The final match ended with a one-sided victory.
King Arthur had been rescued, the villainous apostles Balon and Kiriya were defeated, and sixty other small fries were purged as well.
(Having one of Hell’s Top Eight be defeated is quite big…no wait, is this okay? Since there are still two ‘Evil Spirits’ left, it’s not that good to drastically reduce the opponent’s fighting power…)
While I was worrying about such things, Ryuuga and the others walked up to Aogasaki.
When I was about to head towards them──a faint laughter echoed within the venue.
“Mwaha, mwahahaha…don’t go thinking that you’ve won…”
It was Balon’s voice. It turned out that the now-headless mantis apostle still had enough lifeforce to speak his dying breath.
(What a stubborn guy. Further, he said a cliche line.)
Even so, the severed head that had fallen to the floor continued to gradually melt and evaporate. It seemed that he would disappear before long, but…as expected of an “Apostle of Hell,” he had a tremendous vitality.
“As a prize for beating me, I’ll tell you something…the ‘Evil Spirit’ Qiongqi has already…revived…”
Mion quickly reacted to Balon’s words and leapt from the second floor seats.
Qiongqi. In other words, the next “Evil Spirit”?
The final boss of part three, following Hundun in part one and Taotie in part two?
(I was worried about when the next one would appear…and I wondered what to do if it would take another few years, but…it already happened?)
That is to say, once the second semester starts, so will part three. Not a bad time to kick things off. There are only three days left in summer vacation.
Thinking back on it, this was a really dense summer vacation. Come to think of it, I feel like I’ve forgotten something important, but…just what was it?
Balon continued speaking his final words, ignoring me while I pondered.
“I’ve already…sworn allegiance to Qiongqi…several of Hell’s Top Eight have done the same…so Mion, from our perspective, you three princesses are…the ones who should be purged…”
“Hmph, bring it on. Let’s see if you guys have what it takes.”
Mion glared at Balon’s head while gallantly saying that.
At first, she was shaken from hearing the name of this new “Evil Spirit,” but it seems that she’s fortified her courage and has prepared herself to confront Qiongqi’s faction.
She wouldn’t be the head of the Kobayashi household if she didn’t have this much spirit.
“You ought to regret…opposing Qiongqi…”
“You guys are the ones who should be in regret. For opposing Taotie and Ichirou, that is.”
Hey Mion, don’t just involve me in this.
“I wonder how long…you can keep up that brave front…”
“You’re in no position to say that when you weren’t even able to cut off Aogasaki’s hands or legs. During the time we didn’t see each other, haven’t you gotten weaker?”
“You’re just as harsh as ever…why does a woman like you have a fan club…?”
…Say, Balon. Aren’t you speaking a little too long for someone on the brink of death?
You’re more persistent than I thought. I understand that there are some things he has to reveal before he disappears, but…him having a tremendous vitality is a problem.
“Qiongqi has also been worried about it…in the spirit world, the fan clubs for you three princesses have been expanding on a daily basis.
“There’s no helping it. We’re all cute, after all.”
“Stop acting so pretentious…while Jyuri’s popular because of her eroticism and Kiki’s popular because of her fluffiness…you’re only popular because you’re the leader…”
“W, what do you mean?! Are you looking for a fight?!”
“Remember this…you’re in Joshima’s position…” (TLN: After some Googling, this seems to be a reference to Joshima Shigeru, leader of the a music band called Tokio.)
“Who’s in Joshima’s position?! There are things that you can and can’t say!”
“You should try developing…a deserted island…” (TLN: Some more Googling reveals that Tokio began an effort to turn a deserted island into a modernized area.)
Hey! Stop this already! What has this conversation become?!
(Please, just hurry up and disappear, Balon! You were being such a grand, wicked opponent up until now! Don’t ruin your image at the very last second!)
Ryuuga and the others were also wondering whether they should cut into the conversation or not. They huddled together with faces of bewilderment, then eventually began whispering to each other while saying things like “But isn’t that leader guy a good person?”, “Yeah. He’s plenty qualified to hold that position.”
Don’t go there. The sense of urgency is deteriorating. This story is quickly losing its focus.
