Chapter 15: Ambush

Going back in time a bit.

The battle between Isagi and Mitsurugi Ragna was in a stalemate, becoming more intense with each passing moment.

If one were to look only at swordsmanship, Isagi would have been the superior. Although Ragna was a prodigy who held the position of Third Rank Fourth Seat at a young age, Isagi was a great Warrior who had been on the battlefield even before Ragna was born. In terms of status as a Warrior, Isagi was a cut above Ragna.

Moreover, Isagi’s Soul Equipment, Kofu, was extremely powerful. It was a giant that attempted to bring down the sun for the sake of people suffering from drought. Its destructive power was the greatest in the Mount Ganzan army and was praised by its lord, Gien, as having “strength to surpass mountains.” The “mountains” in this context referred to the Five Mountains, meaning that Isagi’s martial prowess was so great that it could bring down one of the other mountains.

Against Isagi, Ragna could fight almost on equal terms. This was not only due to Ragna’s own strength but also largely due to the compatibility of their Soul Equipment.

Ragna’s Soul Equipment, the golden double-handed sword, was called Haruper. It was a demon-slaying weapon that exhibited extremely powerful effects against gods, monsters, and giants.

As Haruper was drawn, its blade curved significantly, taking on a shape similar to a sickle. Against the power of Haruper, Isagi was forced to fight cautiously. For Kofu, which had the origin of being a giant under divine command, Haruper was its natural enemy.

And equally, if not more than Haruper, what made Isagi even more cautious was the presence of the dual-sword female Warrior, Ayaka Azurite, standing behind Ragna.

The battle was progressing as a one-on-one fight between Isagi and Ragna, and none of the other Warriors, including Ayaka, intervened. This was because the Warriors valued one-on-one battles, but also because if they carelessly interfered, their Soul Equipment and Kei techniques could collide with each other, leading to friendly fire. They wanted to avoid killing their own.

Ayaka, too, did not directly intervene in the battle between Isagi and Ragna. However, every time Isagi tried to seize the opportunity to attack Ragna, Ayaka would enter his field of vision. Maintaining an exquisite distance, she directed her fierce battle intent, ready to immediately assist Ragna should he be at a disadvantage.

Because of this, Isagi had no choice but to let some good opportunities pass by. Even if he forcibly struck down Ragna, there would be no point if he was immediately slain by Ayaka in the next moment. From Isagi’s perspective, it felt as if he had been fighting a two-on-one battle all along.

Although Isagi had previously boasted that he could kill all the humans on the island when he had dealt with the Warriors at the gate, he honestly acknowledged the fact that he was having trouble dealing with humans.

There was more than one miscalculation. There were two.

The peers of the Sixteen Spears, who had been guiding the monsters outside the castle, were being killed one after another. Isagi could clearly sense the disappearance of his fellow tribesmen’s presence. Along with this, the gathered monsters were being wiped out in a surprisingly short amount of time.

There were at least three exceptional individuals with extraordinary abilities. Three formidable opponents who Isagi might not be able to match even if he put forth his full strength. It would be extremely difficult to deal with them if they returned.

Isagi thought that it was not the time to be spending on the heir of the Mitsurugi family.

The goal of the Nakayama Army this time was to identify the enemy—the Mitsurugi family’s combat power. However, as it stood, they would be unable to investigate the crucial ability of the Mitsurugi family’s head.

Kagari, who was in charge of observation, should have accurately assessed the abilities of the three formidable individuals. In that sense, the fallen peers of Mount Ganzan had fulfilled their roles. All that was left was for Isagi to go on a rampage with all his might, and if he could expose the power of the current Sword Saint to the light of day, the mission’s objective would be achieved.

Isagi, with this in mind, stopped his attack and even sheathed his Soul Equipment. Seeing this, Ragna raised his right eyebrow in puzzlement.

“Have you realized your plan has failed, Kijin?”

“It’s not like that. However, I must admit that your strength exceeded our expectations. As expected of the Mitsurugi family, regardless of their character, their swordsmanship is truly remarkable. You’ve managed to polish the skills you’ve snatched away from us to this extent.”

“Such poor taste in your excuses for losing. Or is this your way of saying your last words?”

“Kukaka! What nonsense from the descendant of a thief. Well, the term ‘last words’ isn’t entirely incorrect.”

Saying this, Isagi clasped his hands together in front of his face. At this moment, what Isagi saw was not the Ragna in front of him, but the scenery of his hometown, Mount Ganzan.

The events leading up to today were replaying one by one in Isagi’s head.

The Kijin tribe is connected to the demon god Chiyou through a unique organ called the horn.

