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The headquarter of the Institution of Divinities that only looked like a historical old temple from the outsider point of view──.
It was protected by a barrier that drove away people. Knowledge of magic was necessary just in order to perceive the building itself. Multitude of magical protections were installed outside and inside the headquarter.
In fact, it was a place that was endowed with a defensive power that rivaled a fortress.
However yesterday those protections were thoroughly wrecked. While it was the head temple of Japan's magic society, all of the spells in it were completely erased.
Because of that──the defenses had to be casted once more with their pride on the line.
In the headquarter of the Institution of Divinities, the fire altar that was set up at one of its corners was burning grandly.
Monks with excellent power of Buddhism, people with spiritual power, magic casters, all of them were surrounding the flame and chanting mantra with undivided intention and harmonious tempo.
──Naumakusanmanda Basaradan Senda……
──Makaroshada Soutaya Untarata Kanman……
──Naumakusanmanda Bazaradan Kan……
It was mantra that was dedicated to the Wisdom King Acala.
In addition, the chanting casters were forming complicated shapes with their fingers as mudra handseal. Dokko handseal, Houzan seal, Kumitsu seasl, Shinmitsu seal, Kaen seal, Shishi Funjin seal, and so on. They interweaved the mudra handseals as sustenance for the esoteric Buddhist ritual.
Everything was in order to not let the disgrace yesterday to be repeated.
And then, inside the hall located deep inside the temple──.
The discussion that was the continuation of yesterday regarding the heaven-sent-child of Yatagarasu, Toba Riona was going on. Today there was one more person, a guest from abroad who was participating.
「Now then. It's not like it's necessary to receive the consent of everyone here. But just in case, allow me to present the report as the leader of Campiones association. Regarding the engagement of a member of our association Rokuhara Ren and Toba Riona……」
「Wait a second. You, Blandelli-kun.」
As usual Julio Blandelli started talking like an "intelligent young noble".
The one interrupting him was one of the directors of the Institution of Divinities.
「Toba Riona is an outstanding talent who can even be said as the greatest treasure of the land of the gods Japan. There is no way we will allow her to be wed with a riffraff who is affiliated with a foreign association!」
Riona was facing the directors of the Institution of Divinities inside the same room like yesterday.
However her attire was different. It wasn't her best clothes that were set aside for important occasion, it was her uniform blazer. The one that she wore even at Troia and Midgard.
And then, there was Julio who joined up with her several hours ago.
He arrived at Kansai Airport last night. He stayed the night in a hotel near the airport before going until the headquarter at Arashiyama. It shouldn't be strange even if he was affected by a terrible jetlag but──
Julio was speaking smartly in his completely usual mode.
「Romance and marriage ought to be done by the mutual wish of both sides. That is the common sense of this age and the norm of the world. Japan is also a modern nation, furthermore it's an advanced country, so naturally I believe that freedom of love ought to be respected here.」
'Fuh'. Julio casually distorted his lips into a faint sneer.
「It seems that the old people gathered here are different. How old-fashioned.」
「Our country and the Institution of Divinities have tradition that shouldn't be desecrated. There are social rules. An insolent fellow who came from other country has no right to say anything.」
「It's just a tradition that won't bring any problem even if it got reformed anyway.」
Julio easily rephrased his opinion.
「I'll recognize that the principle of jus sanguinis is quite effective for securing talented magicians. But according to the modern research──it came to light that rather than bloodline, the cause of the birth of practicioner with talent in a magical household lies in the 『family tradition』 instead. What's important is fermenting the child's mental world with training from his early childhood and bring up a soul that is fitting for walking the path of sorcery.」
「I've never heard of anything like that!」
「How uneducated. It seems that you have never taken a look at the research report that we, the associations throughout Europe periodically published.」
「I told you already that this is the tradition of Japan!」
The Latino youth repeatedly provoked with a hypocritical courtesy. The directors were unanimously ranting at him.
Julio who declared that he was picking a fight with them grinned fearlessly.
「I remember. Some time ago, there was this news──of salt getting scattered to purify a ring of the professional sumo wrestling that just got entered by a woman by those extolling the prohibition on women entering for religious reasons. This news spread to outside Japan and it became a target of criticism. People wondered if the Japanese regarded woman as dirty existence……」
「Fool. Sumo is a Shinto ritual.」
「Umu. It's astonishing that you can prattle to sound smart when you don't even know the concept of impurity that exist in Japan from time immemorial.」
「No, I'm aware.」
The directors acted like they had triumphed over Julio's ignorance, but Julio spoke calmly.
「There was the view that the origin of the word impurity came from the phrase of 『withering ki』. Ki is the vitality of life. In other words impurity isn't a physical pollution, but a concept that vaguely indicated to 『thing that threaten life』 or 『thing that is associated with danger to life』.」
The Latino young noble took a breath, and then he continued further.
