Since the reunion with Tuchigumo, Shigeharu could not bear to part with it again, so he decided to bring it home with him. Fubuki understood that Tuchigumo was Shigeharu’s pet and that he would never leave it. Therefore, she did not intend to say anything in dissuasion. However, although it had been a tiny spiderling when it was little, Tuchigumo had grown into a gigantic creature with a mouth full of pointy teeth. Fubuki could not help but feel insecure, leaving her wary.
This tension erupted when their journey took them to a single-plank bridge. Just as Fubuki was about to cross, Tuchigumo suddenly spat numerous threads in front of her, blocking her way.
Fubuki: A youkai never changes its spots. Finally showing your true side, huh?
Fubuki took out a seal, ready to draw a magic circle and summon Hajikamiio. However, Tuchigumo did not attack them and instead, simply looked at her bemused, as if unable to understand her actions. Just then, the bridge they were about to cross collapsed! If they had been on the bridge, they would have...
Shigeharu: Wow, wasn’t THAT close! It’s good that Octie stopped us, or that could have ended disastrously! Right, Fubuki?
Fubuki: Seems more like mere luck to me...
With the bridge collapsed, they had to change their route. After discussing over a map, they decided to proceed through a forest. The three walked into the forest without noticing a ragged wooden board in the bush. On it was written: “Danger! Beware of man-eating Monsters!”
The three walked inside the forest when suddenly, peculiar sounds rang from above. Lifting their head, they saw a few Humans snared up on a tree by unidentifiable threads!
Is that not spider silk? Fubuki stared at Tuchigumo, the suspicion in her eyes palpable...
Fubuki: When did you catch so many people behind our back?
Shigeharu: Octie has never left our sight. How could it be Octie? Let’s put the bickering aside and save them first!
Food-guarding Monster: You released our food! Unforgivable!
Fubuki: I would have thought they’re more powerful than this; ha, turns out they are all bark and no bite.
With the help of Tuchigumo, Shigeharu and Fubuki successfully saved the trapped Humans. The monsters knew that they were no match for the Onmyō practitioners, so they escaped to the depths of the forest, albeit with yells of “Don’t you dare run” on the way.
Shigeharu was speechless at the absurdity. Fubuki, on the other hand, started to view Tuchigumo in a different light. After all, it shielded her with its own body a few times during the battle. Tuchigumo smiled at Fubuki; yet, she was still too prideful to give it a smile in return.
At that moment, strong vibrations reverberated from underground. Immense youkai-pneuma approached from within the forest! Tuchigumo bristled, showing Shigeharu and Fubuki the comer’s hostility. They knew clearly that it must be stronger than the monsters just now...
A gigantic figure slowly walked out the forest. The source of such immense pneuma was a spider youkai! Its anger was palpable in its expression. The spider youkai, with its minions, charged at the Onmyō practitioners...
Spider Youkai: ‘You hateful thieves! Give me back my food!’
Shigeharu: So it was you who caught those people! You are the reason Fubuki has mistaken Octie for the culprit!
Spider Youkai: ‘You let my food go. You shall take their place!’
Fubuki: Hmph! Get us if you can!
Lengthy Limbs - Tuchigumo: ‘I won’t let you hurt Shigeharu! You monster, leave! Or I’m going to make you!’
The spider youkai spat thread after thread at Shigeharu and Fubuki, but all were sliced apart by Tuchigumo’s sharp claws. Enraged, it threw itself, attempting to slam its gigantic body at them. Just before impact, Tuchigumo hurriedly rammed the spider youkai, flipping it onto its back, unable to get back on its feet. Tuchigumo knew it had won, and the spider youkai no longer posed a threat. Tuchigumo then approached the pair, checking their wounds.
Yet, just as they thought this was over, the spider youkai’s minions actually managed to help it flip back over. It was now standing on its legs and staring at the three, as if planning something. The Onmyō practitioners never thought it would be so persistent. They adopted a battle stance and readied themselves for another wave of attack. The spider youkai suddenly leapt at Tuchigumo, its weight raising clouds of dust...
The dust masked the scene entirely. Shigeharu and Fubuki waved their hands, hoping to clear their sight somewhat, but it was to no avail.
Shigeharu: Octie! Are you okay? Answer me!
Fubuki: Shigeharu, we’d better be careful. The monsters could be laying an ambush.
When the dust finally settled, the sight before their eyes shocked the two — the spider youkai was sweetly leaning against Tuchigumo! No matter how many times Tuchigumo tried to evade, the spider youkai would not let go of Tuchigumo.
Spider Youkai: ‘I can’t believe you can beat me. You’re incredible!’
Spider Youkai: ‘I’m gonna take you home and make you my husband!’
The situation had progressed in an unforeseen direction. Regardless of whom one asked — Shigeharu, Fubuki or Tuchigumo — none considered the possibility that the spider youkai was a female, not to mention that fact that it would fall in love with Tuchigumo! Tuchigumo’s expression was one of embarrassment and helplessness. How can it get out of this situation now?
It happened that the spider youkai was a princess of Spider Country located in the forest. “She” had always wanted to find a powerful husband, and Tuchigumo, who was able to defeat “her”, was naturally a highly fitting candidate. A crowd of minions hemmed Tuchigumo in, so it played along and followed “her” back to her country. Shigeharu and Fubuki were also invited as guests. The spider youkai wanted them to witness their wedding.
