an English translation of the novel

Page 281-283

Satoru licked his lips. “If the queerats are lying in wait and we keep going, we’ll be in range of their arrows,” he explained calmly. “No matter how much power that priest has, he’s still only human. He’s still vulnerable to preemptive strikes by the enemy, so it’s best be proceed with caution in a situation like this.”

Even with the omnipotent power of cantus, you’d still die if you were shot. It was a sobering thought.

Still, if things were going to turn out like this, I would rather our canti not have been sealed. I’m sure Rijin was regretting it too. I hoped that he would decide to unseal our powers, but unfortunately we had no such luck.

“Mamoru Itou,” Rijin looked up at the lotus seat. “Listen up. Are there any queerats? Take a good look. Don’t be afraid. I will protect you with my cantus. Not a single one of their arrows will touch you.”

Mamoru’s face blanched as he realized what was about to happen.


The rest of us held our breaths as the lotus seat drifted ahead to where we thought the queerats might be hiding and stopped. The seat spun around once or twice. We waited anxiously, but nothing happened. Finally, Rijin brought the lotus seat back, and fixed Mamoru with a hard look.

“Well? Were there are queerats?”

“I don’t know.” Mamoru’s face was completely bloodless and he trembled like a tiny, frightened animal. “I didn’t…see anything.”

“Didn’t you say that something moved”

“But I didn’t see anything just now. I was probably wrong earlier.”

Rijin nodded, but did not set off again immediately. He was not only a skilled cantus user, but astute as well. After deliberating for a while, he looked up again.

“You said you saw movement somewhere around there,” Rijin pointed.

Mamoru nodded silently.

“Sterilization it is, then.”

There was a rumbling sound and the ground a ways ahead of us started moving. The trees fell one by one. The earth churned like a giant, writhing snake as rocks and dirt came crashing down.

In less than five minutes the grove of beautiful green trees was buried under a mountain of soil.

We would never know whether queerats were really hiding there, but I guess it didn’t really matter anymore.

From now on, our progress would be even slower.

Needless to say, we were a bit wary of the area Rijin had just “sterilized”. Looking back, it was as if the Destroyer Shiva had ridden through on his juggernaut, ravaging the peaceful scenery, leaving behind a procession of death and fear. Now, no matter how belligerent these foreign queerats were, they would be stupid to even think about attacking us head on.

Page 284-285

But this outcome was disadvantageous for everyone involved. The queerats had their path blocked off, so we wouldn’t be susceptible to a direct attack, but this had also been the quickest way for us to reach the Temple of Purity before sundown.

Needless to say, the only reason we were even in a hurry in the first place was due to the appearance of the foreign queerats. The cause and consequence were the same, going round and round like an ouroboros.

When we had climbed halfway up the newly-formed hill, we saw the first rows of the queerats’ defensive formation.

“Ah! What’s that?” Shun said from the head of the line.

As we crested the hill, hundreds of silhouettes suddenly came into view. The silhouettes were all beating weapons, gongs and other metallic objects, creating an earthshaking battle cry.

“It looks like they’re getting ready to charge this way,” Maria’s voice twisted into a shriek.

“You have no place in the three realms; it is only through Buddha’s grace that you can exist as beasts. And yet you insist on foolishly challenging me,” Rijin said gravely. “Very well, I shall exorcise you.”

No, I thought. They didn’t actually want to fight us.

If the queerats truly intended to attack us, they would’ve rushed us from behind. But they didn’t; instead they redirected their route this way in hopes of avoiding conflict. As I listened, their war cry sounded more like a painful supplication than a call to battle.

A gust of wind swept past my cheeks.

Looking up, I saw Rijin creating what looked like a giant tornado.

As if in response, the queerats’ war cry grew.

In the next instant, all the debris from the tornado was flung down the hill. Flying logs and boulders mowed down the rows of queerats in no time.

There was a second’s pause, then with scream of fear and rage, a barrage of arrows came raining down on us.

But the arrows were no match for the wind, which sent them spinning away wildly.

Page 286-287

“You filthy pests…will be exterminated,” Rijin said ominously, his voice hoarse.

“Stop!” I screamed, but no one heard me.

My voice was drowned out by the howling wind that sounded like a knife ripping through silk. Or like a woman’s shriek, but an octave higher. In that instant, I thought I saw countless winged, scythe-wielding demonesses rising out of the ground and swooping down on the queerats.

Regardless of whether that vision was real or not, the queerats fell in rapid succession.