「That's why corpse and bloodshed are also impurity. Epidemic is also impurity. Revengeful ghost and tatari-kami are also impurity. Even human who unfortunately fell into sickness and survived is also impurity. Even the accident itself is also impurity……」
As expected from the heir of Blandelli house that had deep relations even with Japan's clan.
He easily warded off the counterattack and commenced to hti back.
「An old man got heart attack on a sumo ring and a woman came up on the ring in order to give emergency first aid. After that purifying salt was scattered. It wasn't because of the violation of the prohibition of women entering, it was to purify the impurity due to the misfortune──. Certainly that kind of excuse could be used. But, how would such thing be reflected in the eyes of the foreign countries?」
Julio looked around at the gathered old people.
「I believe that the thinking that foreign pressure can be avoided just by insisting that this is Japan is being a bit overly optimistic. It's too inconsiderate in the arena of politic.」
「Politic you say?」
「That's right. For example the space distortions that are frequently occurring in the world right now. Will you be able to face the calamity that is caused by the connection of earth and mythological world by using only 『Japan's tradition』 too?」
「Of……course we can.」
「In fact Toba Riona succeeded in her mission.」
「True. However, that was because she obtained the cooperation of our Campiones association and Rokuhara Ren.」
「No Julio. At best I was only assisting him. Rather Rokuhara-san──my beloved fiancée is the actual main actor in resolving the space distortions.」
The time for her to speak finally came. Riona smoothly spoke.
「Honorable directors. Rokuhara Ren don't have any spiritual power or talent in magic from his birth. But, he possesses a tremendous talent──that he obtained in posteriority.」
All the old directors held their breath.
It was because Riona's eyes were shining blue. This time she intentionally unleashed her full power. She applied pressure like that and spoke further.
「An ability to prevent the destruction of mythological word and to fight equally even against the gods. An abnormal ability that make it possible to murder even god. Well, the children of him and me surely won't inherit that ability but……I believe this is essential in order to save the world and Japan.」
「And then, it's none other than Toba Riona who can become the best partner for Rokuhara Ren.」
Julio also immediately joined in.
「Don't you think that in this situation things like lineage preservation and tradition should be set aside to focus on politics? In order to save your 『beautiful land of abundant rice』 from the unprecedented calamity and national disaster.」
「I have……one thing to ask.」
One of the directors opened his mouth with a heavy tone.
He must have started to notice. That Riona=sacred bird Yatagarasu became able to unleash her full ability by her own will. The color of fear was visible in the eyes of the directors.
「The ability of this Rokuhara Ren, what could it be……?」
「A good question. Actually we have arranged for a practical demonstration right now.」
Riona's wristwatch showed the time was 2 PM. It was finally "the time".
「Thank you very much. For preparing confections again like this.」
「Fufufufu. It's fine, I am also happy to be able to meet the two of you once more.」
In a room of the headquarter of the Institution of Divinities.
Ren was sitting in seiza posture with good manner within a tearoom that had pleasant autumn breeze blowing through.
There was "Hinako-sama" in front of him. She was an old lady who was the boss of the Institution of Divinities and even possessed a title like princess shrine maiden. Today she was also wearing Japanese clothes and treated them to matcha and traditional Japanese confectioneries.
「Lo, long time no see, Hinako-sama-」
The second daughter of Toba house, Fumika also gave her greeting while feeling really nervous.
She was brought here by her big sister in order to encourage her. She was dressed in the uniform of a local middle school. And then there was one more of Ren's comrade here.
「I'm also very happy to be able to meet with grandmother once more♪」
Perhaps these two got along well with each other as fellow noble daughter with good upbringing.
Cassandra's expression was bright. Hinako-sama also squinted and smiled happily at the words of Troia's princess.
「Thank you. If you like, you can sit comfortably anytime.」
She was giving consideration to Cassandra who was awkwardly imitating the seiza posture.
By the way Hinako-sama gave consideration to the "foreign" princess and expressly provided a drink "similar" with matcha mixed with cream, milk, and sugar.
Ren casually begged at the kind old lady.
「By the way, if you don't mind, can I also call you Hinako-sama?」
「Yes, of course. You are Rokuhara Ren-san aren't you? Also I've heard, people said, that you are the fiancée of that RIona-san?」
「Yeah. So you've learned of it already?」
「Actually, there are a lot of gramps here who are saying mean things about you two……. I will cheer for the two of you although it will be in secret!」
「I'm also feeling reassured to hear Hinako-sama say that.」
「Also, Ren-san. Today you mustn't do "that" you know?」
Hinako-sama smiled brightly and she suddenly warned him.
