Hundun turned the camera while the three princesses and I watched.
Now that I think about it, it seems that this uncle has taken a liking to video cameras. The memory card contains footage of Shizuma in the spirit world and of the three princesses’ struggle with the cockroach. I really hope he doesn’t accidentally erase the card.
“Ah…um, let’s see ‘ere…”
Tao froze with fear in front of the camera. Her eyes darted around and she mumbled.
(This won’t work. If Yukimiya sees this, she’ll be more worried.)
I immediately took a felt-tip pen to a sheet of paper, wrote “Start with an introduction!”, and held it up. Next to me, Mion made a gesture telling her to relax.
“I, it’s a pleasure to meet ya…I’m the ‘Evil Spirit’ Taowu. Call me Tao. Today’s a fine day, the season’s calm as autumn passes, and it’s around this ‘ere time that the summer heat’s just a memory. The rice harvest is abundant this year, a fruitful autumn──”
I immediately wrote down “Too long!” and showed it to her. Next to me, Mion wrote down “Move on to the next subject!” to her.
“Umm…Shiori, I’m mighty sorry for usin’ your body without your permission. I got excited after revivin’ for the first time in three hundred years. So…oh, that’s gotta be the underground monster Berberon.”
Tao suddenly made an incomprehensible statement.
When I looked around, I found that Kiki was holding up a drawing of a monster. It was a drawing for Shizuma and one that the bobbed-haired girl was proud of.
“Hey, Kiki! Don’t show her anything weird!”
“What’s weird about it? It’s my work of art.”
“I know! I’m sure it’s great!”
After restraining the Hokkaido wolf apostle, who had shown off Berberon with a grin, I lifted up a cue card with “Focus on your harmlessness!” written on it.
This is the main subject. Yukimiya’s impression of Tao should change upon seeing her as a pleasant character.
“Shiori, I dunno what Renie said to ya, but I ain’t gonna be bad in the human world no more. Hopefully, we can be pals. Of course, that includes Hinomori Ryuuga and the rest too.”
Mion, Jyuri, and I made the “OK” hand gesture.
“Shiori, ya must be havin’ trouble usin’ your supernatural abilities right now. As for why, the ‘White Tiger’ Byatoran is emotionally unstable ’cause of me. But it ain’t nothin’ to worry ’bout. Things should return to normal soon. So look forward to Episode 11, ‘Spectacle Man’s Dilemma! The Glacier Monster’s Assault!'”
She was doing fine up until she said another odd sentence.
I saw Kiki holding up a cue card with a notice of the next Spectacle Man episode written on it. She often practices her writing by copying subtitles to a sheet of paper.
“Hey, Kiki! I thought I said not to show her anything weird!”
“The glacier monster is Ujaranga, of course. It can spit out freezing gas.”
“I know! It’s sixty meters long and weighs twenty thousand tons!”
…For now, I should stop the camera and have Yukimiya watch the footage.
Once Tao withdrew, Yukimiya immediately looked around with a blank stare. After briefly explaining the situation, I asked her to watch the video message.
“A message for me from the ‘Evil Spirit’ Taowu…?”
“Yeah. She wants you to know that she’s not an enemy. She spoke her thoughts to the camera. So why not take a look?”
“…I understand. If that’s what you say.”
“Much appreciated, Yukimiya. Also, don’t worry about the Spectacle Man stuff in it.”
After receiving the video camera from Hundun, Yukimiya stared at the video through the tiny screen, holding a stiff expression. She then played Tao’s message.
“T, this is me…”
It was big shock to Yukimiya upon seeing herself speaking with a dialect.
Once the message was over, she kept silent for around twenty seconds before looking at me with a serious face.
“Kobayashi, If I speak to Taowu right now, will she be able to hear me inside my body?”
“Y, yeah. I think she can.”
Thereupon, Yukimiya straightened up, said “Well then,” and began quietly speaking to herself.
“‘Evil Spirit’ Taowu…actually, I suppose I should call you Tao, shouldn’t I? If you really do plan on co-existing with humanity──will you let me ‘convert’ you? Once that happens, we should be able to meet face-to-face, like with Taotie and Hundun, right?”
…Yukimiya was taking the situation surprisingly well.
She has a point. Taotie and Hundun are able to manifest because I “converted” them.
