Wednesday, February 22, 2023 @

Chapter 61, Part 1

 The moment the figure appeared, there was silence. The three monsters and a human being in the room, all of them were fixed on the black figure. No, they couldn't help it.
 They were bewildered, disturbed, and wondering. No wonder. Just a few moments before, the person had been a mere human being, charred by the electric shocks. And now... what was this thing that was emitting youkai energy, spiritual energy, and even a little divine energy in front of their eyes?
 No, what in the world is happening to this human being?
 Pushing aside doubts and questions, the first one who attacked the deformity was the divine hawk, which was supposed to be an ally of the deformity. It flew low over the narrow cave, and then came at him from behind with its claws. Like a gust of wind, it left even the sound of the wind behind...
 The claws of the divine hawk's feet were sharp enough to easily cut through the thick fur of a great youkai as well as the iron armor of a warrior. Moreover, a surprise attack with those claws would cut off the life of the opponent before they could even comprehend what had just happened.
 However, that plan is instantly destroyed. The divine hawk who slashed at him at the same time as they crossed paths stopped moving immediately after that. It was stopped. And the hawk opens its eyes to see the reason.
 The servant had seized one of the hawk feet and one of its hooked fingers, which was as thick as a man's arm, and had caught it. The huge body, which must have weighed at least a few thousand kan (historical unit in Japan), passed by each other at a speed so fast that it cut through the sky, and the servant grabbed and caught it at that moment. This fact astonished the divine hawk. At the same time, it understands the danger and immediately moves on to the next action.
 The hawk opened its beak and released a rain of light. The concentrated spiritual energy was condensed into an arrow shape, scattered like rain, and spat out, each of which was powerful enough to pierce a person's body and kill him or her instantly. It was obviously too powerful to be unleashed on a single individual from such a short distance when it was normally unleashed on a crowd of monsters from far away or above. However...
 At first glance, it looks as if a chicken is being slaughtered with a beef knife, but after the divine hawk finishes its attack, it gets upset when it sees an unscathed deformity in the front of its eyes. In a hurry, it tries to unleash another attack... but is slammed against the wall of the cave in the next instant.
 '...? Monster!!?'
 Just after that, the Tsuchigumo that witnessed the scene joins the fight and attacks. She leaps at once to close in, and her four front spider legs, clawing, swing down on the former servant at the same time. If it were a mere human, it would have been crushed by a single swing of her legs, which swung at such a speed that even the afterimage of her mass couldn't be seen.
 The deformity, however, did not show any sign of avoiding the swing. Or perhaps it should be said that he accepted it.
 'What!? Aaah...!!?'
 The four legs of the spider, which were as thick as large trees, were blocked by the hands covered with black scales. At the same time that Tsuchigumo was startled, the deformity grabbed one of the legs carelessly and ripped it off. Tsuchigumo screamed, but sensing the danger instantly, she quickly retreated with her remaining legs.
 The black creature roars, his black mane shaking as he makes a distinctive horse-like sound. With a snarl, he takes one look at the shredded spider legs twitching in his hand, and tosses it away like dust. Then he turns his head in the direction of the spider again, and takes a step forward... but there are countless tentacles coming at him from behind, and with one swing of his arm, he rips them all apart.
 Although half of its face was smashed, the millennial mole challenged the deformity to a rematch with a roar of rage. The tentacles that were torn off earlier were a decoy. The real target is...
 The tentacles that had been secretly digging into the ground appear all at once to surround the monstrous former servant. The tentacles, which seemed to be like a bird cage, emit high-voltage electric currents at once in the next instant, creating a prison of electric shocks.
 This prison was the largest electric discharge that the millennium mole could release. According to the calculations of 鵺 (Nue), the designer of this modified youkai, it was so powerful that even the top-level exorcists would not be able to escape unscathed, and even the servants were sure to be literally charred to the bone.
 Yes, it was certain. If the opponent was really nothing more than a servant...
 The cage of tentacles illuminates the dimly lit cave, but the monster trapped inside forcibly rips it apart. Holding the tentacles with an electric current, the deformity does not seem to mind the sound of burning and the steam generated by the heat in his palms. So, after forcibly ripping off the tentacles, the deformity succeeds in escaping from the prison with his body covered in sores on all sides. And then...
 "Is that a regeneration...!?"
 Kochou's eyes widen. His body is burning and bleeding, but the wounds are clearly closing.
 It was as if he was turning back time. However, even though the wound was closed, the deformity seemed to be very angry and let out a high, gruff roar. He glares at the mole with a snarl.
