Not even ten seconds had passed.
Just as I thought, when we leapt into the adjacent room, Jyuri and Renie were about to battle.
“Disappear, arrogant butler. I’ll take the title of the strongest apostle.”
“You’re the one who’ll disappear, obscene teacher. Then I’ll have Mion and Kiki join you soon.”
The two generals already shifted into their apostle forms, giving us only a moment to intervene.
While Jyuri’s lower body turned into that of a serpent’s, making her look like a lamia, Renie turned into a six-armed creature. This is something I learned later on, but he’s an orb-weaving spider apostle. Counting his legs, he would have eight limbs, I suppose.
“Hey Jyuri, stop! You’re doing it again! You promised not to let your sense of duty get the better of you!”
“Renie, ya gotta stop too. Bad kids get taken away by the namahage.”TLNNamahage are youkai who like to scare bad-behaving children.
Seeing not just Tao, but Taotie and Hundun as well, the two soon returned to their human forms. They immediately kneeled down and silently bowed their heads.
“I, I’m terribly sorry. I, Jyuri, showed such disgraceful behavior in front of ‘Evil Spirits’…”
“I, Renie, have gotten a little carried away as well. I will accept any punishment.”
Once everything settled down, we decided to resume speaking with Tao in the drawing room.
Once Tao and I sat on opposite ends of the table, Renie soon brought some tea. He then stood beside Tao and kept silent. When Jyuri similarly stood beside me, the two glared at each other once again.
“Now then, Tao. Shall we continue our conversation?”
While I sipped on my tea, Tao nodded and said “Alrighty then.”
It was a response unbefitting of the school’s idol and the righteous heroine, Yukimiya Shiori. It’s obvious that her behavior would create rumors.
“I’ll ask again, of all people, why did you choose Yukimiya as a vessel? You said something about having a ‘big reason.'”
“…I possessed Shiori right about six months ago. I ain’t been dwelling inside her for long.”
Half a year ago? That recently? In other words, she was with another human vessel before then?
(Perhaps she changed hosts after learning that Sebastian was the butler of the Yukimiya household? If I remember correctly, he’s been serving the Yukimiya Group for over twenty years…)
After Renie and I exchanged glances for a brief moment, he answered as if he predicted my thoughts. He asked Tao “Please give me permission to speak,” and spoke with his usual tone of voice.
“Before we talk about my lord, let me first explain how I came to the Yukimiya family. I believe it will be easier for you to understand that way…is that alright?”
When I nodded, the spider butler cleared his throat.
“As I said earlier, I serve only the ‘Evil Spirit’ Taowu. However, three hundred years ago, when my lord lost a battle with a Hinomori member and fell asleep…I had no idea who the next vessel would be.”
“So, some remaining subordinates and I decided to temporarily hide in Europe. Though, the successor of the ‘Vermilion Bird’ pursued us and defeated all of those subordinates.”
Oh, he was related to that?
I heard that Elmira’s ancestor left Japan to pursue the apostles who fled to Europe, where they then mingled in with a vampire clan.
In other words, Elmira’s a vampire because of Sebastian.
“As the months and years passed, I judged that the situation had calmed, and so I decided to return to Japan, pretending to be a Frenchman. Then──”
“You took the name Sebastian and slipped into the Yukimiya family?”
“Indeed. I had two reasons for doing so. First, I could monitor the Yukimiya family, the ones who passed down the ‘White Tiger’…I intended to grasp the movements of the Hinomori family and the other four gods.”
“What about the other reason?”
“Of course, I was searching for the one who became Taowu’s vessel. I hoped to use the Yukimiya Group’s information network, but…things didn’t go as I planned. After twenty years, I still couldn’t find Taowu.”
“So, you and Tao reuniting was…”
“Yes, it was entirely by coincidence. I suppose I was half-delighted and half-confused.”
I guess that in the end, Renie made the right call being the Yukimiya household’s butler.
After monitoring the successor of the ‘White Tiger’ for long enough, she became his genuine lord. Furthermore, Taowu reviving half a year ago was a lucky coincidence.
“Renie, you’ve got a lot of luck…”
After giving my thoughts, the aging butler shrugged his shoulders and replied with a bitter smile.
“I wonder about that. The price to pay for it was spending twenty years as Sebastian. In addition, once Taowu resurrected…”
Renie hesitated to continue speaking and looked at his lord for a brief moment.
