“For me, Sukuna was the very reason I lived.”
I immediately knew that the “Sukuna” Shuten Douji was talking about wasn’t me, just by the tone of her voice.
“Sukuna and I were born on the same day during the later years of the Age of Gods. And that was unusual for a race with a relatively long lifespan and not so prolific reproduction, she was a pure Oni, and I was an Oni-folk. Although our clans were different, we were connected by the blood of Oni and grew up together in the same flow.”
The Oni-folk race has a long lifespan. At the very least, Hakuyo and Kokuyo both said they lived for about 300 years, and the people in the Oni-folk village said they became adults around 100 years old.
I don’t know the human race’s lifespan, but I haven’t heard they live particularly long, so it’s natural to assume that the Oni-folk race inherited the Oni’s long lifespan.
“Sukuna was a weak Oni. She was only good at being dexterous, with no talent for martial arts. However, she made the most of her heightened dexterity and collected trinkets to create accessories. Every time she made one, she would have me wear it and show a beaming smile.”
Shuten Douji’s voice, as she spoke of Sukuna, was gentler than I had ever heard before.
Perhaps she was recalling happy memories from that time.
“In contrary… I was born with extraordinary strength. As you all already know, it was because I possessed an Authority.”
“An Authority that requires an appropriate status to wield, right?”
“Yes. Whether it should be called a blessing or a curse. At the very least, Authorities in the Age of Gods were undoubtedly treated as blessings.”
It’s an absolute rule that an appropriate status is required to obtain an Authority. And due to this rule, those who were born with an Authority paradoxically end up possessing an appropriate status, as Melty explained.
That’s why Shuten Douji, who had obtained the Authority to destroy the world itself, was born with the world’s strongest status to achieve it.
“[Absolute Destruction] is the right to destroy everything in the world. The status required of its owner is the value of ‘being able to destroy the most indestructible thing at the time’… In other words, the power to kill the Creator God. That’s why, in terms of physical abilities, I was born with the world’s strongest power… And as a result, I committed an unforgivable…grave sin not long after I was born.”
Bitter… no, unbearably heavy words.
This is the tone of voice people take when they remember something unpleasant.
The unforgivable grave sin. I felt like I understood what it was, and inadvertently muttered.
“…Did you… kill your parents?”
“Haha, sharp, aren’t you? Or perhaps, you had anything similar happen to you? Yes, I killed my biological father… and neither of us is to blame. I just started moving my limbs like a baby, flailing my arms and legs in defiance, and my arms collided with my father, who was holding me, and he died instantly.”
It was a painful story to hear.
Even in this world, babies live like babies. You can see such NPCs if you walk around town, and I have even seen Oni-folk babies while completing NPC requests in the Oni village.
And that suggests that the event did not occur immediately after birth.
It’s normal for a baby to be held and struggle after about six months or a year. In other words, Shuten was burdened with a sin too heavy for a single person to bear when she was that small.
Just because she was too strong.
“At that time, there were no convenient things like status cards. To know your status, you had to receive an appraisal from a priest. The Oni and Oni-folk races were discriminated against in the age of magical prosperity. It was life-threatening just to go to a town where priests were, and there was no way for me to know about the curse of the gift I was born with.”
“If I recall correctly, it was stated that if there is no malice, it will not cause damage… does this also mean that the slightest malice is enough to cause an accident?”
“That’s right. I first learned about my power when I was appraised by a Youko race sorcerer.”
I can’t quite grasp the standard Rin-chan is talking about when she says “if there’s no malice”… But well, it’s true that it would be unbearable if someone got hurt just because you accidentally bumped into them while turning around. Perhaps that’s what she means.
Perhaps the children in this world don’t just appear as data and actually have go through childbirth to be considered one, because if they did not, in Shuten’s case, simply kicking inside her mother’s womb could cause severe damage.
It might be a case of unconscious innocence or some kind of protection to prevent such unintentional harm.
“Strength to destroy everything, durability to withstand the recoil, and agility to reach the opponent. There was no way for the Oni to kill me with these three powers at their peak, and I was treated as a dangerous object within a year after my birth. My mother was afraid to touch me and ran away. Almost abandoned, the strongest warrior in the Oni race, who pitied me, became my adoptive parent, and Sukuna was that warrior’s daughter.”
It was like listening to a story of an alternate version of myself.
Just a slight misunderstanding could have led to me being abandoned by my parents, and there was a possibility that I might never have met Rin-chan.
“Like I had [Authority], Sukuna also had [Authority]. It was that kind of era. The name of her [Authority] was [Physical Immunity]. As long as I didn’t activate [Absolute Destruction], she could be the only one who wouldn’t get hurt no matter how roughly I treated her. Even now, I believe it was the trickery of a god called fate, rather than the Creator God Iris, that caused chaos in this world.”
Meeting someone like a miracle who could compensate for one’s weaknesses.
Shuten’s encounter was far more desperate than mine… that’s why the miracle must have touched her deeply.