The Soul Equipment manifested by the Kijin tribe is somehow linked to Chiyou, and the Soul Equipment closer to Chiyou becomes more powerful. In other words, the users of powerful Soul Equipment are receiving the blessings of Chiyou to that extent.

For the Kijin tribe, who had been fighting amongst themselves for the scarce land within the demon gate where even soba could hardly grow, being strong was something special in and of itself.

Powerful Soul Equipment users who received Chiyou’s blessings were revered as if they were living gods by those around them. The nations that such Kijin had built and led were Nakayama, Mount Ganzan, and the other five mountains.

The battle for supremacy among the five mountains came to an end with Nakayama’s victory, and Isagi, who was once the leader of the Ganzan Sixteen Spears, set foot on Demon Island as the vanguard of the Nakayama army.

By launching a surprise attack on the Mitsurugi family with the elite Ganzan army survivors, they would observe their resistance and utilize it for the next big offensive by the Nakayama army. In other words, Isagi and his comrades were expendable pieces meant to minimize the damage to the Nakayama army.

Isagi thought that perhaps the Nakayama side’s plan was also to reduce the number of Ganzan soldiers and civilians they had taken in after their victory and save on food, essentially a strategy for reducing mouths to feed.

He didn’t think of it as despicable, considering they had once accepted surrender—after all, Ganzan had done this many times before. It was only natural to value allies more than surrendered enemies. If anything, Isagi felt that the Nakayama army, which gathered soldiers for this mission through volunteering rather than coercion, was “soft.”

However, it is also true that this leniency has caused the Ganzan soldiers, including Isagi, to lose their edge. If the volunteer system was implemented with this in mind, then King Azuma of Nakayama is quite a schemer. It could be the advice of someone like his third brother Hakuro, but in any case, their talents will be directed towards humans, not Ganzan, in the future. Considering that, Nakayama’s cunning even seemed reliable.

The future of the Nakayama Unified Dynasty, with Ganzan joining them, is bright. Isagi feels that there is nothing left for him to worry about.

That’s why he decided to summon a god.

For the Kijin tribe to draw out the power of the demon gods, there are two methods: either mastering Soul Equipment or becoming a vessel for the demon gods. If the former is the domain of warriors, then the latter is the domain of priests. In human terms, this corresponds to the divine descent known as “Call God.”

The true miracle of divine descent, or “Call God,” cannot be performed without a vessel of the Pope level, but the Kijin tribe, connected to the demon gods by their horns, does not have this constraint.

Of course, it is not an undertaking that any ordinary Kijin could endure, and the average Kijin would be shattered in both body and soul in less than a second. Even for Isagi, who is proficient in Soul Equipment, the time he could maintain the manifestation would be extremely short. The power he could exert would likely not even reach a tenth of the original power of the demon gods.

However, even so, it far surpasses Isagi’s full strength.

Summoning a demon god within the Demon Gate is forbidden, as its overwhelming demonic energy distorts the surrounding creatures and terrain. However, there are no such restrictions on this side. Rather, if a demon god is summoned in this land, it can inflict considerable damage on the traitors.

Without any hesitation, Isagi chants the invocation. The bizarre demonic energy swirling around Isagi’s body prevents Ragna, Ayaka, and the other warriors from approaching, aiding in the completion of the invocation.

―― O god, behold the ashen sky, a barren land with no one to collect the white bones ―― The heavens darken, the rain rots, young demons writhe, and old demons weep ―― I pray for an end to the ceaseless wailing of the demon’s lament

“O humans, accept the retribution for your betrayal three hundred years ago with your own bodies―――― ‘O god, I offer myself to you.’”

The moment the final invocation was spun, the Kei emitted by Isagi explosively swelled. As if unable to withstand the rapid expansion of power, the space creaked with a sound and the ground shook violently.

It wasn’t just the Kei that changed. Isagi’s body was also undergoing intense transformation.

His large frame pulsated and swelled. Arms, legs, neck, torso – all of them quickly became more than twice as thick.

Perhaps unable to keep up with such rapid changes, his skin tore in places, flesh burst, and bones shattered, but the changes assaulting Isagi did not stop.

His face was changing as well. His skin took on the hardness and color of iron, his eyes were soaked in deep red and lifted, and his mouth gaped wide, revealing fangs.

Gone was any trace of the Kijin he once was, and in its place stood a colossal demon towering over the human world.

Then, the demon’s mouth opened wide. Immediately after, a roar that shook the heavens and earth of Demon Island erupted.

It carried a curse-like, wrathful resonance.

It carried a celebratory, laughter-like resonance.