I realized it was a wind scythe.An intense whirlwind with a vacuum in the center that acted like innumerable knives, tearing the victim to pieces. In order to create a wind scythe with your cantus you needed to accurately imagine the movement of the air, something that by nature was invisible and formless, so it was an extremely difficult technique that few could master.

In the blink of an eye, the queerats were decimated.

My head was swimming. I could see the spray of blood and smell its disgusting stench even though in reality I was too far away to do either.

“Alright. He did it…look…there! It’s getting away!”

Next to me, Satoru was yelling excitedly, like this massacre was some sort of game.

“Are you stupid? What are you so happy about?” I said sharply.

Satoru looked blankly at me. “But…they’re our enemies, aren’t they?”

“They’re not our real enemies.”

“Then who is?”

Before I could answer, it was over. The genocide in the name of Buddha, carried out by the priest who had sworn to serve him. There was not a single silhouette left standing on the hill.

“Okay…let us continue on” Rijin commanded. But his voice was strained.

Satoru and I glanced at each other.

1 Wind scythe literally translates as “scythe weasel”. In Japanese mythology, a trio of weasels (brothers or triplets) ride on wind currents cutting at peoples’ legs.

Page 288-290

As we climbed the hill, the terrible scene of the queerats’ demise came into view. Ravaged corpses, severed heads, and shredded limbs were piled high all around us. Rust-colored blood soaked into every surface, dying the ground black, the smell stinging my eyes and nose. Flies that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere were already starting to feast on the remains.

Ahead of us, Shun and Maria faltered before the huge swarm of flies.

Rijin could tell that we all hoped he would get rid of the flies. But the priest simply stood there with no signs of moving.

“What’s going on?” Satoru asked quietly.

The silhouettes, I thought instinctively. From a distance, didn’t the silhouette of a queerat look a lot like a human’s? Since Rijin was already under the false minoshiro’s curse, when he killed the queerats with the wind scythe, his subconscious probably interpreted it as him attacking more humans. If that was true, death feedback might really get him this time.

“Rijin, are you alright?” Shun asked.

“…yes. Don’t worry,” Rijin replied after a pause. His eyes seemed vacant and his words sounded strange.

All our attention was on Rijin, so we didn’t notice that something was crawling among the corpses, hidden by the curtain of flies.

“W-What’s that?” Maria gasped as she turned around.

A strange animal.

It was the size of a dog, covered in long black fur. In contrast to its stout body, the head was abnormally small and  so low that it almost touched the ground as it slunk toward us.

“…a blowdog!” Mamoru cried in a strangled voice.

“What are you talking about? They’re not real,” Satoru said bluntly, completely disregarding the fact that he had just recently been seriously trying to convince us of the existence of blowdogs.

“But no matter how you look at it, that’s what it is,” Mamoru said, standing up for his own views for once.

“So you’re saying it’s going to inflate itself to the size of a balloon? Something so stupid…”

As if in response to Satoru’s words, the animal, the blowdog, suddenly swelled to twice its original size.

“Woah. It really puffed up.”

I thought it was simply sucking in air to make itself look bigger, but as the blowdog glared at us, it swelled even more.

“Everyone, get back!”

At Shun’s words, we all started running, putting as much distance between us and the blowdog as possible.

“What’s going to happen?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” Shun seemed fascinated. “But so far it’s acting just as Satoru said it would. It might just keep swelling up until it explodes.”

Page 291-292

As if in accordance with Shun’s words, the blowdog puffed up even more.

“What for?”

“It’s a threat,” he whispered.

“A threat?”

“It’s probably trying to drive us away from that spot.”

The blowdog slowly advanced toward Rijin, the only person who hadn’t backed away. Seeing no response from Rijin, it swelled up further. It was now the size of a fat sheep.

But why wasn’t Rijin moving? I looked at him curiously, but all he did was stand there with his eyes closed. Maybe he was dazed.

The blowdog paused for a moment, waiting silently, then suddenly ballooned to three times its size. Its body was almost entirely spherical now, and white rays of light radiated from between the coarse bristles.

“A warning sign…? Oh no, run!” Shun yelled.

We took off like a shot, barreling down the hill as fast as we could go. The others ran without looking back, but curiosity got the better of me and I stopped. Turning around, I saw that the blowdog had now swelled to a frightening size.

Finally, Rijin opened his eyes. I didn’t have time to say a word before the blowdog was enveloped in dazzling flames.

There was a thunderous roar and a fierce gust of wind knocked us over.

We were about thirty meters downhill from the blowdog; if we had been on level ground, the blast would have killed us for sure.

I don’t really want to write about what happened afterward. We needed some time to recover from the shock. Then we went to look at the crater left by the explosion.