DARK MODE 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022 @

Chapter 18, Part 1

Thanks Choki for the support...
  When was this memory? She has lived for hundreds of years, and this is one of the oldest memories she can recall. Her mother was killed, her house was burned down, she fled to the mountains only to be chased by a lowly man who humiliated her under the gaze of many curious eyes.
 
 "N-No... Don't... Noooo!!"
 
 The girl instinctively knows what this means, what he is going to do to her, and she screams in despair, even though she has no clear knowledge of what he is going to do. But there is no help. The world is not that kind.
 
 ...Therefore, a fate, which was brought about by whims and coincidences and "her" calculations, made "here" come there.
 
 "What on earth do all these hairless monkeys want, gathered here on this mountain?"
 
 It was at the same time that her sweet voice sounded. The half of the body of the man who had just ambushed the girl and was about to tear off her costume was torn off and flying in the air with a spray of blood.
 
 "Ah..."
 
 The girl felt warm blood splatter on her cheeks and clothes. Her eyes were filled with the sight of the man's body slowly collapsing, guts dripping from his body.
 
 The white girl, half in a state of shock, turned her eyes slowly in the direction of the voice, or the armed peasants, fearfully.
 
 There was a strange woman. A fantastically, unrealistically, frighteningly beautiful woman with crow's wet-feather hair and red eyes. Her beauty, which could be described as the beauty of a country, made those who saw her forget even to breathe.
 
 However, the peasants who saw her were frightened and dismayed by her. This is because she has fox ears on her head and nine fox tails behind her. It was clearly not what a human should have, for the difference in power between them and her was obvious just from the carnage they had just caused.
 
 "A-Aaahhhhhh, it's a mons—Gghh!!?"
 
 The man who tried to escape was immediately cut off in equal lengths with a swing of her tail. The man falls down with a slipping, slithering motion.
 
 "Eeeel...!?"
 "You monster!! I'm gonna kill you...!?"
 
 Some tried to escape, others tried to kill her with farming tools, but all were equally helpless. Soon they were all torn to pieces by the sound of the nine tails.
 
 The girl stared dumbfounded, without a sense of reality, as the men in front of her were slaughtered like insects, so easily that it was almost mind-boggling. But then, she was brought back by the monster who had caused the slaughter.
 
 "Oh my, oh my, what a small and cute little fellow we have here.... Well, that's very unusual. I didn't expect a half-youkai."
 
 The nine-tailed monster walks up to the girl immediately and comments on her with a gleeful glee. Squinting, the calamity youkai admires the girl as if to judge her.
 
 "Ah... Aahh..."
 
 The white fox girl shudders at the look, as if she were literally looking at a thing or a domestic animal. And then... the next moment she is trampled.
 
 "Kkhh...!?"
 
 The girl suffers from the suddenness of the situation. Of course. Even though she is in human form, an adult monster fox is stomping on her chest with one foot. A creaking sound is heard in the forest.
 
 "Aah... Ggghh... Stop... Please!!"
 
 She desperately pleads as the monster fox stomps on her. However, the monster fox responds to the girl with a smile of aggravated amusement.
 
 "Kukuku, are you in pain? Does it hurt? I'm sure that's true. A half-hearted and young half-youkai like you won't be able to endure it even if I take it easy on you like this."
 
 She said so in a mocking manner, and then continued.
 
 "Even so, you are pathetic. To be the prey of humans' hunts at that age. I bet at that age you haven't even eaten a single human being yet. Humans are truly barbaric."
 
 Mutters the monster fox in a truly pathetic but mocking way.
 
 "But still. Little fox, life is... no, it's not. Let me tell you as your ancestor. The world is a world of the weak and the strong, of the winner and the loser. The weak must be fed by the strong. That's why I have no choice but to strangle you and eat you. So, give up."
 
 With these words, the fox increases the force of her stomping. The girl cries and screams, but can do nothing. At this rate, without counting to ten, the girl would have been trampled to death and her corpse would have been sucked to the bone.
 
 Yes, if she had stayed like this.
 
 "Ah... Ghh... ehh...?"
 "Oh?"
 
 In pain, in tears of despair, but the girl being trampled on moved her gaze as if she sensed something for a moment. It was a subtle sensation that only a weak and timid girl could feel.
 
 And the black monster fox who was trampling on the girl also noticed the reaction. Then she looked at the girl's direction with streaming eyes, and then the monster fox noticed it and squinted her eyes uncomfortably.
 
 "Heh~, what a surprise. Did you notice it before I did? ...Hmm, monkey. No peeking, okay?"
 