「I don't know how but, the one who erased all the barriers in this Institution of Divinities──was you correct?」
「Oh my. Grandmother, so you realized that!」
「O, Onii-san-. You can even do something amazing like that-!?」
Cassandra and Fumika were surprised. And then Ren was──
「And because of that Hinako-sama covered up for us yesterday. Let me give my thanks to you once more.」
Ren nonchalantly replied with a casual language. Hinako-sama was smiling.
It seemed there was no problem. Actually he had been looking for the timing to switch his speaking from polite language to casual language. It would be easier to talk like that and in order to become closer with her.
「Don't do that Ren-san. The scary gramps were saying that it's not enough to just return the barriers like before, they're increasing the setup even more.」
「What kind of setup is that?」
「The person who attack the barrier──will have the curse of retribution descending on them. It's that kind of protective spell.」
「Hee. That's the same like my power!」
Ren was impressed. It was then. Outside the tearoom, a young man came from the nearby garden.
「Hinako-sama. I came visiting, because there is something that I wish to obtain permission about by all means.」
「Oh, isn't this Asukai's……」
That young man, he was wearing a slightly dirty robe of Shinto priest.
There were dark circle under his eyes. His cheeks were also gaunt, he looked haggard. It was as though he was suffering from a serious illness.
At the same time with his entrance──the atmosphere of the garden turned impure.
Ren looked dubious. Even the kind Hinako-sama seemed to feel the same thing and frowned.
When speaking about Togetsu Bridge of Arashiyama, it was a famous place that bridged over Katsura River.
The time-worn wooden bridge had a total length of around 150 meter. The water volume of Katsura River wasn't abundant by all means, there were sandbanks forming here and there. But, the river's width was quite something.
There was the bank of Katsura River if one went around to the back of the headquarter of the Institution of Divinities.
The Institution of Divinities was blending with complete harmony into the scenery of this river and mountain that would be decorated with the red leaves of late autumn before long.
A gigantic stone suddenly appeared right at the middle of that Katsura River.
The stone suddenly soared up toweringly like a stone wall. It split the flow of Katsura River into two. Its height was approximately fifty meter while its width was around half of it.
The stone that was towering like a cliff wall there was the sacred treasure, the main body of the Thousand Pulling Stone.
It accomplished instant teleportation using power of divine mystery and crossed space from Kumano until Kyoto's Arashiyama.
Asukai Takeru──the leader of Kumano's crow sect who entered the Institution of Divinities right nearby summoned it here.
The huge stone Thousand Pulling Stone was starting to emit repulsive miasma. The muddy smoke with faint white color should beckon annihilation even here. Furthermore it would be far more repulsive and impure compared to what Ren and co had witnessed several days ago.
「Azukai-san. You, have broken a taboo haven't you?」
「This too is in order to obtain revenge toward Toba Riona──and the strange duo over there. Please be magnanimous and forgive me, Hinako-sama.」
「My. You are even involving Ren-san and Cassandra-san……」
「We have to protect the honor of our clan!」
Hinako-sama used a hard tone. In respond Azukai what's-his-name answered while prostrating.
The young man who originated from Kumano was enveloped in strangely gloomy aura today.
If it was expressed in color, then it would be black without a doubt. It was a presence that could even be said as sinister and repulsive. Perhaps because of that Fumika shrunk back saying 「Hih」.
「What's wrong, Fumika-chan?」
「A, around that person there is an outrageously strong miasma……. It's like the gate of hell itself opened and his body and heart are soaked in it……」
「So it's the same thing like what we saw in Tokyo the other day.」
「Ah, I remember! Ren-sama. That person, he is undoubtedly the man we encountered at Toukyou before this!」
Cassandra and Ren were calm in contrast of the fearful Fumika. As expected, the number and quality of carnage they had overcome were different.
On the other hand, Hinako-sama and the young man who was called Azukai were looking grave.
「Hinako-sama, please I beg you for the permission to release the secret power of the goddess Izanami in this Institution of Divinities!」
Mr. Azukai who was so gaunt he looked pitiful kept prostrating while pleading.
But, the expression he directed at Hinako-sama was simply brazen. The old lady who should be a graceful person glared at that face and scolded.
「You must not. That's a might of god that cannot be controlled by human!」
「That's exactly why it will be able to oppose even Yatagarasu!」
The gentle and playful face of the old lady completely changed into a strict look.
Young man Azukai gave a tragic but brave look while brimming with unshakeable determination.
And then Rokuhara Ren──checked the pocket watch that he borrowed from his future father-in-law. 2 PM. The time finally arrived.
The intermission drama here was still going on, but he had to do his work as the 『leading actor』 soon.
Ren smiled cordially while forcefully interrupting.
「Sorry Hinako-sama. About your advise just now, I couldn't listen to it. Our strategy for the people of the Institution of Divinities is to 『flashily show the difference in strength』. Also, the mister over there. Riona right now is busy……that's why I'll keep you company by myself. Sorry for that okay?」
Hinako-sama and Azukai what's-his-name were looking astonished and bewildered.
