It was the day after the incident in the school infirmary.
I left my home in the morning and headed towards the park in order to meet with Elmira. Since we can’t use the kendo hall in the school today, we decided to practice outside.
There are three days until the match. There’s also one week left in summer vacation. Mion’s been scolding me like a mother everyday, asking “Have you made progress on your homework?”
(Boss, where are you going today? Are you heading towards Ryuuga’s place?)
I was in the midst of heading towards the park. Taotie then asked me a question while remaining inside me. How troublesome it is for the “Evil Spirit” to wake up today.
(I’m heading towards sword practice with Elmira. Don’t make an appearance.)
(Sword practice? Oh right, you guys had some kind of match. I don’t really care if Aogasaki gets married or anything, though…)
After uttering that imprudent complaint, Taotie stopped speaking. In the end, it seems that he decided to sleep again. This guy basically has no interest in any human other than Ryuuga.
(Come to think of it, he made a special happi coat and headband to support Ryuga’s match. Could it be that he’s planning to go off on his own during that day?)
While harboring such worries, I entered the park.
“You kept me waiting, Kobayashi Ichirou.”
Elmira, who had already arrived, walked towards me with light footsteps.
She wore a white dress and sandals, which gave off a quite refreshing impression. Perhaps the parasol she also had was due to vampires being weak against sunlight. Or maybe it’s just to prevent sunburn.
…What’s bothering me is that this doesn’t look like sword training at all. In contrast to the bamboo sword I brought, Elmira only had a tote bag.
“Elmira, your bamboo sword…”
“I don’t need a bamboo sword. Or rather, I, Elmira McCartney, don’t need to train.”
While scoffing like a spoiled child, the crimson-haired vampire acted haughty. Then perhaps the reason I was called was for…
“Don’t worry, I’ll show you a splendid victory during the match. Leaving that aside, please take a look at what I just finished writing.”
So this was her true aim.
Elmira has recently been sucked into writing a novel. Her work is focused solely on male kinship, and would be placed under much scrutiny.
The characters are modeled after Ryuuga and me, and she would frequently want me to read it so that I could give my thoughts. All while also working as her “exclusive donor,” where I periodically let her absorb my blood.
“Do you remember what happened last time? Since things ended on a high note, I had been concerned about where to go from there. Ha ha, hahahaha.”
Elmira led me by the hand towards a bench to sit on.
Just in front of us was a sandbox where several young children were sitting in a circle, digging up a pile of sand while getting along with each other. …I don’t want to read a trashy novel in front of such a pleasant scene.
“This time the stakes are high when Ryuuga swoops down on the brainwashed Jiro.”
“At least nobody’s diving towards Ryuuya…”
“I’ve also uploaded the previous parts onto the internet. After which, there were talks of having it be published.”
“What has this world come to…?”
Elmira was in a good mood while I had a face of bitterness. It seemed that she was very happy.
“But unfortunately, I had to refuse. I can’t reveal myself to the public.”
“Well, you are a nonhuman.”
When thinking about, a vampire is no less alien than an “Apostle of Hell.”
I hadn’t really put much thought into it up until now, but are there more “people like that” out there in this world? Are there inhuman existences blending in with society?
“Say, Elmira. Are there a lot of nonhumans?”
“I’m not sure if there are many, but I am acquainted with a dullahan.”
So they do exist. What would they do about a government-issued ID or certificate?
“Why are you talking about this now? The ‘Apostles of Hell’ are demihumans, so to speak…or in other words, they’re a type of nonhuman, right? Then there are the ‘Evil Spirits’ as well. There are also the famous seventy-two demons who King Solomon had sealed in the past.”
Sorry, but we can’t catch that many. I’d prefer if they were sealed for eternity.
“Set that aside, Kobayashi Ichirou. Focus on the novel. Then let me suck your blood.”
Having no choice, I was forced to take a stack of papers from an impatient Elmira. For a short while, I was silent as I followed along the characters printed.
──I then felt a sudden presence. Opposite of Elmira’s left side where I occupied, there was a person was on her right.
