It was a spectacle to see the five sacred beings standing together in a line.
A majestic tiger, white as snow. An ultramarine dragon, clad in a current of air. A bright crimson avian, set ablaze. The jet black tortoise was there as well, still holding its vacant expression of confusion.
Then, there was the giant god spanning twenty meters, dazzling brightly, residing in the center of the four directions the other gods controlled…the wild guardian deity who’s hard to manage, even for the successor of the Hinomori household.
“Sit tight, Ichirou. We’ll release you soon enough.”
Ryuuga, with her face returning to that of a hero’s, amplified her aura to infinite levels.
It’s as if she’s no longer playing around. It seems that she has steeled her willpower in an instant.
“Everyone, let’s go! Lend me your strength!”
Once Ryuuga said that, the other four nodded reassuringly. Right then, an ominous rumble began to echo beneath the ground.
The roars of Ryuuga and the others overlapped with those of their guardian deities.
Immediately following, they united with their guardian deities, creating five beams of light that soared high into the sky. Then──they fired one multicolored, radiant comet.
(Well, things are heating up, Boss.)
(Yep. Let’s show some fighting spirit, Tie!)
Incorporating the four gods, the power of “Dragon Fang DX (what I’m calling it)” was much different from the standalone version from a moment ago with just the “Yellow Dragon.”
However, Taotie can surely dodge it. He can avoid taking a direct hit.
I had faith that he would pretend to get hit, and would produce a “defeat scene” that wouldn’t lose to Hundun’s. I took him to a karaoke shop yesterday and had him practice his death scream.
…Of course, I didn’t really plan on having Taotie be weakened. The plan is to tell Ryuuga and the others that “he somehow managed to ‘convert’ after being weakened,” but the truth is that he’s just as healthy as ever.
In order to propose “reconciliation” with the remaining “Evil Spirits,” Qiongqi and Taowu, it’s necessary for my side to have at least a minimum amount of armed power.
(It’s all progressing just like the script so far. Now to finish it…Once we make it through this attack, part two will be over!)
…However… I had misread something at the very last moment.
I overlooked an arithmetic factor that even a first-grader would’ve realized.
The comet was approaching Taotie at a fast rate. It was a terrific show of might from the gods, dazzling in gold while having vivid hues of white, blue, red, and black mixed in.
──It was much more colorful than in part one.
With Kurogame’s “Black Tortoise” added into the mix, it obviously outdid the attack that Hundun received, boasting in size, radiance, heat, and speed.
This isn’t even on the level of DX anymore. It was far too big no matter how one looked at it. Being completed by the “Yellow Dragon” and the four gods, it was the ultimate “Dra Fang (abbreviation).”
(Wha, this is pretty bad!)
I felt as if a light scratch from it, much less taking a direct hit, would end it. Once I immediately turned towards Taotie, I saw his handsome dark face twitching. Looks like I was right!
(Tie, get away! Avoid it, avoid it! Dodge it and let it miss!)
(I can’t! That’s their greatest technique! If I avoid it, what would we do then?!)
(You think you’re in a position to say that?! If you get hit by that, you’ll definitely be put to rest! If that happens, you won’t see Ryuga again!)
As we were arguing, the comet quickly approached the “Evil Spirit.”
An orb of light spanning ten meters spun helically while ferociously plummeting.
(Hey! Get away! Don’t you like Ryuga?!)
(…That’s why I can’t.)
While spreading his arms out, waiting for the comet to hit, Taotie’s massive ill will dispersed.
(If I brush this off, Ryuuga will lose face. And if I run away in an unsightly manner──you would lose face too, Boss.)
What is this guy saying at a time like this? Why is he going that far for me?
I’ve never been a “good host” for you. I forced you to play the role of the final boss against your will, restricted your independent actions, and forced you to clean the bath and toilet!
The days I’ve had with Taotie raced around my mind like a revolving lantern.
He was nothing but trouble, and yet, now that I think about it, I suppose I enjoyed my time with him. We had our quarrels, he helped me with homework, and we talked passionately about Ryuuga throughout the night.