Ren negated numerous protective spells that were applied to the headquarter of Institution of Divinities without realizing it. This time he just needed to do the same thing intentionally.
He started to lightly concentrate. Well, there was no need to go full strength.
Ren relaxed his shoulders and roused up the strength inside him──*prang-*. All kinds of spells were entirely blown away once more like breaking a glass.
Right after that.
「Onii-san is in disaster-. Fire extinguisher! Also, if we don't quickly escape!?」
Fumika and Hinako-sama yelled in panic.
It was because Ren who was sitting seiza on the tearoom's tatami──his whole body was burning with bluish white flame.
The bluish white flame roared until the ceiling with fierceness that swallowed the whole tearoom. However it didn't burn the frightened Fumika and others inside the room. As expected from the flame of divine punishment.
However Cassandra didn't even try to move away. She was looking at the flame with great curiosity.
Ren himself was also staring in admiration at his whole body that was blazing blue.
「So this is these people's "retribution".」
「It seems to be the flame of justice and punishment. When I'm staring at this flame, the divine figure of a war god is forming in my heart. He has blue skin and a whole body that is clad in fire!」
「Hee. I wonder what kind of god he is.」
Ren and Cassandra were acting natural just like usual as before.
It was because they knew. That just this much didn't have any hope to burn the body of godslayer. In fact, Ren slightly heightened his magic power and negated the blue flame of justice.
Hinako-sama praised him with a shaking voice.
「No way. The blaze of Acala is so easily──」
「Tsk. Using a strange technique like usual. But, look at that!」
Azukai what's-his-name clicked his tongue at the garden. But, he immediately pulled himself together and strongly pointed at a certain direction.
That direction should be Katsura River that was flowing right nearby the headquarter.
「I also showed you the Thousand Pulling Stone before didn't I? This time it's not a fragment like that time. We focused the total energy of the whole crow sect and bring it until this place!」
「What terrifying thing……」
Hinako-sama shook her head seeing the boasting young man.
「To bring the sacred treasure that was worshipped as the lid of the realm of the dead to outside its land! This is an accursed thing you have done, know shame!」
「Everything is in order to bring down the punishment on Toba Riona, forgive us!」
The young man didn't look guilty at the slightest even with that scolding.
And then──Ren noticed.
This garden of Institution of Divinities was a well maintained Japanese garden.
It was an ancient temple of Kyoto in Arashiyama. The period of red leaves in full-blown should be arriving soon. But.
The leaves of the trees growing in the area were falling before their eyes. The trunks were also thinning and drying up.
Moisture was also vanishing from the ground and cloud of dust whirled up.
……When Ren checked it later, this strange phenomenon wasn't limited to the Institution of Divinities, it dragged in almost the whole Arashiyama.
The miasma of the realm of the dead that snatched away life filled this land and finally invited in many deaths.
Furthermore, that culprit was chanting a spell.
「This lowly self wish to reverently state in the presence of Izanami……the divine spirit of life submerging this heaven and earth, now is the time to humbly present to the deifying festival, display the miraculous and exquisite grand divine virtues of the god here!」
「……That's a bit different from the other day.」
Surprisingly, 『demonesses』 surged out from the ground that was filled with miasma.
They had terrifying look. Their lips were greatly torn, with an extremely ferocious expression. Their loose and disheveled hair was long and unkempt.
Their fangs and claws were also sharp, furthermore their body was huge. Their height must be reaching three meter.
Their body that was covered with ragged cloth was certainly that of a woman. But their skin was white like corpse. The rotten smell rising up from their whole body pierced the nose──.
The deformed demonesses surging out from the ground numbered eight.
Hinako-sama was dumbfounded and rebuked Azukai what's-his-name.
「Manifesting Yomotsu Shikome like this, you, just what is your intention!?」
「Hahahaha. If it's the monsters I brought from Yomotsuhirasaka, then even opposing Yatagarasu and her followers will be possible──o, OOOOOOOH!?」
A demoness reached out with her muscular hand and grabbed young man Azukai in an eagle grip──
She munched at his whole head.
The young man lost all his upper body in just two bites. Only his waist below remained from his body. The magician of Kumano had his life stolen by the monster that he summoned himself.
「It's pitiful but, this is what they call reaping what you sow……」
「It's truly a just retribution……」
「Ky, KYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!? O-O-O-O-Onii-san, and also Cassandra-san too, we have to run away quickly! Yomotsu Shikome is Japan's version of zombie!」
Fumika was screaming beside Ren and Cassandra who were commenting calmly.
Although she was a daughter of Toba House, it seemed she didn't have as much courage as her big sister. Riona was outside the norm in every kind of senses so this was understandable though.
Ren spoke in order to reassure his future sister-in-law.
「There is no danger, so just wait here for a bit.」
It seemed that it would be better to quickly take care of this. He went out to the garden alone.