It was the birth cry of the great rebirth of Chiyou.


At the same time.

The roar that echoed throughout Demon Island also resounded through the tunnel connecting the inside and outside of the Mitsurugi residence.

Screams erupted simultaneously from the mouths of the lord Shikibu’s wives, maids, and young children who were in the middle of evacuating.

The roar of the demon gods had the same effect as the dragon’s roar. It was beyond the means of women and children, who were non-combatants, to resist it, let alone trained warriors.

The only one among the wives who could resist was Cecil Sima—Gozu’s sister, who had once been a warrior of the Green Woods Eight Banners.

It was an old warrior named Morgan Skyship who calmed the panicking women and children. He once held an influential position as the head of the prestigious Skyship family, but lost his power due to the rise of Gilmore Berch.

Shikibu had ordered Morgan to help those who could not fight escape from the mansion. The reason for entrusting this role to Morgan, who had been relegated to a less important position, was that he had a good understanding of the structure of the tunnel, an emergency escape route, as he had been a close aide to the previous generation.

Upon receiving the lord’s orders, Morgan felt invigorated, entrusted with the safety of his precious lord’s family. With his grandson Sidney and Kumon Sai, Shukuya’s younger brother, Morgan hurriedly proceeded through the tunnel when the roar shook the passageway.

Morgan furrowed his brow. The thickness and weight of the Kei indicated that the source of the roar was undoubtedly a mythical creature. It was unheard of for a mythical creature to appear in the heart of Shuuto, let alone within the demon gate. Morgan, as well as everyone else, was curious about what was happening.

However, his current mission was to safely evacuate the lord’s family. The mythical creature could be left to the First Banner, who was responsible for protecting the mansion. Morgan shook his head slightly, clearing his mind of distractions.

“Grandfather, what was that sound just now?”

“Shh. Sidney, the lady and the children are worried. Do not mention what just happened. Sai, you understand, right?”

“Yes, I understand.”

“I got it, old master.”

Upon hearing Morgan’s words, Sidney and Sai nodded slightly.

Both the Skyship and Kumon families were prestigious families of Demon Island, dating back to the first generation, and the relationship between the lords was not bad. Since Sidney and Sai were of the same generation, Morgan had always been fond of Sai. In turn, Sai had always shown respect for Morgan, albeit in his own way.

A short distance away from the three, Mitsurugi Emma asked Cecil a question.

“Cecil, what on earth was that?”

Emma was the first among the wives and concubines to regain her composure, but her voice still trembled slightly.

In response to this question, Cecil shook her head slightly, indicating that she didn’t know.

Of course, it was a lie.

Cecil had mastered Soul equipment and had even set foot in the demonic gate. Therefore, she had a rough idea of who was behind the roar. However, she thought that if she told the truth carelessly here, not just Emma but the other wives and concubines would panic. The priority was to evacuate as soon as possible.

Emma understood Cecil’s thoughts from her attitude. She placed her hand on her chest and took a slow, deep breath. If she panicked, it would trouble Cecil, and if Cecil was troubled, everyone present would be inconvenienced. She told herself this and calmed her heart, which had been disturbed by the roar.

“I’m sorry, I asked an unnecessary question. Let’s hurry on.”

Saying that, Emma turned her eyes to Ibuki, Cecil’s child. Among the many children being led by their parents or carried on their backs, Ibuki had been walking on his own since the beginning.

He didn’t even scream when the roar resounded. It was an unusual level of self-control for a four-year-old, but there was no doubt that he was pushing himself. Emma thought she should carry him, but Cecil, his mother, gently shook her head, letting her child do as he wished.

Cecil knew that when an enemy appeared, she had to fight as a Warrior. Now, the only thing Ibuki could do for everyone was not to get in his mother’s way—understanding this despite his young age, and striving to put it into practice, Cecil looked at her child with a gentle expression.

After that, the group proceeded through the tunnel once again, protected by the Warriors.

The tunnel, built for emergencies, was far from easy to walk through. Moreover, strong vibrations had been shaking the passageway incessantly since earlier, and it was impossible to know when the ceiling might collapse.

When they saw the light at the end of the tunnel, it was only natural that a sigh of relief rose from the group.

However, what awaited them as they emerged from the tunnel was a cold laughter that instantly froze the sighs of relief.

“Hehehehehe! So you’ve come crawling out of your nest after being shaken, you rat thieves who defy the will of God. I, the Kijin Ouken, clad in a white robe, will replace God and give you the whip of punishment.”

As he boasted, the figure of the Kijin Ouken, wearing a white robe, emerged as if seeping from midair.

Liked it? Take a second to support WordyCrown on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!