I was swallowed by the fallen skies.
When I came to, I was looking towards the night sky.
Jumping up, I observed my surroundings.
It seemed like I had collapsed on some kind of stone pavement.
And it was neither the respawn point at Dualis, nor was it the bed I would be in after logging out.
Instead, it was a place with a shrine built on a piece of land cut off from anything else.
Cut off, there was a reason I used that term.
The grounds extended about one hundred meters in all directions, but beyond that, the scenery was distorted and collapsed.
It was like an otherworld dimension you would see in anime or manga.
I think this place was separated from the rest of the world.
By the way, since I was on the shrine’s grounds, there was a huge shrine in front of me.
（I guess I should go and check it out.）
Dragging my exhausted mind and body forward, I trudged towards the shrine.
Its door was already opened, inviting me in.
On the way, I noticed that my avatar was in a state similar to immediately before Apocalypse had released its ultimate magic.
I had only a few HP remaining, and my side still had a hole blown through it.
The only differences were that《Ravenous Wolf》was already cancelled and that the damage over time effect from my bleeding stomach had disappeared.
I had recovered from those effects, would it be reasonable to conclude that?
I couldn’t really tell whether this was a dream or reality.
But my intuition was telling me that this was not a dream.
There was a single pedestal inside the shrine.
And on its surface lay an ornate hairpin of scarlet steel, a depiction of a ground cherry at its end.
Was this possibly an item made from hihiirokane, the same material as the 《Moon Camellia’s Solo (Tsubaki Kanade)》I was wearing?
As I thoughtlessly tried to grab it, my hand was repelled by an invisible wall.
Well, there wasn’t really any pain, but….it felt like I had gotten shocked by electricity.
Having been shocked, it seemed as if I had been denied.
「So you have awakened, O child of Oni.」
Without sound, scent, or presence, the owner of that voice suddenly appeared right behind me.
Being totally taken by surprise, I whirled around, coming face-to-face with 『My Avatar.』
You appear to be confused.
It was I who brought you here and I who saved you from that damned true dragon you saw.」
What is this?」
Facing her felt just like staring at a mirror.
The existence that was smiling in front of me mirrored my avatar with such exactness that it even had a hole in its stomach.
Looking at it from here, it looked really painful.
「Right now, I cannot take on my original form and thus, I have manifested into a likeness of your body.
It may be unpleasant, but please forgive me for doing so.」
So…who are you?」
「Ooh, I have forgotten to introduce myself.」
This being who borrowed my appearance laughed while saying “That is no good,” and then answered my question.
「My name is Shuten(酒呑).
I am the one who reigns over all 《Douji》.」
If I matched the pronunciation with characters, was it written as 酒呑(shuten)?
That name, I felt like I had heard a lot about it.
「What? Your reaction is quite dull.
You could have been more surprised, like, “Dohyaaa?!” you know?」
「Ah, yeah, sorry.
I’m just confused.」
「As surely you must be.
After all, when I snatched you away from the true dragon, you were already in the midst of a death that was fated to be.」
I guess I was.
In the first place, if she had just let me be then I’d have died from the passage of time, and I’d have died from fall damage, and I’d have died from the magic.
It didn’t happen that often where you were consigned to death by three fatal causes, you know?
Especially by that ultimate magic.
Truth Magic (Kotowari Mahou), it said, but I didn’t really know what kanji that word contained, so I didn’t understand it at all.
At most, I could think of one possible character, 「理.」
I wonder what happened at the wetlands.
When Rou and I were fighting, it was true that there was no one else around, but with the scale of that magic….
Wouldn’t there be some kind of huge crater?
Reflecting on it, could it have been that the lizard-type monsters in hiding had been an omen that the dragon would appear?
I didn’t really know.
Based on Rou’s reaction, it seemed she also didn’t know, but perhaps Rin-chan might know about it.
「《Truth(真理) Magic (Kotowari Mahou)》 is a piece of ultimate magic.
If you were to master all magic, you would eventually reach Truth Magic.
Well, that is setting aside one’s ability to activate it or not.
Truth Magic seeks out beings with an enormous magic capacity and with delicate control over magic.
Without those characteristics, one will never be able to use it successfully.」
Every kind of magic…So that means that recovery magic and support magic could reach that point as well?
I came to that conclusion, but naturally I couldn’t really imagine what form non-offense magic would take when it reached its pinnacle.
「Regardless, that magic is not something a normal person is capable of using.
Even the Transcripts of Apocalypse should not be able to easily use it.
Furthermore, he even went and stopped time.
He ought to be resting right about now.」
“Kukuku,” Shuten chuckled heartily.
I wondered if they had a bad relationship.
Or maybe they got along?
No matter which it was, it might not have been totally wrong for the dragon to call what he did a 「reward.」
If I were to believe Shuten, then it was magic that exhausted him to use, after all.
「Can Shuten also use it?」
「Kukuku, if I could use it, I am sure that it would feel quite good.