In that moment──
The eight Yomotsu Shikome simultaneously flew at Ren. Surprisingly, the demonesses were fast like lightning.
「Hee. So Japan's zombie isn't slowpoke huh……」
When Fumika yelled in worry, Ren already got away.
He slipped through the attacks from eight opponents with the agility of Goddess Nemesis and lightly jumped up until above the roof of Institution of Divinities.
「The goddess of revenge will hand down divine punishment to misdeed that harm life──. I wish for the punishment of justice right here.」
Ren joined his index finger and middle finger in front of his face and spoke the words of power of retribution.
Fortunately the "stock" that he accumulated from Sanctuary Midgard was remaining. The numerous lightning attacks that godslayer Marquis Voban fired out.
He made only one of them to fall from the sky and burned away the Yomotsu Shikome altogether.
The calamity befalling Rokuhara Ren could be kept for around half a month.
「Oh. Riona also came out.」
Ren smiled while looking up to the sky from the roof.
The golden phoenix was slowly flying at the sky above the area of Arashiyama that was filled with miasma. The spread out wings scattered a great amount of "fire sparks" to the ground.
The spirit of fire and sun Yatagarasu was sending down the essence of sun.
『Land and air that are polluted by the miasma of death──I'll purify them now.』
「As expected from Riona. Her consideration is also perfect.」
Ren exchanged telepathy with his soaring fiancée and nodded.
When he noticed, there were a lot of people coming out to the garden of the Institution of Divinities.
Old and past middle aged directors who had presence to them. Dozens of staffs that seemed to be permanently stationed here. There was also Seishuuin Maki who was a supervisor. Hinako-sama and also Toba Fumika──.
Everyone was staring at Rokuhara Ren who was above the roof with gaze of wonder.
「Ren-san. That power of yours……」
「A warrior who usurped the divine authority of the gods by murdering a god. The beast of godslaying. An existence that should be worshipped as demon king, just like the founder of our Campiones association……」
Julio also came beside Hinako-sama.
「The godslayer Rokuhara Ren who possessed god's authority. Please remember that from here on.」
Hinako-sama gasped and opened her eyes wide from the greeting of the Latino young noble.
Ren looked down at that from the rooftop and muttered to himself.
「Will various things get taken care of with the Institution of Divinities like this?」
『I believe it will.』
The telepathy of Riona sounded like a whisper into his ear.
She was staying in her Yatagarasu form while leisurely soaring right now. However, the sky was shrouded with dark cloud when he noticed. Her radiance figure looked even more standing out.
『A more troublesome looking quarrel seem to be occurring right now after all. Even the big shots of the Institution of Divinities won't have any leeway to grumble more than this.』
Ren who was on the roof noticed.
A large rock that was like a steep cliff was standing high inside the Katsura River that was flowing behind the headquarter. It was something that shouldn't be there. There was no doubt that it was dragged here from somewhere using magic or miracle.
And then, due to the miasma leaking out from the huge stone──
The vegetations of the surrounding area were withering.
「Looks like it will be impossible to watch the autumn lea at this area this year.」
『It'll be great if it's only this year though……』
A thought that was like Cassandra's prophecy of calamity came from Riona.
It was a sanctuary that should be named like that by the people of the surface.
As a world of mythology, as expected there were also gods living there. A section of the myth should be in the middle of reenactment there as 『a happening that was going on right now』.
In fact, a tale that was widely known by Japanese people was currently unfolding there.
「My dear Izanami. I've come to bring you back. Let's go home together.」
「O my husband Izanagi. I'm really happy to hear those words. But it's unfortunate. That is a request that cannot be granted……」
It was deep inside the earth, a territory that was ruled by darkness.
Because of that it was also called as country of night view, underworld, etc.
The name of the man who was delving into the cave that connected to deep into the underground by himself was Izanagi. The father god of country founding who created Japan's domain.
In the middle of that cave, a stone door was closed and he couldn't advance further.
The voice of the mother of country founding, his dead wife Izanami could be heard from the other side of the door.
「My beloved. Why didn't you come for me earlier? How many months has passed since I left you behind and fell into the realm of the dead……. I already ate the food of the realm of the dead and became impure since a long time ago.」
The goddess Izanami was sobbing while crying.
The stone door was slightly opened. Izanagi certainly heard her beautiful voice. He also certainly saw the silhouette of a woman weeping behind the door, inside the darkness.
「Please give up. An impure body won't be allowed to return to the surface.」
「What are you saying. I'm feeling unbearable loneliness because of losing you! Even the country that us husband and wife were trying to create won't be finished like this you know?」
「Aa Izanagi, my husband!」
The dead goddess hid inside the darkness and sobbed for a while, then her heart calmed down.
