After that event with the cockroach, Taotie came back from the spirit world right when dinner was almost ready.
“I’m back, Boss. I met with Shizuma.”
Elmira, the three princesses, Hundun, and I all stopped what we were doing and gathered in front of Taotie.
Hundun was attached to my back. It seems that when “Evil Spirits” share the same host, only one of them can completely manifest at a time.
“So how’s Shizuma?! Is he okay?! He’s not injured, is he?!”
“Is he crying from loneliness?! Does he want to see me?!”
Elmira and Kiki both shared their worries. That’s understandable. Those two took special care of Shizuma as temporary mother and sister.
It happened one night about a week ago. Shizuma said the following while departing. “My sisters the ‘Three Princesses of Hell’, who are tasked with regulating the spirit world…are currently in the human world. With the three princesses gone, the spirit world is likely close to a state of anarchy. Someone needs to restore order.”
Though he holds the power of a general, his mission is not an easy task. The spirit world is the stronghold of the apostles. I’ve heard that currently, there are around two thousand of them standing by.
Having a two-year-old face them all would be too much…I’m still worried about him to this day.
“Though he wants to meet everyone again, he’s not lonely. He already has two subordinates.”
“A giraffe apostle named Gaigo and a hornet apostle named Yagujya. I think Jyuri and Kiki know more about them than me, right?”
The two in question widened their eyes upon hearing Taotie’s words.
“Indeed, Gaigo’s my commanding officer. In terms of physical strength, he’s the strongest in my unit.”
“Yagujya is also my commanding officer. I had Yagujya do all the hard jobs.”
He already gained two commanding officers as allies? I already knew he was a serious person, but he’s turning out to be quite the capable child. He’s making his father proud.
“They’re with Shizuma since he told them about how Hundun, the three princesses, and I are supporting him. It seems that his companions will continue to increase.”
“Good job, Baron Taotie! Here, I’ll give you some tonkatsu!”
Kiki picked up a small cut of tonkatsu with her chopsticks and offered it to Taotie.
That’s not much of a reward. That tonkatsu was from Taotie’s own portion.
“Ichirou, don’t worry. Gaigo is a loyal apostle who adores me and calls me ‘Queen.’ He even likes it when I step on him.”
“Yagujya is a playful apostle. He’s what people call effeminate.”
Are they strong…? Though I’m a tad bit worried, I have no choice other than to trust them for now. Gaigo, Yagujya, take good care of my son. I’ll give you two a box of cakes sometime.
“Oh right, Shizuma left a letter. It’s addressed to everyone.”
“You should have said that first!”
“Hand it over! Baron Taotie!”
When Taotie pulled out a letter from a pocket in his uniform, Elmira and Kiki immediately snatched it. Everyone huddled up while reading it.
…The letter had words of deep affection addressed to each of us and said things like “Don’t worry about me,” and “Thank you for the sentiments.”
At the end, he wrote “Every week, I’ll send a report of the current situation” to us. His handwriting was remarkable. When did he have the time to master writing…? He’s a frightening two-year-old.
“Phew, that’s a relief…it seems he’s safe and full of energy.”
Elmira held the letter to her chest, as if deeply moved, and uttered that in a tone of relief.
“I’m writing a response! Mion, where’s the stationery?!”
“Calm down, Kiki. Is it really okay to send a reply that’s one week late? As an older sister, you shouldn’t bother Shizuma.”
“I’ll draw the underground monster Berberon! Shizuma loves Berberon! Oh, I’ll tell him about each week’s Spectacle Man!”
The eldest daughter and second daughter made a forced smile in response to the giddy third daughter.
I’ll also write a reply. While I’m at it, I’ll give Taotie the video camera next week. I’m curious about Gaigo and Yagujya.
Once dinner was ready, we feasted on our tonkatsu.
Kiki was more preoccupied with talking about Shizuma than eating.
Mion and Jyuri earnestly listened to her chatter and nodded along.
Taotie tilted his head to the side while saying “Huh? There’s a small piece missing on mine.”
…Such liveliness at the dining table was a common sight in the Kobayashi household. Hundun, who couldn’t manifest, has now become accustomed to the depressing act of reaching for his food from behind me.
“By the way, Elmira. Are you aware of Yukimiya’s recent absence from school?”
I decided to start a conversation with the vampire girl.
I’m going to collect information about Yukimiya from the other members of the four gods…at least, that’s my current plan.
“Yeah, of course I’m aware. Her body’s been unwell for the past several days…and it’s making me a bit worried. Kobayashi Ichirou, is there something you know about her?”