 'Buo... buuo...'
 The mole, on the other hand, was frightened. It was flinching. The difference in size between the two was at least five times greater, but the millennial mole was terrified by the deformity before it. In a sense, it was natural for the mole to be afraid, because it had realized that all of its fighting techniques were ineffective. At this point, the millennial mole finally understood that there was a great difference in power between itself and the being in front of it. It was made to understand.
 And whether it has wisdom or not, there is only one path for the beast to take when it realizes the difference in power.
 'Buoooooooo......!!!! Gogh!'
 Strategic retreat or escape, whatever the case may be, the mole tried to escape by digging underground in a hurry. But it was pointless. The moment it started digging the ground under its feet with its arms, it was kicked down from above and its skull was crushed into the ground. The half-crushed head was now a red flower on the ground.
 "Tsk, useless!"
 Tsuchigumo spat out from her position on the wall. At the same time, she clucked her tongue in a peculiar way. As if called by this, spiders youkai monsters of various sizes appear from all over the cave, wherever they were hiding. They are the spiders of Tsuchigumo.
 "Go on, you b*stards! Beat him to death!!"
 The human-looking spider, disguised as a young girl, points with her hand at the deformed creatures and commands them to attack.
 The army of thousands of spiders or perhaps as many as 10,000 if one includes the small fry of the young youkai that had originally been prepared to exhaust the exorcists attacking from the surface... now attack the deformity. The various kinds of household members that had been produced for different purposes, including the elite troops that had been deployed during the great war of the past, were all to be deployed here. If they were to be deployed all together here, the plan would have to be drastically changed... but it is something that cannot be done by turning one's back on the plan. However, for Tsuchigumo, the priority now was to choke out the incomprehensible monster in front of her. And she was convinced that it would be possible to kill the youkai-like creature in front of her with such a large force.
 However, Tsuchigumo was too naive.
 One after another, the screams of the monsters echoed through the cave.
 It was a slaughter. A massacre. A carnage. The spider monsters that swarmed around the black deformity, relying on their numbers, were reduced to minced meat by the dozens with a single swing of his arms, unable to even put up a fight.
 Of course, the spiders are not so stupid as to push their numbers when they are ineffective for a long time. They spit out vicious spider silk from many directions. Or, they go around the blind spots and shoot out poisonous needles or dissolving liquid. Parasitic individuals leap out from the bellies of their destroyed brethren to surprise him, some of them launching suicide attacks by blasting the explosives they produce inside their bodies when they get too close to him too
 But it was futile. It was pointless.
 All the spider threads spewed out like a hail of spiders were dodged with a single stroke of the paper. Poisonous needles were repelled by his hard scales, and his regenerating ability resolved the problem of dissolving solution. The spider that attacked by surprise was crushed immediately, and the one that self-destructed was sent back directly to its comrades with a spinning kick just before it exploded. The spider, engulfed by the wave of its compatriots, explodes and blows up along with a dozen or so of its comrades.
 Now, a great youkai-class spider individual attempted to crush him with its own mass. The individual, which was also slightly clothed in divine power, attacked the monster in front of it with determination... but its head was instantly crushed. The spider probably faded into unconsciousness, not knowing what had happened to it.
 With a cry of rage, the deformity grabbed the dead giant spider and swung it around as if it were a throwing tool. He grabs the thick legs and crushes all the baby spiders around it, and finally throws it away.
 The baby spiders realized his intention and scattered in a hurry, but it was too late. The giant spider hit the ground with a leap, and the spiders on the landing site were crushed and crushed, and the only thing left of their existence was a dirty stain on the ground, as if it were a mixture of paints. At the sight of this, the deformity looks up to the sky and roars, as if in mockery, as if laughing uproariously.
 Only a short time should have passed since the collision. Nevertheless, the spiders, who had already killed nearly a thousand of their brethren, began to be frightened. They had lost confidence in their ability to defeat the being in front of them.
 "What are you doing!? Don't stop!! Go! Go now!! ...I told you to go!!"
 Tsuchigumo is trying to encourage them, but many spiders are still retreating. At the sight of this, Tsuchigumo's first smile is distorted in humiliation. It meant that her command had not yet reached the end of the spiders.
 The control of the spiders was finally disturbed by the roar released with enormous youkai energy as if it was threatening them. Now, the black deformity rushes into the crowd of spiders who are obviously frightened. And the slaughter resumes. The legs of the spiders scatter, heads leap, and bellies fly. Parts of their brethren scatter everywhere, their green bodily fluids splattering until the ground is obscured. The spiders are so terrified that they scatter and begin to flee.
