Wen Kamuy (ウェンカムイ Uen Kamui) is the 2nd chapter of the Golden Kamuy manga.
The Ainu girl tells Sugimoto that when a brown bear kills a human, it is cursed to never be able to eat anything else despite the fact that the mountains are full of other delicious foods. As a result, it no longer fears humans and becomes more violent and dangerous. Such an animal becomes known as a “wen kamuy” (evil god). Sugimoto thinks that it is because the bear must’ve figured out how weak humans really are. The girl will then tell Sugimoto to hurry up and gather firewoods so that the bonfire won’t burn out since they cannot fight the bear in the dark. They must wait until dawn breaks so that they can gain the advantage over it in a fight.
Sugimoto and the girl will start gathering sitat, bark from white birch trees, which is full of oil and will burn for a long time, as such it works well as a torch. As Sugimoto comments on how much time they have left and how many more firewood they need, the brown bear stumbles onto the campfire and the drunken man’s corpse, startling him. Sugimoto then attempts to punch the bear which had no effect at all. The girl tells him to get beneath the bear and grab its belly, as she pulls out an arrow to shoot at it. As Sugimoto is holding onto the bear’s fur, he pulls out his army knife and stabs the bear. This causes the bear to flinch and as a result, the arrow that the Ainu girl shot only hit its head. Since the skull of a brown bear is hard and thick like armor that is even capable of deflecting bullet, the poisoned arrow had no effect on the bear.
The bear notices the girl and charges at her, knocking her aside. The girl is able to get up and begins to draw a knife as the bear roars at her. Suddenly, a white wolf jumps out and attacks the bear. The girl calls the wolf by its name, “Retar” then she notices something as Retar and the bear faces off. She gives instructions to where the bear’s heart is, right under its armpit and to watch out for the shoulder blade. Sugimoto with his rifle ready, heard the girl’s instruction, takes aim and shoots at the bear. The bear then stands up its hind legs to lunge on Sugimoto as he positions his bayonet firmly on the ground and pointed up against the bear. Due to the bear’s weight, the bayonet was able to pierce its heart thus ending its life. The girl then asks Sugimoto if he is alive, to which he confirms it. She is impressed by Sugimoto’s bravery and tactics, as she helps him up. Sugimoto introduces himself to the girl who reveals that her name is Asirpa.
Sugimoto looks around for the white wolf that helped them earlier, calling it a dog. Asirpa corrects him on Retar’s species and points him out on a certain hill as the wolf howls through the night. As Asirpa is cutting up the bear, she tells Sugimoto about how her father and six other Ainu men were killed while moving the gold to another place. Their corpses had been hacked to pieces and wild animals found them and scattered the remains. However, Asirpa did not know beyond the fact that one of the flesh resembled her father as her village didn’t even know that the murderer had been caught and thrown into prison. They also did not know about the Abashiri prisoners as well. Sugimoto suggests that he and Asirpa should team up and find the gold, but Asirpa is skeptical about how they’re going to do that.
Asirpa finishes cutting up the bear and hands Sugimoto its gall bladder, which he can use to sell for a lot of money. She then tells Sugimoto that she does not want to kill anyone, but he manages to convince her by saying that she could get revenge on her father’s killer. As he is cutting the drunken man’s skin off, he tells her that he’ll be the one doing all the dirty work while she provides her knowledge to him. Sugimoto believes that if they work together, they can be an unstoppable force and so he prepares to hunt for the other skins.