Ichirou is the vessel of the “Evil Spirit” Taotie.
Not able to accept such a nightmarish fact, I…Hinomori Ryuuga, finally saw the day of our decisive battle.
(Not just Kyouka, but even Ichirou has become a vessel…)
The boy named Kobayashi Ichirou must be a supernatural ability user like us──seeing how he was able to survive an attack from the “Evil Spirit” Hundun uninjured.
Perhaps this is rude, but that made my heart beat fast. We could stay close together not just in our daily moments of peace, but also during the supernatural ones…just as I had wished for.
But not like this. I don’t want him as an enemy. Even so, I have to fight.
(I thought that the distance between us had greatly shortened recently…I felt that we were so close to becoming real lovers…)
However, now that it has come to this, it’s inevitable. As the “Successor of the Dragon King,” there’s one thing I have to do.
I have to tear down Taotie and take back Ichirou. I have no other option.
Once I defeat the “Evil Spirit,” Ichirou should be released from his position as a vessel. After all, that’s how we helped Kyouka. I just have to do the same thing this time…and the perfect condition for that is today.
(Kyouka seems to be in good health after being released from Hundun. Surely it’ll be the same for Ichirou…!)
Also, Kyouka had left since noon to “meet with a friend.”
I asked her what kind of friend, but she didn’t want to explain that much. I’ve had to constantly scold her since she has been returning home after nine o’clock for the past three days.
(Could it be a boyfriend…? Well, this isn’t the time to be worrying about Kyouka, I suppose.)
As we speak, Ichirou is surely suffering from the control of the “Evil Spirit” onto his mind. Perhaps in his fading consciousness, he’ll call out the name of the one he loves. Right, my name.
(Ichirou, wait for me. I’ll definitely rescue you!)
I reignited my fighting spirit and departed from my house with determination.
“Ryu, you kept me waiting!”
Rina energetically rushed over from the road to my right.
No matter how you looked at it, it didn’t seem like she had been waiting. She had arrived just now. My childhood friend has always been doing things at her own pace since long ago. Since her guardian deity is a tortoise, she’s an unusually easygoing person.
…However, she’s a peerless talent within a household that practices the Chinese art of self-defense. She, who was already insanely strong, gained the strongest defensive potential once the power of the “Black Tortoise” awakened.
She didn’t make it for the battle against Hundun, but Rina will be here this time.
You could say that she’s our trump card.
“Rina, is your stomach doing fine?”
I checked up on Rina while walking alongside her.
It was 7:20 pm. A bit early for the designated 8:00, but the spare time was for meeting Shiori, Rei, and Elle along the way at a park. Rina’s the only one I’m neighbors with, so we left early to meet with them and avoid being late.
“Yep, it’s all better! I can’t be sleeping when Ii is in trouble!”
“I’ll be counting on you, Rina.”
“Leave it to me! I’m the one after all! That st, star-wall thing.”
“It’s the ‘Star-Wall Guardian.'”
“Yeah yeah, that!”
“I never would have expected that the ‘Black Tortoise’ would be passed down to my neighbor, though.”
“Uh-huh~. Same here!”
While responding to her with “Jeez,” we finally arrived at the park.
The three still haven’t arrived. Not a single figure in sight.
When I checked the time, it was half past seven. The time we agreed on. It would be understandable if it’s just Elle, but the serious Shiori and Rei also being late is a bit odd…
“Everyone’s behind schedule. And I thought I was the one with a knack for being late.”
In contrast to Rina, who was saying such carefree things, I felt an ominous premonition in my mind.
“I feel uneasy. Could it be that something…”
It was at that moment. As if to confirm my fears, my cellphone rang in my pocket.
Once I immediately took it out and looked at it, the caller was Yukimiya Shiori. I immediately pressed the call button and held the phone to my ear.
‘Hinomori! Are you at the park?!’
Her voice sounded ghastly. It was obvious that there was a state of emergency.
“Yeah. I’m already at the park. Did something happen, Shiori?”
‘Apostles! Those three we fought on the rooftop…’
My eyes widened at such unexpected words.
No, I should have anticipated it. Our opponents are the crafty “Apostles of Hell.” It was reasonable to expect the possibility of a surprise attack.
Due to my shock with the matter of Ichirou, I became negligent in taking such precautions…!
“I’ll head there right away! Where are you?!”
‘No! Hinomori, head to the riverbank!’
Though I had questioned her to the point of shouting, Shiori rejected my assistance.
‘Fortunately, Rei and Elmira are with me! We’ll definitely take down these apostles and rush to you right away!’
‘Ryuuga! You can count on us!’
‘They’re in trouble for looking down on the four gods!’
I heard Rei’s and Elle’s voices coming from the other side of the phone. Their voices were mixed in with signs of a fight taking place. The battle had already begun.
‘Hinomori, please! Do something to, to save Kobayashi!’
‘We’re entrusting Kobayashi to you! We can’t afford to lose him like this!’
‘Kobayashi Ichirou better be alright!’
The phone call ended without them waiting for my response.
They had expressed their determination. It was nothing other than a calm assessment of the situation.
We don’t know what Taotie will do if I don’t show up at the arranged time. He could even start a campaign of destruction on the streets…so the three entrusted it to me, and I have to carry this out.
“What did Shio say?”
Rina looked into my face as I tightly grasped the cellphone.
Without knowing it, I broke into a sprint before I could tell her about the situation.
“Rina! We’re heading to the riverbank!”
“Huh? What do you mean? What about everyone?”
I answered “I’ll explain while we’re running!” to the confused Rina who was following me, and darted out of the park like an arrow.
I can’t let my companions’ wishes be in vain. I have one more reason to destroy Taotie.
My heart was a bit uneasy about how the three seemed to care about Ichirou an awful lot, but…now wasn’t the time to think about it.