「……My beloved, I too wish to return to your side. I don't know how it will go, but I will go consulting the god of the underworld. I'll ask him to please return me to the surface.」
「But, I beg you. This door that separate me and you, it mustn't be opened. I don't want you to look at my body that has fallen into this underworld……」
After saying that, his beloved wife left into the darkness.
The father of country founding Izanagi waited for much time after that. He was continuing to wait day by day. However, no matter how long he waited his wife didn't return…….
Seeking his wife, Izanagi opened the door.
The darkness of the depth of the earth stood in his way. He took the wooden comb holding his hair and snapped just one of the comb's teeth and lit it on fire. He made a fire.
Relying on that light, he advanced deeper and deeper. Searching for his wife Izanami──.
Thus, he finally found her.
「What the, you are!?」
「You saw didn't you, my husband……」
The rotting corpse of a woman──was illuminated by the fire.
Flesh was rotting off everywhere, the white of her bones became exposed. Countless maggots were crawling on that rotten limbs, making rumbling sound that sounded like thunder…….
「Didn't you promise me……」
「Don't tell me you're──Izanami, my wife?」
「I didn't want to show this rotten body only to you!」
「To think that one who fell into the underworld will be corrupted to this degree……」
「Even though I told you not to look why are you lookinggggggggg!?」
「You're noisy, damn monster! The soul of my wife Izanami has disappeared since long ago!」
The dead wife went into a fit of anger, while the husband who broke his promise became defiant──
He ran away with all his strength. He left behind his once wife in a corner of the dark cave and ran to return alone to the surface.
The goddess Izanami who changed into a fierce god chased after her husband in rage.
「Where're you going, my husbaaaaaandd!」
Run. Run. The father of founding country ran with all his might.
He desperately aimed toward the surface. He turned his back toward his once wife Izanami and ran.
「Yokotsu Shikome, chase him!」
The dead Izanami ordered. The swarm of demonesses was unleashed.
The extremely ugly women with terrifying face and strong body surged out from the ground. There were dozens of them. The female demons dashed for a long distance in the blink of eye.
The father Izanagi threw the hair ornament and comb of repelling evil.
Crimson glory vine grew from the hair ornament that was made from knitting vines, while bamboo shoot grew from the wooden comb. The Yokotsu Shikome greedily devoured them.
The husband aimed toward the surface using that opening. The dead Izanami unleashed even more pursuer toward him.
「Ooikazuchi, Honoikazuchi, Kuroikazuchi, Sakuikazuchi, Wakaikazuchi, Tsuchiikazuchi, Naruikazuchi, Fushiikazuchi──my sons the eight lightning gods!」
Eight streaks of lightning were fired from the whole body of the rotting goddess.
In addition decomposing swarm of corpses was crawling out from underground. With great number, they formed a troop of 1500 bodies.
Their name was Yomotsu Ikusa.
It was a fierce army of the dead, led by the eight lightning gods who were born in the realm of the dead.
Even while under the pursuit of this large army, the father Izanagi somehow escaped to the hill road that connected the underworld with the surface world. It was Yomotsu Hirasaka.
And then, the father of country founding turned his eyes toward the peach tree growing at the hill road.
「Thy──shall purify and exorcise!」
Together with the words of power of repelling evil, a peach fruit was thrown amidst the Yomotsu Ikusa.
*GYAAAAAAH! GYAAAAAAH! GYAAAAAAH! GYAAAAAAH! GYAAAAAAH! GYAAAAAAH! GYAAAAAAH!*
The terrifying swarm of the dead feared the peach of repelling evil and screamed.
They scattered to everywhere like baby spiders.
「Finally the surface……I've returned back to our country!」
The father Izanagi was relieved and felt triumphant.
At the entrance of Yomotsuhirasaka, there was an absurdly large rock at the side.
One had to look up at the rectangle wall of rock. It was called the Thousand Pulling Stone. It was named so because it would finally move only with a thousand people pulling it.
The father of country founding Izanagi started pushing the Thousand Pulling Rock.
Using the robust herculean strength of god, the huge rock was starting to move little by little──.
「There are still things that I have to do at the surface! My dear, I'll block the entrance of Yomotsuhirasaka with the Stone of Path Returning!」
「How pathetic can you be my husband!」
The voice of the goddess rose from the cavern that was getting blocked by the large stone.
「I resent you, mine husband! Then I shall strangle to death one thousand people of the surface each day without fail!」
「In that case my dear!」
The father Izanagi also talked back resolutely.
「I shall give rise to a thousand and five hundred people each day!」
And then, the entrance of Yomotsuhirasaka was sealed by the Thousand Pulling Stone, and the realm of the death at the bottom of the earth was separated from the surface for eternity──or that was how it should be.
「Hou. So there was someone like Orpheus at this country too.」
The grand quarrel of married couple by the gods of country founding.
