Chapter 54 – Oni Extermination 2
We got in Momi-san’s car again and proceeded down the mountain road.
The training site was located beyond the Goken family’s mansion, further down the mountain.
“What is this?”
There was a vast flatland created by leveling the mountains.
It was much larger than I had imagined, as if it was designed for training for a large group of people.
And there were several huge blue tarps covering the vast land.
My father and Momi-san begin to carefully remove the blue tarp.
Momi-san finished folding the blue tarp and came back next to me, waiting near the car.
Momi-san explained everything to me without me having to ask.
“The type of formation that we draw directly on the ground is less effective when it gets wet.
We had to put down blue tarps to keep them dry.
The weather in the mountains is very unpredictable.
Do you know that? It can be sunny like today, and then all of a sudden it starts raining.”
Oh, I remember my dad saying something like that when he was teaching me about the formations.
When I first heard that, I thought, “Of course, that’s only natural because the ink would blur.”
I, who solely practice controlling talismans because there are very few formations that I can practice in the courtyard, didn’t think of it right away at first glance.
I guess this is the difference between knowledge and experience, and this is what is missing when learning only in the classroom.
Good lesson for me.
I know what the weather is like in the mountains, but let’s just be a kid and be surprised for now.
This is the first time I’ve been in the mountains ever in this life.
“Yes, it’s true.
Besides there is fog and morning dew in the mountains.
Onmyojutsu, that controls water, would be more effective, but it is useless against a Shikigami.”
Some Onmyoji possess attributes based on the Five Elements concept of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.
It is like the famous affinity of a certain pocket-sized monster.
However, since Oni are Shikigami, not Yōkai, this principle of aptitude does not apply to them.
“What kind of attacks would work?”
“You’ll know that when you see the fight.
Now, go see how your father is preparing for the fight.”
And so be it.
The battle of Onmyoji usually ends before it begins.
One must take a good look at the precious preparation scene.
“Reverse Motegi-Sakamogi-jin, right?”
“Motegi-Sakamogi-jin formation, right?”
A trench has been carved into the hard-trodden ground, and ink is being poured into it right now.
What my father is creating is a wood formation where huge spears of plants shoot up from the ground like reversed thickets.
No one knows where in the world these plants originate from and how they grow so rapidly to break through the hard ground.
Drawing directly on the earth has the effect of accelerating the spread of spiritual power, but it is too difficult to draw a formation with a brush on the ground with a radius of one meter, regardless of whether it is on paper or drawing it directly on the ground.
The Kyobe family prioritizes simplicity, and this type of formation is made by tilting a jug and pouring ink into a trench.
” I see you have to use a lot of ink.”
This ink, being generously poured, is quite pricey.
My eyes widened as I picked up the receipt that had fallen on the floor.
Unlike the commercial ink I use for practice, the ink my father uses for his work is purchased from a specialized store.
Naturally, since it was the same store that sold my brush, the ink was also perfectly suited for Onmyojutsu and was sold at a much higher price than one would expect for a consumable item.
It is such s luxury… Well, now wasn’t the time to show our poverty.
Hmmm… pouring so much that it will overflow out of the trench, as opposed to when I drew a smaller version of it in the courtyard.
“Can the outlines become blurry?”
“Chipping is more of a concern.”
It would be a shame to have a dud in the middle of a battle because the formation was imperfect.
Even if the effect is slightly decreased, the priority must be to ensure success.
After finishing creating the Motegi-Sakamogi-jin formation, my father moves about 10 steps away and crouches down again.
There, as in the previous case, the trench has already been dug, and all that remains is to pour the ink.
This is what he has been doing for the past two weeks, I thought, as he prepared his setup.
Still, it is a ridiculously large formation.
Compared to the Motegi-Sakamogi-jin formation, it’s unmatched.
I have never seen anything like this…….
“Could this be Ama-no-Iwato?”
This is a type of ward used by Onmyoji who are in the rearguard.
According to the Onmyoji, there are many variations of Ama-no-Iwato, including non-material ones and ones made by raising the ground to create caves.
Onmyoji are generally in the rear guard, so this is a necessary feature.
Onmyoji who inherit the art of summoning are no exception.
Leaving the Shikigami to act as the vanguard, he would hide behind the wards and provide support from the rear.
This is a natural strategy, since if the summoner dies, Shikigami will disappear as well.
“Drawing on the ground means you’re creating some kind of a cave?”
“Physical warding works better.”
Although Ama-no-Iwato has a grand name, it often falls short of the name because its strength depends on the Onmyoji’s ability and effort.
Even so, it is said that the strength of the warding is increased by imitating the folklore.
There are various forms, but it is said that the power of the warding can be fully demonstrated when a cave is made in the ground, as in the legend of Ama-no-Iwato*.
This makes it a more powerful defense than other types of wards.
However, this is a really time-consuming process and can only be used when you know in advance that you are going to fight an enemy and have time to prepare properly.