She ended up asking me about Yukimiya instead. It seems that Elmira doesn’t know anything about the situation.
I was disappointed that I didn’t get any results, but then she said something.
“Come to think of it──I’ve heard a worrying rumor.”
“Worrying rumor? What is it? Tell me.”
While shaking off the gloomy Hundun’s arm, I drew near Elmira. Hundun said “Hey Sonny, what are you doing?” while elbowing me in the head, but that didn’t matter.
“This is only something I heard from Shiori’s classmates, but…they’ve been saying that Yukimiya’s recently been strange during certain moments.”
“Yeah. As if she’s an entirely different person. Unfortunately, I don’t know what they mean by strange.”
Yukimiya’s being strange sometimes…what in the world could that mean?
Being quick to use a helicopter to go somewhere? Staring at large breasts with a hateful gaze? Putting jewels in her cooking? If they mean any of those, then that’s just the usual Yukimiya.
(That one sentence, ‘As if she’s an entirely different person,’ has caught my attention. Is it her personality or her appearance that changes…? Could it be that she and Sebastian swapped bodies?)
I don’t know what this is leading up to, but this definitely seems like the start of something. The start of Yukimiya Shiori’s main episode.
Anyhow, this is precious information. Tomorrow, I’ll see if Ryuuga knows about this as well…and while I was thinking about such things, Elmira suddenly switched topics.
“By the way, Kobayashi Ichirou. How long are you going to hide this from Ryuuga and the others? Living together with the three princesses, I mean.”
“Since you brought up Shiori, I figured I should tell you this. Some time ago, she told me something. ‘When I followed Jyuri as she was leaving school, she went into Kobayashi’s house,’ were her words.”
My eyes immediately widened upon hearing that. What the hell! She stalked Hebizuka!
“Next, she said ‘After waiting for a bit, Mion then showed up holding a shopping bag. They really are entering Kobayashi’s house.’ She went on to say ‘Kiki then showed up and entered the house. She even said ‘I’m home!’ energetically.'”
She saw them all. She saw all three princesses come home.
While I turned pale, the vampire girl fiddled with her wavy scarlet hair and continued.
“For now, I was able to cover it up. I told her that since the three princesses were Taotie and Hundun’s subordinates, they would occasionally show up.”
Thank god. This may very well be the first time I’ve been thankful to the ‘Blood-kin of Eternal Darkness’ since meeting her.
Nevertheless, the main characters have recently been sharing secrets.
Aogasaki and Kurogame know that Ryuuga’s a girl, Elmira knows about the three princesses living with me…at this rate, I might end up confusing myself and accidentally forget which people know what secret. Perhaps I should start keeping a memo.
While I was suffering internally, Elmira held her teacup in one hand while growing further agitated.
“I think the three princesses should just get a new house. When a man and woman sleep together in the same house…it’s only a matter of time before something happens.”
“It’s fine. Tie and Hundun are here too.”
“I’m still worried! What you say may be true, but I will not tolerate adultery! If Shizuma ends up having a little brother, I will cremate you!”
A small will-o’-the-wisp emerged from Elmira’s shoulder. Hundun and I screamed “Hot!” and jumped aside.
“Elmira. Unfortunately, we have no intention to leave.”
“Right. This is my home.”
“Having Ichirou’s child is on a first come, first serve basis, okay?”
When the three princesses repeated the word “Okay?” in unison, Elmira fired a second will-o’-the-wisp. Hundun and I once again yelled “Hot!” and jumped away.
“Stop monopolizing Kobayashi Ichirou! In the first place, Shizuma went to the spirit world because you all are lazing around in the human world!”
“It’s fine. That masochist Gaigo and effeminate Yagujya are with him.”
“How is that supposed to reassure me?! They only seem suspicious to me!”
“An apostles suspicion is their worth.”
“Can you not be so defiant?!”
“If you want, I can step on Ichirou too.”
“Snake woman! Isn’t it your fault that your subordinate’s a masochist?!”
“Isn’t my share the only one with a piece missing?”
“Shut up, ‘Tonkatsu Evil Spirit!'”
The vampire was on her knees, panting. It seems she got tired from all the retorts she made.
Seeing Elmira like that, Mion made a bitter smile while calming her.
“Now now, calm down, Elmira. We have Kyoho grapes for dessert. You’ll join us, right?”
“I’ll eat them!”
…I have nothing to say anymore about how familiar they are with each other.
Yukimiya, Qiongqi, anyone, hurry up and start something. Please move the plot forward.