and tried to bite me. But then... a huge sword strike from above pierced through its brain and it collapsed to the ground.
 
 "Ah..."
 
 I was speechless at the sudden blow. Dust flew in the air as the monster's huge body fell. And as soon as the dust stopped, I saw a person. A member of that d*amn family that I know well... or at least unilaterally know well.
 
 The figure standing at the head of the dead monster was a girl. She was about my age, a young but immensely beautiful girl with dark hair... She was dressed in a man's kimono that looked easy to move in, and she was holding a great sword almost as big as she was in her hand, and with the full moon shining in the background, she really looked fantastic.
 
 At the same time, I felt relief. This... this sis (anego-sama) is not as bad as I thought she'd be. At least she's a lot saner than some old hag or vixen.
 
 "...What a surprise, there are survivors?"
 
 The girl suddenly noticed my presence as if she had noticed a bug underfoot. Her beauty and young face were not matched by her masculine language.
 
 "...Hina-sama, I am deeply honored that you came to this place in person to help me. I am deeply humbled."
 
 I bend my knees and bow deeply in thanks. I really didn't want to do this to this little girl who was a member of a relatively better but still sh*tty family... but I understood the absolute difference in strength and status. There was no point in rebelling here. The only thing I could do now was to act lowly, keep a low profile, and wait for an opportunity.
 
 "It's nothing, I just came here on my way home from work because I felt a reasonably strong spirit power. But this is still a terrible thing. Did you guys from the hidden group get the information wrong? There are too few of you servants to take on this challenge alone.
 
 She takes a disinterested glance at the human figures scattered around her and expresses her opinion. She blanches when I mention that my information is incorrect. Then she looks at me as if she knows what's going on.
 
 "I see. ...But, that's a pain in the ass. It's not easy to get all the information, even for a servant, but it's a problem when so much damage is done."
 
 She boasts as if she is concerned about the expense of the ledger. Then, as if remembering, she orders me.
 
 "You, come with me. I need a living witness that this failure was caused by those in hiding. You will tell the elders."
 
 It was an order from a higher authority. It was impossible for me to refuse, and of course, not wanting to make myself look any worse, I accepted the offer with respect...
 
 "I am sorry, Princess. I'm afraid I can't come with you right now."
 
 But, no...
 
 "...Why? You dare to defy me as a servant?"
 "I need to deal with my companions and the corpse of the youkai."
 
 There are many reasons for the birth of youkai, but the most common is when animals feed on the flesh and blood of humans and youkai with special powers. Therefore, the corpses of such creatures and their compatriots had to be collected or disposed of as much as possible.
 
 In particular, the corpses of my comrades also need to be disposed of as carefully as possible. Not that I've had much contact with them... but we're all the same, treated as consumable goods by the same sh*tty family in the same sh*tty world. So, I feel sympathy for them.
 
 "Hmm, that's certainly a problem. I understand. But it's gonna take you a while to handle all this by yourself, isn't it? Use this."
 
 With that, sis (anego-sama) pulled out a shikigami from her pocket. There were about ten dolls and one bird-shaped doll. And in the next moment, the dolls are easily released from her hand, and the bird-shaped ones are transformed into a human-sized scarecrow and a huge raven with its face covered with a bill.
 
 "Use these dolls to dispose of the corpse. When you are done, you can get on the raven and follow me."
 
 She says this calmly and coolly, and the next moment, there is a huge dragon by her side. It appeared suddenly and without warning, and I gasped at the sight of this divine beast clad in mighty divine spiritual power. Naturally, sis (anego-sama) leaps onto the dragon.
 
 "Then, I'll be waiting for you."
 
 A moment after saying this, the dragon leaps toward the sky. Then it shines like a shooting star, and in the next instant, it is hard to distinguish it from the stars that light up the sky.
 
 "...Is that a 'Yellow Star (黄曜)'? Hahaha, it's an extraordinary thing to see in person."
 
 In the original work, this is a top-level Shikigami that can be used only at the end of the story... and as expected, this Shikigami is one of the top three strongest characters in the original work. Although the shikigami is human, in a sense, it is a monster.
 
 "...The problem is that this world is full of monsters even if they aren't that powerful."
 
 I remember seeing the corpse of a monster with its skull crushed in front of me. In the original story, the main character is killing the big youkai like they're small fry from the middle of the story... but the truth is, he can only do it because he's the main character, and I'm just a human with no talents and no skills. And the problem is that there are a lot of things that are much more dangerous than the monsters, and...
 
 "It means it is impossible to look only at the enemy in front of me..."
 
 No, in a sense, the people behind are much worse. In particular, it's still good to have a straight line of hostility. What is really bad is favoritism. In any case...
 
 "This world is a depressing game with only yandere heroines..."
 
 I let out a small sigh. It's not funny because I've already been noticed by one of those Yandere girls. Please, I'm just a mob with no name. Can't someone please direct those bad favors to the main character of the original story?
 
 "I guess I can't just sit here and mope... I've got work to do first...haha, seriously?"
 
 That's when I finally realize. The charm around my neck is missing.
 
 "Is it bad to tell the truth that I lost it? Which means..."
 
 I look at the forest with a look of utter distaste.
 
 "...Can I find it?"
 
 I look up to the heavens and sigh, thinking the worst...
 
 "..."
 
 *
 
 The sky shone with stars, a dragon pushing its way through the sky, and a dignified girl clinging to its head... She, the direct daughter of the 'Kizuki family', the most famous family of youkai exterminators in Fuso-koku, takes a look at the talisman in her hand.
 
 She knows what it is. It was given to the servant by her innocent, naive, selfish, and moody little sister. That selfish, condescending woman who takes everything for granted, of all people...
 
 "Of all the horrible and degrading things to give to that person..."
 
 The next moment, the charm, with its cleverly disguised mental manipulation and clairvoyant curse, was burned to a crisp in front of the pale fire she had created at her hand.
 
 "..."
 
 Throwing away the remaining ashes as if they were something dirty, the eldest daughter of the Kizuki family flies through the night sky. And then she thinks. Who is the one who tried to frame that person and plot to kill that person, and how to deal with such a reckless and stupid person?
 
 "You can have everything else as before. I'll give you the land, the money, the house, everything. But..."
 
 There is a moment of silence, and then she murmurs in a resonant voice.
 
 "That person is mine...!!"
 
 Her voice was as quiet as the night, but it seeped with a thick, sordid, and passionate feeling...

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