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Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi - Volume 1 - Chapter 2

Published at 27th of September 2018 08:13:35 PM

Chapter 2

Chapter 2: The Master Ogre God

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25 . “Aoi, do not let the Ayakashi scare you . You are special, so it is easy for them to kidnap you . ”
“Is Aoi easy to kidnap?”
“That’s right, humans that can see Ayakashi are easily targeted . They’re easy to eat and easy to use . Easy to like and easy to hate .
It is easy to be loved and also easy to be hated . In short, you are a subject of ridiculous interest for them . ” My grandfather had a
serious face back then as he took my hand, advising me through life . But my young self could not understand those words at all .
“Aoi doesn’t want to be eaten! Aoi doesn’t want to leave grandpa . ”
“Is that right? Well, grandpa doesn’t want Aoi to leave or be taken either… . Aoi, be especially careful of ogres . ”
“Ogres? Aoi has not seen an ogre . ”
“They are tricky to find because they almost look the same as humans, perhaps that may be hard for you to understand . ”

26 . “Are they human?”
“No, they are not people . They are incompatible with humans . ” My grandfather shook his head strongly in denial of my question .
“They lead a cold and villainous path, doing anything they want in order to get what they want, they do not feel for others . That’s why Aoi, do not let your guard down around ogres . ” My grandfather always told me to be careful around ogres . Ogres .

There was a feeling that I had fallen somewhere . “Ouch!” Hitting my head on something hard, I let out a dull shout . I had collapsed . When I open my eyes, I see a ceiling that I don’t recognise . It was almost as if the ceiling was glittering, paintings of Ayakashi dancing was painted onto it, it intrigued me . I was in some strange hall . Why? It’s so cold . I notice that my body is badly drenched
in water .

27 . “Aoi . ” A low calm, disgusting voice called my name . I looked into his face for a moment, the one with the Ogre mask . I had met him at the shrine, I’d given him my lunchbox . What a shame that was . “Ah, you’re from this morning!” Raising my voice with surprise, I stand holding my lower back . I check around me, only giving a glance . The room is mostly tatami mat and dimly lit, cold air drifts in occasionally . Straight away I understood that this was an expensive and gorgeous building . What’s going on? It seems everyone who is peacefully sitting around the room quietly like figurines are Ayakashi . Everyone is wearing a kimono and different masks . I cannot see their expressions, they’re only sitting and watching me peacefully . I can sense a murderous intent or hostility from the chills
creeping up my skin . They seem unhappy and look at me almost as if aiming for their prey . I could sense a vicious disgust radiating from their bodies . I am surrounded by Ayakashis . I could feel the blood draining from my face . Even if you are used to seeing  Ayakashi, this is my first time being surrounded by them .

28 . In this place that I do not know, no one is on my side . As if I’ve been hit by a wave, a cold fear overcomes my body . Firmly trying to get a hold of myself, I turn my head towards the Ayakashi to the side of the Ogre in front of me . I think I may be able to say something, although, I only thought there was one Ayakashi at first . “Eh?” However, one of them cried out unexpectedly, slowly
I turned to look over . My eyes widen . A pale face with human features and cool eyes . A breathtaking cold and beautiful appearance . A man with black hair . I narrow my eyes at his smiling face . If you look close enough there are sharply pointed horns sticking out from his head, his eyes are also red . He isn’t human . This guy, this guy is an ogre . “How are you feeling my bride?”
Eh . . ha??“ Those were the surprising words of the ogre, I look around restlessly . Surely he’s not talking about me?

29 . "How are you feeling? I’m asking you, my bride . Are you listening to me? Aoi, I mean you . You are my bride . ”
“To be honest, I don’t understand the meaning of all this, it makes me feel unwell,” I answered with a serious expression . The ogre in front of me remains calm, smiling . Bride? This ogre, what is he saying? Although he is beautiful, my grandfather warned me to be alarmed by them . This all seems too doubtful . My body is cold from being drenched . My dress has become transparent and tough from the water . My stockings are torn and hair is sticking to my face . Surely my makeup is in disarray . This appearance must be so embarrassing but at the moment I can not afford to care . Because of this unknown situation, my shame is equal to none . Perhaps even if my life is saved, I may not be able to go home safely . “Master, as you can see it would be better if you did not marry this human girl . ”
Said a masked Ayakashi to the black haired ogre, they dismissed me with such hate in their voice . Red-bean coloured hair can be seen poking out from the edge of the mask, although, it isn’t really human . “I can not allow my Master to marry such a filthy little girl . ”

30 . At those words, all the other Ayakashi who seemed just like figurines started talking with hatred towards me at the same time . They hide their mouths with fans or sleeves . “Absolutely right!”
“Such a filthy daughter of humans!”
“She’s plain!”
“Incompetent!”
“Seedy-looking!” Obviously, they like saying anything that comes to mind . However, it all seems to be something bad… But I do not care about such a silly thing . The desire to escape from here somehow starts to burn inside me . This place is a nest for Ayakashi . Right now, usual encounters with Ayakashi cannot compare to this . The ones here are not low class . I can only comprehend what’s happening by watching it unfold . An exit can be seen on the side in a gap between the Shoji sliding door, what good timing . “Now!” Well, that was daring .  
“Ah, that girl!” Such a sound made the Ayakashi stand up all at once . Meanwhile, I do not hesitate and run out between the side from the gap of the Shoji sliding door . The edge is wet with no gripping, if possible I’d like to get somewhere else . That was my plan .

