I stared blankly at Shizuma, who suddenly went through a rapid aging, for about ten seconds.
No wait, calling it a rapid aging would be a little misleading. Shizuma still looks like a two-year-old child…making him appear much younger than Kiki.
Though, he’s quite mature.
He seemed like a polite and smart child. He seemed more capable than a new employee for hire.
“Shizuma, is that you?”
Of course, Elmira and Kiki were confused as well. They both stared with their mouths agape, gazing at Shizuma as he confronted the lizard apostle.
“Yes, I’m Shizuma. Mother, Sister.”
“H, he called me Mother…!”
“He called me Sister…!”
Shizuma made a sweet smile towards the two, who were breathless. It could compete with Ryuuga’s refreshing smile. He looked like a two-year-old though.
“Akatori Hideo and Reida…I know those two are my parents. However, those two aren’t my only family. Mother, Sister, and Father…I have so many people I would love to call my family.”
Shizuma looked at me when he said Father. I suddenly felt something warm inside my chest.
“Aunt Mion, Aunt Jyuri, Uncle Taotie. I am──a lucky person.”
(Oh, Shizuma….you’ve become so splendid…!)
Inside me, Taotie sobbed. It’s good that Shizuma doesn’t see him as a pet.
But Shizuma, it would be better if you didn’t call Mion and Jyuri “Aunt”. I’d like you to call them “Sister”. You’ll definitely sadden them otherwise.
“Shizuma, is that your grown up form…?”
“I don’t know. What I do know is that this happened because I wanted to quickly grow after seeing my mother and sister in a pinch. At the very least, grow up enough to protect you two──”
The lizard apostle charged at Shizuma while he was still speaking.
The peculiarity opened its mouth, which was sharp enough to slice someone’s ear off, and tried to bite the two-year-old. Venomous, purple saliva dripped from its irregularly arranged teeth.
Elmira, Kiki, and I all shouted at the same time.
“Good grief. I’m in the middle of speaking, Gazari.”
Shizuma snapped with his small fingers.
Immediately following, the lizard apostle burst into flames. A giant, fierce pillar of fire erupted and engulfed Gazari’s entire body.
(H, he can use flames?!)
In other words, he inherited the supernatural ability of his real father, Akatori Hideo.
Apparently, Hideo could only create flames large enough to light a candle, but Shizuma’s was on a different level. He created a hellfire that could strike the heavens, even rivalling the head of the house, Elmira.
Completely burned, Gazari fell to the ground.
When the flames disappeared, the enemy had already vanished. The only thing that remained was a circle of scorched earth.
“W, who is that brat…? Is he the one you spoke of earlier, Reida’s son?”
I looked up to find that Hundun was astonished. It seems that he went back to his usual self at some point.
While searching for Elmira earlier, I briefly spoke with the “Newcomer Evil Spirit” about Shizuma.
Since Hundun would be living in the Kobayashi household, I couldn’t keep it a secret from him any longer…and besides, Elmira was planning to reveal the matter to everyone anyways.
“Yep. That’s my Shizuma. I didn’t think he would grow up this early, but…that kid can be a general, or maybe even a chief advisor──”
“Father! Behind you! Watch out!”
I was enchanted by my kid’s shining moment. Yet suddenly, Shizuma had shouted.
When I turned around, I found that the monster was about to get up. Perhaps it was mustering the last of its power, trying to retaliate with one last attack.
“Tsk. You should have just stayed down and let yourself die…but if you want one last blow, you’ve got it.”
Hundun’s unkempt hair stood on its end as he once again turned towards the monster. Thereupon…
Hundun’s giant figure was dragged back into me in the blink of an eye. Needless to say, it was the work of Taotie.
(No! What are you doing, Tie?! You have some nerve!)
(Your turn is over! How pitiful of the ‘Evil Spirit’ to miss his chance at finishing the enemy! It’s back to the minor league with you!)
(Don’t mess with me…ugh, it stinks! You just passed some gas!)
(To put it in your words, you may as well be worthless!)
(You were the one who said that no ‘Evil Spirit’ is worthless!)
It seems that inside me, the ‘Evil Spirits’ fought each other once more. A battle between fellow ‘Evil Spirits’ would normally be a climactic fight within the story, but…this is really uninteresting.
While that was going on, the monster finally stood up.
It could only move its two original arms. Yet even so, it approached with shaky steps. I admire its fighting spirit, but it’s obviously on the verge of death.
At this point, the only thing left to do is the final blow. Guh, Ryuuga…is Ryuuga still not here yet?!
“Father. This might come off as forward, but should I defeat it?”
“No! It’s fine! Your father will give it a shot!”
In a panic, I shook my head when Shizuma said that in a reserved manner. I thought he would selfish and in his “terrible twos” stage, but it seems that unlike his older sister, he wasn’t in a rebellious phase.
