Four Fiends/Banes (四凶, Sixiong/Shikyō), also called the Four Inauspicious Beasts or the Four Evils, refers to four beings in Chinese mythology. They are known as four vile entities banished by the legendary Shun to the four quadrants of the land. Malevolent spirits and energies are said to reside near their resting place.
Shujing names these "beasts" to be people, but the version often referenced in Koei's games are the mythological beasts found in Zuozhuan. A majority of their names have very unclear translations which may tie into their nature.
Taotie (饕餮, lit. Ravenous Gluttony) is a monster. It has the body of an ox peppered with bent horns with a tiger's claws and human hands. Records of Grand Historian claims that it is a voracious beast of evil which devours anything in its path. It was allegedly born from the departed soul of a "country barbarian" whom thought of nothing but "savagery". One legend claims that it is actually Chi You's face. Taotie's design is allegedly prevalent on bronzeware from the Yin Dynasty, but the truth of the matter has been lost to history. During the Ming Dynasty, it was named one of the Nine Dragon Children. It is commonly known as a beastly dragon of gluttony.
Qiongqi (窮奇, lit. Destitute Strangeness) was supposedly one of Shaohao's sons whose spirit became resentful after his death. It has been described as an ox with a hedgehog's hands who possesses a canine-like cry or a fearsome tiger that sprouts wings on its back. Both versions are known to prey on human flesh and it is a malevolent spirit said to haunt Guishan. The Huainanzi partially attributes it as a wind god. One of its key aspects is its hatred for just or righteous people. Should the members of an argument be confronted by the beast, it decapitates the one who is morally correct and shreds their bodies to pieces. For the unjust ones, the qiongqi hunts for them and thinks fondly of them.
Taowu (檮杌, lit. Ignorant Stump) is a giant canine-like beast which once threatened the western areas of China. It has a human face with two boar tusks protruding from its lips. An arrogant and stubborn beast of might, it thrashes wildly through the wilderness and fights any living being it encounters to the death. Intrepid intellectuals once tried to educate Taowu with the human language, but it purposely ignored their pleas to slaughter them. Reviled for its ignorance and cruelty, it was given its unflattering name as a stupid beast.
Role in GamesEdit
Out of the Four Fiends, Hundun and Qiongqi are the ones usually referenced in the games. They often associated with the company's Chinese inspired titles as bosses or minor villains, such as in Mystic Heroes or the Warriors Orochi series. Qiongqi is manipulated by Shi Huangdi's sorcery in Shin Sangoku Musou Multi Raid 2 to face the warriors of the Three Kingdoms era.
Versions of all four beasts act as antagonistic entities in Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 5 and its sequel. They act as the antithesis to the Four Gods and disturb the natural flow of the Five Elements. When facing them, the protagonist requires the trust and assistance of her Eight Guardians. Here are the corresponding opposites between the two groups:
- Seiryū (Qinglong) = Tōtetsu (Taotie)
- Suzaku (Zhuque) = Konton (Hundun)
- Byakko (Baihu) = Kyūki (Qiongqi)
- Genbu (Xuanwu) = Tōgotsu (Taowu)
The protagonist and her party need to defeat them in order to restore balance to the parallel world. The Four Fiends antagonize the modern world in the first timeline and reside in Edo during the sequel. Their defeat weakens the true threat to both worlds, Zhulong, and grants her entry into Edo Castle.