31 . But that plan was soon undone . As a strange colourful landscape spread out from what I assumed to be the edge of the building . I was terribly surprised . I opened my eyes wide, stopping my feet from running . “Ehhh?” Right in front of me is a world I’ve never seen before . It seems that the wet edge I stand on is far above even the sky . Apparently, I’m at the top of an extremely tall building, the ground is a long way down . I can see buildings wrapped in lights of lanterns, I know this is obviously not a normal place in Japan . The boulevard below seems very busy, everyone here is an Ayakashi, I can understand that fact from here . Ogres, monsters, demons, persistently written flags, red lanterns hang around here and there . Buildings, not like a normal house or an apartment . It looked like it could be an old townscape reminiscent to traditional Japan . Whilst it seems to be an old-fashioned traditional town like Kyoto . However, the red-coloured risen building on the right reminds me of Ancient China . A little further away is a big temple surrounded by
tall 5-storied pagoda buildings, from here you can see a couple of them . However, nothing in the real world could ever look like this . Somewhat unstable and heteromorphic, I could never remember seeing anything like this before .

32 . Just like a labyrinth, complicated . Surely, this is an air I have never felt before . I understood that this place was much more busy than the Apparent Realm . “… . . ” I couldn’t blink as I looked out at the landscape before me . A Japanese ship was floating in the sky, passing over the clouds, although it was shocking I wasn’t surprised too much . I do not know . I do not know such a world! A thing that
crossed my mind at that moment was this ‘Different World,’ had entirely different characters . A cold wind briskly blew up from the bottom of the building causing my hair to get into a frenzy . Because of that, my legs froze on the spot . “Where am I?”
“This is the Hidden Realm, Aoi . ” The ogre answered my question, whispering from behind . I pulled back my arm .
“The Hidden realm?” That name seems familiar, surely I’ve heard it somewhere before .
“It’s dangerous here, so go inside . ”
“This isn’t the Apparent Realm . ”


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33 . Without taking my eyes off the strange world in front of me I asked him with a firm expression . I don’t understand this . Why?  Why was I brought to such a place? Contrary to my confusion, the black-haired ogre with a calm tone . “This is the world where Ayakashi lives . This is different from the world humans live in . However, the Apparent Realm and this world are coherent with each other and connected in many various places . These two places are similar yet totally different at the same time . This is a successful inn for Ayakashi, Tenjinya . ”
“Tenjinya?” Finally, I was able to pin it to something . I knew that name, when I was cleaning grandfather’s belongings, it was that black and white picture . My grandfather was in front of this inn, he was taking pictures with Ayakashi . I looked back slowly, looking at the black-haired man behind me . Although now there is a horn on his head, I could feel he was not a person from the coldness of those red eyes, looking at me chillingly . I could feel my body starting to get cold .
“Who are you?”
“I am the owner of this inn, they call me Ogre-god or Master . ”
“An ogre?”
“I am the ogre that will become your husband . ”

34 . I distorted my expression whilst the ogre in front of me looked on pleasantly . I wanted to deny it, giving my head a small shake . “What? Why would an ogre want to become the husband of a human? You can’t . ”
“Although I am an ogre it doesn’t matter, Shiro made such a promise to me, so you have no choice . ” As soon as he mentioned my grandfather’s name I became stiff . “Let me explain Aoi, your grandfather Shiro-”
“Surely it’s a mistake!” I answered the Ayakashi as he stood in his place . The ogre laughed faintly narrowing his red eyes . “I doubt it . You see, I had a long relationship with Shiro, of whom had connections in many various places . ”
“Connections?”

35 . “Yes, you see Shiro could move back and forth between the Apparent Realm and this realm as he pleased, they said he was one of a kind . Shiro had very strong spiritual energy, enjoying all the fun things this world had to offer him, he was a free man . Then once upon a time, he decided to flutter around here at Tenjinya for three days and three nights, drinking and eating, enjoying every luxury at hand .  Although, because of that towards the end of it he had brought himself into an amount of large debt that was impossible for him to pay . But I gave him a chance and refused to eat him . ”
“… . . ” It wasn’t an unlikely story, so it immediately satisfied my curiosity . Although, it only makes me pale more . Grandpa, what a  foolish thing to do to an Ayakashi . “But, I’m also running a business here . I asked Shiro if he’d pay, work here for life, or be eaten . Shiro, however, shook his head and told me something else . What do you think he said?” Pulling on my arm, the ogre came close to my face . I shook my head . “Because I love freedom, I cannot possibly stay in one place . It can’t be helped that you want to eat me . So I will give you some money . However, that’s it, if I can not repay all of my debt within my life I offer you my granddaughter to be your Ogre Bride . That’s what he said . I couldn’t believe it . Shiro was a ridiculous man . He truly was scum . ”
“……”
“Ah so in short Aoi, you are collateral for his debt . ” This ogre came to a conclusion on the matter in such a merciless way . It made me feel dizzy . However, I try to remain somehow mindful for a while, keeping myself in check .