 The next moment she snapped her fingers. A fire suddenly broke out in the bushes about fifty paces away. A man-shaped torch flailed about, and a man's scream echoed through distance. It was a hunter who had accompanied the peasants in pursuit of the little girl and had served in the military as a defender.
 
 "I wonder if he was using the peasants as a decoy to get the girl. Humans are sneaky as always."
 
 The monster fox, who had participated in the great war, immediately recognized the hunter's plan. The hunter must have been the first one to notice her presence, and he had left the farmers and was aiming at the monster fox from the bushes with a flintlock rifle. Evidently, he was hiding very well. If she had not been aware of his presence, she would not have noticed it.
 
 After admiring the charred and burnt-out hunter, the monster fox takes a glance at the girl at her feet. Then, with a twisted mouth, she moved her foot away. The girl coughs violently now that her airway for breathing is clear. But then, the fox lifts the girl's small chin with one of her long tails.
 
 "I've changed my mind. I thought you were just a helpless half-youkai. Then it would be fun to teach you some things as a fellow youkai. Let's see how far a half-breed like you can go. Little girl, tell me your name."
 "Eh... Agghh...!? Cough... Ah...!!!?"
 
 The girl is momentarily taken aback by the sudden command, but soon she was being trampled once again with increasing pressure, and she cries out desperately.
 
 "Ggh...!? Ugh... M-My name...! My name is... ■■! ■ ■■...!!"
 
 As the girl desperately cries out her name, the black monster fox smiles eerily and chants small words. At the same time, the white girl felt a strange sensation of her soul being constricted.
 
 "Ah... Ggh...!?"
 
 The girl gasped, clutching her chest as if she could no longer breathe. Before long, the black fox had moved her feet from the girl's chest. However, the restraints on the girl were in some ways more fundamental than her feet, binding and crushing her. She was instinctively aware of this. From a hair to a piece of her soul, everything belonged to the woman in front of her now.
 
 "Hehehe, I see. Oh, right, it's a perfect time. I'll give you a name... shall I call you Shiroki? Kitsuri Shiroki, that's your new name. As youkai. From now on you can call me... Yes, you can call me Big Sister (Onee-sama)."
 
 And then, "Of course," says the monster fox with a cruel smile on her face, "the hundred calamity youkai led by that Kuuban are the only survivors of the great war," continues Kitsuri Kurorei.
 
 "If you can't use them, I'll eat them without mercy. You must live desperately with all your wits you have."
 
 The world is cruel and heartless, and nothing can be relied upon... Those were the first words given to the girl when she chose to live as a youkai, and the last words given to her when she lived as a human being.
 
 ...And so the little girl, or perhaps not much less than a little youkai, began her life as a youkai. She was taught the way of being a monster, knowledge, and common sense by her kin of immense power.
 
 When she was taught how to set up cowardly and vile traps, she trembled with horror and guilt. But she prepared herself to die many times as she fought the same youkai with fresh wounds. And the first time she killed a human, she had nightmares about it. When she ate human flesh for the first time, she spat it out from the sick feeling. And each time, she was severely chastised by the monster black fox, her master as a family member. In tears and sobs, she still did not want to die, so she desperately learned, acquired knowledge, and built up her strength. The girl knew that her master would not hesitate to cut down her useless servants and devour them alive.
 
 And so, how many years have passed? Eating man, eating youkai, and thus developing her strength, growing up, and spending a long time, she never cried anymore. The white youkai fox, transformed into a true monster in body and soul, has ceased to have any feelings for human beings. She simply served as the right hand man of the black fox, who was feared for her tyranny in all parts of Fuso-kuni. Though she could not drink more than the large cup of sake that was forced upon her by her master, who was a heavy drinker. The white fox was always a drunkard, no matter how old he was.
 
 But everything has a beginning and an end. There is no exception. After a long time of serving her master or her "big sister", the monster fox, as a youkai, like a youkai, a new turning point has arrived for the white fox.
 
 One day, she attacked a village with her subordinates and found a group of well-prepared exorcists. The black fox, her master, was also wounded and fled for her life, protected by the white fox. And then...
 
 "...They're coming after us."
 "It looks like it."
 
 Two foxes hide in the bushes and watch from a distance as the exorcists search the forest deep in the mountains. The white one is lightly wounded, but the black fox is sitting on the ground with her belly ripped open and blood dripping down to the point where it looks like a lake is forming on the ground. The amount of blood told at a glance that there was nothing more that could be done. This was partly because the exorcists had prioritized the more threatening side in their surprise attack, and partly because the white fox was always more wary of her surroundings than the black fox.
 
 "I was a little too excited. Ugh... Hehehe, they still have their hands, don't they? Humans are always so careful at times like this."
 
