Symposium of Post-mysticism/Nue Houjuu

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Pages 53-55
< Part 2: Mamizou Futatsuiwa   Symposium of Post-mysticism   Part 2: Mononobe no Futo >

正体不明の正体 True Form of the Unidentified
封獣 ぬえ Houjuu Nue Nue Houjuu
能力        正体を判らなくする程度の能力 Ability: The ability to make objects unidentifiable
危険度      高 Threat level: High
人間友好度   低 Human friendship level: Low
主な活動場所  命蓮寺など Main place of activity: Myouren Temple, etc.
 正体不明の妖怪、鵺である。 A nue, a youkai without a true identifiable form.
 平家物語では天皇を怯えさせた妖怪を仕留めたら、頭は猿、体は狸、手足は虎、尻尾は蛇というキマイラ(*1)であった、と記述がある。そのイメージが後に鵺のイメージとなったが、実際にはその怪物が鵺だとは書かれていない。 In the Tale of the Heike, a youkai feared by the Emperor was hunted down, turning out to be a chimera(*1) having the head of a monkey, the body of a tanuki, the limbs of a tiger and the tail of a snake.[1] This description became the image of the nue afterwards, but in actuality it was not written that this youkai was a nue.
 事実、妖怪の鵺とその怪物は別物であった。鵺はあくまでも、正体不明の妖怪だった。ただし泣き声だけは知れ渡っていたと言われる。鵺の泣き声がする夜は不吉だと言われている。 The truth is that the youkai nue and that monster were completely different beings. A nue is actually a youkai whose real form cannot be established. However, it is said that the sound of its cry is still well-known to people. The saying goes that the nights when a nue's cries can be heard are ill-fated.
 見えている姿も、何だか説明の付かない翼というか尻尾というか謎の触手が生えている。それぞれが自在に動き、見る物を眩惑する。 Her visible form has inexplicable tentacles that might be wings or tails of some kind. Each of these appendages can be moved freely, which disorients those who see them.
 暫くは地底世界に居たようだが、間欠泉騒ぎに乗じて地上に出てきたらしい。現在は命蓮寺の聖白蓮の元で修行しているとされる。 Apparently, she had been in the underground world for a while, but it seems that she has moved to the surface with the recent commotion about the geyser. She is supposedly training under Byakuren Hijiri at the Myouren Temple for the time being.
能力 Ability
 彼女は、自らも正体不明の妖怪だが、他の物の正体を無くす能力を持っている事が判明した。正体を無くすとは、物体、生物から姿形、音、匂いなどを奪い、主に行動だけを残す事である。例えば、空を飛ぶ鳥から鳥だと判る部分だけを奪い、「空を飛ぶ謎の物体」に変えてしまう能力である。 While she herself is a youkai with an indeterminate form, it has been discovered that she can also conceal the true nature of other objects. To conceal the true nature means to rob form, sound and smell from objects and living beings, leaving mainly its behavior. For instance, robbing the identity of a bird while it is in flight will leave it as an "unidentified flying object".
 正体を無くした謎の物体は見る人によって形を変える。見る人の心の中で、勝手に姿形を補完して自分の中だけで納得のいく形に落ち着くという。鳥の正体を無くした「空を飛ぶ謎の物体」が、結局ただの鳥に見える事もしばしば有るという。ただし、その場合は何処かフワフワとした不安定な鳥になるだろう。 The mysterious entity that has lost its identity will be perceived as different forms depending on the observer. It is said the form will settle into something that their mind can accept by completing its figure arbitrarily. Even in the case of the bird turned into a UFO by having its form stolen, it is usually seen as a mere bird after all. In this case though, what people will see would likely be a mirage-like, mutable bird.
命蓮寺での立場 Position in the Myouren Temple
 命蓮寺の妖怪は聖白蓮を中心に、皆お互い信用しているように見えるが、後から入門した彼女の立場は微妙なようだ。 Although it looks like the youkai of the Myouren Temple, centered around Byakuren, all trust each other, Nue's position is a bit tenuous as she joined later.
 いまいち他の妖怪に馴染めず、お寺の外れでつまらなそうにしている姿をよく見る。 She doesn't seem to be very well-acquainted with the other youkai, and is often seen looking bored on the outskirts of the temple.
 お寺の下から聖人が復活した時は妖怪の危機だと思い、勝手に外の世界から大物妖怪を招喚した。それは聖白蓮の意思では無い。本人は良かれと思ってやっているが、命蓮寺の意向とは少しずれているようだ。 When the saint beneath the Myouren Temple was resurrected, she thought it was a threat to youkai, so she took it upon herself to call in a major youkai from the outside world. Byakuren had no part in this. Nue did it because she felt it was the right thing to do, but it ended up straying a bit from the Myouren Temple's intentions.
 ちなみに外から呼んだ妖怪、二ッ岩マミゾウと彼女は旧知の仲であり、仲が良いようだ。もちろん、二人して命蓮寺では浮いている。 Incidentally, the youkai she called in was an old friend of hers, Mamizou Futatsuiwa, and they appear to be close to each other. Of course, both of them are out of place at the Myouren Temple.
 対策 Countermeasures
 間接的に作用する能力なので、対策のしようが無い。 Her ability works indirectly, so there's really nothing you can do about it.
 よく見る街角の幽霊、人魂、あるはずの無いもの、そういった物の中に彼女の「正体不明な物」が混ざっているかも知れないが、元はありきたりな物である可能性が高いので必要以上に怯える必要はないだろう。 Phantoms, will-'o-the-wisps, and other things that should not be there which are often seen on street corners; there might be Nue's "unknown things" mixed into these. However, since it's likely that these are ordinary objects, there is no need to be too frightened of them.
 ただ、直接襲われた場合は別問題である。古典的な妖怪故に妖力も強い。まともに戦うはめになった場合、「頼政の弓(*2)」の様な謂われのある武器無しでは太刀打ちできないだろう。逃げる事も難しいので、命蓮寺で見かけても「やーい、仲間はずれー」等と挑発するのは止めよう。 It is a completely different matter when she attacks you directly though. As she is a classic youkai, her youkai powers are strong. There is no chance of defeating her without a legendary weapon like the "Bow of Yorimasa(*2)". Even running away from her is difficult, so when you see her at the Myouren Temple, don't provoke her by saying things like "Nyeh-nyeh, outcast".
*1 複数の動物を掛け合わせた合成獣である。主に人工的に作り出される事が多いが、たまに自然発生する。総じて短命。 1: A composite beast created by combining multiple animals. Most of them are artificially created, but occasionally some natural ones will appear. They are generally short-lived.
*2 香霖堂で売っている代物は贋作。 2: The one for sale at Kourindo is a fake.


  1. The famous story of a nue slayed by 源頼政 ("Minamoto no Yorimasa")
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