|“||Gods, monsters, Fallen Angels, Food Souls... the difference is merely one of power.||”|
A fox spirit living in a shrine who calls himself a divine emissary. After the shrine fell into disrepair, he found that solitary lifestyle too quiet and took to visiting nearby villages and messing with the humans, frequently shifting into different forms to play tricks on them.
Inarizushi is a traditional Japanese food using very particular ingredients. It is a type of sushi made with seasoned tofu skin, tamagoyaki, and mushroom. According to legend, the Japanese fox spirit "Inari" loves eating this kind of sushi and believes eating it helps restore power. In reality, it's flavor is indeed the stuff of legends. As one bites into it, one is met with the perfect balance of sweet and salty. The tender, juicy, deep-fried tofu skin is wrapped around burdock root and sushi rice mixed with sesame seeds, for a delightful blend of flavors that play across the tongue and leave one intoxicated.
How to Acquire
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|Contract||We meet again. You're ready this time, right? Oh no... are you saying you forgot our appointment.|
|Log In||I've waited a long time for you. Hurry, the sacrifice is about to begin.|
|Ice Arena||If it stays this cold all winter, there will be no harvest in the coming year.|
|Skills||Blasphemous sinner, face divine wrath!|
|Ascend||I need only a touch of the essence of heaven and earth. No need for all this fuss... although if you like it, suit yourself.|
|Fatigue||My power is fading...|
|Recovering||Hm, do you have that one? So soft when you bite into it... Why are you so bashful?|
|Team Formation||Since it's your assignment, I'd better get going.|
|Knockout||Of course... I can disappear just like the gods...|
|Notice||Delicious cooking that leaves no room for picking and choosing-- is finished!|
|Idle 1||Even though I still have to groom my fur in this form too, a comb is always more convenient than a tongue.|
|Idle 2||Osechi is actually a child afraid of being alone who just wants someone to play with her.|
|Idle 3||Matsutake Dobinmushi once offered prayer gates to many deities. Too bad...|
|Interaction 1||Don't wear new shoes during the witching hour. You'll turn into a fox, heh heh~|
|Interaction 2||Cause and effect among humans and foxes... that kind of thing is called "ethics"? Perhaps you can teach me?|
|Interaction 3||Always repay a kindness, and as for revenge... rip them to shreds. Heh heh, don't worry, I would never hurt you.|
|Pledge||Truly amusing, actually wanting to keep the emissary of the gods at your side. Although for now I have no plans of parting. As for what to do beyond today... that depends on if it's raining at sunrise~|
|Intimacy 1||Deepest gratitude is the least you can show for the good days ahead of us. Make sure you treasure them!|
|Intimacy 2||Write your wish down on the ema board and pray sincerely to me, and it just might come true.|
|Intimacy 3||Lights off, lights on... it's all a pleasant surprise.|
|Victory||What about my victory spoils?|
|Defeat||Oww-eee. Let's try that again.|
|Feeding||Speak. Don't you have a wish? Nothing?|
This Story has been fan-translated by Yorutoki. Official translations will be added when they become available.
“The Inari God has descended!!!”
“It’s the Inari God!!”
“The Inari God has descended!!!”
I opened my eyes to the sound of excited cheering. Humans, dressed in the garb of clerics and priestesses, worshipped on bent knees, the excitement in their gazes genuine.
I looked down to assess myself.
When I was a part of the Chaos, I was to believe that when we were incarnated in this world, our appearances would be determined by our basic intentions.
…Unless the summoner had strong pre-existing obsessions.
“Lord Inari, these are the things we’ve been protecting.”
According to him, this Inari shrine housed holy relics of utmost importance, and if they were destroyed, catastrophe would befall Sakurajima, where we were.
Even though I was slightly annoyed, I looked at his earnest expression and nodded.
So be it, since you summoned me from that boring Chaos, I’ll fulfill your desires.
The man was elderly by human years, with a long white beard flowing from his chin; he looked kind and gentle.
It was just that when he looked at me, it was as if he were actually looking through me at someone behind me.
That must have been their so-called “Inari God”.
The Inari God ought to be true to themselves, to be revered.
The Inari God ought to maintain purity, to resist any and all filth.
So said the old man constantly, and he respected me very much.
Alas, that was restricted to when I acted like his ideal “Inari God”.
“Aw, shucks~ Come see me again, okay? Master Ninetails~”
The courtesan’s soft fingers brushed against the back of my hand. Her alluring smile and longing eyes were calculating, though I didn’t hate it.
After all, when it’s all the same drinks and service smiles, everyone prefers to do it with someone gentle and caring, who understands their heart’s desires.
“Ah, might you be the Master Ninetails whose been in everyone’s good graces lately?”
The voice was teasing and flippant. I turned to look up and the way his long sleeves dragged on the crimson stairs caught my eye. Though it was formalwear, the way he donned it was casual, draped loosely over his shoulders.
