The Kumazasa was wet with morning dew. As Nakajima left Shirasagi Mound behind him, his calm expression showed not a trace of the worry that had lined it when he came here to ask Izanami's help. Turning around one last time, he sucked in a deep breath and kicked off the ground as hard as he could.
His body seemed as light as a feather. Like coming to the surface from deep within the ocean, Nakajima floated through the air, his arms pushing in a swimming motion. The wind whipped at his ears. It was not a great howl, but the comfortable sound of cloth fluttering in the breeze.
Using one arm to push the air aside and twist his body, Nakajima started flying parallel to the ground. Below him, Ishibutai tombs and the roofs of ancient temples looked scattered on a pale green panorama. Nakajima left Asuka and went in a straight line to the east. Soon, the blinding blue-black shimmer of Ise Bay spread out below him. Further ahead, the Nobi plains and the peaks of the Japanese Alps appeared to stare at Nakajima flying gently across the sky.
Nature gave birth to and killed millions of lives here...
Ages ago, Izanami and Izanagi had had a great fight. That day, Izanami vowed to take the lives of one hundred people per day, and in response Izanagi vowed to give life to two hundred people per day. Whether or not the gods actually had any interest in the lives or deaths of humans, surely there was no conflict over whether any individual life survived or died.
In ages past, this Toyoashihara might have been the country of the gods. But present-day Japan was created by the efforts of people, and ruled by people. It would be difficult to see any opportunity for the gods to interfere.
Am I really Izanagi's reincarnation? At the very least, that's what Izanami told me. But I do not want to be a god. I want to live and die as a person...
If Nakajima could really call himself a god, things would have been so much easier for him. Then he would have been able explain away the fact that the single program he created caused his mother, Yumiko's family, and thousands—tens of thousands—of people to die as a destiny given to humanity by the gods. The gods had simply given a cruel trial to humans who put too much faith in their own power by making them face off against technology-produced demons. It would seem natural, for the demons would destroy the human world, and after the people had seen just how powerless they were, then the ever-capricious gods would step in and save them by driving off the demons.
Even if I really am Izanagi's reincarnation, I could not become a god. I only created that program to get revenge on those who hurt me. And now I am using all of the power Izanami gave me to save Yumiko, just one person that I love...
Gaining altitude, Nakajima climbed into the clouds. Crisp, cold air caressed his cheek.
More than accepting the fact that his attack on the demons was out of stubborn insistence on rescuing Yumiko, Nakajima was trying to hold onto his identity as a person. Nakajima had not yet realized that destroying the many in favor of an individual was also a common act of those very same ever-capricious gods. From the moment he had donned Izanami's robe, his body had subtly started transforming within.