36 . “Is that what you meant after all? Is it not a mistake? Being my grandpa’s granddaughter, I’ve already been surprised plenty . ”
“Ah, of course . Because you are Shiro’s granddaughter who can see the Ayakashi . You are the only one for me . Those who cannot see Ayakashi cannot even visit the Hidden Realm in the first place . ” The ogre explains this to me as if it is all an ordinary situation . However, his words did happen to seem strangely convincing . “Do you need me to say it again, Aoi? You and I have a promise to become married, we should get on to that . You must marry me . ”
“…… . Me marrying?… . ” From the side I saw the ogre pull out an object, it was a nice small box . Picking it up he opened it, grabbing a piece of paper from the inside . He shows it to me . “This is a pledge . As long as this is present, those promises must be fulfilled . ” On a fine piece of paper, it was written as such . 'I, Shiro Tsubaki am in debt to the Master of Tenjinya . Because I cannot
repay it, in the meantime I will give you my granddaughter who has the most spiritual power . I swear it, Shiro Tsubaki-’ Indeed from the last honest and miserable sentence, this letter definitely was written by my grandfather . I understand well that his signature is written firmly at the end and that this is a pledge . Somehow, as long as this was around I knew I could not run away .

37 . What is marriage? Was my first thought . Heterosexuality is often present with couples, they then begin to talk and suddenly become family members . In short, it is to be a husband and wife . Impossible, I hardly know this guy . No, I only met him for the first time just before, this guy is not even a person, but an Ayakashi . Moreover, he is an ogre that told me to be most wary of my grandpa . My head hurts . I can’t stop trembling . No, I can’t stop trembling, it may be because my body is cold and wet but I’m not sure . The anger for my grandfather may have started to occupy my thoughts . Grandpa, grandpa… why? What a stupid thing of you to do . My favourite grandfather,
he really did just let his granddaughter take on all his debt so easily, I felt uninhibited amnesia followed by despair . These swirling unbalanced thoughts and feelings travel through my head . The ogre looks at my trembling expression full of agony, trying to hold back laughter as he puts a sleeve over his mouth . He truly is an ogre . Devil . Demonic animal . Surely my miserable appearance is pleasant for him . The ogre grabbed onto my arm, pulling me up . He then takes me back to the room filled with many Ayakashi . His nail digs into my arms, causing a hot pain to rush through it . Why was all of this so wrong?

38 . “Now, let’s get ready for our marriage . Perhaps such a dress that you’re wearing is not suitable for the occasion . Take a hot bath and change clothes . ”
“No, I don’t care . ” I refused . The surrounding Ayakashi start to make noise . But, I have to refuse, no matter what . “I definitely do not like or want to be an Ogre’s Bride . ”
“… . . Definitely?”
“Absolutely! I hate it . ”
“……” Even in this situation, I will absolutely refuse as clearly as I can . This ogre’s heart is closed with no desire nor despair . So I will continue to refuse him without mercy . “Even if you say I’m collateral for debt, I can not accept such a thing! So, return me to the Apparent Realm!”
“That’s no good . ” The ogre raised his face, whilst lowering his voice and said that . “This place is secluded, to open the entrance to this realm, a corresponding toll is required . You already have your grandfathers debt, so I doubt you can pay a toll . ”

39 . “Do not make a fool of me . You brought me here! So, take responsibility and pay the toll to return me to the other world! Or I’ll sue for kidnapping . ” He swings his arm, trying to grip mine . I thrust my fingers back violently . Those were my words to him . However, the Ayakashi behind me spoke up, “How uneducated,” they are almost trembling in anger . “You fool, you who is a meagre dirty human
daughter is not even a substitute for debt! You should be thankful for the Masters kindness! Although it can not be forgiven, all you are is Shiro’s granddaughter!!” Said the man with red-bean coloured hair wearing a mask . “I will eat up to the muscle of your bones!” He stood up, taking a breath, it seems he does not like my former family member . “Manager!”
“Please do not act so savagely . ” It was as if he was a spider jumping about . A white thread like substance had filled up my surroundings . My feet became tangled in the whiplashing strings . “Kyaa!” Putting out a cute scream I fall down . My hip and back slowly hit the floor . No, this can’t be happening . This damn Ayakashi is a spider . When things are caught in spider webs, they are normally eaten to the bone because they cannot escape .