 These spiders begin to move apart as if in pieces. Some of them fight against the deformity, some of them run away while trampling their comrades, and some of the baby spiders see Kochou falling on the ground and go for her first.
 It is absurd to fight against that black creature. If they were going to waste their lives on such a thing, they might as well just take that human as a reward for getting out of the way... It wasn't like they were smart enough to think that clearly, but at any rate, some of the spiders forgot about the orders of Tsuchigumo and ran away from the deformity, and then they attacked Kochou.
 Kochou also recognizes some of the spiders youkai energy that is coming toward her. However, she cannot escape. Both of her legs are broken, making it impossible for her to escape.
 "Is there some kind of art...? Ggh, I knew it was stolen!!"
 Kochou's face distorts as she looks for the charms in her pocket, but they seem to have already been confiscated. No, even if she had the charms, it would have been impossible for her to deploy the quality and quantity of shikigami to deal with the approaching spiders with the amount of her spiritual power left.
 One of the spiders leaps and leaps at Kochou. Its red eyeballs gleaming, its jaws open, drooling, it is an ugly spider monster. Kochou, unable to do anything, just braces herself for the pain that is about to hit her. But...
 The claws and fangs of the oncoming monsters do not reach her. The black deformity forcibly intervened between Kochou and the oncoming monsters, cutting through the swarm of spiders and blowing them away. Then, the black deformity grabbed the spider that jumped at her face in mid-air and slammed it into the following spiders. The spiders that collided with each other were crushed together like meat dumplings and violently blown away.
 The remaining spiders stopped at the unexpected intruder, but the deformity did not miss the opportunity. He swung his sharp-clawed arms and tore them apart in ten pieces. He then crushed the frightened creature mercilessly with his hard hoof, and his back kick with all his might, leaving no sound behind, literally exploded the spider's body and scattered it to the ground.
 The deformity, after having killed all the spiders that tried to attack the old exorcists, growled deeply and turned around. He turned around to look at Kochou.
 For a moment, Kochou shook her shoulders as if she was frightened, but then she let out a sigh as if she immediately realized what had happened. A sad sigh.
 The eyes of the horrifyingly deformed man who gazed at Kochou were relieved to see that she was safe. And Kochou also felt relieved to see him. She knew at this moment. He, the deformity in the front of her had no intention to hurt her. So, she reaches out her hands to greet him in a very natural way...
 ...but the next moment she is bathed in the flesh and blood that splattered from his belly.
* * *
 "Oh...? What...?"
 Unspeakable words escaped from Kochou's mouth. Her thoughts stopped. Her mind couldn't catch up with the fact that in front of her, his belly, which had protected her even if he had turned into a monster, had been blown off, and his flesh and blood had stained her outfit reddish-black. No, there was no way she could catch up. She couldn't admit such a terrible fact.
 But her screams were drowned out by the roar of the deformed creature. After a series of howls, the deformity looked at the wound and finally saw the one who had caused this situation.
 It's a caterpillar. No, it's not. It's more like a roundworm.
 Yes, a huge roundworm was piercing his side from behind. The long, white, bloated roundworm was still twisting and writhing as it penetrated the deformity's body. The deformity, and Kochou, tracked the source of the roundworm and understood where it had come from.
 In a word, '鵺 (Nue)' was a bad character all the way through. He was mean. He was cowardly. He was cunning.
 Because from the crack of the crushed mole head, there was a roundworm that had pierced through the deformed belly.
 This was the insurance policy for the killed millennial mole. Using the mole's stomach as a host, the roundworm that has been tuned to awaken after its death had been imprinted by its creator with an instinctive command to attack its host's killer at the first sign of an opportunity. And just as the imprinting had instructed, the youkai jumped into the deformity's flank from behind when he was caught off guard, and pierced through it.
 Now, the roundworm trembled and writhed as it penetrated through the body of the deformed creature. This was an instinctive action due to the fact that the body was cooled down by being outside the body of the mole. However, it widened the wound on the side of the deformity, and the deformity let out a scream of agony. A scream of pain.
 "Ah, no! Wait...!!"
 Then, ignoring Kochou's attempts to stop it, the deformity grabbed the roundworm piercing his belly and bit it, ignoring its flailing about, and at the same time twisted it into strips with his arms. He slams the front half of the worm repeatedly on the ground and throws it away, then pulls it out from his back by dragging the back side of his body, which is trembling and shaking. As soon as the roundworm is pulled out completely, red blood spurts out from the penetrated wound. The pain is so intense that he lets out another cry of anguish.

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