We took a ten minute break.
The conference, which had derailed, reopened after resuming control.
The two “Evil Spirits” were disgruntled, keeping silent while occasionally looking at each other in the eye. This was supposed to be a serious discussion about whether humanity and the “Apostles of Hell” could coexist, though…I’d like people to be a bit more tense about this.
“Well then, now that we’re all back together, let’s resume our conversation. Taotie, Hundun, you’re fine with this, right?”
In response to Ryuuga’s words, Taotie nodded and said “Yes.”
On the other hand, Hundun was still pouting. While sitting on the floor with one knee raised, he stroked his bristly whiskers with a brawny arm.
“Hey Hinomori Ryuuga, I’m not going to repeat myself. I’m pretty sure I said that as long as Kyouka is my vessel, I won’t lay a hand on the human world. I don’t have much fighting power left.”
“I heard you. However, that’s not enough.”
After straightening herself, Ryuuga stared straight at Hundun.
At last, it seems the conference will commence. Ryuuga’s facial expression has become that of the protagonist I’ve come to like.
“Hundun, is Kyouka the only one you can be friendly with? Do you plan on interfering with the human world once you resurrect again hundreds of years in the future?”
…That question could also apply to Taotie.
The distant future. When Ryuuga is no longer there, will Taotie still be the “harmless Tie,” even when inside a host who isn’t me?
There’s no point in reconciliation if it will only apply to the current time period.
“Hundun. I’d…I’d like it if you could get along with people other than me. I think you can do it.”
“That goes for you too, Tie. You’ll make sure to adapt to this world, right? Don’t start fights with humanity.”
Hundun and Taotie folded their arms in response to what their respective hosts said.
After a brief period of silence, Ryuuga spoke to Hundun once more. Though she took offense to him calling her a grandma before, she currently had a gentle expression.
“Speaking of which, Hundun. You’ve been watching the morning TV program with Kyouka, right? Is it interesting?”
“Huh? I suppose. I’ve been waking up before eight o’clock for it.”
Once Hundun replied, Ryuuga gave a broad smile and said “I like that program too.”
“If you like those kinds of dramas, I have some other works I can recommend. If you’d like, do you want to take a look?”
“Well, if you insist.”
Hundun smiled after gulping down some expensive green tea, and Ryuuga picked up her teacup as well. However, she didn’t drink it, but offered it to Taotie.
“Drink, Taotie. This quality green tea took quite a splurge to purchase. It’s getting cold.”
“I, is that fine? Alright! An indirect kiss with Ryuuga!”
With a cry of joy, Taotie lunged at the teacup. Once he devoured the tea in one gulp, he had a face that seemed as if he was intoxicated with happiness.
“How is it? Good, right?”
“Delicious…it’s both sweet and sour…this is the first time I’ve had like this.”
“I didn’t drink from it, so it’s not an indirect kiss, though.”
Once he heard that, Taotie was immediately dejected. He took out the teacup, which he was trying to take with him, from his pocket and returned it to the table.
Seeing that, Ryuuga made a bitter smile while saying “Jeez,” and spoke to the two “Evil Spirits.”
“I think that if you can coexist with humanity, you’ll come across some more interesting dramas and delicacies. Perhaps you’ll discover some people more important than Kyouka or me.”
Ryuuga’s speech echoed within the spacious reception room.
Of course, I didn’t interrupt and stayed silent while listening. The spotlight is on Ryuuga here, no doubt. I won’t let anybody get in the way.
“We’ve beaten countless ‘Apostles of Hell’ to this day. This may be an excuse, but we had no other choice if we wanted to protect the world of humans. If any more apostles who want to harm this world do appear──I will fight them. They are your subordinates.”
“However, I want to change something that can be changed. This sad relationship. We can talk this out. We find enjoyment in the same things, and we have the same sense of taste.”
“If you take a liking to the human world, I won’t tell you to go back to the spirit world. However, I want you to coexist with humanity. I want the Hinomori household’s new mission to be the bridging together of these two sides.”
“Hey, Hinomori Ryuuga.”
Hundun then glared at Ryuuga. He stroked his rough whiskers, and continued behaving calmly.
“Such shapeless, dull talk isn’t of my nature. How about just making it simple?”
“Yeah. After you people beat the remaining ones, Qiongqi and Taowu, I’ll permanently lay my hands off of humanity──how’s that?”
Taotie unexpectedly looked at his fellowman upon hearing that.
“Hundun, you’re being quite reasonable, aren’t you?”
“Tie. How many times have you lost already?”
──He’s probably referring to how they revive, get beaten, and fall back asleep.
The “Evil Spirits” have been fighting over and over with the “Yellow Dragon” and the four gods since ancient times. A lot of things we don’t know about could have happened during that time.