However, unfortunately, I am an existence that resides very far from the spheres of magic and witchcraft, you know.
Did I not say it earlier? I am the being that reigns over the Douji.」
“You understand, right?”
As Shuten looked at me with inquiring eyes, I felt the pieces click into place as I realized it.
「It is as you say.
What I rule over is an exceedingly pure, physical violence.
Saying it in that manner, one could also say that dragons and I stand on polar opposite sides.」
The dragon who brought magic to the extreme, and the oni who brought power to the extreme.
I…..the reason the special job 《Douji》which had appeared before me existed, it felt like I had finally understood why.
It was because the oni right before me existed in this world, giving birth to the existence of the job called 《Douji》.
「Now then, as you are the first of my kin to visit me for several hundreds of years, I shall give you some guidance.」
Shuten, who took an iron fan out of nowhere, had a complacent smile as she laughed.
「For you to evolve my power…..let me see, in the words of your people, it would be expertise, would it not? To evolve your power, you will most likely need to reach a level of expertise that exceeds the seventieth.
And after you have achieved that, there is the question of whether you can show the world of your power.
Looks likes I have no need to worry about the latter, however.」
Showing the world my power.
Was she talking about the titles you received when you defeated a Named, or did she mean my reputation among the NPCs?
Having framed her words as guidance, it looked like she wasn’t planning on giving me the answer.
「Expertise level 70, so that means over level 90…..that sure is a long time away from now.」
「That is not so.
The human female that you fought mightily against that dragon with, that one has already passed 60.
That one was also good material, but if I were to lay my hand on that human, someone troubling would see me.」
Looking at the wincing Shuten, describing them as「troubling」, they must truly have been an extraordinarily troubling opponent.
After all, the one right before me, an oni god that was an existence around the same tier as a true dragon, had evaluated it as troubling.
「So there is someone like Shuten to the humans?」
「You sure have a quick wit about you.
However, the situation is a tad different than what you are imagining.
We are not existences that watch over races, instead, we look over those with what you people call jobs.
However, I am an unusual existence among those so defined.
After all, the number of targets I watch over is exceedingly small.
In contrast to me, however, the Sword god and the Magic god always appear to be busy.
Especially the Magic god.
The Transcripts of the Apocalypse is a vassal of that god.」
「That one was a vassal…? I feel it’d make more sense if that dragon was the one that had vassals, though.」
「I do not know about that.
Put simply, this means that he, a true dragon, did not originally have that much power.
However, if no one capable of becoming the Magic god before him had appeared, he would have already taken the position for himself.」
I felt like I had heard something really important just now.
However, being honest, I was really tired.
I didn’t really have any brainpower left over to think her statement through.
「Fufu, it looks like I have talked too much.
However, bear with it for a bit longer.
After all, I must give a reward to the one who has chipped off a fragment of his horn.
Dragon that he is, he does not think it a joke to show his magic as a reward, although only those who become fools in the pursuit of magic would be happy about it.」
Shuten, who said something that woke me up a little bit, took out an ornate hairpin in the same style as the one from earlier, but in a different color.
The design is a ground cherry, similar but different from the one before.
Maybe the material used was different.
Obeying her gesture for me to turn around, Shuten did my hair with it.
「This is the mark that shall lead you to this shrine.
This is the Underworld(Kakuriyo), and this mark shall allow you to pass into this world from the world of the living.」
「If I wear this, I can come back here again?」
「When your expertise has exceeded thirty, come to the land from which journeys begin.
Arrive at the small shrine deified on its edge, and offer up a prayer in my name.
To the deepest part of Underworld you are invited, where I shall await you.」
I took the words Shuten had said in an oracle-like way and inscribed each and every one of them in my soul.
Since she was referring to having a job level of 30, in normal levels I would need to be at least over level 50.
When I reached that level, the land from which journeys begin….basically, I needed to go to the Town of Beginning, and from there I would most likely need to reach a small shrine somewhere to the south, at the Forest of the Edge.
「The dwellers of the underworld are strong.
You may choose whether you wish to bring your comrades, or if you would rather challenge them alone.
However, you absolutely must not underestimate the Underworld as you challenge it.」
『《Extra Quest: Shrine of the Edge -The Underworld of the Kishin-》 has started.』 (9: kishin, basically oni god)
「Do not be impatient, and do your best.
I have great expectations riding on you, Sukuna.」
It seemed like that oracle-like statement just now was the official introduction of the quest.
Caressing the ornate copper hairpin, I thought the cold sensation was comfortable.
For now, you should take your time and rest.」
Shuten’s right hand blurred.
As I realized that, my remaining HP was cleanly stripped from me, and my body that had been on the verge of death this whole time belatedly received its death penalty.
S-so, in the end, you killed me.
Reflecting on it, I didn’t blame her, but before I returned at the respawn point, I remembered the joy on Shuten’s face as she did it and vowed to complain the next time we met.
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