40 . But suddenly the face of the Ayakashi came close to the ogre . “Wait, Tsuchigomo . ” It was stopped . “Do not make a wrong move . You still have time to spare, so you’d better act like a gentleman . ”
“Master you’re being too kind! Such a little girl, I can see the pain in your eyes so I’ll listen to what you say . ” He stops after hearing the ogres words, why? “Good . ” He nodded . What’s good? Ogres are ogres, and yet he has a stubborn smile which is incomprehensible . “Are the Three Faceless Sisters here?” When the ogre snaps his fingers, the sliding doors open . Three people stood in the doorway,
all being beautifully large, medium and small . However, they were faceless . The ogre gives instructions to them . “I think we should let my bride know where her position is here . Prepare the Torture in Hell treatment . ”
“Eh?”
“Now, go along . Do not stop even if she hates it . She needs to know where she stands . ” It takes a short amount of time for these faceless women to carry me off to another room without resistance . Ehhhhhhh? No way, I never thought it would be like this . Something could be broken . This is a physical punishment . I could be hurt .

41 . They must be lying, even in this situation it would be better if it were to hurt only for a moment, this doesn’t seem fun . “This is the boiling water torture . ” The smallest one said . She made a prefix written as,'pine . ’ Then spoke with the tiniest little voice even though she has no mouth . As she says this, I was stripped of my clothes, then immersed in lush warm water which glowed a warm red and

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glittered . Honestly, it’s very relaxing and comfortable . The warmth of the water spreads through out my body . “This is the skinning torture . ” The medium faceless lady made a 'bamboo,’ prefix . She scrubs and washes my body . I don’t have to do anything . At the end, they paint a mysterious sweet smelling liquid on my body . My skin became so shiny it was almost blinding . “This is the binding torture . ”  The biggest faceless lady made a 'plum,’ prefix . I was dressed in an indignant blue yukata tightened by a yellow belt . Although it is cute with a lint pattern, when the belt is tightened- “Wow!” It is a bit uncomfortable .

42 . “The torture is nearly done . ” The three faceless sisters each prepare my personal belongings . 'Pine,’ dried my hair . My cat like hair finally became smooth . She also massaged my stiff shoulders . 'Bamboo,’ applied a thin layer of makeup, it was a light crimson red powder . 'Plum,’ paints my nails . She also applied cream to my hands that were rough and coarse . “The Torture in Hell treatment is complete . ”
“No, it wasn’t tortured though was it, it was a luxurious hot spring treatment at this inn . ”
“Is it a torture?”
“Right?”
“Right?” Even though I tried, the Three Faceless Sisters did not say a word on it . They have no facial expressions and I can not read what’s on their minds . “The Master is waiting for you . ” Then, they held me again taking me somewhere else . “Master, please reconsider not marrying a human daughter! If a human becomes an important lady in charge I am not convinced she could do her job as an employee, this could cause a conflict in Tenjin-ya! For the houses in the north! This fight which
would take place in the corner of the Hidden Realm could soon turn into a conflict  between the rest of us, it will be a fight for the future!”

43 . “Even if I do marry, I will not put her in charge so soon . ”
“That’s even more useless!” The three faceless sisters brought me to the other side of the sliding door, that was when I could hear such a conversation . The complaining voice is that of the spider that tried to make an enemy of me earlier . “This isn’t useful, it’s bad!” I opened the sliding door slickly . Towards the back of the sliding door are three Ayakashi . One is the Ogre-god, the other is probably the spider because of the mask . The other one has the mask of a white fox, this Ayakashi must have been hiding in the shadows earlier . Because I had suddenly been thrust into a room with these three Ayakashi the situation hardened a little bit . “Hmm, how was the torture? I take it you had more than just the hot spring . Has your body warmed up now?” My body is much warmer now and has settled, so has my liver apparently . I tighten my facial expression, while this is a stupid idea, I head over to the Ogre . “Aw, Aoi my bride, my yukata looks nice on you . ”
“Thanks to you . This seems like a nice inn, the service here is wonderful . ”

44 . “Do you understand your position now?” 
“Are you going to become a bride even though you’re at such a low class?”
“If you become my bride the services at this inn would be unlimited to you . ”
“I will not take your hand . Please return me home quickly . ” 
“Keep it silent or else you’ll be missing out!” The Tsuchigomo said concisely coming closer . I thought that I didn’t have to keep silent after glaring at the ridiculous spider I continued . “It’s natural, I’m only 20 years old, I’m still a college student . As a college student, I’ve never even thought of marrying someone . I’m really really sorry, Ayakashi . ”
“Calm down, calm down . It’s no use saying that since I’m not going to give up . ”
“Wh-”
Just like a child would do, the ogre admonished me with haste . Until a while ago I was burning up, but now, my body is going totally cold . Awful Ayakashi . They have an optimum existence filled with coldness . “Why don’t we use the inner parlour?” The ogre could not see my agonizing expression, there were plum blossoms embedded in the wall behind the hallway, he opens the door to the inner parlour . “Do you have anything to offer?”