The ‘Evil Spirit’ has been taking over Yukimiya’s consciousness and body because that hasn’t happened yet. Even Kyouka was only able to speak with Hundun after he “converted.”
Tao reappeared after hearing Yukimiya’s words. Hundun once again pointed the camera towards her.
“Shiori, thanks for the reply. About what ya said…unfortunately, ‘Evil Spirits’ can’t ‘convert’ themselves. It depends on the landlord’s mental strength.”
Tao bowed her head apologetically. I noticed Kiki in the frame as she walked around in the background.
I showed the video to Yukimiya once she returned. Fortunately, she didn’t mind the bobbed-hair girl walking around.
“Kobayashi, how did you ‘convert’ Taotie and Hundun?”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t really know myself. It seems that I automatically, rather than deliberately, overpowered them…”
“Does that mean I don’t have the mental strength to overpower an ‘Evil Spirit’…?”
Despite her slightly disappointed look, she still spoke to Tao with a firm expression.
──So for a while, the host and “Evil Spirit” spoke to each other through this odd method.
“Tao, I won’t give up on ‘converting’ you. I will definitely train my mind and try to control you. Is that alright with you?”
“I ain’t gonna mind if it means staying with ya, Shiori.”
“I will continue fighting the ‘Apostles of Hell’ with my companions. Of course, we’re aiming for reconciliation, but as long as the ‘Evil Spirit’ Qiongqi threatens people, we will interfere using brute force. Is that okay with you?”
“Sure. If Qiong’s bein’ bad, I’ll help ya out, Shiori.”
“Then I have an answer for Sebastian. I will not abandon my role as the successor of the ‘White Tiger.’ However, I will not abandon my role as Tao’s vessel either. If you’re dissatisfied with that──then that makes us enemies.”
“So cool, Shiori! I knew you were fit for a landlord! Of course, I’ll be your ally! Byatoran and I will help ya out!”
“…Thank you, Tao. Talking with you has relieved a bit of my stress. I’ve made my decision.”
“I’m glad I could talk with ya too!”
“I thought you would a more terrifying ‘Evil Spirit,’ but…let’s take our time and talk things out. Also, let’s discuss about when you should come out.”
“T, thank you! I love the arcade! There’s a tuna cushion in your room, right? That’s my present to ya! Also──”
Yukimiya chuckled upon seeing the last message.
Things are looking good. It seems that the video letter tactic was a huge success. I didn’t expect these two to reconcile so quickly…Hundun, I have to give you credit where credit is due.
(I suppose this is also because of Yukimiya’s amnesty. Come to think of it, every now and then, Yukimiya speaks like a cool guy…)
Perhaps she will eventually “covert” Tao and wield both her and the “White Tiger” at the same time. That would be interesting.
“Say, Ichirou. There’s something on my mind.”
The heron girl suddenly nudged me with her elbow.
“What is it, Mion?”
“Couldn’t we have just let them talk in writing rather than through video?”
That completely slipped my mind. You should have said that sooner.
Despite Mion undermining Hundun’s achievement, Tao was still delighted. She held Kiki into her arms and spun around.
At a glance, it was a surreal sight to see the “Shrine Maiden of Life” playing around with the leading enemies. This scene should probably go to the cutting room floor.
“I’m so glad! I’m gonna talk more and more with Shiori, then we’ll be pals!”
“Congratulations, Earl Tao. Let’s go to the arcade again.”
“Let’s go bowlin’ next time!”
“Good idea. I like making the ball roll.”
…Thereupon, Jyuri, who had disappeared before I even noticed, returned carrying a dessert tray. It seems that she temporarily took on Mion’s role and peeled an Asian pear in the kitchen.
“Tao, you’ve done plenty today. Now then, eat up.”
Jyuri smiled, but Tao seemed cautious. She immediately let go of Kiki and carefully observed the Asian pear.
“You didn’t…poison this, did you?”
“It’s you, small-chested girl! When did you switch back?!”
“Just now! Who are you calling a small-chested girl?!”
“If you’re done with business here, then go home! Being in a boy’s house at this time is a big problem, you know?!”
“You’re acting as Hebizuka at your own convenience again…driving me out is the same as driving Tao out!”
“You’re the one acting as a host when it’s convenient for you! Have a bit more self-awareness!”
As usual, the two didn’t get along well.