“This is the era of gods, huh…”
The lost era of gods.
The sky of the world I witnessed was dyed a deep red.
It was a distinct red, different from the color of sunset. If my eyes weren’t mistaken, it was the color of clouds covering the entire sky.
The ground was shattered and cracked… Yes, it looked like an eternally scorched land that had been violently smashed apart. Spear-like rock formations jutting out from the twisted ground and black flames rising in places where there should have been nothing; everything seemed to deny the existence of life.
In the distance, there was something like a mountain of rubble, and upon closer inspection, it was clear that they were the remains of buildings. There must have been cities and countries there once.
The scene was similar to what remains after a volcanic eruption or a meteorite impact. The image of a world on the verge of destruction due to a massive disaster was evident.
“It’s like hell.”
“It’s probably the aftermath of Shuten Douji’s rampage. I guess , the [lost era of gods] doesn’t mean [a long, long time ago], but rather [the era where gods that met their end].”
“Look, Nana, if you look closely, some objects are glitching in places. Judging from Melty’s story, I guess the textures that were hiding the bugs have been peeled away because there aren’t enough resources to build the world?”
<It’s not like it’s completely gone, but…>
<The ground is glitching, lol.>
<It’s hell on earth.>
The desolate world left behind after Shuten Douji’s [Furious Rage].
The world is so far gone that even bugs, which the creator god Iris intentionally caused, are now visible on the surface. If this were reality, there might have been corpses strewn all around. It’s that tragic and hopeless of a scene.
“Ah, this is the image of the world that was once on the verge of destruction. And it’s also the image of my sin.”
Startled by the sudden voice coming from below, I inadvertently let out a loud cry. Looking down, I saw a 20-centimeter tall doll standing there, as if it was begging to be held.
Rin-chan immediately crouched down and began poking the doll’s head.
It seemed that the doll wasn’t made of cloth or wood; instead, her fingers sank into its soft cheeks. I guess it’s made of the same material as the avatar.
“What are you?”
“Stop it, seriously, don’t poke me! It’s already hard enough to maintain balance in this unstable replica body, and if I failing, getting it back up would be a huge hassle!”
“This doll is well-made… cute… Maybe I should make one like this too…”
Rin-chan seemed to really like the sudden appearance of the doll that looked like me, picking it up with both hands and carefully observing every detail.
It was obvious who the doll represented. However, as Rin-chan was unusually focused, I couldn’t bring myself to stop her. Eventually, the doll let out a scream after being manhandled.
“Oi, Sukuna! Your friend! Hurry up and stop her!”
“Ah, okay. Rin-chan, let’s stop now. It looks really uncomfortable.”
“Huh…! …I’m sorry, I just… got carried away.”
Rin-chan seemed to have genuinely gotten carried away, and with an unusual jolt, she stopped what she was doing with a slightly guilty expression. She then let the doll stand on one hand and used both hands to support its legs.
“That was terrible…”
“I’m sorry about that.”
“No, I also bear responsibility for rashly creating a replica of your form… Really, you always surround yourself with amusing friends.”
The doll straightened its disheveled clothes with its tiny hands and made a motion like letting out a big sigh.
“So, why is Shuten here in this place?”
An old acquaintance who used my appearance as a medium to appear.
There is only one person I know who fits these conditions.
Shuten Douji, the former world’s strongest demon god and an NPC who is the object of worship for the Oni tribe, which governs the profession of [Oni no Miko].
“I’m the guide for this world. For some reason, the number of my followers has increased far more than ever before. With the significant increase in resources available, I tried creating a new replica like this. However, this is my first attempt at creating such a small body. I came here to test it while guiding you all.”
“I see. So more players are choosing [Douji], huh?”
“Of course, with Sukuna’s recent outstanding achievements, it’s no wonder. You may not be aware of it, but after the Human, Elf, and Beastman race, the Oni-folk race is the most popular choice for new adventurers. Moreover, the evolution route for [Douji] is also being steadily explored, so it’s natural that more people would choose it.”
“I didn’t realize I had such an impact…”
Personally, I don’t really recommend the Oni-folk. They generally can’t use magic and is too weak to it, so in that regard, it’s somewhat of a challenge run.
However, it’s true that it can be an ideal choice for those who want to fight simply with weapons. If you properly raise your magic defense with bonus points, you can become a well-rounded attacker that is tough, fast, and strong.
When someone chooses [Douji], they are not permitted to increase their magical defense.
Even if they can compensate for it with equipment to some extent, if they want to fight with a weapon without guard capabilities, they must have a means to fight against magic.
So it narrows down their option to simply evade or destroy.
For me, it would be the third form of [Oni no Mai] – Mizukagami no Mai, or the activation of the [Closing Ceremony] authority, [Tettei kousen], In either case, there is still a need to find a way to deal with magic.
Even with equipment that has guard capabilities to protect from all attribute attacks, you still need to properly block incoming magic to avoid damage.
For better or worse, how well the [Douji] and [Oni no Miko] perform is heavily dependent on the player’s skill. However, there is an option not to become an Oni no Miko during the job change event, so there is some way out of that.