(Come on, Tie! It’s your turn!)
Seeing the monster approach, I couldn’t help but speak to him in my mind. Knowing Taotie, he probably would buy some time without managing to kill the opponent.
…However, the ‘Evil Spirit’ wasn’t listening.
(That’s not it, Hundun. You need to snap your wrist like this. Take a look.)
(It seems that my release point isn’t stable yet.)
(You need to strengthen your form before you try to improve your control. Here, try throwing once more.)
(Oh, nice pitch! Alright, one more time!)
“Come out already!”
With the monster right in front of me, I shouted at the ‘Evil Spirit’ with all my might.
Do they even know the situation going on?! Just when did they reconcile?! Is there really a bullpen inside me?!
“This really isn’t the time to practice pitching! Or do you want me to fight this thing alone?! Are you really going to sit out──”
I stopped shouting midway, jumped to the side, and rolled along the ground.
Immediately following, the monster’s foot stomped on the location I was in a second ago. That was close. I was about to die as a father!
“Father! Maybe I really should handle it!”
“Don’t come any closer, Shizuma! Just stay there and observe! Watch your father’s back while he fights the──”
Once more, I was forced to stop speaking.
This time, it was due to a dignified, long-awaited voice entering the scene.
“That’s as far as you’ll go! ‘Apostle of Hell’!”
A boy with a golden aura sprinted out from the darkness behind us.
The owner of that voice passed by Elmira and then by me, sending a fierce dropkick towards the monster’s guts.
Tumbling down with a somersault, the monster was once more on the ground. While that was happening, the boy twisted in the air and made a perfect landing in front of me.
Of course, that person was──Hinomori Ryuuga.
Our protagonist who should have been here sooner.
Keeping my joy and relief under control, I immediately fell onto my knees. I made exaggerated breaths, casually putting some dirt on my face and clothes.
“Sorry for the wait, Ichirou. The only thing you mentioned was the riverbank, so I had a hard time finding you.”
“Y, you saved me, Ryuga…haha, it’s pathetic, but I don’t have the energy to talk anymore…”
“You were screaming just a while ago, weren’t you? Something about watching a father’s back while he fights.”
“That’s just your imagination.”
Ryuuga scratched her head upon my complete denial. Next, her eyes moved towards Elmira, Kiki, and Shizuma, before finally turning back to the monster.
“I don’t know the details, but…it seems that killing this monster is a priority. That’s an ‘Apostle of Hell’, right?”
“Y, yeah…you’re not wrong…thanks to Elmira and Kiki, the enemy has been weakened…I couldn’t even lay a hand on it though…*cough* *cough*!”
I pushed the victory onto the two over there and coughed like I was ill. I then made myself sweat buckets.
“Anyways, leave it to me. I’ll end this with a single blow.”
Ryuuga stepped forward, her golden aura spreading out.
…It seems that she’s going to use that. Her deadly bombardment of light bullets, known as “Dragon Fang (that’s what I’m calling it)”.
The monster was still unable to get up. Looking closely, its body was beginning to melt and vanish. Was it already going to disappear?
(Please! Hang in there just a bit longer! Fight on, monster! You are not alone!)
While I was yelling in my mind, Ryuuga’s aura rapidly expanded. It began forming into a giant golden dragon on her back. It’s here! Just in time!
“Unleashing divine might! ‘Yellow Dragon’!”
“Unleashing divine might! ‘Black Tortoise’!”
Something happened the moment Ryuuga let out a heroic voice.
There was another person who shouted about unleashing divine might.
Without leaving us any time to react, a figure jumped onto the monster. The figure danced and spun through the air, and upon closer inspection, was a petite girl.
Though petite, it wasn’t Kiki of course. It obviously wasn’t Shizuma either.
Just as I thought──it was the one who had little to no involvement with this episode and couldn’t read the mood, the “Star-Wall Guardian” Kurogame Rina.
“Kurogame School of Archelon Fist secret technique! Secret Fist, Boneshell Knuckle!”
Using the momentum of her twisting and falling, Kurogame slammed her right fist into the monster’s head.
An insanely tough glove covered her hand. Most likely, her guardian deity, the “Black Tortoise”, manifested and transformed into a tough shell to wear on her hand, increasing both her offense and defense.
“You idiot, stop! Don’t just needlessly──”
The moment the kenpo girl knocked down the monster, it exploded.
It was reduced to fragments before it could even cry in agony.
The impact she made on the ground caused it to tremble. The river made a great wave before flowing back. Contrary to its nonsensical name, its destructive power was no joke.
I stared lifelessly at the giant crater she made, no trace of the monster left. With my hands and knees on the ground, I fell flat.
──What the hell. That tortoise just had to cause a ruckus.
She stole the spotlight right when protagonist made it to the scene.