“Hey Sukuna, don’t you understand? The loneliness of being feared for having unparalleled power, and the faith-like emotion held for the ‘light’ that saved you from it.”
“I didn’t care about the grudges of the Oni race, or the domination by other races. I was happy as long as Sukuna was there. I became stronger and the strongest just to protect our everyday life… But I couldn’t protect it and drowned in anger, and here is the result.”
A never-ending nightmare.
A realm of searing heat and crimson despair.
This was the consequence of igniting a forbidden spark and unleashing the final reckoning.
It’s not that Shuten was innocent. The situation was so excessive that I wanted to tell her to tone it down. However, it wasn’t Shuten who instigated the catastrophe that should never have occurred, but rather someone who pushed Sukuna to her demise.
I understand that rational thought can crumble in the throes of rage. But all I could do was sympathize with Shuten.
“What were your thoughts… when you regained your senses, Shuten?”
“I felt satisfaction. And then, I cried for a while, overwhelmed by a sense of loss, and laughed. I knew Sukuna wasn’t coming back; I knew that from the start.”
When an NPC dies, they don’t return to life.
Revenge creates nothing. Time, money, lives, hearts – not even relief from resentment and anger. There’s so much to lose… and the only thing gained is personal satisfaction.
Despite knowing all this, Shuten allowed her heart to be consumed by rage.
“You, despite your name, are quite similar to me—in both strength and existence. It’s evident from the fact that you inherited my anger. The Red Wolf connected us, but even without it, we would have eventually crossed paths.”
“Yeah, I understood that so well I almost despised it.”
“Never forget this: anger isn’t solely directed towards others. There are times when you’re consumed by anger towards your own weakness. …That being said, unlike me, you have friends and a master. I’m confident they’ll restrain you when necessary.”
“Haha, you’re right. Kohaku did stop me that time… and she helped me out yesterday too.”
Shuten likely had no allies other than Sukuna.
For Shuten, the Oni race, their rival races, and monsters alike were merely threats to her tranquility.
That’s why, when Sukuna faced danger, there was probably no one else to come to her aid. Shuten confronted it alone, fell into despair, and was swallowed by darkness.
I might have been like that once, but…
Now, things are different. I know I have numerous people supporting me.
“Hmm, it seems you’ve witnessed some of Kohaku’s power. She’s quite formidable, isn’t she?”
“Yes, she was far more impressive than I expected.”
“For an Oni-folk, her strength is the most legitimate and ideal. It’s due to her talent for embodying this ideal. If you want to grow stronger as an Oni-folk, you can’t go wrong by relying on Kohaku.”
With the somber atmosphere gone, Shuten laughed heartily as she spoke.
She had mentioned before that she had moved on from Sukuna’s death. After a thousand years, Shuten has managed to made a peace with the memory, even though recalling it might still cast a shadow over her heart.
It’s likely akin to how I accepted my parents’ passing.
“Our conversation took a dark turn. Allow me to offer some advice as an apology. Rinne, you’ve forged a contract with the Lightning Spirit King, haven’t you?”
“Yes, how did you know?”
“Living for many years grants you some wisdom. Anyway, if you intend to continue on this path, aim for the Spirit Gate of Belamilado.”
“Belamilado… Thank you, I’ll remember that.”
The Spirit Gate of Belamilado. Naturally, I had never heard of it before. However, with so many players, perhaps someone has uncovered a hint.
Come to think of it, during the last event, Rin-chan learned lightning spirit magic. She formed a contract with the lightning spirit when she employed a spirit crystal and chanted an incredibly potent spell.
This magic summons a spirit, and by issuing commands, the spirit attacks. It’s reputed to be more powerful than ordinary magic but takes slightly longer to cast.
“Now, it’s almost time for the first trial. I’ll step back so I won’t get in the way of the battle.”
Shuten said that and jumped down from above Rin-chan’s head.
Relieved by Shuten’s surprisingly smooth landing, I turned my attention to the “pitch-black shadow door” that suddenly appeared in front of me.
I wonder if something will come out.
As I thought that and waited, something black and human-shaped came out.
With a height similar to mine, and with two horns and elaborately designed Japanese-style clothing, it was clear that this black figure was modeled after an Oni-folk.
“That is my Master Shadow Technique, one I created just before I destroyed the world. Naturally, it has depleted most of its power now… still, it was my incarnation.”
“I won’t tell you to defeat it. All I ask is that you endure for 15 minutes, that will be counted as your win.”
Just facing it makes me feel like shivering; it’s so well-made.
<Oni God’s Master Shadow Technique Lv170>
Among the opponents I’ve fought so far, that is the highest number I’ve seen.
The battle with a fragment of the world’s strongest Oni God and the embodiment of pure violence has begun.
I’ll write a proper backstory if I have the chance.
I wonder if Nana, who ‘only’ crushed her parents’ hands, was lucky.
Belamilado – I won’t speculate, I had enough with this pun-lover author lol
let’s be honest… what will happen if something happens to Rin?