The way his eyes crinkled was even more attractive than those of the beautiful courtesans. I raised my head slightly regard him, and when his playful eyes met mine, I understood that this guy was the same type of person as me.
“Master Ninetails, shall I have a drink with you today~”
“That would be wonderful.”
“Eh– Boss, you can’t be hogging all the business~”
“Then today’s drinks are on you.”
“Fine~ I won’t disturb you~”
Chin propped up on my hand, I arched my brow at the young man who pleasantly shooed off the girl.
“You’re the owner of Shangri-La?”
“What is it? Scared?”
“Nothing, let’s drink.”
I stalked back to the shrine in the dead of night, and was greeted by the old man’s anger the moment I stepped through the torii gates.
“You went to that filthy place again, in this disgraceful form!”
I gave him nothing but a humorless sneer.
To say that returning to my original appearance and doing the things I want to do was filth?
II. God’s Intermediary
“Pfft– You’re saying, you take the female form in the day and pose as their pure Inari god? And you can only return to this form at night to drink and let loose?”
Junmai Daiginjo held in his chuckle, though I was helpless to the humorous glint in his eyes.
Once we got to know each other, his original stunning demeanor didn’t get any less impressive, though, in front of me, he did get livelier and more… infuriating.
In the time I downed the wine in one gulp, he had his elbow on my shoulder.
“Man, in my opinion, what if you left those boring guys and joined my Shangri-La? With your looks, Ninetails, if you took female form, you’d give me a run for my money as Oiran. Though… the male body isn’t bad either. How about you be a man for a day, woman the next!”
“Shoo, keep flattering yourself.”
I irritatedly shook off his hand and side-eyed Daiginjo, already rolling in laughter. Propping my chin up, I gazed at the still sky outside and let out a long sigh.
I didn’t dislike the female form and even liked looking like a woman sometimes.
But… these days were certainly… quite boring…
“You- You- You! You stubborn bastard! Going to that indecent place again! Associating with those filthy people! And that smile, that unbecoming smile!! You!!! Undress and cleanse yourself under the waterfall!!!!”
Even with the flame of his life flickering out, the old man mustered the energy to butt heads with me. My smile dulled, the good mood I built up at Shangri-La ruined once more.
It was winter. Icicles had formed at the top of the waterfall, the water rushing down sticking my clothes to my body. Seeing the old man angrily looking at me, I couldn’t help but shake my head and close my eyes.
It’s not that I wasn’t grateful for him bringing me into this world, and it’s not that we had only bad memories between us.
He brushed my hair gently, he made my soft bed, he prepared my favorite tea.
But he did all this because of his faith in the Inari God. Not me.
So be it, he was my master attendant, I’ll have to do as he pleases. He was already so old, I could think about leaving after sending him off.
Humans really were fragile.
Weak, powerless, feeble.
Fingers thin as twigs laid on the back of my hand. His eyes were already clouded.
“Inari… You’re the Inari God, never forget, you are the Inari God!” “Rest assured, since you revere me as your God, I will assume a God’s duties to the end.”
“Hearing that… puts me… at ease…”
The clerics and priestesses ducked out of my way as I left the room, and they spoke in tones they thought I couldn’t hear.
“Heh, this monster really thinks it’s a god.”
“Tch, as expected of the old fool.”
“That’s right, now we can chase him out! Then the Inari shrine is ours!”
“Yeah! Then all the offerings… hehe…”
“But… they’re for the gods…”
“What gods, the old fool was the only one who believed in them.”
Hah, filthy humans.
Gods aren’t all joy and happiness, they feel rage too.
Blasphemous, to have never respected the gods.
And to be blasphemous is to invoke divine punishment.
The people of this land had long since forgotten what the gods bestowed upon them.
The gods granted them plentiful harvests, bestowed them peace.
Yet the people neglected to pay respects, to be thankful.
And the food souls who came to this world to aid them received no such respect either.
“Hah, monsters should be dealt with by monsters.”
“Hmph, such monsters, if only they’d die sooner than later!”
“Hope they get rid of each other. Saves us from having to look after them.”
Daiginjo looked at the dark sky weighing over their heads as he drank, his brow furrowing.
“Why is it, that we’re the ones with power, yet we have to hide in the darkness and take the form of those weakling humans and pretend… by right… we’re supposed to be protecting them…”
That’s right… Why is it, when we’re the ones protecting them, we don’t get even a word of thanks and are labeled monsters…
“Since they’re calling us monsters anyway, we should act like it, shouldn’t we…”
Daiginjo chuckled, the corners of his eyes crinkling.
I knew that this was his invitation for me to join his world of monsters.
I can never tell what he’s thinking, though that didn’t get in the way of us being friends.
His every word was playful, though each of them I took to heart.
The humans, pampered for far too long, had forgotten their respect for the gods.
As such, another face of the gods shall restart their memory.
I didn’t even have to sully my own hands.