When I looked at who it was, there was a single little girl there. Since both of her hands were dirty, she probably had been one of the kids playing in the sandbox. She did the best she could with her tiny body to peek at the novel.
At that moment, my face turned pale.
Not because I exposed such a shameful, harmful book to an innocent kindergartener’s eyes, though. That kindergartener──was a bobbed-haired girl I knew very well.
That’s right. One of the “Apostles of Hell,” Kiki. Just when we had been talking about the subject of nonhumans.
Honestly, I had a hunch this would happen. There’s been a streak of pointless encounters, such as with Aogasaki Rei and Mion, or with Yukimiya Shiori and Jyuri. Actually, I’m a little impressed at how well the trend persisted.
(But to think it would happen like this…)
Not minding how petrified I was, Kiki lifted her head and looked at Elmira. After crossing her arms and groaning “Hmm~,” for a brief period, the Hokkaido wolf-type apostle suddenly spoke to the author.
“This is unacceptable, Eminem.”
“W, what did you say?”
Elmira quickly displayed her anger after being criticized. Although the little girl got her name wrong, it seemed that was enough for Elmira to discern the girl’s true identity.
“C, could it be…are you that higher-ranked apostle from the other day?!”
“It’s Kiki. Remember it. This is my human version.”
Kiki calmly revealed herself while puffing up with pride. It’s sad that she’s proud of that.
“You really are that mutt! How dare you shamelessly walk around the town in broad daylight…no wait, leaving that aside, what do you mean by ‘unacceptable’?!”
It’s strange how that’s the thing Elmira’s mad at. I suppose it would be very upsetting to have a novel one’s so prideful about be nitpicked, though.
“There’s too much kanji. Besides, there are no monsters that appear.”
“That’s not going to happen! Don’t criticize me for something beside the point!”
“In that case, you won’t have any readers. You don’t understand a thing. This is rubbish.”
Enraged, Elmira snatched my bamboo sword and stood up.
Sensing danger, Kiki quickly leaped away from the bench and ran away using her hands and feet.
“Wait, you rotten mutt! In the name of the ‘Blood-kin of Eternal Darkness,’ I will enact punishment upon you!”
While swinging the bamboo sword, Elmira fiercely chased Kiki around. Looking closely, there were flames coming out from the bamboo sword.
“Fire. You’re savage, Erelumi. You savage flaming-ball-of-gas.”
“I’ve never been so irritated at an apostle until today!”
The two ran in circles around the bench I sat at. Elmira swung wildly…This unexpectedly turned into a sword practice session.
“But Ryuuya is cool. Cool like the glacier monster Ujaranga.”
“Huh? I, indeed. It seems you realize that despite being an apostle.”
Once the vampire had easily been put back into a good mood, Kiki leaped into a thicket and disappeared.
What a relief. I was wondering what would transpire, but I’m glad that it ended with this kind of slapstick moment…or at least, that’s what I thought.
Once again, another encounter occurred, albeit a somewhat irregular one.
“──Hey, Kobayashi, was it?”
Upon hearing that voice, a man and woman walked towards us.
The man wasn’t someone I could forget. He was an eloquent, model-like ikemen about one hundred ninety centimeters tall──and sure enough, it was Yamanashi Asao.
“Could it be that you’re practicing the sword? Let’s hope it won’t be wasted effort.”
King Arthur stood in front of Elmira and me while making a snide remark in a soft tone of voice.
The woman beside King Arthur took a step back from him and looked like a secretary. I don’t recall seeing her face, but the uniform she wore told me that she was an Oumei High School student.
“The one over there must be Elmira McCartney. Could it be that you’re a pupil of the Aogasaki dojo as well? That’s a surprise.”
“Are you King Arthur? I’ve heard a lot of rumors about you. To think that you would make a marriage proposal to Rei while dating another woman…you’re unexpectedly prone to adultery.”
“Ha ha ha. She’s a pupil of mine. Miyamoto Chizuru…the vice president of the student council, soon to be the next president.”
Upon King Arthur’s introduction, Miyamoto bowed her head.