That being said, I’d be happy if my livestreams could indirectly increase the number of players for this game, and hence the population of Oni people. Especially since I’ve taken a very unique route, if more [Douji] players join, other routes might be explored as well.
“Heh, gaining more followers through preaching, you’re becoming quite the Miko, aren’t you?”
“That was unintentional though… But why does Shuten always take my appearance when creating an avatar? I’d like to see Shuten’s real appearance too.”
“Well… that’s a reasonable question.”
Shuten seemed to react as if I had hit the nail on the head with my question. This time, the deformed Sukuna doll seems to be modeled after the [Red Wolf Attire Alter], and it is no longer a incomplete avatar with a missing abdomen like before. If a completely new doll can be made, there’s no need to use me as a model. Shuten hesitated for a moment, then gave up and explained the reason.
“First of all, your height is about the same as my original form, making it easy to handle. But the main reason is simpler: I hardly remember what I looked like.”
[I hardly remember what I looked like] hearing that, everything made sense.
“I spent over a thousand years in that ghostly shrine. While my main body was sealed and I couldn’t create a substitute, I was a conscious haze. There were no mirrors in that space, and I didn’t even have a physical or virtual body until Sukuna arrived.”
“That’s harsh, or maybe I should say, fleeting. so… the inhabitants of this world also forget their memories.”
“Our memories are not much different from yours. They’re a bit more mechanical, but old memories are easily forgotten, while new memories are hard to forget. If I had my main body, I could copy and replicate it, but that body is sealed and unreachable.”
If I were to believe what she said, it would be difficult to create an avatar that matches her appearance when she hasn’t seen it for over a thousand years. I mean, there are people all over the world who can’t even draw a decent picture of themself. Making a detailed doll of yourself is certainly even more difficult. It seems that Shuten copied my avatar when I entered this world, and shrunk it, and that’s why her current deformed Sukuna doll looks like me.
“Why don’t you try to get a model other than me?”
“Ara, I think it’s fine, this deformed Nana doll has a very attractive shape. Hey Shuten, how did you make this?”
“It’s an application of the [Shikigami Creation] skill. The [Doll Creation] skill should be able to do the same thing. However, the reason I can put my consciousness into it is due to my authority. I can’t make a doll with its own will and autonomy.”
“I see, so there are creator-type skills like that… Thanks, I’ll remember that.”
It’s an indescribable feeling to see Rin-chan getting along with Shuten much smoother than expected. I wonder if it’s because their personalities are compatible?
“Wait, does Shuten have more authorities besides [Absolute Destruction]?”
“I was born with two, and I acquired a few more later. I believe I have at least four.”
“It’s like the epitome of unfairness, huh?”
“If I wasn’t, it wouldn’t be like this. The end of the God’s era is something tremendous to look at, right?”
Perched on Rin-chan’s hand, Shuten gently extended her tiny palm towards their surroundings.
Moments ago, she had declared this form to be a representation of her own sin.
She must bear a significant weight of responsibility for the calamity she brought forth, as evidenced by her readiness to accept the seal. Otherwise, she wouldn’t wear such a tormented expression upon her face.
After surveying the area with a far-off gaze for some time, Shuten collected herself and began to speak softly.
“Alright, let’s get to the main point. The trial to surpass the level limit is simple. Traverse this land, reach the Seal of the Beginning, and defeat the guardian.”
“It’s really simple, huh?”
“Indeed. To be clear, breaking through the level limit is just a formality to show the power one should have. There is no real reason for the barrier to exist.”
“Apparently, regular jobs don’t have to deal with this. They just go to Sefira, pray to the god, and that’s it.”
“That’s so unfair!”
I mean, I went through such a hassle just to get this far.
Players with non-special jobs can meet the conditions for the level cap release just by reaching Sefira?
But thinking about it, maybe I’m the one who’s cheating, since I made it this far just by returning to the initial stage. Sefira is the frontline of the conquest, the seventh city, so just getting there should be quite difficult.
“What you seek lies beyond the Seal of the Beginning. The true age of the gods before the world collapsed, there were no memories of this hell, and there’s no point in talking about it here forever. I’ll guide you to the seal for now.”
“Thanks! Should we put Shuten on Rin-chan’s head?”
“That’ll work. She might slip off if it’s on Nana’s head during an emergency.”
As previously mentioned, Shuten agreed to be our guide. After a brief discussion, it was decided that the Shuten doll would be placed on Rin-chan’s head.
This way, there’s less to worry about her falling when moving during battles. Rin-chan is a mage, so she doesn’t have to move much to fight anyway.
With the mini Shuten skillfully attached to Rin-chan’s head, who had changed her headgear to an earring type, we set off towards the “Seal of the Beginning.”
“By the way, while we’re on our way to the seal, I’ll tell you a little bit about what happened before the world became like this.”
As soon as we started walking together, Shuten casually said that.
The mini Sukuna doll was later commercialized and sold for 10,000 yen each.
Even though she forgot her own appearance, Shuten still vividly remembers her best friend to this day.