An ancient castle was ablaze in a roaring fire. Corpses of youkai were left lying all around. Yet, amidst the dead lay some that remained living, but their injuries had rendered them immobile...

        “Lord Ibarakidouji, what should we do with these youkais?”

        “Just save them all first! They are youkais just like us; we should not let them die when there is something we can do.”

        “Then...what about those who had surrendered to us?”

        “Tie them all up. We will wait for the kingpin to decide.”

        Ibarakidouji waved out his orders with his massive right arm. Although he was not the Kingpin of Youkai, he was the most trusted by the kingpin. Whenever the kingpin was absent, Ibarakidouji would take over the youkais’ leadership.

        “Have any of you seen the kingpin?”

        “I think he went into the ancient castle alone.”

        “What? How could you let him go by himself?”

        “The kingpin ordered us not to follow...”

        “Darn it! I will go find him!”

        Ibarakidouji dashed into the ancient castle, frantically searching. The castle was going to collapse soon and in Ibarakidouji’s mind, worries about the potential lack of evacuation time creeped up. Suddenly, from the rooftops of the ancient castle came sounds of a fight between youkais. Ibarakidouji rushed up, hoping that nothing had gone wrong.

        “Brother! Are you alright?” Ibarakidouji slammed open the door, but what he saw shocked him — Shuten-dōji sat in the middle of the room, gnawing on limbs torn from a youkai.

        Shuten-dōji’s attention immediately turned to Ibarakidouji upon hearing the latter’s voice. “I have dispatched the enemy general! It was no harder than killing an ant!”

        “Do you really know what you are doing?”

        “I am consuming his youkai pneuma. The strong preys on the weak; that is the way of our world!”

        “Isn’t your purpose in leading us for our liberation? Although you have defeated that youkai, he is still a youkai just like you and I. How can you eat him?”

        “I am the strongest. I am your kingpin! I choose what to do! I don’t need any of your crap!”

        Ibarakidouji never expected Shuten-dōji to respond that way. Stunned and disappointed, Ibarakidouji turned to leave without replying. Shuten-dōji realized he had misspoken; yet, the voice within him told him to ignore it. All he had to do was to consume youkai pneuma and grow increasingly powerful. Unable to resist, Shuten-dōji continued devouring the body of the youkai, seizing power in the fiery castle...

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