A youkai serpent lay subdued on the ground. Standing on it was another youkai, one with different-colored pupils. In his hands he held the serpent’s horns, while his foot pushed the broken spear deeper and deeper into its body. Despite the serpent’s pained howls, the sole expression on the youkai was a contemptuous smile. A large group of youkais stood silently around the action, watching it unfold. They had previously served the serpent, but now, none dared intervene on their former leader’s behalf. The more pain inflicted upon the serpent, the happier the youkai seemed to be.

        Essentially, living in the youkai’s homeland, the Orient, was a never-ending game; today’s victor can be tomorrow’s defeated. There is no kindness or mercy between youkais, as all is governed by the “survival of the fittest” principle. If the weak cannot bear being suppressed and mocked, they have to seize immense power for themselves to ensure that they are undefeatable.

        This youkai with heterochromatic pupils was named Shuten-dōji. He had suffered torment from the youkai serpent and its followers for a long time. While this had angered him, he withstood it silently, awaiting a suitable opportunity to exploit, hoping to retaliate and vanquish his hated foes. To achieve this aim, Shuten-dōji trained daily to build up his strength, while practicing his youkai-jutsu. Yet, he felt this was not enough. Hence, Shuten-dōji started seeking ways to enhance his own strength.

        One day, he was beaten by the serpent along with its minions as usual. After the ordeal, he grimaced along, into an unpopulated forest. Suddenly, he was attacked by a giant youkai centipede from behind. After an extended fight, Shuten-dōji finally managed to defeat the centipede. As Shuten-dōji watched his foe dying on the ground, a voice seemed to reverberate through his head: ‘Consume its body, devour its youkai pneuma! You will become stronger!’ Shuten-dōji slowly walked towards the youkai centipede, and watched as it writhed on the ground. In his hesitation, he could not help but gasp; yet, that was why the voice once again rang out: ‘Come on! Consume it! Quickly!’ Shuten-dōji thus knelt down upon the body of the youkai centipede, taking a bite out of its body with some difficulty...

        A powerful wave of youkai pneuma surged through his body, and he felt as if his blood had started boiling. This sensation seemed to drain Shuten-dōji of his self-control. The initial resistance and morality had all vanished from his mind, and Shuten-dōji started ripping into the youkai centipede, devouring it quickly.

        “Why don’t you become a part of me as well?”

        Then, Shuten-dōji began tearing into the youkai serpent with his teeth. Its hails and wails grew increasingly intense. All of the other youkais present were horrified by the scene unfolding before their eyes, panickedly escaping. Soon after, all was silent, and only Shuten-dōji and the youkai serpent he was eating remained. For some reason — it was unclear whether it was from the influence of the powerful surge of youkai pneuma or simply because he had gotten his revenge — Shuten-dōji threw back his head. His maniacal laughter echoed...

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