 The black fox laughs at the humans as if she is mocking them. The white fox had only heard the story a long time ago. It must have been hundreds of years ago, when humans and youkai fought fiercely, and her master in front of her was a general of youkai, albeit a low-ranking one. It seems that the humans were very vindictive only at such times, and they knew that the black fox, who was not particularly conspicuous, was still alive even though many other generals had been killed, and they had been waiting for a long time for an opportunity to take her down. But they had no idea that the humans had ambushed them with such a large force...
 
 "Big sister, I'm afraid we're in danger here. I will stop them, so please evacuate from here."
 
 Naturally, the white fox offers. It was not out of affection or loyalty. After hundreds of years of serving the black fox in front of her, it was a conditioned reflex for her to do so, and she had no idea that there was any other option. However...
 
 "...No, let's not do that. It's useless anyway."
 
 The black fox denied the white fox's offer in a strangely calm tone.
 
 "Big sister...?"
 "You know this wound, don't you? Even if I escape, this won't help. I don't want to look like an ugly thing by running away."
 
 These were the words of the pride and intelligence of the calamity youkai, the monster fox. Then the black fox looked at her white sister with narrowed eyes.
 
 "It is the fate of those without power to become the food of those with power... it's just the way it is."
 "Big sister..."
 
 The white fox knows what her master or her sister, the fox in front of her, is trying to say.
 
 "I have been aware of it for some time. For years now my power has not only grown but barely maintained itself. You, on the other hand, show no signs of stopping growing."
 
 The black fox was aware that no matter how many humans or how many youkai she eats, her power is not growing anymore. The reason for this is unknown, even to youkai foxes who are more intelligent and rational than other youkai.
 
 On the other hand, she was inwardly amazed at how fast her "sister", whom she had initially picked up and disciplined on a whim, had grown in strength. It is said that it takes a thousand years for a fox to grow up to nine tails, but the white fox in front of her had already grown up to eight tails in just a few hundred years. It was a frighteningly fast pace. It is much faster than that of the black fox, and her growth rate shows no sign of slowing down. It is so fast that in another hundred years the power relationship may be reversed.
 
 "I will not allow myself to be struck down by the humans and have my head exposed and my fur ripped off. So..."
 "But...!"
 
 The black fox gives a small laugh at the white fox's dismay.
 
 "Oh my, oh my, I thought you hated me, but I'm surprised you're so upset."
 
 Though, it is not that she has been made to feel a bond with her. However, no matter how harshly she was treated, it seems that to the young white half-youkai, the black youkai fox was indeed her "big sister" who taught her how to live and survive. But that is precisely why...
 
 "Do it, Shiroki. With me as your food, become stronger and aim higher."
 
 That is the only way to continue to live in this cruel and heartless world where they cannot depend on anyone. That is the truth of this world.
 
 "... Big sister."
 "...what is it?"
 "...I'll make it to the top."
 
 With a snap, the white fox opens her big jaws. With a single tear in her eye, but with a firm will, she approaches the wounded fox...
 
 "I'll give you what you want. My sweet, sweet sister."
 
 The sound of flesh being ripped apart echoed through the mountains....
 
 According to the records of one of the families of the exorcists who control the area, a white nine-tailed fox was seen that night, and several of the exorcists who were chasing it were eaten alive. This was about 100 years ago.
 
 Since then, as if craving for power, new haunted foxes have attacked villages, sometimes other youkai, sometimes exorcists' mansions, devouring them and increasing its power. Then, conceited by its own power, the fox attacked the capital with an army and was miserably defeated, tearing apart its soul in defeat, and the monster somehow survived. For a youkai fox named Kitsuri Shiroki, this was equivalent to being denied her efforts to seek power as a youkai, and so she took this opportunity to cut down the root of her most shameful, helpless, ignorant, and foolish self.
 
 A weak half-youkai girl, made up of the memories and soul of a child who could have died in the streets... a girl who has just been born again, whose memories are muddled, whose thoughts are uncertain, who walks aimlessly through the streets at night, who would have been parading around at midnight. It is inevitable that she would be noticed by those who walk around late at night, and in fact, she was immediately beaten up by them as if she were a distraction.
 
 ...or perhaps that is exactly what "she" as youkai wanted. There is no help for the weak, and the weak are only robbed, humiliated, and killed.
 
 That's why... that's why, when the girl who had been beaten, kicked, and beaten without understanding called for help, the cloaked figure that appeared in front of her was the salvation she had been waiting for since "that day". And when she met her other self, cruel and vicious, and recalled all the memories until she was picked up by the orphanage, which had been muddled, the figure of him who appeared once again was exactly the hope that shines for the girl.
 
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