There was an owl that was looking down at everything from the sky. The poet Orpheus. He was mentioned in the mythology of ancient Greek as a master of lyre. However he descended to the realm of the dead in order to take back his dead wife and failed. He was told that he mustn't look back no matter what until he returned to the surface. If he could do that then his wife would be returned to him, the god of the realm of the dead Hades said. But he was unable to keep his promise…….
「Kukukuku. So similar stories exist at the west and also at the east.」
The owl who mentioned Orpheus's name chuckled fearlessly.
「In any case I can say that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am also a woman. As one of the women in this world, I shall make the insincere and selfish husband to receive his punishment. With that──」
The next instant, the flying owl transformed into a goddess of ancient Greek.
The girl who had wings of owl growing from her back, Athena. The princess of Zeus threw a golden spear that accurately stabbed Izanagi.
The body of the man trying to push the giant rock to block Yomotsuhirasaka was pierced through like that.
The last word of Izanagi was a groan of anguish.
And then, the eight streaks of lighting that were released from the underground blew away the door sealing large rock. The decayed goddess slowly appeared from the opened entrance.
It was Izanami who was the mother of country founding and now became the goddess of the underworld.
Athena landed in front of her and erased the wings of owl growing from her back.
「Oo, princess god of shining eyes. From your appearances I assume that you are a lady amidst her travel.」
First Izanami gave her greeting.
「I shall respectfully express my gratitude for your assistance.」
「Don't worry about it. I did it also for my own motive. Don't think of it as a debt.」
Athena faced the goddess of foreign country.
The woman's rotten flesh was enveloped in rumbling sparks of lightning.
In addition there were countless maggots crawling on that woman body. It was truly disgusting. But Athena wasn't tricked by the outside appearance and perceived the goddess's true nature.
「I assume that you are the great goddess of the realm of the dead, the queen ruling over the country of the dead spreading at the bottom of earth. May your beautiful virtue and soul be blessed……」
「This one is greatly moved by your soulful words of congratulations.」
The goddess of underworld who was covered with lightning and rotten flesh spoke solemnly.
Her festering and rotten body was starting to heal bit by bit. Her skin was returning into a soft and smooth white skin that was like silk.
The garment covering her body was also changing from scrapped rag into the kimono of an imperial queen.
But, the miasma and negative scent enveloping the goddess Izanami were still the same like before.
「O princess coming from the outside country, if it doesn't offend you I wish to present something as a return gift but……」
「Unnecessary. After this, act to your heart's content. That will be beneficial enough for this Athena. It will become an assistance for my aspiration.」
「Hohohoho. That is really splendid.」
「Please allow me to continue my journey. Good luck in your endeavor.」
Athena left behind an encouragement and left.
Goddess Izanami who returned to the surface──to Ashihara no Nakatsukuni started singing.Ashihara no Nakatsukuni
「Utsukushiki aganase no mikoto, imashi no kuni no hitokusa, hitohi ni chikashira kubirikorosamu. Utsukushiki aganase no mikoto, imashi no kuni no hitokusa, hitohi ni chikashira kubirikorosamu……」
If that's what my beloved significant other choose, then I shall strangle to death, a thousand of people of your country each day.
The dead goddess recited her words like singing a children's song over and over.
In respond to that, the demons of the realm of the dead surged out one after another.
The Yomotsu Shikome numbering in thousands, tens of thousands. Then Yomotsu Ikusa that numbered thousands, tens of thousands of times than them. They were the corpse demons that served the goddess of death Izanami. (TN: Yomotsu is like the name of the realm of the death, translated literally it means yellow spring)
The demons of the underworld swiftly ran on the surface and strangled to death the living humans they found.
They greedily devoured the soft flesh, slurped the blood, and crunched the bone.
They killed, devoured, and annihilated anything with life whether it was animal or human. They roamed around until the end of the earth to not let even a single one survived.
Miasma filled the surface until every corner. Every plants were withering.
Whether it was mountain, river, or sea, they lost the radiance of life.
The sun was swallowed by darkness, and a great tsunami attacked the parched land.
It was the beginning of the end of the world──.
Thus, at the center of "Sanctuary Yomotsuhirasaka" that approached its demise,
「Hohohohoho. Now that this land has obtained ruin like this, there is nothing at all that I ought to accomplish in here.」
Around Goddess Izanami, countless sparkles appeared like nebula. That was what the magicians of human world called the space distortion.
The goddess of the realm of the dead leaped into it.
Countless light gathered into a hemisphere shape with diameter of ten-odd meter, then they sparkled like a nebula.
It was a gate that could be used to come and go from a mythological world, a door to another world. Right now it appeared on the water surface of Katsura River that was flowing within Kyoto.
The giant stone that was summoned from somewhere by Kumano's crow sect and Azukai what's-his-name──.