45 . I asked the ogre . A man with a white fox mask shakes his tails once . Perhaps he is a fox ayakashi, I can see it . “Well, prepare the bedding the Camelia room, my bride is tired . ”
“As you wish . ” The ayakashi with the fox mask left the room . I heard the tsuchigomo say something, he gave off a steep look . I peek into the inner parlour . It is a small inner room, a tea set is placed in the middle of the hearth . The ogre sat on the side, beckoning to me who was standing near the sliding door . “Come here, sit down where you like, my bride . ” Whilst wary, I finally enter the room and sit down . At that time the Tsuchigomo dully closed the sliding door for the inner parlour . “Aaaaaa . ” I heard someone raise their voice . “Would you like some tea? My bride . ” The ogre mixed the contents of the tea kettle with a ladle, pouring it into a cup he hands it over to me . I drank it . It had a deep colour, being a lovely snack, and left a good aftertaste . “Now, is there anything you want to say? This place will soon be filled with lots of employees . ”

46 . I grasped my knees and asked something straight away . “How much is my grandpa’s debt?” The ogre gives me a demoralizing look before he finally answers stroking his chin in a quizzical manner .  
“It roughly translated into 100 million yen in Japanese currency I believe . ”
“Ha, ha, say that one more time?” I held an intense stare . The tuition fee that my grandfather left behind and was collecting for me is not enough . That guy, he truly did make me collateral for debt, I guess I might have to marry this ogre . Grandpa, why did you even save for my tuition? To be funny? It was only contradicting! I wish I could question my grandpa about all of this, but, it’s
impossible now that he’s gone . “Of course, none of this is your fault, but you must clean up after your Grandfather Shiro . Aside from that, being with an Ayakashi won’t be too bad right? Even in the world that humans live in they must return borrowed money, correct? It isn’t an uncommon story for daughters and granddaughters to be sold because of that, is it . ”
“Why? This is so frustrating . ”
“That would be the case . ” The ogre smiles, dropping his eyes towards his sleeve, mixing the hot water in the teapot . As for me, this entire situation just makes me angry and frustrated .

47 . My grandfather, without permission, decided to make me a debtor and the future wife of an ogre . I loved my grandfather for a very long time, but I wonder . Aloof in this world of wonder, I can not even read the thoughts of this ogre . “Do you wish to not be my bride that much?”
“If there was any human who would want to become the bride of an ogre they’d just suddenly met, I’d be concerned . ”
“…… . ” The master flutters his eyes towards mind and looks at my face . “Is that right . ” He looks somewhat lonesome, the ogre quickly returns his gaze to the hot water in the tea kettle and mixes it lightly . Strange . Besides, under any circumstances why would such a high-class ogre want to marry me? “Do you want to marry me that much?”
“Of course . ” When I asked him this, the ogre nodded in such a beautiful and honest manner, he looked like a young man .
“Why, it’s strange . You already own such a fine inn . There must be plenty of people who want to be your wife! Also, a little while ago all those Ayakashi seemed angry because of this . They seem to hate humans a lot .
"No, taking a human for your wife is quite honourable, for Ayakashi it raises their rank . Even in the old times, there were tales of kidnapping human girls for this reason . ”

48 . “Really?”
“Yes, and you are Shiro’s granddaughter . You are one of few who knows about Ayakashi and their secluded lifestyle, that alone makes you valuable as Shiro is somewhat of a celebrity in the Hidden Realm . ”
“Valuable?”
“You’ll come to understand it naturally . ” The ogre smiled and finally laughed . “In addition, human girls with high spiritual energy are really delicious for Ayakashi . You taste delicious, so that means you are dear to me . But because you are dear to me I cannot eat you . But since you are delicious I want to eat you even more . But, I cannot eat you . They say this conflict is similar to living in hell .
So it is a superb pleasure, there are others that have said this to be true . That’s why love with humans is so restricted . ”


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49 . “What? That’s meaningless and dangerous, it’s contradictory above anything else . ”
“No, there’s nothing contradictory about it at all . In short, for a bored Ayakashi, human girls are unusual, which makes them extreme subjects of interest . ”  The story that ogre told me had sounded like something my grandpa had said long ago . As you can imagine, the ogre raised his voice, “Do you like sweets?” he said, picking up a box behind him and fishing around in it . It was a sugary
confectionery that imitated the shape of beautiful cherry blossoms . I was hungry, so I picked it up and ate it without hesitation . The sugar confectionery is not too sweet and has a cherry like a flavour, it tastes good, along with this it has a liquid-like centre . I ate it silently . I wonder what I should do now? At this moment, the strong feelings of disappointment in my grandfather emerge .
I know the cause of this frustration and anger now . To know that my favourite grandfather would do something so disappointing and regrettable . What should I do? After a few moments of silence, I raise my face and look at the ogre’s . I am afraid of those red eyes . “Hey, what if I just return my grandpa’s debt, or is it useless?”

