Side story: Momiji in the past and Momiji in present
Time goes back to a thousand years ago .
Time, a certain youkai fox was blending in with people and surviving.
“Hey, you there.”
“Oh? What is it?”
“Hey, hey. Can I have some food? I never forget a favor I’ve received, you know?”
“Oh? Give you some food? No way, you’re the sneak thief who’s been stealing my vegetables lately, aren’t you? Hey, wait! You thief!!!”
That’s right, she was a resilient survivor.
The name of this fox is Momiji.
She was the most cowardly of the nine-tailed family, a single-tailed youkai that had specialized in mimicking humans and hiding.
It’s a bit of a misfortune, or rather, an everyday occurrence, to be suspected of something and chased by humans.
Whenever this happens, she always shakes her tail and runs back to her parent’s house where her family is waiting for her.
However, every time she makes such an escape, Momiji thinks that if she fails to get food, which is a noble mission given to her, everyone might probably get angry at her.
That’s why she was sneaking back to her parent’s house. ……
“I know you here, Momiji.”
“Uh-aah!! You’re wrong, Mother! I was almost ready to get the food. It’s just that my stomach suddenly started hurting, and I couldn’t stand it!”
And Momiji, who was instantly recognized by the sensing ability of the Nine-Tailed Family, always pretended to be ill and glanced at her parent, the Nine-Tails, to see how she was doing.
This sequence of events is the routine work of a day.
“Haaa… you’ve been bullied by humans again, haven’t you …….? I’ve already told you not to approach humans lightly with your abilities,……. It is much more efficient to hunt animals in the forest, isn’t it?”
“I thought I could be friends with humans, didn’t I, Mother? Wouldn’t it be better to ask them to give us food so we can have a good meal?”
Even though her mother, Tamamo, warned her about this, Momiji said it without the slightest regret.
It seems that Momiji still believes that it is more efficient to coexist with humans and be blessed with food than to devote herself to hunting.
Of course, she hasn’t forgotten that she will repay the favor and the price someday.
Incidentally, what they said earlier about her being a thief is a complete lie, and she has never stolen food from poor people or fields before.
She I only occasionally sneak potatoes from wealthy people.
“I thought we could be friends, huh? Not at all. If you are one of my family members, you should be a little more aware of the fact that you are a youkai. …… ”
Even though she was told that, she did not know what she was talking about and only tilted her head, as she had not gained much experience as a youkai fox.
But, Momiji thought.
What if there really was someone among humans who would accept her?
If there was a future where families and humans could live together, it would be a very fun thing to do, she thought.
“Are you awake? You’ve got a lot of guts, as usual, to enjoy my lap.”
She woke up from a fitful sleep in the otherworldly cafe, or Tamamo store, a business started by Kenji Saito.
It seems that Momiji was having a nostalgic dream from the distant past.
“Mother? …. I’ll have to work little harder next time…….. Maybe we can get some food this time. …… Fuaa~..”
She may not have been fully awake yet, but she was holding her proud tail, which had somehow grown to three, and saying something nonsense.
Dumbfounded by her daughter’s behavior, Tamamo let out a sigh and began to stroke her head fondly.
“This stupid girl. Rambled about missions getting food. What era do you think it is now?”
She realized that what she had just seen was a dream from a long time ago, and now they were living happily together as a family.
As she looked around, she saw on the table the onigiri that Kenji Saito had prepared for breakfast and her favorite tuna mayo.
Momiji picked up one of them and chewed it with a satisfied expression.
Apparently, today’s onigiri was also the best.
Tamamo, who had been watching her daughter’s happy expression with compassion, suddenly threw out a story.
“So, are you going?”
The question, “Are you going?” probably means, “Are you going to follow Kenji Saito’s journey?”
But Momiji replied to such a question without any hesitation, saying that she would follow him.
Her answer made the mother feel both sad and proud, so she lowered my eyes.
As a mother, she would have regretted that her precious daughter took that young man over her, but more than that, she would have realized that her current figure, who is independent and aiming for the future, has changed a lot compared tov the past.
“I’ll never forget the favor I received, you know? And I’ve always wanted to have more fun with humans when I get to know them.”
“…… I see. If so, don’t hesitate, stupid girl. Live your life as you see fit. You’re free now, …… no, you’re much more free from now on.”
The way she said to go and enjoy more and more happiness in addition to the connection with her family, she seemed to include some guilt for having mistreated his daughters as a great youkai until now.
However, whether she noticed this, but Momiji continued with a carefree smile.
“What are you talking about, Mother? I’ve always enjoyed this world, you know? Mother may not realize it, but I think I’m going to be a great youkai someday.”
It’s not sure what “great” means, but probably it means that her life, or rather her life as a yokai, is a great success according to her own standards.
Tamamo could sense something in her daughter’s smile, which had changed so much from the past to the present, and said, “Yes, you can do it. I’m sure you can do it,” was all she said, ending the conversation.