Volume 9 - Dojigiri: Chapter 39 – A Flash of Crimson Within the Despair (Part 2)
Ayaka’s strength was critically depleted, and the recent assault had pushed her to the brink of unconsciousness. She plummeted, accompanied by her longbow and Fubuki, trailing smoke in her wake.
Currently, Shuten had a massive gourd perched on his shoulder, the origin of the gilded projectiles. Unaffected by the spectacle, he remained stationary. He had already broken most of the curse and regained mobility in his upper body, leaving only his feet shackled by the spell. It was merely a matter of time before Shuten would free himself entirely from the curse.
Tamamo and the remaining sisters cried out in alarm as they witnessed Ayaka’s descent.
Riddled with tears, Ayaka’s outfit was in tatters. She trembled as she rose to her feet, clinging feebly to her longbow.
Onito, bearing a gaping hole in his chest, stood up abruptly. Although his primordial soul had been extinguished, he had managed to relocate his original soul to one of the two star souls in his head at the last second. This transfer had severely weakened him, but he was alive. His survival didn’t imply his fury had abated. “I’m going to kill you, you wretch!”
Onito lumbered forward, his colossal corpse-like form bearing down on Ayaka, who was still trembling. As she tried to draw her bow and fire, she found herself unable to do so in her weakened state. She had no choice but to abandon the longbow and prepare to fight hand-to-hand with Fubuki.
However, at that moment, Tokimasa landed a punch on her back.
“Aah!” Ayaka’s cry echoed as she was propelled forward, hurtling towards Onito.
Onito’s massive hand latched onto Ayaka’s neck, cutting off her breath. “I’m going to kill you! Make no mistake about that!”
With his free hand, Onito delivered a brutal punch to Ayaka’s belly, causing her to cough up blood.
“Quit wasting time, Onito! Snap her neck!” barked Hagewashi from above, still alive despite his missing lower body, glowering at Ayaka.
Onito pulled Ayaka close, gripping her head with the hand he had used to punch her. “Die!”
Excruciating pain clouded Ayaka’s face, but she mustered the courage to summon the Celestial Spirit Blade in her hand, which plunged into Onito’s grotesque, flabby, gray head.
“Huh?” Onito’s head bled from every opening, his eyes bulging in disbelief. He had not anticipated Ayaka’s desperate strike. He didn’t even have time to relocate his original soul, as the Celestial Spirit Blade had shattered his other star soul. The blade, originally a weapon of Tamamo-no-Mae, was believed to be forged using an immortal’s soul.
Onito was finished.
His colossal body stood there lifeless, still clutching Ayaka.
Ayaka attempted to wriggle free from the corpse’s grasp but found her strength too depleted to succeed.
“Lady Ayaka!” Shimizu tried to rush forward to assist Ayaka, but a Throned Sovereign demon ninja, in the late stages, struck her at her waist and sent her flying.
Rei’s attire was also severely damaged, and she was panting heavily, barely holding her ground against two mid-stage Throned Sovereign demon swordsmen. The pair simultaneously attacked Rei’s blade, and one of them landed a kick on her waist, sending her flying as well.
“Argh…” Rei’s body burned and her head spun uncontrollably. Somewhere along the line, she’d lost grip on her sword. The two demon swordsmen, spotting her vulnerable state, advanced relentlessly.
Meanwhile, Suno’s other monsters were locked in a ferocious struggle against Hagewashi’s familiars and the undead. Their main objective was to guard Tamamo-no-Mae, but their losses were mounting, tipping the scales against them. Ayaka, at this point, seemed beyond any salvation.
Tokimasa addressed Ayaka, “Indeed, the finest onmyoji humanity has ever seen. Who would’ve thought you could slay Onito under such grave circumstances? It’s no wonder Minamoto no Yoritomo feared you enough to try to remove you first. Yet, ironically, you’re now our captive. A life of servitude under the generals and Lord Shuten awaits you.”
Prising open the lifeless hand of Onito, Tokimasa secured his gauntlet-covered palm around Ayaka’s waist. Ayaka could only rest her hands against the brass gauntlet in a display of utter weakness. Her hair was disheveled, her eyes closed, and her brows knitted in pain.
In this instant, Shuten finally broke free from the curse, casually stepping out of the spell’s influence. He sneered at the sight of Ayaka, now in Tokimasa’s control.
“This time, I’m certain to secure Tamamo’s treasures,” Shuten considered. “But I must prevent Ayaka from potentially bringing out some legendary artifact that could turn the tide against us.”
He barked at Tokimasa, “Destroy her spirit palace, Tokimasa! Do it now! Hurry!”
Shuten had two reasons for wanting Ayaka alive. First, she possessed knowledge about the crucial mission of the mirror girls. Secondly, her beauty was extraordinary. Essentially, she was of use to him alive, but she was a danger if she retained her power.
Tokimasa was taken aback. To destroy a female warrior’s spirit palace was to strip her of life and dignity—a fate more horrific than a quick death, causing him to hesitate
Robinxen: Professionals have standards. Actually I think the TV trope for this is “Even evil has standards” right?">1.
However, the threat Ayaka posed couldn’t be overlooked. Obliterating her spirit palace was the only method to neutralize and capture her simultaneously.
Grim-faced, Tokimasa summoned three thick, golden needles in his free hand, each at least a foot long. Clenching his teeth, he raised the glowing needles, preparing to stab them into Ayaka’s lower belly—the location of her spirit palace. He showed no mercy to this woman, who was as captivating as a goddess.
“Hahaha! Hahaha!” Hagewashi’s laughter filled the air, delighting in the prospect of Ayaka’s impending humiliation and torment.
“No! Lady Ayaka!” Shizuru was also pinned down by the demons, blood smeared across her lips.
“Lady Ayaka!” Airi’s voice was raw from screaming.
“No…” Shimizu was cornered, surrounded by numerous Throned level monsters, leaving her no opportunity to aid Ayaka.
“This is it, huh…” Rei lay prone, too weak to make a move.
“I hope you won’t blame me, Ms. Ayaka. This is all for the greater good,” Tokimasa pleaded, his eyes wide, a sinister gleam flashing within them. With all his might, he thrust the golden needles towards Ayaka’s lower belly.
“No! Ayaka!” Tamamo’s desperate cry echoed.
Ayaka closed her eyes, whispering, “Lily…”
Just then, a rainbow light streaked across the horizon
Before anyone could comprehend, Tokimasa’s massive hand was airborne, blood trailing in its wake. He blinked in confusion as his brass gauntlet scraped against the air and Ayaka was nowhere to be found
Tokimasa stared dumbly at his fractured arm and the shattered remnants of the golden needles scattered in front of him.
“Huh? What happened?”
Everyone present was in the dark about the recent event, dumbfounded.
Only Shuten Doji squinted, his eyes directed towards a certain location
4, a frown creasing his face. There, he saw Lily in a red robe, kneeling on one knee, with Ayaka cradled in her arms.
Silva: Why hesitate? Aren’t you the bad guys?
Robinxen: Professionals have standards. Actually I think the TV trope for this is “Even evil has standards” right?
Silva: Of course
Silva: Of course x2
Robinxen: I scrolled really quickly and my brain processed this as “lolicon” which forced me to scroll back down and check I hadn’t misread.