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Daji was the favorite consort of King Zhou of Shang, the last king of the Shang dynasty in ancient China. She is portrayed as a malevolent fox spirit in legends as well as novels.
Daji was from a noble family called Su (蘇) from the state of Yousu (有蘇). Hence, she is also known as Su Daji. In 1047 BC, King Zhou of Shang invaded Yousu and took Daji as his prize.
King Zhou became extremely infatuated with Daji and started to neglect state affairs in order to keep her company. He used any means necessary to ingratiate himself with her and to please her. Daji liked animals so he built her a zoological Xanadu with several rare species of birds and animals. He also ordered artists to compose lewd music and choreograph bawdy dances to satisfy her musical taste. He gathered 3000 guests at one party to indulge in his “pond of wine” and “forest of meat”. He allowed the guests to play a cat and mouse game nude in the forest to amuse Daji. When one of King Zhou’s concubines, the daughter of Lord Jiu, protested, King Zhou had her executed. Her father was ground in pieces and his flesh fed to King Zhou’s vassals.
Daji’s greatest joy was to hear people cry in physical torment. Once, she saw a farmer walking barefoot on ice and ordered his feet cut off so she could study them and figure out why they were so resistant to low temperatures. On another occasion, she had a pregnant woman’s belly cut open so it satisfied her curiosity to find out what happened inside. To verify an ancient saying that “a good man’s heart has seven apertures”, she even had the heart of the minister Bi Gan (King Zhou’s uncle) dug out and subjected to her scrutiny.
Daji was best known for her invention of a method of torture known as Paolao (炮烙). A bronze cylinder covered with oil was heated like a furnace with charcoal beneath until its sides became extremely hot. The victim was made to walk on top of the slowly heating cylinder and he was forced to shift his feet to avoid the burning. The oily surface made it difficult for the victim to maintain his position and balance. If the victim fell into the charcoal below, he would be burnt to death. The victim was forced to dance and scream in agony before dying while the observing King Zhou and Daji would laugh in delight.
Daji was executed on the orders of King Wu of Zhou after the fall of the Shang dynasty on the advice of Jiang Ziya.
In Japan she is sometimes conflated with Tamamo no Mae.
Boy were my arms sore.
I spent a long time cutting vegetables at Akimi-san’s cooking class.
Because I was so worried about slipping and cutting myself I held onto the knife for dear life.
And even when I wanted to peel things thinly I couldn’t help but imagine cutting my thumb. In the end they all ended up with large chunks hewn off.
Akimi-san peeled them all so smoothly but I was awkward and stiff.
Maybe it was time to give up and just use a peeler.
Even when we were slicing vegetables with the claw grip I kept picturing cutting my own joints and couldn’t hold it properly.
Why are you such a coward, Reika!
In the end she lent me protectors especially for that. You inserted it between your knife and the vegetables.
It didn’t look very cool though…
Akimi-san said we should take it easy and start with the basics first.
That’s why I wanted to hurry up and master them.
When I got home I began practising with a carrot in the corner of the kitchen.
I think maybe I was a little better now.
Ah, I got ahead of myself.
I cut my finger.
I decided to buy a protector tomorrow.
When the school term began I could see Tsuruhana-san and her friends growing more imperious again.
Apparently over Christmas they hired an event hall and had their own party.
Among the attendees were External boys from 2nd and 3rd year, and it got pretty big.
Thanks to the party they all deepened their bonds, and even got some new members or something.
That was bad news.
They weren’t the only other minor faction in our school either.
If the Pivoine was content to just coast on their authority they might get the rug pulled from under them.
So far I had been pretty assured in my position thanks to the Pivoine, but this year the president was Kaburagi.
Youko-sama would have protected any Pivoine member without a thought.
On the other hand, I couldn’t see that indifferent guy lending me a hand.
This year I had to protect my position on my own.
I had been hoping to spend the year peacefully, too…
Unaware of my worries, the new President of the Pivoine spent each day sipping tea peacefully in the salon.
