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Chapter 362 - Seimeis Legacy (3)

    Chapter 362 - Seimeis Legacy (3)

    Theodore's eyes sharpened as he heard the name of Shuten-doji. It was one of the great youkai Seimei had mentioned before Theodore entered Oe Mountain. Among the hundreds of youkai on the mountain, Shuten-doji was in the top three. He was the leader of the Oni and someone worthy of being called the strongest! Even Theodore, who had become transcendent, felt a tingling sensation on his skin. It would be difficult for the current masters of Japan to endure Shuten-doji's presence.

    'If the youkai in the mountain are to be released without a collar... It would be an even more terrible disaster than what happened in the middle empire.'

    Most of the mutants were driven by their instincts and were busy eating each other. They might be strong, but they were simple beasts. It was possible to find a way to break through somehow.

    However, Shuten-doji and the youkai were different. They were cunning creatures who had lived for nearly a thousand years... Monsters who could skillfully use their strengths. They were so terrible that Seimei had sealed them up. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a weed left in Japan.

    "I am Theodore Miller. I have something to say to you." Theodore subconsciously spread open his feet. It was like meeting the gaze of a predatory beast. The moment he turned around or stepped back, the beast would surely rush in to prove its superiority.

    His intuition told him that Shuten-doji was such an existence. If Theodore exposed the slightest weakness, Shuten-doji's hidden bloodlust would rise and his fangs would become exposed. Would it be the prey's blood or his own blood that spilled in the end? Either way, it wasn't the ending that Theodore wanted.

    "Hrmm? Did you want to speak to this old man?" Shuten-doji gazed at Theodore with a smile on his face.

    "I want to speak to everyone."

    "Kuhat! It must be a big topic. How long has it been since someone called me out like this? Well, good. If you are the owner of the Heavenly Sword, I have to acknowledge it!"

    "...How did you know?"

    "I don't know about others, but I can't not know it!"

    While Theodore was feeling astonished, Shuten-doji eyed the large scar that crossed his own upper body in a diagonal direction.

    "Seimei, that swindler used the sword to cut my intestines! He tore up a body that couldn't be cut. Kuhaha! I can't forget such a hot and wonderful strike!"

    "You didn't die." It wasn't a taunt. Instead, they were sincere words coming from Theodore.

    The Heavenly Sword's power was much greater than that of aura blades, and just like Magoshiro, it could cut 8th circle magic like paper. Shuten-doji grinned and nodded. "It was too good an attack to be content with one blow. Thus, I came to this Oe Mountain while believing in the promise of a rematch..."

    Then the expression of the laughing Shuten-doji distorted. "That damn fox! Abe no Seimei! I have waited a thousand years while he forgot his promise! I knew his nature was close to a scammer, but to think he actually dared to trick me!"

    Kurururung.

    The mountain was surprised by the intense anger, and the trees shook. The monsters surrounding Theodore and Shuten-doji fell to the ground, while the youkai breathed in and waited for the tsunami to pass. It was truly a lion's roar! The mountain had shaken with one roar from the youkai.

    Shuten-doji looked at Theodore with blazing eyes. "Okay! I won't wait any longer! Tell me what you have to say, master of the Heavenly Sword! If it doesn't make sense, I will throw you out and go down Oe Mountain, stepping on the worms!"

    The leader of the Oni was serious. In a crisis where one wrong word would turn the whole mountain into his enemies, Theodore contemplated the use of the word 'master.' It was a treasure of Seimei's, the one who had made a mountain of youkai submit to him. If Theodore used it, even Shuten-doji would have to comply with his words. However, was that judgment the best?

    'There is a limit to the 'master.' The burden will grow tremendously if I try to control so many monsters.'

    Then Theodore changed his mind and opened his mouth, "A fight."

    "Hoh?"

    "I will provide a battlefield and the enemy. There are monsters that can be a threat to you. You can trample, crush, and eat them without leaving a trace. How about it?"

    "Kuhat, it is tempting." Shuten-doji realized the words were sincere, and a bit of his previous good mood came back. The youkai, who had come to Oe Mountain based on the promise of fighting Seimei again, had been born of violence and impulses. For him, Theodore's proposal was no different than a nail in the throat. However, he wasn't the only youkai on Oe Mountain.

    "It is up to here, Shuten-doji," a giant crow fell down between the two of them and spoke in a profound voice. "I acknowledge that you are stronger than us, but you aren't qualified to represent all of us."

    Following the crow, a spider youkai walked forward. "I, Tsuchigumo, agree with Daitengu."

    This caused Shuten-doji to frown. "I never asked for your opinion! Birdie, spider! Do you want to fight today?"

    "Well, you won't be able to deal with both of us at the same time."

    "I would die rather than submit. That is what I think."

    It seemed like a big fight was going to start between the top three youkai. The youkai who couldn't withstand the pressure were thrown back or spitting out blood. The strengths of Shuten-doji, Daitengu, and Tsuchigumo were that great. Shuten-doji would be the strongest in a 1:1 fight, but he couldn't be sure of winning or losing when it was 1:2. It wouldn't be good for Theodore whichever side won.

    'That can't happen.'

    It would end up like that if Theodore wasn't here.

    Kiiiiing!

    A moment later, a wave of pressure swept over the three youkai. It was an outrageous force that could wreak havoc on the entire mountain. The youkai naturally stopped their war of nerves and shifted their gazes to Theodore.

    "Are you fighting without listening to me? Won't you regret this?"

    "Human! Even if you are strong..."

    "Freedom."