I see, so this person is Miyamoto. Aogasaki spoke about her before, but she’s a shining flower and one of Getsushiyoukan’s members…she’s up to par with the respectful Sasaki and is King Arthur’s cousin.
Wearing half-rim glasses, she looked just like an honor student. She seemed like someone who would be a bit difficult to deal with, but she was quite the beauty with a nice figure.
…However, I’m concerned about the fact that she’s been glaring at me with open hostility for a while now. What could it be? Does she know me?
“Hello, I’m Miyamoto Chizuru, a second year student in the E-class.”
Without changing facial expressions, Miyamoto introduced herself in a businesslike manner. If she’s a second year student in class E, then could she be Kurogame’s classmate? I wonder if that tortoise has won against a grizzly bear.
“I’m going to be participating in this battle as well. Kobayashi, you’re also going to be there, right? By all means, I’d like for us to exchange blows. I want to knock you down with this hand.”
I unintentionally flinched in response to the sudden request for a competition. It was plain that she hated me. By a lot, at that.
“Um…have I met you before?”
When I nervously asked, Miyamoto instantly raised her voice while shouting “Don’t joke with me!” Her threatening attitude caused even King Arthur and Elmira to be in bewilderment.
“I know that you obtained my three sizes and revealed them to Hinomori Ryuuga! You’ll definitely atone for your crime!”
──I finally understood after she said that.
Beforehand, my job as the friend character was to make a “list of the school’s beauties.” I frantically investigated the height, weight, and three sizes of such people and revealed it all to Ryuuga.
(Did I put down Miyamoto’s name in that list?! I really have no interest in such things, so it’s completely outside my recollection!)
I desperately explained when she emitted a ton of anger and bloodlust.
“W, wait. I’ve already disposed of that data. Ryuga probably doesn’t remember either.”
“I’m not speaking of Hinomori Ryuuga here! Not that weak guy who looks like woman!”
“What did you just saaaay?!”
I responded to her words with a shout of my own. I knew that I was giving in to my anger, but I won’t allow someone to slander the protagonist.
“S, stop it, Kobayashi Ichirou. No matter how you look at it, you’re the one in the wrong. You should stay still and reflect on it.”
When Elmira scolded me, King Arthur crossed his arms and said “Hmph.”
“Hinomori Ryuuga, was it? He’s definitely a beauty. If he were a girl, I would be nice if I could take him in as my lover, but…what a waste.”
“What did you just saaaay?!”
A voice of anger rose up again upon those words.
However, that didn’t come from me. It was Taotie, who woke up and noticed the clamor.
(Y, you idiot! Stay out of this!)
(Boss, let’s kill him! Let’s kill this distinguished guy!)
(Never mind that, stay back! In the first place, we are the ones in the wrong!)
(What do you mean by ‘we’?! The only one in the wrong is you, Boss!)
(They say that the ‘Evil Spirit’ and the vessel are one in body and soul!)
While we were screaming at each other internally, King Arthur suddenly flinched. He stepped back.
His nervousness was pathetic, even considering that it was an “Evil Spirit” who screamed. Miyamoto, who tried to remain calm, was even more pathetic.
“A, anyways, I now understand that you have a connection with Chizuru, not just me. This is getting interesting, don’t you think?”
Soon pulling himself together, King Arthur turned around. He then walked towards the park’s exit with Miyamoto following him.
“Well, keep practicing. After all, you should consider the possibility of a severe injury since this will be a serious match.”
…Once their backs were finally out of sight, I was instantly drained of strength.
Against my will, a flag had been set for a confrontation with Miyamoto. Who could have thought that…my perverted conduct as a friend character would come back to bite me in the future?
(I wanted to go against that mob, Tanaka, though…)
While crushed under the weight of this bitter development, my line of sight suddenly shifted.
Kiki had unexpectedly appeared from the thicket.
It seemed that she had been hiding the whole time, and she stared firmly at the direction where King Arthur had left while her bobbed hair was full of leaves.
For some reason, she had a very puzzling expression.