I think I see what’s going on. When he brought me to this mansion, he looked like he was stressed──and this must be why.
Taowu had finally revived, but instead of enthusiastically saying “Now, let’s destroy the human world,” she said “I ain’t fightin’ humans no more.”
I can imagine Renie feeling like his work didn’t pay off after hearing her say that.
“Of course, there’s the matter regarding Taowu, but there’s something equally shocking and confusing for me right now.”
When I blinked and said “Huh?”, he reluctantly stared at the two stands behind me.
…Oh, he means them. I understand his feelings.
Yukimiya didn’t have any reason to tell Sebastian about my situation. As a result, it seems that Renie didn’t know about me holding two “Evil Spirits.”
“I knew that Kobayashi was Taotie’s vessel, but I didn’t expect him to become Hundun’s as well…furthermore, I didn’t think he could ‘convert’ him again…”
When Renie said that with admiration, Hundun immediately spoke in an arrogant manner.
“Don’t misunderstand. I’m only here temporarily. Know this…the only one I will follow is Kyouka.”
Contrary to his shameful words, Hundun folded his arms while seeming proud.
On the other hand, Taotie restlessly looked around the room while muttering “Wow,” and “I want to live here.” He didn’t seem too interested in Tao or Renie.
After taking a glance at his fellowman acting that way, Hundun then glared at Renie.
“Hey, Renie. I couldn’t care less about who you swear loyalty to. However, if you lay a hand on Kyouka──you better prepare yourself. Your death won’t be quick.”
Hearing that, Jyuri smirked and gave Hundun a thumbs up. Hundun responded with a thumbs up of his own. What’s happening here?
“…I will keep your words in mind, Hundun. Though I am Taowu’s subordinate, I respect and fear all ‘Evil Spirits’…I am not foolish enough to rouse their anger.”
Renie gave a polite bow and then turned towards me. He spoke with a hand on his chest.
“Kobayashi, that is all to my story. I’m truly grateful for your time.”
In any case, I now know how Renie became Sebastian.
The next important detail is how Tao moved to Yukimiya. While thinking about such things, I turned towards her.
…And she’s asleep.
She dozed off while sitting on the sofa. Her mouth’s partially open.
“Hey, wake up! Don’t let Yukimiya make such a sloppy face! Also, don’t drool! Get rid of that snot bubble!”
Aware of my criticism, Tao opened her eyes while saying “Wha?” In a panic, she wiped her mouth and nose, put on a composed expression, and straightened herself.
“I, I ain’t sleepin’, ya hear? I was just becomin’ one with my mind, ya hear? I’m an ‘Evil Spirit.'”
Please stop referring to yourself in that way…you’re Yukimiya, you know? Not Goku.TLNHe’s talking about how Taowu refers to herself using the “ora” pronoun, something which Goku from Dragon Ball does as well.
“Now it’s your turn. Why did you purposely make the successor of the ‘White Tiger’ your vessel?”
“Actually, I ain’t even known that Shiori hosted the ‘White Tiger.’ All I knew was that she was Aya’s niece…”
“Yup. My previous landlord was a woman by the name of Asahina Aya. She was a very lovely person.”
Upon asking for further information, it seems that she was an office worker in her late thirties.
She was an unmarried woman, but had a younger sister named Tomoe who seems married to the young son of a wealthy family. A gold digger, so to speak.
“Aya…became ill half a year ago and passed away. Couldn’t even greet her before I revived. I’m much obliged to her…”
When Tao slouched over in gloom, Hundun and Taotie showed her some sympathy.
“I know how you feel, Tao. It felt like the end of the world when Kyouka was about to die. For ‘Evil Spirits,’ our hosts are like a part of our bodies. We have a lot of attachment to them.”
“If Ryuuga died, I guess I would be shocked too. I would definitely kill myself to follow her.”
Why didn’t he mention me? I’m his vessel.
“It was mighty painful seein’ Aya like that…I couldn’t help but be sad. With my landlord gone, I had to saddle up and find a new vessel.”
It seems that at first, she relied on Aya’s younger sister, Tomoe.