It suddenly changed shape into a space distortion. It happened around ten odd minutes after the annihilation of the group of Yokotsu Shikome that appeared in the Institution of Divinities.
And then there was someone who flew into that gate of mythological world.
「How can this be……」
It was Toba Riona who transformed into a blue sparrow.
The sight unfolding below her gaze was the very definition of "ruin". As far as she could see, seawater was spreading out until every corner of her sight. It was the aftermath of the visit of a great flood.
The sea surface was raging greatly with waves. The water color was muddy brown.
Sometimes there would be "land" that drifted on the sea, floating up and down.
It looked like a small island in a glance. But it wasn't connected with the bottom of the sea. It was floating in the water without any destination. The raging waves were washing it away. So to speak it was a fragment of a land.
「Is this, a destroyed world……」
Riona soared as a blue sparrow while sighing.
Just from a brief survey, there was nearly a hundred small islands drifting in the raging sea.
There was "sign of human living there until just a while ago" still remaining on those lands.
There were several pit dwelling and paddy field. Wooden structure that looked similar like turret──most likely it was a shrine. Also, there were human corpse, corpse, corpse that seemed to be eaten by savage beast…….
Riona inferred from the people's garment and architectural style.
「This is even earlier than Nara period……it's strikingly similar with the period of Japan when rice cultivation took root……in other words this is a world of Japanese mythology.」
And then it perished.
This sanctuary met its demise.
It would be nothing more than a waste of time to stay longer than this here. Riona forcefully washed away her sympathy and empty feeling with a sigh and flapped her sparrow wings.
She had to quickly return to the surface──back to Japan's Kansai region.
Inside Kyoto City, Arashiyama……that was where he should be.
However, Rokuhara Ren looked toward the sky,
「It feels like I've entered a mythological world somewhere.」
He murmured earnestly.
Today it was sunny from the morning, but thick dark cloud was enshrouding the sky. Furthermore sometimes thunder and──het black lightning would strike down. There lukewarm wind mixed with miasma blew.
The world lose the sunlight and got ravaged by black lightning and rotten wind.
There was little sense of reality even just from that.
「That's why! It seems that space distortions also appeared at Oosaka and Nara!」
「There is also one at Mie and Wakayama too……. But, the greatest problem isn't there.」
The members of this secret organization were clamoring at the garden of the garden of the Institution of Divinities.
Toba Fumika──his future sister-in-law approached him while sending concerned glances at that. She held out a smartphone at Ren, but her hand was shaking.
「O, Onii-san, look at this……」
The smartphone's screen was showing a browser that was looking up Kyoto.
Ren grumbled after receiving the report from Fumika.
「Hmmm. Zombie's appearance at Kyoto, zombie is attacking, human getting eaten……. So the Japanese zombies just now are also coming out at other places.」
「Oh? Is this what they call a video?」
Cassandra's finger reached at the smartphone Fumika was holding.
The video started playing. It was inside Kyoto. There was the monster of Japanese mythology Yokotsu Shikome that he faced just now at a main street with many tourists. There was only one of it.
Just that one zombie──was clinging on a passerby.
It continuously gnawed at the person's face, throat, shoulder, tearing off the flesh, and then chewing it.
「Uuuh. How horrific……」
Fumika covered her mouth after witnessing the very ghastly video.
Tears were forming on her eyes. Her expression was mixed with terror and anger. On the other hand, Cassandra who was a princess of a powerful country Troia and had experienced the battlefield spoke gallantly.
「Ren-sama. Where are the soldiers protecting this country? Although presumptuous, I wish to render them my assistance too.」
「I wonder. I got the feeling that this is too much for the SDF.」
「It's the Institution of Divinities that has to protect the citizens from this kind of monster──I guess that it's the people here who are in charge of that.」
「It's exactly as you say, Ren-san.」
The old princess shrine maiden, Hinako-sama was at their side when they noticed.
Slightly behind here there was also the "supervisor" Seishuuin Maki. Both her who had the role to supervise Ren's fiancée and Hinako-sama were looking terribly serious.
「Rokuhara-kun. This situation is already beyond the capability of even us Institution of Divinities……」
「Yes. Actually just now there was a report from Osaka. In that place there aren't only Yomotsu Shikome and Yomotsu Ikusa……a queen who is controlling the swarm of the dead also appeared.」
Maki and Hinako-sama said. Ren tilted his head.
「Queen? What kind of person she is?」
「She isn't human.」
Hinako-sama whispered──and smiled.
Of course it wasn't because she was having fun. It was the empty smile that people made when they were facing a trial that far surpassed their own capability and couldn't do anything at the end.
「Izanami no Mikoto. The mother of country founding who created the land of Japan. In other words a god.」
「Yes. A goddess who should be existing only in the domain of myth──manifested at our world Japan and was left idle. I think that perhaps, this goddess is the one leading the zombies of the realm of the dead to here.」
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