No wonder, since the ground is raised to create a cave, which is a phenomenon that changes the earth on the scale of a heavy machine.
In other words, these wards are ideal for this battle.
“Amaterasu Omikami, the Goddess of the Sun who shines down upon us, accept my call, and grant me the immovable cave.”(T/N – I am not 100% sure I translated this sentance correctly.)
When my father’s chanting was finished, rocks started to grow out of the ground where the formation has been carved.
This sight was truly magical, and I was determined to try it myself sometime.
The completed cave was quite large.
It was large enough to accommodate about five adults.
A large boulder sits at the entrance with a gap big enough for one person to pass through.
The interior is just like a natural cave, and I imagined that it would be in demand at campsites.
After the inspection of the newly built structure, from the outside, the cave, which is respectfully made by Onmyoji, looks very out of place in the otherwise flat training ground.
By the time the sun had risen significantly, the battlefield was finally prepared.
The summoning formation that had been set up at the Northeast Oni Gate, with Dad at its center, was shining brightly.
The dazzling radiance seems to indicate the strength of the enemy that is about to appear.
Facing such a powerful enemy are 10 Shikigami.
Dog, monkey, pheasant, rat, mouse, mouse, mouse, mouse, mouse, mouse.
Accompanying the Oni exterminators, plus rodents.
Why does summoning formation for rodents occupies bigger area then the one for other Shikigami?
The inside of Ama-no-Iwato is filled with the paper on which the summoning formation was drawn.
“–I, the one who uses spiritual power as a means to connect with the other world to form a covenant with thee, the head of the Kyobe family, heed my call and appear before me!”
The long chanting has ended.
The main actor of this battle, the Lord of the Shikigami, is showing his warlike appearance in the summoner’s formation.
His voice, different and stronger than usual, seems to express his resolve for this battle.
“Momi-san, is everything all right?”
“Well, he used a lot of spiritual power.
Probably it will be pretty dull, but once the fight starts, all of that will evaporate.”
He is ready and willing to fight, but his complexion doesn’t look good.
He is in a state of drastically reduced vitality due to overuse of spiritual power.
If I remember my father in the last two weeks, he could probably move even in this state.
However, he is definitely not ready for a fight with a superior opponent.
“Can’t I help him?”
“To subdue a Shikigami, you must show your own strength.
I don’t know the details, but I heard that it’s not allowed to borrow someone else’s power.”
Is that why my dad stopped me when I tried to help with the spiritual infusion like usual?
If he’s in the preparation stage, I don’t think Shikigami would have seen it and wouldn’t have found out about it.
The Oni summoning formation shone brightly and strongly in front of our eyes.
Compared to the summoner’s formation where my father was standing, this summoning formation was far more gigantic.
These two formations are connected by a single line.
It is a line that represents the connection between the human world and the other world where the Shikigami live.
It seems that the worlds are being connected by the spiritual power that the summoner pours into the line.
[“The Art of Summoning is a miraculous power that connects worlds to other worlds, an act that transcends human knowledge.”]
My father told me this when he was drawing the summoning formation.
One such visitor from another world emerged from the overflowing light.
He is a huge specimen standing three meters tall, clad in burly muscle armor, with jet-black eyeballs that make it hard to tell where he is looking.
At a glance, the figure appears humanoid, but its bright red skin and the single horn extending from its forehead prove that it is not a creature of this world.
The moment I saw it, my instincts started screaming at me to run away from this creature as quickly as possible.
Or perhaps I should say that the instincts within me, a young boy were shrinking under the presence of this macho man.
My dad is as scrawny as I was in my previous life.
Even though he has Onmyojutsu, I wonder if he can beat such a muscular giant.
I’ll help him with the wards when the time comes.”
Momi-san, who sensed my uneasiness, told me in a reliable voice.
He said that Goken-sama was a witness, but Momi-san seems to be his protector in case things get out of hand.
But I remember
You once said, “I am going to watch over you until time comes.”
At what stage would you say that you are going to keep watching over me until there is an emergency? Is it around the time I get a scrape on my knee?
“Besides, your dad is pretty strong.
He doesn’t usually look like he is, though.”
With those words, Momi-san walked forward in between the two formations.
“From now on, we will perform the Coming of Age Ceremony of Tsuyoshi Kyobe! “You who are the next generation head of Kyobe family, show your ability by subduing the Oni!”
Momi-san announced the start of the ceremony in a well-accustomed manner.
It was obvious that he had performed these kinds of ceremonies many times.
Momi-san, who is not supposed to fight, is dressed in a formal Onmyoji attire probably for this very reason.
This role was originally supposed to be played by the father who was the previous head of the family.
It sounds like a salute from the father to his son, the next head of the family, who now has to become independent.
Now, in place of his deceased father, he receives support from his best friend.
–The extermination of the Oni has finally begun.
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