In the depths of the forest lived numerous spider youkais. This was the country they built. “She” guided the three around the country, giving them a tour of her home. Just then, Tuchigumo sensed a dangerous pneuma radiating from a cave not far away. Seeing its reaction, the spider youkai said, anger palpable:
Princess of Spider Country: ‘Odious worm youkais live in that cave. They would always plunder food from us or attack our subjects!’
Princess of Spider Country: ‘But now I no longer have to worry about this, because I have you, my husband. We don’t need to fear them anymore!’
Princess of Spider Country: ‘Come on! Let’s hold a grand party for our wedding!’
The spider youkai had just finished talking when slimes approached from all directions. They dressed the princess and Tuchigumo. Tuchigumo’ s resistance was ignored but before it could roar in complaint, quaking emanated from the cave, and an explosion boomed not far away. Looking towards the commotion, Tuchigumo saw a crowd of worm youkais dashing toward them.
The worm youkais’ sudden attack terrified the spider youkais present, and they started fleeing in haste. In the commotion, a rock was thrown at the princess of Spider Country! “She” screamed in fear, but fortunately, a strong spider youkai shielded “her” from the rock.
Strong Spider Youkai: ‘Are you alright, Your Highness?’
Princess of Spider Country: ‘...I’m fine.’
Head of Worm Youkais: ‘Looks like you’re having a grand party! Why didn’t I get an invitation? How rude!’
Lengthy Limbs - Tuchigumo: ‘Shameless piece of crap! Don’t pick on the weak!’
The worm youkais were driven away by Tuchigumo. The constantly harassed spider youkais finally gained freedom from oppression with the help of Shigeharu, Fubuki and Tuchigumo. They no longer needed to worry about losing their food, or worse yet, becoming food for the worm youkais. Therefore, they glorified the three as heroes and admired them.
A drop of sweat streamed down Tuchigumo’s face; “he” had not figured out a way to reject the princess. “He” walked before “her” and embarrassedly said after stretching its own head:
Lengthy Limbs - Tuchigumo: ‘I appreciate your love, but, I...’
Princess of Spider Country: ‘Though it was important to fight enemies, but you didn’t come to me when I was attacked!’
“She” said while leaning against a strong spider youkai. “She” then airily continued:
Princess of Spider Country: ‘Now, I realize that I am looking for a partner who always prioritizes me.’
Princess of Spider Country: ‘Don’t be upset. We are just meant to go our own way.’
Having said that, the princess of Spider Country left along “her” new partner without looking back, rendering Tuchigumo speechless. It stood there alone, prompting laughter from Shigeharu and Fubuki. No one had ever imagined that the princess would change its mind so easily. Nevertheless, this meant they were finally free again.
Later, the princess sent minions to guide the three out of the forest to repay the favor for their help. Under the minions’ guidance, they soon left the forest when a familiar village and shrine came into view...
After returning to the shrine, Tuchigumo’s long-awaited wish could finally come true — to live together with Shigeharu. Although Fubuki had accepted Tuchigumo, its appearance still scared the other villagers. They no longer approached the shrine and hence, it had been quieter than before. Tuchigumo thought that it itself encumbered Shigeharu and Fubuki’s life; yet, they indeed felt their previous life had been too busy and now, it actually gave them time to rest.
With the two Onmyō practitioners out of the village for quite some time, a few ascetics took the opportunity to spread rumors about a curse. They claimed that only their seals could lift this curse. Ill-informed, the villagers were terrified, but their fear of Tuchigumo left them unable to seek Shigeharu and Fubuki’s help. Hence, the villagers were left without a choice but to heed the ascetics warning, and buying their seals to protect themselves.
Shigeharu and Fubuki noticed the incident and suspected those ascetics were mere charlatans hoping to earn a fortune. However, the villagers now trusted them. Abruptly exposing their deception would not convince the villagers.
Even as Shigeharu was stuck in thought, a great idea flashed across Fubuki’s mind. After she explained her idea to him clearly, a smile etched across their faces. Together, they turned to look at Tuchigumo, which had its head titled, trying to understand what they were saying...
Female Ascetic: If you don’t want the curse to befall you, buy these powerful seals! As our pneuma is limited, we can only make ten seals each day!
Ignorant Villager: I’ve been in line since yesterday. Sell me that seal!
As everyone was scrambling for the seals, Tuchigumo suddenly crashed to the ground from above. It effortlessly destroyed the so-called seals, and more importantly, did so unharmed.
Ascetic: Wh...What are you doing? Evil youkai!
Lengthy Limbs - Tuchigumo: ‘Frauds! We’re here to expose your lies!’
Shigeharu: There is no power within the seals! What do you have to say for yourselves?
Fubuki: Frauds, return that money you took from the villagers!
Ascetic: Do, do you think we’re idiots? We already got the money, why’d we give it back?
Secretly whipping out smoke bombs, the charlatans hurriedly escaped with the money under the cover of the smoke. However, they never reached the exit, having been snared by Tuchigumo’s threads. Knowing that it would not end well for them, the frauds returned the money to the villagers.
Shigeharu and Fubuki grabbed the chance to introduce Tuchigumo to the villagers. Fubuki also helped change their perspective about it by sharing her own experiences. At first, the villagers remained wary. But as time passed, they gradually realized that Tuchigumo was a kindhearted youkai. Since then, Tuchigumo became the guardian of both the village and shrine — no evil dared intrude.
Witnessing all these changes, Shigeharu smiled. His master’s last wish finally came true. He looked at the outfit his master used to wear and said calmly:
Shigeharu: Master, Humans and youkais can someday understand each other and form bonds, right?
Shigeharu: Now, that no longer seems to be a distant dream.