50 . “What do you mean?”
“I’ll return the debt instead of marrying . ” The air in this place changes, it was the words that came out of my mouth that caused it to happen . It happened as soon as I proposed that question . The ogre adopted a serious expression in contrast to his normally cool one . “How will you return such a large amount of money?”
“I’ll work and earn the money, of course, besides, I’m sure this isn’t the most ideal situation . If I am married to you the employees will not be happy right? You just need to give me some time to get the money . ”
“……… . ”
“My presence here only brought anger to the Ayakashi, one of them even threatened to eat me which I’m sure would leave a bad aftertaste . ” Gulping, I take a breath . The ogre keeps a calm atmosphere, glancing around the room with his cold red eyes . There was a small silence . I
know, it was a reckless and foolish thing to say but, this is the only way . “I see, I see . Are you trying to bargain with me? Little girl . ” He drops a cigarette into the hearth .

51 . The ogre who called me such a thing for the first time stood to his knees . He had a bad expression on his face with a nuisance like attitude . To be threatened by a spirit, what am I supposed to do? “Well, you can try . It’ll be difficult but you can try and become an employee here . However, if you decide to work here at Tenjin-ya I will not treat you as my bride and you will have no protection . I will treat you like any other employee . So don’t complain if you get eaten, alright?”
“So you’ve shown your true nature, ogre!”
“You wanted it this way . ” Said the ogre with a cold stormy tone . “You can find a job on your own . However, I’m not sure if you’ll find one at this inn . After all, everyone is very busy and on top of that because of what Shiro’s done in the past humans are hated terribly here . ”
“… . . ”
“Well, goodluck . ” The ogre bent down, then stood up adjusting his coat . “Your bed is prepared, it’s in an advanced suite, however, it’s only for today . From tomorrow you will have to sleep in the rooms for the lowest ranked employee . Well, that’s if you can find a job, you’ll be homeless if you cannot find one . ”

52 . “I know that . ”
“Is that so? Well, if you try and run away I will eat you straight away, no questions asked . But in saying that, if you become my bride I will gladly welcome you . ” The ogre had an ironic smile on his face . Returning this debt, it seems more than impossible . I was convinced that very soon I’d give up and have to be this ogre’s bride . There is no question that this ogre is dominating . “I’m tired . ” After the demon left, my intentions to leave this inner room came out . The three faceless sisters were waiting for me, they guided me to my bed . The room was named 'Okamaki . ’ It’s a lovely room . This guest room was on the upper floor and smelled of a sweet incense . The futons were already prepared . There were two pillows, I kick one to the far corner of the room and crawl into bed . As soon as I got in, tears started to overflow, I bite on my lips . Even if I try to stay strong this is all a big confusing puzzle . I just want to try . Now I’m worried about what to do and who to believe, there is only misery and loneliness .

53 . All these doubts for my grandfather who I thought were family more than anything . As my grandfather’s debtor, he just willingly turned me over to be the bride for an Ayakashi . This body is the only reason why, because I can see Ayakashi . However, it must have been convenient for him . My grandfather may not have loved me, although that is a lonely thought . Still, I can not hate my grandfather . This is so lonely .

I fell into my futon for a while as tears were running down my face . I was hungry, I was so hungry that I could not sleep . It’s so miserable . I stood up and looked out through a large rounded glass window . In the dark night, the red light of a tower was flashing in the distance . This feels like the views of a city at night . The ships flying overhead had increased compared to before, it looked as if the aircraft
were enough to light up this world . It’s bright and noisy even though it’s surely past midnight… When I thought about such things, a vague sound could be heard from the entrance to the room .

54 . I tighten my facial expression thinking of what it could possibly be, something then opens the sliding door . There was a boy who looked about ten years old . He raised his voice surprised, “Woah . ” He fell down on the spot . He had bright blue eyes, like fireworks, and even in the dark, I noticed his white fluffy ears and tail . “Oh, that was unexpected . ” I thought that an Ayakashi had come to eat me, my heart was beating fast . The boy was looking up at me with big eyes, a tray in his hand . There was three sushi lining the tray . My stomach growled . “I thought that you might be hungry . So I brought a midnight snack . This is a secret from the Master . Don’t worry, it’s not poisoned so please eat at ease . ” Said the boy in a small hushed voice . I feel relieved from his appearance as he smiles and shakes his tails . “Thank you very much, what’s your name?”
“Oh, I’m a nine tails fox, my name is Ginji! I’m the Young Master here at Tenjinya . ” The boy with silver hair bowed his head deeply . “Oh, so you’re the Young Master? Isn’t that a very great position? Perhaps, you’re the son of that ogre?”