…Ah, I feel that I understand now. I was your “friend character” before I was the final boss’ partner, wasn’t I?
(Boss, it’s been fun. If I make it through this, I’ll see you again!)
Screaming without caring about how I looked, I attempted to rush over to Taotie.
My body was blown away by something charging towards my flank. I thought it was a mini car, but it was a small werewolf covered with thick fur.
“Baron Ichirou! I’ll protect you!”
My body, being struck away, was then entangled with a serpent’s tail. Immediately following, I was hurled upwards.
“Ichirou! Find a way to escape!”
At my wits’ end while soaring through the sky, the figure of a gliding bird caught me from behind. We ascended with a high speed, moving away from the destination of impact.
“Taotie’s orders! He said to protect Ichirou no matter what!”
Needless to say, they were Kiki, Jyuri, and Mion. To think that Taotie gave the three princesses a secret order.
“Disappear ‘Evil Spirit!’ To the depths of hell with you!”
──It happened in the next instant. A thunderous roar rose from the ground.
The atmosphere trembled, a burst of light flashed, lighting the area as if it were noon.
Struck by the shockwave of the impact, Mion’s body lost balance. While desperately trying to correct her posture, she kept turning around in the night sky while holding me.
Through the good coordination of the three princesses, I was able to barely avoid getting caught up in the joint attack and disappearing. However…
When I looked down at the riverbank, a deep crater had formed.
There wasn’t even a piece of Taotie there.
It was about a minute later.
Once I was let down after Mion landed, I sunk down to the ground, absentminded. The plan was originally that I would lose consciousness for a bit, but that was long gone now.
No, “Evil Spirits” don’t die, so he’s probably still dwelling within me.
However, Taotie won’t appear again. He’s probably…sleeping.
He’ll be in a deep, long sleep alone for hundreds of years.
(So much for being a pro at co-starring. I became conceited, attempted to take control of the story, and now this sorry state…is the result of me pretending to be the director for my own pleasure.)
While I was stricken with self-condemnation, Ryuuga and the others gathered in the distance ahead.
Then, they glared dangerously at three princesses, who stood together, as if to protect me.
“…The ‘Three Princesses of Hell,’ was it?”
A short while after, Ryuuga took a step forward and said as such. She had the voice of a gallant protagonist.
“Do you still plan on resurrecting an ‘Evil Spirit’ and threatening the world of humans? Can we not live peacefully together?”
“Hmm. I wonder about that, Hinomori Ryuuga. Us apostles only follow the will of the ‘Evil Spirit.’ Of course, personally, I don’t like you people.”
Mion responded to Ryuuga’s question. Immediately after, she turned her back towards them, with Jyuri and Kiki following suit.
“Don’t think you’ve won with this. We’ll surely seek payback. Especially you, Aogasaki Rei…I’ll definitely settle things with you.”
“…I’d like to see that too.”
Aogasaki slightly nodded after being called by Mion.
“I am one of the ‘Three Princesses of Hell,’ Jyuri. Do remember me, small-chested girl.”
Being named by Jyuri, Yukimiya reflexively covered her chest.
“I’m Kiki, and I’ll give twice the payback to that red, pushy girl.”
“Well, you’re a fast-talking mutt.”
Elmira shrugged her shoulders in response to being pointed out by Kiki.
Being left out, Kurogame raised her hand and said “What about me?”, to which the three princesses ignored her and departed.
In the end, Mion whispered “See you, Ichirou──thank you for everything up until now,” into my ear and handed something to me. it was the cell phone she borrowed from Kyouka.
…Perhaps they’re not going back to my home anymore.
Right. After all, Taotie’s gone.
The “Evil Spirit” they’re supposed to be working for has already fallen asleep.
That sentence in the message Mion sent me before the battle, the one about how she would continue to serve Taotie, popped up in my mind.
“Ichirou…did you return to your normal self?”
Not chasing after the three princesses, Ryuuga crouched down in front of me and examined my face.
Ryuuga took a quick glance behind her, and then turned swung her head left and right. She was staring at me with eyes of affection, but my heart ached currently.
