Once I learned how to manage the affairs of the shrine under the tutelage of a mighty kitsune.
Back then, I was just a young shrine maiden who had just arrived on Narukami from a small fishing village.
I was duller than a teapot and had yet to lose the obstinate impulsiveness and curiosity of a child,
I was always naively skeptical of the elegant but incomprehensible words of Lady Saiguu.
"Everything in the world is entangled. Hence, illusory visions were born out of concrete reality."
"The so-called omamori cannot make one's wishes come true at all, but they can make them eternal through this entanglement."
The Lady Kitsune couldn't help but break into laughter upon seeing my clueless expression.
She cheerfully knocked my head with her pipe and sneakily changed the subject.
"What sort of 'fate' could there be with a rude and reckless brute like that!"
"Oh, is that so?
But darkness engulfed everything in the end.
That "fate," too, was no more.
Shaft of Remembrance
A demon-slaying arrow used by the shrine for prayers and to drive away catastrophes,
It is said to be capable of pursuing and destroying all demons.
People often say that demon-slaying arrows can drive away evil, but evil is never an objective thing.
Evil often stems from within our hearts, born out of delirious minds that have turned cold and ashen from terror.
Lady Saiguu has been gone for a long time now, and I am no longer that young shrine maiden training at the Grand Narukami Shrine.
Whenever I hold that empty smoking pipe, I can feel that emptiness and dull pain hover over me like a phantom.
Having someone worth missing, losing someone whom I cannot help missing... And time keeps moving like a spinning wheel.
Silent and tranquil, the Lady Kitsune's white form hidden in the deep darkness left a deep impression in the shrine maiden's dreams.
The Great Tengu went into self-imposed exile, enraged at her own incompetence as the Lady Saiguu's protector, leaving Teruyo behind.
Harunosuke left for another country amid the fury of his mourning, while Nagamasa joined the Shogunate to clear the Mikoshi name.
As for the man who taught me archery in the sacred forest and patiently listened to my naÏve promise under the scarlet sakura boughs,
He will eventually return to me, even if he were to be blinded by splattered blood, or turned into a fierce beast by that dark defilement...
I shall save him with our bow and arrows, to keep our promise, which ever veers towards breaking.
I shall destroy evil with our bow and arrows, exorcising folly and needless obsession.
"Come see me, you idiotic problem gambler."
"And don't lose your way this time, Konbumaru."
Still, who won the last throw of the dice...
She touched the bow lightly while pondering such unimportant things.
Morning Dew's Moment
An elegant watch adorned with a shrine bell.
The hands always point towards the wee hours of the morning.
As the sky brightens, morning dew condenses and then disappears.
As beautiful as this colorful scenery may be, it is still short-lived.
I once enjoyed the chirping of cicadas and the moonlight with Lady Saiguu on a slope in the middle of an autumn night.
Back then, I was just a shrine maiden from the country, young and stubborn.
Like a chirping finch, noisily insisting on my own view.
A faint smile that crossed the mouth of Lady Kitsune fascinated me, but her words were — and remain — incomprehensible:
"Trying to hold on to a moment's beauty is like foolishly trying to grasp the morning dew."
"Like the morning dew, I have already passed away. All you have seen of me is but a residual vision, born of your wishes."
In that vague memory, she kept saying some incomprehensible things. Her expression as sorrowful as the eighth month's moon, and I suddenly...
Then she rapped me over the head with her tobacco pipe, wearing her usual expression of rebuke and mockery:
"Hibiki, the sun's about to rise."
"We should head back."
A special slip cylinder that the shrine uses for fortune-telling,
It is supposedly infused with good fortune that the kitsune have imparted upon it.
Fortune telling is born from the questions of lost people. Thus, be it good or bad fortune, it will help them navigate their future.
In other words, there are only lost people, and no inaccurate fortunes.
I've learned a lot while studying at the shrine. Now, even someone as dull-witted as I am has learned how to talk like a mighty kitsune.
During this time, even someone as inhuman as the mighty Yougou Tengu has gotten a daughter.
Even that leatherhead Konbumaru has also become one of the Shogun's own Hatamoto, and shall soon marry the daughter of a high-ranking samurai.
"Such a lovely kid. Even the great Yougou Tengu, who used to kill all day for fun, had the mother inside her brought out... just a little."
"Still... the shrine is always missing the liveliness of children. That's not good. Say, Hibiki, how would you like to be a kid again?"
The Lady Kitsune's joke was out of line as always, coming forth with the self-serving scent of sakura wine.
"Aw, Hibiki, why the long face? How about this then? I, the Lady Saiguu, shall tell your fortune for you!"
"Haha, see? See, it's "Great Fortune." "Great Fortune"! You know what that means?"
"It means you took away all the bad fortune slips. Please stop mocking me, Lady Saiguu."
"No... it means that the person you're missing will be lucky enough to become a part of your memories forever."
That's why you have to be strong and must live on for a long, long time.
Even if all the people you cherish are gone, as long as you are still alive,
The time you spent with them will never perish...
A bright and elegant festival mask that once belonged to a certain miko.
A faint smile curls the edges of the mask's lips, but there is no real light in its eyes.
I've spent much time training at the Grand Shrine, and I must say that I've matured a lot.
At the very least, I'm not as foolish as I was when I was young, and I'm more independent now.
But for some reason, the more I grow, the more Lady Saiguu's face seems to fall under a shadow. What emerges on her face is not anxiety nor fear, but rather a sorrowful reluctance...
"Life is full of uncertainty. Love is fleeting, and even lasting memories may be lost."
"Losing one's memory is no different from losing one's life. It is like death amidst darkness eternal."
This time, even a faint smile could not conceal her sorrow.
Though this is a festive day, it seems more like a farewell.
"Right, then. Why don't you tell me about the idiot Konbumaru?"
"What's wrong? Still afraid that an old hag like me will steal him from you?"
- In Shinto, shimenawa are ropes made of woven rice straw or hemp fiber used in ritual purifications, as they are believed to ward off evil spirits. Shimenawa are also placed around yorishiro, objects that are believed to attract or contain kami (spirits) (Japanese: 神).
- Upon the Version 2.0 release, the in-game Japanese language text mostly uses しめ縄 rather than 注連縄.