55 . “No, that’s not the case . The Master doesn’t have any sons . ” The child explained to me almost as if I was blind . “Here at Tenjinya, the position is not hereditary . The title is easy enough to understand, so the right person is chosen for it . It can change depending on the circumstances . Even though I look like this, I’m nearly as old as the Master . ”
“No way . ”
“It’s true!” If I can recall I believe that fox boys are not very reminiscent of their childhoods and have calm attitudes, his tone also sounds somewhat grown up . In the room that the ogre and I were in earlier… There it was, a revelation! I remember that another Ayakashi was wearing a fox mask . “Do you mean, Ginji-san you were in the room with the ogre earlier?”
“Yeah, I see you’ve noticed, as expected of Shiro’s granddaughter . ” Ginji-san had a very bright expression on his face . He brings the sleeve of his kimono to his face, confirming it . “Because I can use the art of shapeshifting I can use nine forms for the situation . I mainly use the form of an adult man but we often use the appearance of a child . ”

56 . “Why a child?”
“Well, this is a pretty form is it not? Besides, I was afraid I’d scare you otherwise . ” Ginji-san smiled . “Is your stomach feeling better?”
Ginji-san is then immersed in smoke . I could see a white kimono as the smoke retracted, as it disappeared a beautiful silver-haired woman appeared . She looks extremely beautiful . I touch the fluffy ears and tail . “Waaahh, amazing!” An unexpectedly adorable voice comes out .
“No, no! Don’t touch too much . ”
“I’m impressed, you really look like a genuine girl!” Ginji-san who is somewhat shy is unexpectedly funny . I look around carefully before pulling Ginji-san into my room . “I’d like to hear various stories about this place, I was wondering if now would be a good time while I’m
eating . ”
“Of course, I’m sure there are many things you’re uneasy about .

57 . Ginji-san looked depressed . He changed into the figure of a white fox child and entered the room . "This is cute . ”
“So fluffy! Too fluffy!” The fox rested his head on my knee, I drop my jaw and stroke its back and the tailcoat . These transformations are extraordinary . Even if he’s an Ayakashi like the ogre or the spider just by being in this lovely appearance of a fox I can tell he’s showing his true face . I feel like I can trust him . I grabbed a sushi with my other hand and took a bite . The sweetness of the modest vegetables, rice and sweet potatoes are really delicious . I like sushi with these ingredients in them, I also like simple butterfly sushi paired with noodles! The hunger in my stomach makes this taste irresistible . “Hey, why was everyone covering their faces in the room with the ogre earlier? It looked really suspicious . ” When I asked about the thing that was concerning me the most Ginji seemed shocked . “Eh?? I don’t always cover my face, not around employees . Mostly only when dealing with external customers, it’s corporate style, is it not?”

58 . “Before that was an employees meeting and a deal with an external customer . ” I felt he was not lying as he said this .
“But as long as you wear your mask, people cannot see your expression, so they may think of the worst . It isn’t very efficient and only raises suspicion which is already common for Ayakashi . ”
“Us Ayakashi also think about efficiency you know!” I take another bite of the sushi whilst patting the small fox .  
“Hey, what type of person is that Ogre Master anyway?” Just what kind of person is that Ogre? Even now, I cannot forget those cold eyes from before . “The Master is a wonderful Ogre, cold, brutal and bold . ”
“That’s a bit contradictory don’t you think?” Will these cold and brutal ties lead to something deeper? I thought whilst letting my eyes look into the distance . “No, no! The Master is truly a wonderful Ogre . He is a real Ogre . He is an Ogre God . The employees love him and he is also a member of Hachiyo in the Hidden Realm . ”
“Hachiyo?”
“Hachiyo is one country out of the eights land in the Hidden Realm . It shoulders a shrine that manages the land . In the middle, there is a  temple where the Lords settle in the centre . These important lands are connected to different worlds in eight directions . One of them in Tenjinya which is located in the Northeastern area . So in short, the master is an amazing person even here in the Hidden Realm and Apparent Realm!”

59 . “Hmmm . ” I did think there could be various lands for Ayakashi . Ginji-san seems a little shocked by my small reaction . “So this is the Northeastern land, is it not?”
“Yes, you’re right . Tenjinya even in the Hidden Realm is an inn located in the Northeast . When Ayakashi travel in and out of different realms they often stay here . That’s why we are prospering . ” I thought that flourishing under the watch of an Ogre would be quite unique in the realm of Ayakashi . Whilst picking up the last sushi I ask Ginji-san a question . “What kind of inn is Tenjinya? What kind of Ayakashi are you?”
“The Ogre Master is the owner of Tenjinya . I am a nine-tailed silver fox, the Young Master here . I’m mainly an assistant to the Master . We manage and handle the inn etc . ”
“Hmmm . ”
“Also, that Tsuchigomo from the meeting earlier in the executive front desk manager . ”