It’s the same for the Kobayashi family. Bloodline has a large effect on the “potential of a vessel.” It seems that the Asahina family is one of the qualifying family lineages. That’s why Tao had to rely on them. However…
“The younger sister, Tomoe, married a man by the name of Yukimiya Fumihiro. The two already had a daughter in high school…and surprisingly, that girl had an extremely high life force.”
Simply put, it was Yukimiya Shiori.
“I changed plans and decided to move into that girl rather than Tomoe. I didn’t need permission to move to a new landlord, so I was able to settle down without a hitch, but…there was already a fella there. Byatoran.”
“Perhaps ya guessed it, but I’m talkin’ ’bout the ‘White Tiger.’ Shiori calls it her guardian deity.”TLN“Byakko (白虎)” is the White Tiger in Japanese. The kanji characters making it up are literally “white” and “tiger.” The “-kko” part is tiger. Tiger by itself is “Tora” in Japanese. So, she basically just swapped “-kko” for “tora” and added an “n” at the end. Byatoran.
I gave up on retorting to her names and decided to sort out the story for the time being.
After losing her host Asahina Aya, Tao turned towards Tomoe, who shared the same bloodline. She also didn’t think anything of the family name “Yukimiya.”
She decided that the daughter, Shiori, was a better host and quickly changed her destination. It’s been six months since.
By some bizarre chance, Renie also happened to be working there as a butler and her new vessel was also the successor of the “White Tiger.”
“After a slew of effort, I was able to have Byatoran open up to me. At first, the fella would bite me mighty hard, but now it’s only a light bite. It likes it when I rub its belly.”
They were able to get along?
“I ain’t one for violence in the first place. I’m sorry for the trouble I caused to my host Shiori. So Ichirou, I got somethin’ to ask.”
“I want ya to be my mediator when I reconcile with Hinomori Ryuuga. That’s why I brought ya to this house today.”
…This can’t be good. Good, this can’t be (inverted sentence).TLNIn other words, Ichirou’s doing some Yoda speech.
Just as I had feared, the “Evil Spirit” Taowu has already mended her ways. She’s eager to become an ally without having to fight. She even calls her hosts landlords.
Part three is no longer the Qiongqi arc, but the Taowu arc.
Normally, the fights would intensify…the enemies would get stronger and craftier…things would get uglier than before. Now we’re turning towards a comedy.
(I’m glad I came here. If Ryuga was here, she would have immediately reconciled with her. Part three would be over in a flash.)
Even if it has to be fixed game, it needs to be done. I just need to have Tao stand in the way of Ryuuga’s team somehow. We need to go through with the pattern we’ve been following up until now. I’ll think of a script!
“S, say, Tao. I think pacifism is good and all, but…why don’t you try fighting with Ryuga and the others just once? Then you can be allies after that.”
“No way. I ain’t gonna get hurt. Don’t go around thinkin’ of me as some tomboy.”
“Don’t say that! You’re troubling Renie!”
“No. I’mma live peacefully, even if I have to plow fields.”
Yukimiya turned the other way and of all things, picked her nose with her pinky. Stop! Don’t do that here! Someone, blur this out!
…I desperately kept insisting, but the “Inelegant Evil Spirit” firmly refused.
Even Taotie seemed fed up and said “You should have more self-awareness as an ‘Evil Spirit,'” to Tao. He did have a point, but he’s not in any position to say that.
“Tie, you don’t have any self-awareness as an ‘Evil Spirit’ either. You’re head over heels for the Hinomori household’s daughter.”
This time, Hundun retorted to Taotie. He’s not in any position to say that though.
“So, let’s call it a day. I’ll be a bother to Shiori if I’m out here too long. I’m an ‘Evil Spirit’ who’s kind towards ’em landlords.”
“Ichirou, I’ll ask ya for some more advice later on. Also, Jyuri.”
Jyuri responded with “Y, yes?” in a hurry. She was clearly confused since she was talking to what looked like Yukimiya.
“Give Mion and Kiki my best regards. We should have a gals-only gatherin’ someday.”
“A, as you wish…”
With a complicated expression, Jyuri kneeled down.
One of the four fiends, the “Evil Spirit” Tao, had appeared and she was even more of a burden than Qiongqi to an extent.
(At any rate, I have to persuade her to be the final boss of part three…I’ll entrust Qiongqi with part four.)
Now that it’s come to this, I can only rely on him.
Qiongqi──you’ve got an important duty to carry.