“Hmm~, three times, maybe? What about it?”
“This is already my fourth time. I’m supposed to be a ruler, one of the four fiends, and yet I’ve been beaten four times. What do you think of that?”
“Sucks to be you.”
“I’m about to kill you. You’ve been beaten thrice. If someone of power has to surrender that many times…then they’ve lost face.”
“Well. I do feel a little embarrassed about it each time I wake up.”
“So, Tie. It’s about time to admit defeat──what say you?”
“…We did end up being ‘converted.'”
Hundun and Taotie both breathed a deep sigh. It was like they were guys in a locker room after having lost a game.
“Tie, you know this, right? It seems that there are apostles living like normal amongst humans now.”
“Hmm. Well, different strokes for different folks, I suppose. Or rather, different strokes for different apostles.”
“I used to get mad at apostles like them, but now I don’t feel that way. Compared to the spirit world, which is gloomy and uneventful, this place is much more interesting.”
I’ve been thinking about it before, but I wonder what kind of place the spirit world is. Since I’ve heard it being referred to as hell, I have a mental of image of something like a gloomy cave.
“The food in the spirit world is basically unappetizing. For entertainment, all we have are things like the ‘Spirit World Fight,’ the ‘Tomato Throwing Festival,’ or the ‘Hell Slap.'”
Those seem rather fun. What’s with that last one, though?
After the “Evil Spirits” exchanged words, Ryuuga smiled gently once more.
“Hundun, Taotie. I won’t force you to do anything. I just want to reconcile through discussion.”
“Quite a naive thing to say, Hinomori Ryuuga. Even if you can reconcile with Taotie and me, don’t think that you can do the same with Qiongqi and Taowu.”
“In the end, you have no choice but to beat them and ‘convert’ them. Don’t forget that.”
Right. Hundun said something nice.
I’m not expecting a peaceful reconciliation with the remaining fiends either. After all, they’re opponent characters who are meant to be defeated. That’s why I had a hard time working my way through part two.
A mutual understanding comes after a life or death struggle. This tale is──”The Story of Hinomori Ryuuga’s Battles,” after all.
Ryuuga made a reassuring nod in response to Hundun’s warning.
“I’ll keep that in mind. Of course, I don’t think it’ll be easy for us to come to an understanding. I still need to hold discussions with you two in the future, after all.”
“We have a relation where we’ve tried to kill each other for thousands of years. Trying to change that kind of destiny is not something that can be done half-heartedly.”
“I’ll show you that I can change it. Not through my fate as a successor, but through a will to protect humanity…the important thing is ‘not to lose sight of the goal.'”
Ryuuga’s gallant face as she said that had fascinated me.
This person really is a protagonist through and through. While fighting with the “Evil Spirits,” she’s grown up mentally.
“Yep, I think today’s talk has been meaningful. Sorry, but we’ll have to continue this another day.”
“W, what?! It’s already over? No cosplay show or anything?!”
Ryuuga ignored Taotie’s cries while saying “I’m not doing it.” Since she declared that the discussion was over, she revealed a bit of her girl self.
“Ichirou and I have important business now. There’s the battle with Getsushiyoukan, a battle that we can’t lose…Ichirou, come with me for some sword practice.”
“That’s fine, but do you even need to practice?”
Ryuuga is indeed an amateur at the sword, but it should be an easy victory with her fighting strength. She can probably handle King Arthur or even that strong adult, Kiriya, as if taking candy from a baby.
However, Ryuuga suddenly got up while making a tense expression and shaking her head.
“I won’t use supernatural abilities in a match against a human. I have to win with the sword.”
“It seems that Shiori and Elle are also practicing their hardest for the match. I won’t lose.”
I already know that. After all, I have to accompany them to their practicing for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
Are they planning to seal their supernatural abilities during the match as well? If that’s the case, then…I can’t think about this match too optimistically.
“We’ll all protect Rei and the reputation of the dojo. Let’s do our best, Ichirou.”
Ryuuga made a triumphant pose, but her gestures were that of a girl’s no matter how you looked at it.
(Recently, she’s been revealing her true self as if it were natural…)
It’s quite daunting, but it’s better than having to be in one of her cosplay shows. It seems that I’ll be spending the day with the boy version of Ryuuga.
“Well then, wait for me to change clothes.”
“I’ve got a tennis wear costume!”
“Isn’t that cosplay?!”
“Well, I wanted you to see it as soon as possible. It won’t be a hindrance during practice, right?”
After we finished, we were in the Hinomori household’s garden.
Ryuuga and I switched over our bamboo swords for rackets, and we kept swinging a tennis ball.
“Now! A smash!”
“Next, a forehand!”
“And then, a wave ball!”
“Is that even a thing?!”
Taotie, the ball boy, stared intently at Ryuuga’s skort.