60 . “Oh, that guy! He was being pretty bold back there . ” Whilst looking around the room I found that I was reminded of bad memories . That
Tsuchigomo was bouncing off the spider thread and in the end, I was trapped in the elegant web . He said such unreasonable things back then . “I’m sorry, there’s no excuse for that . The tsuchigomo is quite a young man and a little hot-headed . It’s easy to anger him . Earlier, he was only looking out for the Master . He doesn’t have the highest opinions of humans and since you are Shiro’s granddaughter it only made it worse . He couldn’t cope with the idea of marriage between a human girl . ”
“Is grandpa hated by Ayakashi’s here that much?” Judging from the attitude of that spider I could understand that much but decided to ask anyway . “Yep . Shiro Tsubaki was a human being with immense power . He liked to say and do fun things, it got to a point where it was too much to handle . For example, the debt crisis he caused, what made the debt so bulky was his extreme drinking habit and that he disappeared after half destroying the accommodation at the end of his stay . ”
“What did grandpa half break?”
“The damage at the front was especially serious, the urn of the Higashiyu cultural heritage was turned back to a tree . The front desk manager is considerably irritable when he is mentioned . At this inn, 80% of the employees despise and do not like Shiro Tsubaki whilst the other 20% might as well worship him . ”

61 . “Yeah, that really sounds like grandpa . ” It seemed most of the world hated him and only he was loved by only a few . I did not witness the bad days nor the terrible things my grandfather did, but I have heard stories here and there . I understood most of them so I can imagine them all to be true . Because he was damned to see things others could not . But, I suppose there wasn’t much harm in having friendships with Ayakashi to him . Ginji-san nodded .
“Oh! There are also other executives such as 'The landlady,’ the first one responsible for maintenance . She is in charge of the 'Young Female Hostess . ’ There is also a position called, 'Big lady hostess . ’ There’s also 'Soba,’ of Shirasawa and Dharma of, 'The Boards . ’ There’s also Tanuki that takes care of the shoes and  Itachi that manage the gardens . On top of that, there are lots of kappa and water sprites as well . ”
“Woaaah, so many Youkai here have jobs . ”
“Yes, that’s true . This is an inn for Ayakashi after all . So naturally, we have a lot of residents here . There are also the three sisters who are in the middle of everything, as well as many choreographers . ” Not all Ayakashi can be drawn together but under the ogre, he has found a way for them all to gather . This is a truly fascinating world that even humans can find themselves in, although the chances of that are quite small . I finished eating my sushi and sighed .

62 . “In such a place like this, I wonder if there’s any work that I could do . ”
“Since there’s always a lack of hands here in our inn I’m sure you’d find work if there’s a place willing to accept you . So I think it would be better for you to stay in a place close to here and become a waitress . ”
“Well, that was my first choice . ” Of course, it’s said that ladies with womanly bodies that work as waitresses are normally extremely comfortable, but they can not get out of being a waitress .
“A lot of the girls here are waitresses . Many of them have a longing for the Master though . As a bride candidate, they’ll naturally be jealous and act hostile towards you . It’ll probably be more of the younger woman that will act in such a way towards you . ”
“Oh, alright . ” I became pale unexpectedly . That sounded so unreasonable even though this is a situation where I’m refusing to become a bride .
“Well, what about the kitchen then? Even though I’m young I can cook many dishes . There’s nothing I can’t use when in the kitchen . ”
“The kitchen will be a lot more difficult, it’s forbidden to women . ”
“I see . ” I sunk back .

63 . Surely, at restaurants that are old, it may not have been a strange custom . I’ve heard stories about a woman being forbidden from working in the kitchen . It’s very disagreeable . Even if working in the kitchen is impossible surely there are other jobs . “I wish I had a job . I guess now I’m in the process of withdrawing into a certain business right now . ”
“Withdrawing of a business?” Ginji-san answered ambiguously .
“Ah, yeah . ” I was starting to feel droopy although I do not know the reason why . I don’t know the reason why but it seems there are various things causing difficulties for Ginji-san even though he’s the Young Master . I can hear festival music from somewhere . I lifted my face and turned it towards the rounded side of the glass window . “Although it’s midnight Hiduyo is still lively . ”
“Night is the best time for activity, is it not? Ayakashi don’t need to sleep until dawn . Although the cycle may be different for humans . Normally we wake up at noon and prepare for the night . We ready ourselves for the sales . ”
“Well, I’m staying up late tonight it seems . ”
“I must go soon . ” Ginji-san panics and changes from the form of a small fox back to the silver-haired boy .

64 . Even though it’s a lovely figure the spine and muscles intertwining is unsettling . It is a sophisticated appearance . “If something happens please feel free to tell me, I’ll be sure to help out!”
“Thank you, if only all Ayakashi were kind like yourself . ” When I thanked him, Ginji-san smiled . I lowered my head . “Don’t be scared . ” After that, he picked up the plate and left the room without a sound . “……” I remain sitting in the room, keeping silent and just vaguely listening . There was busy festival music in the distance, sounds of Ayakashi feasting and having a good time . Crossing the glass window is a gorgeous ship decorated with red lanterns . I turn around, there is a dark silence in the room .

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