    This one word caused Daitengu and Tsuchigumo to stiffen. Filled with desperate longing after being trapped on Oe Mountain for a thousand years, the two youkai stopped after hearing that word. Were Theodore's words true or false? Without missing this gap, Theodore continued speaking, "If you cooperate in my fight, I will provide you with a place to live freely out of this narrow mountain."

    "How can we believe you?"

    "If you don't believe me, I will give you a vow. How about it?"

    Shuten-doji wasn't much interested in a free life, but the reactions of the two great youkai were immediate. They would become allies depending on the severity of the vow. If a transcendent vowed using their name, it wasn't unusual for them to die if the promise was broken. So, it was a promise that even the great youkai could trust, despite knowing human malice.

    "Can you explain in detail? I will listen and decide."

    "Me too."

    "Okay, I was already going to do that."

    Daitengu, Tsuchigumo, and the other youkai focused their attention on Theodore. Maybe 100 or more youkai were caught by his words, drawn by the promise of freedom. Theodore's lips curved at a pleasant thought. 'The southern swamp will be able to accommodate all these youkai.'

    This wasn't something he had thought of on the spot. He had been planning it since knowing about Oe Mountain.

    Despite Sloth's disappearance, the swamp was still unstable. It was the epicenter where an excessive amount of mana gathered, so it would take a long time for the transformed ecosystem to return to normal. The swamp wasn't a place for an average person to go in and out, and it went without saying that the ecosystems of the nearby areas couldn't adapt to it either.

    'But the youkai can adapt to this ecosystem.'

    Youkai were a phenomenon, rather than creatures. The high mana concentration in the swamp would just be a life force for them. It would be a place where they could leisurely relax and wouldn't have to eat each other to maintain their existence.

    Of course, there were a few violent ones who would attack humans, but he would add restraints so that they couldn't leave the swamp. In any case, humans needed several centuries more to open up the southern swamp. By that time, the youkai that moved to the swamp would've disappeared due to the greatly diminished mana concentration.

    "...Okay. We will be your force if you keep your promise."

    "I, Tsuchigumo, will follow you."

    Once the two great youkai agreed, the rest of the youkai raised their respective voices. It felt like the entire Oe Mountain was crumbling.

    "I swear by the name of Theodore Miller!" With his right hand shining a golden colour, Theodore proclaimed the liberation of Oe Mountain in a loud voice, "―Follow me!"

    Oe Mountain-the knot of a thousand years was broken.

    *     *     *

    Wuuuong-

    There was a hole in the air where there was nothing, and a black-haired young man slowly walked out. Theodore Miller-the greatest magician of the present age, according to Seimei-returned from Oe Mountain. He didn't even get a moment to enjoy the blue sky as the waiting people rushed toward him.

    "You are back!" The crowd split apart as Seimei spoke in a bright voice. "Is the story good?"

    "Well, it is okay."

    "It wouldn't be difficult to convince Shuten-doji, but how many others did you convince to come along?"

    Theodore nodded and pointed at the hole that hadn't yet been closed. "All of them."

    "...What?"

    "They all said they would follow my orders."

    "Don't tell me..." Seimei's eyes widened with astonishment as a palm appeared through the hole. With purple skin, an ugly face, and a strong presence, this was the appearance of the youkai that many Japanese people had nightmares about during their childhood.

    "Kuhuhu, the outside air after a thousand years isn't bad." Shuten-doji looked down at the frozen humans behind Seimei and laughed. It was because he saw a human who shouldn't be here.

    "Seimei! You damn bastard! You're still alive!" Once Shuten-doji saw his enemy, he roared loudly, and the air became several times heavier.

    An explosive aura emerged, and most of the people present collapsed, aside from Nobutsuna, Toman, and Suzuka. The power that Shuten-doji spontaneously emitted was terrible. However, Seimei just laughed. "No, look carefully. Why would I send him if I had been alive all this time? I'm not without conscience."

    "...Damn fox!" Shuten-doji said, gritting his teeth after he realized Seimei's condition. "You broke your promise to fight again because you died! I have nothing to talk about with a person like you!"

    "I didn't want to break it. I'm sorry."

    "Shut up!" Shuten-doji moved past Seimei who was making excuses. He outwardly looked angry, but the appearance of his back was different. Theodore sent Seimei a subtle look. However, Seimei just shrugged. "I thought we would fight once before I died. I didn't know I would be defeated in the empire."

    "Don't give excuses."

    "I'm not. I didn't mean anything. You should know that."

    Seimei might be shaped by the power of the Eight Jade Magatamas, but his current self was just a fragment of his soul. He might be able to act independently, but he was just a fragment who couldn't be far from Theodore. As such, he wasn't in a state to keep his promise with Shuten-doji.

    Kung. Kuuong. Kung.

    Subsequently, the youkai emerged after Shuten-doji. Each one was a national threat stronger than the top rated creatures. Daitengu and Tsuchigumo were surprised to see Seimei, but they passed by him without caring once they realized his state. It was a different reaction from Shuten-doji's. As the youkai quickly filled the area, Seimei spoke with half surprise and half excitement, "You did a lot better than I expected. The more you have, the better. This should be enough."

    "What are you thinking?"

    "It is impossible to mix humans and youkai together in the same unit. So, I will do the opposite."

    The best shaman, Abe no Seimei, had been named as a great master, and there were countless records about how he had tricked the youkai. 'Strange trickery' was a synonym for 'Seimei'.

    "I will split the troops into two forces between the north and the south, and use a blitz attack to crush each base!"

    It was the earnest start of the war.
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