Had it been a mistake to let this guy become the president?
But there wasn’t anyone else either…
Maybe if only I had somehow gotten Enjou to accept…
Ah, but then Enjou wasn’t the type to butt into fights between girls either.
Maybe it would be best to quietly discuss this with my group first.
I discussed it with my group.
The result was that they were raring for a fight now.
“You’re completely right, Reika-sama! We’ve all been thinking that those girls have been getting arrogant lately!”
“Ever since we became high schoolers they’ve been strutting about like they own the place. They even provoke us sometimes.”
“It looks like they’re already forgotten the lesson you taught them in middle school, Reika-sama.”
“Speaking of which, thsoe externals that cosy up with the Student Council have been more audacious too, I think.”
“Yeah, yeah! Ever since high school began they’ve all been really arrogant for Externals. They’ve really forgotten whose school this is.”
…All I said was, ‘It seems that Tsuruhana-san, as well as the External Students have been building up power. What should we do if they challenge us?’
Never, ever did I say ‘Those bitches piss me off so let’s fuck ’em up!’
“Umm, everyone, perhaps a more peaceful…”
“And you know what else! I overheard a most outrageous plot!”
“What’s this? A plot?”
“A horrendous plot devised by the External lackeys to pair Takamichi Wakaba and Kaburagi-sama together!”
“Oh my god!”
“What’s the meaning of this!?”
Everyone was practically frothing at the mouth.
“Apparently they think they can use Takamichi Wakaba to make the Emperor their ally and then take over the school.”
“What the hell!? Is she Daji!?”
“Ummm… Do all of the Externals think this way?”
“No, just a portion of them. There are a lot of Externals who admire Kaburagi-sama instead and aren’t really pleased with Takamichi Wakaba themselves. The External Students aren’t a monolith after all.”
Wakaba-chan, somehow you’ve gotten yourself into something crazy again.
I wonder if she’d be okay…
“That’s why you need to try harder, Reika-sama!”
“Eh, me?” I asked.
“Yes! You need to punish Tsuruhana’s gang and that insolent Takamichi Wakaba too!”
“And then take the Emperor’s heart for yourself!”
And so they sunk into a sea of delusions, far beyond my reach.
And thanks to this chat, things had gotten even messier…
To heal my weary heart I headed to my garden of angels.
I had been greeted with a beaming smile when I opened the door to the Petit salon.
Haah, my worries were melting away.
Yukino-kun and I sat on the couch and chatted between snacks.
“Yukino-kun, did you have fun with your parents in Okinawa?”
“Yes. We went to the aquarium and went whale watching too.”
“I see. I love aquariums too.”
“There was this huge manatee at the aquarium and…” he began recounting.
I wanted to see some manatees too.
“Did you go anywhere, Reika-oneesan?” he asked.
“I went to Kyoto. My mother has family there,” I explained.
It was so cold I thought I would die.
The chill in Kyoto reached right into my bones.
I’d bought the kids some fox mask rice crackers and konpeitoh as souvenirs.
I was particularly proud of the crackers. They were cute, so perfect for children.
“Here, these are for you,” I said as I began handing them out to Mao and the others too.
“Wah! Thank you very much!”
The kids seemed overjoyed.
“Huh? Reika-oneesan, what happened to your finger?” asked Yukino-kun.
He gazed at my bandaged hand in worry.
“This? How embarrassing. I was doing a little cooking and slipped up a tad.”
“You can cook, Reika-oneesan?” Yukino-kun asked with sparkling eyes.
“Ehh, well, just a little bit of home cooking.”
“Why kind of foods do you make?”
“Only very simple dishes. Nimono and the like.”
I may have boasted a little to keep him impressed.
“That’s amazing,” he gushed-
-before dropping a bombshell.
“I want to try your cooking too, Reika-oneesan!”
“My birthday is coming up soon. Do you think I could try some on the day?”
I just got landed a crazy request.
Akimi-saaaaaan!! What do I dooo!?
Is Yukino-kun’s stomach going to be okay…!?