Sakaki-san and Konoha-chan from Inari Shrine

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 Dream pillow, a dream I used last night for the purpose of punishing the dream demon, which resulted in invoking the real "monkey dream" of urban legend, but...... It was not the "appear in the dream" kind of contact that I had heard about.

 When I used the dream pillow last night, I was in a dream that I was "in front of a public telephone placed in a station," and the person on the other end of the phone that suddenly started ringing was "Monkey Dream".

 To be frank, I didn't intend to invoke the "monkey dream," but simply came when I invoked "the existence that inflicts the worst punishment on that dream demon" ...

 What I'm trying to say is that ...... the beginning of the dream pillow this time was a different place than last night.


"Is this ...... perhaps the famous place in Kyoto?"

"That's the first thing that came to my mind, too..."


 We found ourselves standing on an approach created by hundreds and thousands of torii gates.

 It is a majestic landscape that reminds me of the Senbon-torii, the thousand torii at Inari-taisha shrine in Fushimi, Kyoto, which I have seen on TV ...... At the same time, I can guess who might be waiting for me ahead.


"Was it like this when you said you contacted "Monkey Dream" last night?"

"No... Last night's dream pillow was a "pay phone at the station," so I think this scene was staged by the caller."


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 The monkey dream was just an urban legend with a railroad motif, so I think the direction to call it up was the station.

 While answering Amane's question, we went onward, but suddenly the path of the torii gate was interrupted and a majestic and magnificent ...... far newer shrine than the one on the real mountain appeared in front of us.


 And in front of the shrine stood a strangely beautiful shrine maiden.

 The shrine maiden does not glare at us with a dignified expression, but only gazes quietly at us ...... I feel something sacred.

 Blonde hair, fox ears and a tail, but ...... I'd say it has a sacredness that doesn't feel like cosplay at all, if I may say so in a mundane way...

 I bow to the shrine maiden as politely and consciously as possible.


"I am very sorry for this unexpected visit. I am here today because I have some questions for you. My name is Amachi Yumeji."

"My name is Kanzaki Amane..."


 Amane bows as I do.

 I wonder if she felt her sacredness as I did.

 Then, the blonde shrine maiden smiled.


"Fumu... I invited an unusual person to communicate with me in a dream, but it seems that you have a sense of propriety for young people. It is also good that you visit a shrine and first of all, you have a good attitude of worship."

"T-Thank you……"

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 I had heard that some people were asking for scarlet seals at shrines and temples these days without even paying their respects.

 That would be disrespectful in any number of ways... Good thing I remembered to pay attention on TV.


"You two don't have to be so awe-struck. It's been a long time since I had a regular worshipper... Above all, it's the first time in decades that I've heard of an oddball asking me directly..."


 With that, the shrine maiden led us into the shrine and served us tea.

 ...... She was surprisingly friendly, but when we, who had somehow guessed what she was, were puzzled about many things, the shrine maiden chuckled and began to talk.


"My name is Sakaki... As you may have guessed, I am the incarnation of Inari who is worshipped in that old shrine. In a way, I am the Inari god who is responsible for the protection of this mountain."


 We were not surprised by the introduction, but rather convinced "Ah, I knew it".

 Because it's so "fox deity" like, with all the clothes and the sacredness...


"I've been guarding the mountain ...... for lightly 200 years since it was founded in this place..."

""Two hundred years!?""


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 But we were more surprised by the years that she said bluntly.

 If it has such a long time ago, it should be more well-known locally ...... I only learned about it for the first time today. (Amane said she saw it once)

 Perhaps sensing this from our expressions, Sakaki-san the Inari God speaks up with a sigh.


"This mountain was originally owned by the Shirasagi family, the original landowners, and the shrine dedicated to me was theirs."

"Ah, Aa~, this was that kind of shrine..."


 I didn't quite get it, but Amane seemed to get it and clapped her hands.


"What do you mean?"

"Look ... Don't you see it sometimes? A mansion with a shrine-like torii gate in what is really a person's yard."

"Ah~, now that you mention it... I think I may have seen it... The one that when you try to visit a shrine, they get angry at you for trespassing..."


 So that shrine was the kind of shrine that only the Shirasagi family would know about ...... That would make sense, if it wasn't well known locally.


"For that reason, it wasn't well known from the beginning, but after the Shirasagi house had fallen 30 years ago... It's unavoidable that the mountain itself came under the jurisdiction of the city..."

"Does that mean... they just leave it alone?"

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 Sakaki-san nodded sadly.


"I was tempted to say something spiteful, too, but seeing how far the Shirasagi house had fallen in those days... It's so pitiful..."

"Fallen, you said... what happened?"

"I didn't understand it very well, but they were talking about the land price collapse or about a housing bubble. I was going to haunt them for their disrespect... It was so pity that I don't even think there was a shred of it..."

"Ah~... a famous thing, huh..."


 The so-called "downfall of the bubble economy" has caused them to give up this mountain... So that's how it is... It's so miserable that God feels sorry for them.

 But... 30 years ago...?


"The rise and fall are a fact of life... And at the time, my daughter was begging me to let the Shirasagi family go..."

"Daughter? Do you have a daughter?"

"Konoha... are you there, right? It seems that these people are here because they have something to do with you."


 Sipping her tea with good posture, Sakaki-san glanced at the shade of the sliding door as she said this.

 I had never noticed it before, but there was a single ...... little fox peeking over at us.

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