I needed only to take a back seat and watch as the monsters born from their own desires swallowed them whole.
One blood-red night, towering flames engulfed the red shrine.
The mournful cries were muffled by the wind, the blood splattered on the ground scorched black.
When I stepped into the shrine, the cleric who once called the old man an “old fool” grabbed me by the ankle.
“Lord Inari… save me… save me…”
“And for what?”
“Bold of you to ask for divine salvation, having never paid the gods any respect. Save yourself, foolish human.”
“…Monster!!!! You’re a monster!!!”
If I have to become a monster for you to remember what you’ve done, then so be it.
IV. Under the Shrine
“Woah, what a thorough burning.”
Daiginjo rubbed his chin, taking in the destruction. I sat on some surviving stairs to drink, watching the humans hard at work, rebuilding the shrine for the gods.
In hindsight, it was pretty funny; while the shrine was standing, the humans paid the gods no mind. Only when disaster befell them had they remembered the gods they forgot.
And only when the “monsters” stopped unconditionally helping them had they remembered the respect these “monsters” were due, building altars and presenting offerings.
Bored, Daiginjo returned to Shangri-La, and only I stayed to watch them work, yawning as I sat on the debris.
“Um… Lord Inari… We found a hidden entrance in the shrine… come look…”
“We’re… too scared to go in, please come take a look…”
“Alright, it’s quite late, you can all take a break.”
“Also…the… monsters in the fields…”
“I’ll deal with them tomorrow.”
“Thank you, thank you!!!”
Before, I would have never heard this “thank you”.
With a long sigh, I cleared my head of my many laments and headed for the hidden entrance.
It was dark and cold, and I was surprised to discover such a large space under the shrine.
Tucked away underground, in the deepest reaches sat a single altar.
I wanted to investigate, but I was stopped by a huge amount of energy.
Even more unexpectedly, I found the energy oddly familiar.
I reached out to touch the barrier. Flowing through the barrier… as I thought, it was the energy that plucked me from the Chaos initially.
At the center of the barrier, encased in black smoke… could it be…
That guy… To protect the relics, he forcefully stripped away the huge amounts of energy in the summoning process, trapping the food soul that was supposed to be born within the pull of this energy.
If that’s the case… perhaps…
Junmai Daiginjo was dumbfounded. In the time he took to get drinking snacks for his pals, Inarizushi ended up with a mean-looking fox kit glued to him.
“…An illegitimate child?”
“Daiginjo, don’t think I won’t hit you.”
“Ahem, I mean, where’d you find it.”
With a muffled thud, Junmai Daiginjo hit an invisible wall while walking towards Kitsune Udon.
“Don’t you touch Master Ninetails!”
“…Hoh, the little devil’s protective. Ninetails, be honest, where’d you get it?”
Inarizushi glanced at Daiginjo, who was rubbing his forehead, then at Kitsune Udon, who was gripping his clothes and hiding behind him, and laughed.
“What if I said they fell from the sky?”
“Fine, I’ll drop it if you don’t want to tell. Come have a drink, a birthday toast for the kid.”
“I’m not a kid.”
“Hmph, what a kid.”
Inarizushi shook his head resignedly, helping himself to Junmai Daiginjo’s wine bottle. He turned his head to look at the pitch-black sky outside distractedly.
“What are you looking at, Ninetails?”
“Nothing. Don’t you think this sky could use some sprucing up?”
“What are you laughing at? Don’t you think so?”
Junmai Daiginjo shrugged, clinking glasses with Inarizushi, downing the clear wine in one gulp. He gazed at the sky tenderly, yet there was an underlying apathy.
“Boring things are better off discarded.”
Junmai Daiginjo turned his head to see Kitsune Udon pouring wine for Inarizushi and he quirked an eyebrow in surprise.
“You taught me that. What of it?”
Junmai Daiginjo propped up his chin to observe Kitsune Udon lapping at the wine when they thought nobody was looking.
“Uh… Nothing, the wine’s a bit strong, a kid who just fell from the sky shouldn’t drink so much the first time~”
As Junmai Daiginjo finished speaking, Kitsune Udon downed the rest of the wine, letting out a long burp, head falling to the table with a thud.
“I heard… this part of Sakurajima is protected by relics, and if they’re destroyed, catastrophe would certainly fall.”
“That’s right, what of it?”
“Then this…the key of this kid from the sky, I wonder what it will unlock?”
Inarizushi stopped patting Kitsune Udon’s hair to look at Junmai Daiginjo, who was smiling pleasantly.
“Do you have to know so soon? I don’t want to lose a drinking buddy so quickly.”
“I’m not in a hurry, it’s not too late to think about it once other artifacts have surfaced.”
“You’re not scared of me running off?”
“Master Ninetails is high and mighty, he’d never. Come, have another cup, this is Shangri-La’s best wine! I don’t bring it out for anyone but you.”
“Hoh, great, cheers!”