“Now then…we’ll meet again someday…Ranshou Mion…”
Amidst my panic, Balon had finally disappeared.
I was preoccupied with…wondering what to do about this situation. Aogasaki then turned around towards me and spoke with a dignified expression.
“The ‘Evil Spirit’ Qiongqi, was it? It seems that there’s no shortage of foes. If Qiongqi is planning on threatening the human world, then we’ll have to beat this foe and render them powerless. What do you say, Ryuuga?”
“…Yeah. Let’s ready ourselves. It’ll be fine. We won’t lose if we join forces.”
Yukimiya and Elmira responded to the two.
“Indeed. That’s our mission, after all.”
“Leave it to me, the one and only Elmira McCartney.”
Oh, what a relief. It seemed that the serious Ryuuga and Aogasaki managed to pull the situation back into focus…and while I was in relief,
Mion suddenly leapt back to the second floor seats.
She then walked towards the exit, as if she were leaving the scene. Perhaps she was going back home to visit the supermarket and buy ingredients for sweet-and-sour pork.
“Mion. I owe you one now.”
When Aogasaki said that, Mion’s walking ceased.
“I don’t recall ever saying that you would have to owe me anything. I said it before, didn’t I? I’m just carrying out the duties of the three princesses.”
Aogasaki smiled in response to her rival’s cold reply.
While Yukimiya was healing the cuts on her cheek, Aogasaki spoke to the heron girl in a more friendly tone.
“If that were the case, there was no need for you to participate in the competition. There was something you said beforehand. “You said that the competition was ‘the reason why you came here.’ Couldn’t that mean…you didn’t want me to get married?”
Mion kept her back towards us and didn’t turn around. However, judging from how she went red up to the ears, it seems that Aogasaki was right on the mark.
“D, don’t go celebrating yet just because you’ve beaten Balon. He’s the weakest general among Hell’s Top Eight. Also, I have genuine fans as well!”
The tsundere apostle left while saying that.
That being the case, she might be in a bad mood again once she gets back home. I guess I’ll wash the dishes for today. I’ll have Taotierou help out as well.
──Thus, the entire program of the competition had ended, and now the five of us and the thousand audience members remained. This feels like the aftermath of a festival.
When I took a look around the venue once more, Elmira suddenly breathed a sigh and asked a question while scratching her red hair.
“So, what should we do about these people? It’s not like we can call over a thousand ambulances.”
“Since they’ll probably wake up in an hour, we’ll just have to wait until then…”
While the “Shrine Maiden of Life” and the “Blood-kin of Eternal Darkness” spoke to each other, Ryuuga waked with determination towards King Arthur.
“For the time being, let’s just check the condition of the student council president. Since he had been possessed by Balon this whole time, I’m worried that he might be weakened.”
While Yukimiya and Elmira complied, Aogasaki was the only one who headed towards the children.
I suppose she would be more worried about her own pupils. If King Arthur was conscious, he’d probably get depressed upon seeing that.
(You have my condolences, King Arthur. You’ll should be upright and give up on Aogasaki. Also──)
At that moment, I stood still while staring at the crater in the arena. I then turned towards the countless cracks that ran along the wall and ceiling.
(Please don’t demand repair expenses from us.)
I really hope that they can pardon us.
I’ll attend swordbics lessons if they do.
At the same time,
A figure looked at the sky while a short distance away from Getsushiyoukan HQ.
The sun was still shinning bright and the sky was clear…and that figure discovered sparkling particles of light within the sky.
“──Come here, Balon.”
When the figure held up an ancient gourd with one hand, the particles of light were instantly sucked in.
Once confirming that all of the particles had entered the ancient gourd, that figure sealed the gourd with a stopper.
“Kiriya and Balon…I’ve collected their souls. Now then, let’s go back, Qiongqi.”
The “Evil Spirit” responded to that figure through the mind.
(Sixty-four from the riverbank and now Kiriya and Balon. We’ve gathered a quite a bit from today alone…it’ll soon be time, right? Right?)
The figure smiled in response to that cheerful voice.
“As you please, Qiongqi. I’m just a mere vessel…I’m in no position to give an opinion.”
That figure soon left the scene while carefully holding the ancient gourd.