“I know. You’re barely conscious, right? But don’t worry. I know that what happened back then wasn’t your true self.”
That’s not it. I was my own self from start to finish. Rather, I was the one controlling Taotie.
I was the mastermind behind it all. With my ego──I led Taotie along.
(Tie…why did you do something so rash? Doing something so cool by yourself…)
(Well, when you say it like that, it puts me to tears.)
(Isn’t it a bit too depressing to say goodbye like this…?)
(It truly was a touching finale.)
Perhaps I’m hearing an auditory hallucination from the shock. There’s no way we’d be able to talk back to each other anymore.
(Tie…how am I supposed to respond to your courageous behavior?)
(Let me go on a date with Ryuuga.)
(Are you okay with that?)
(We really are talking to each other!)
Shouting inside my mind, I got up. Ryuuga was startled when I suddenly opened my eyes.
(Hey! What’s going on?! Why are you awake?! Go to sleep!)
(Well, in all honestly, I thought I was a goner as well. Fortunately, I’m safe somehow. Perhaps it’s the result of my affinity with you, Boss.)
(Do you think that’s a good enough explanation?! I liked the way things were going, though! Whatever, go fall into a long, deep, lonely sleep!)
(I, I don’t want to. Anyways, with this, I’ve carried out the promise I made with you, Boss. I’m now a harmless Tie.)
I tumbled over in exhaustion from the carefree “Evil Spirit’s” voice. The mental and physical fatigue suddenly caught up to me.
“Are you okay, Ichirou?!”
Ryuuga panicked and lifted me up.
When her face approached at point-blank range, Taotie said “Nohoh!” in a strange voice. Of course, Ryuuga didn’t notice the cry of the “Evil Spirit,” and suddenly apologized to me.
“Ichirou, I’m sorry…To tell the truth, I held back a bit just before that final blow hit.”
“H, held back…?”
“That wasn’t the true power of ‘Everyone’s Kaboom.’ However…after seeing Hundun protect Kyouka, I hesitated a bit. I wondered if sealing Taotie away like that would have been the right choice.”
The battle wouldn’t end just by defeating a resurrected “Evil Spirit” and putting them back to sleep. Did Ryuuga realize that herself? Perhaps she left open the possibility of talking with Taotie?
There are few weak points about her mentality, but she really is an admirable protagonist.
That being said, I really wanted to criticize her for the name she gave that technique. What the heck is “Everyone’s Kaboom”? A protagonist needs to be equipped with a well-rounded naming sense.
“The ‘Evil Spirit’ Taotie probably isn’t going to sleep. Even so, since he probably took a great deal of damage, I think that it might have affected you too, Ichirou.”
(In other words, I’m safe because of Ryuuga’s benevolence…How kind of her! No doubt, this must be one of those flags you talk about, Boss! Ryuuga and I are connected by a flag!)
“Come now, Ichirou, let’s head to the hospital just in case. We need to see if you or Kyouka have any injures or not.”
(If possible, I’d like Nurse Ryuuga to treat you. My little Jiro. Heheheheh.)
Not noticing Taotie’s remarks, Ryuuga performed a princess carry on me and got up. Our usual positions were reversed.
Not having the energy to refuse, I quietly surrendered myself, and that’s when the heroines walked up.
“Kobayashi, I’m really glad that you’re okay…”
“Good grief, for a moment, I didn’t know what would happen to you.”
“Ii. If Taotie starts to move again, tell us right away. We’ll beat him up!”
Among the girls…Aogasaki was the only one who stood still and didn’t move from her location. She stared at the ground with an uncheerful expression.
She’s probably displeased about not being able to settle things with Mion once more. She has quite the samurai spirit. As expected of the commander whenever Ryuuga’s absent.
While the “Swordswoman of the Beheading Dance” was preoccupied, Ryuuga suddenly whispered into my ear.
“Welcome back, Ichirou.”
──Thus, my last battle as the final boss had somehow managed to draw to a close.
Part two had completed with about two weeks still left in the summer vacation.