A bit of time had passed.
Yukimiya was returning home for the day, so we both left my house. She was going to take a taxi home and I decided to accompany her to a large roadway.
“Yukimiya, shouldn’t we have Renie pick you up? I don’t think Tao will let him harm you.”
“It seems that Sebastian applied for a one week absence starting from today. After telling me everything, he left the residence.”
“Yes. Furthermore, I don’t know how to…face Sebastian. So, I’ll head home myself.”
Even now, Yukimiya continued to refer to Rikushou Renie as Sebastian.
It seems that while she made up her mind about Tao, she hasn’t sorted out Renie’s case yet. That’s understandable. She’s referred to Sebastian as “part of the family” before.
“Kobayashi, thank you so much for today. I’m glad that I came to you instead of thinking over this alone. I was even able to talk with Tao.”
“In retrospect, communicating through writing probably would have worked too…but, perhaps it was the right decision to do it through video. You got to know Tao’s nature, right?”
“Yes, I didn’t think she would be such a down-to-earth ‘Evil Spirit.'”
Yukimiya made a smile and shrugged her shoulders. Her face, illuminated by the streetlights in the night, was breathtakingly pretty. Her complexion was much better than when she came.
“As you’ve suggested, I think we’ll exchange notes starting tomorrow. It’s a bit of an incredible feeling exchanging a diary with an ‘Evil Spirit.'”
“Is that so? I’m sure Tao will be happy too.”
There still are a lot of problems remaining, but it’s good that Yukimiya’s smile returned.
Thinking that I should use this opportunity to make a request of my own, I decided to start a new conversation.
“Say, Yukimiya. I have one more suggestion.”
“Yes, what is it?”
“Once you get to know Tao a little better, I think you’ll eventually have to tell Ryuga and the others. Though, that may not go so smoothly.”
“I suppose you’re right. Since Tao can take over my consciousness at any time…the situation’s different from Taotie’s and Hundun’s.”
However, there’s no time to wait for Yukimiya to “convert” Tao. I’m worried that at worst, it could take months or even years for her to get “converted.”
For that reason…I’ve been thinking about exhausting Tao’s power. Having a battle take place will complete part three and will also align with Renie’s interests.
“So how about this, Yukimiya? This may be a bit of a wild method──一but how about Ryuga’s team and Tao fight just once?”
“Huh? W, why…?”
When the “Shrine Maiden of Life” halted and stared at me, I began to explain in a hurry.
“No, I’m not trying to seal Tao. It’s just that I remembered something. Kyouka was able to ‘convert’ Hundun because he lost a large amount of power.”
“Using up strength in a battle will greatly weaken an ‘Evil Spirit.’ If the same happens with Tao…wouldn’t you have a chance to ‘convert’ her?”
“You may be right, but…isn’t there a more peaceful method? Can’t we explain the situation to Hinomori and the others, and then have a mock battle?”
“What worries me is whether a sparring match can exhaust her energy. Furthermore, would Ryuga and the others hold back after knowing that──”
We were in the midst of talking.
Suddenly, there was the sound of a bell.
Yukimiya seemed to hear it as well and we both looked around. Before we knew it, we were in front of the cemetery.
“Am I hearing things? Was that a bell just now?”
There was another chime before Yukimiya finished her sentence.
This time, the source was clear. It came from five meters ahead, the cemetery entrance.
(I’ve heard this bell before…)
A certain memory flashed into my mind. Just yesterday, Ryuuga and I came across a large, muscular monk who was asking for donations.
He was a strange, imposing monk who asked if we saw someone who looked like a Buddha.
As we listened carefully, the sound of the bell gradually grew louder. Furthermore, we heard the sound of footsteps approaching from inside the cemetery. Personally, I don’t have very fond memories of this cemetery.
(Even if we try to pass by now, we’ll come across each other in front of the entrance. I suppose that all we can do is wait…)
Just in case, I had Yukimiya step back.
Sure enough, the giant monk suddenly appeared in front of us.
I had feeling this would happen, but my eyes still widened from it.
The reason was that the monk had a “companion.” That person was someone I’ve seen before.
That’s right. It was the kuro gyaru I met at the bowling alley just today. The guitarist in Agito’s band and the wild high-schooler who extorted money from him.
“Hey, we meet again, Kobaichi. It seems we’ll be playing around this time.”
Shima smiled and closed one eye. She was quite calm while the monk stood next to her in front of the cemetery.
“Actually, the one we have business with is the ‘White Tiger’ girl over there. Though, perhaps we really are bound by fate, Kobaichi?”
“You have business with Yukimiya?”
With our brief exchange, I had an idea of what was going on. At the same time, I felt dejected.
──What kind of pair was this mismatching “black gyaru and monk”?
──How does Shima know my name when I didn’t even introduce myself to her?
──How do they know about Yukimiya’s guardian deity?
──Why is there an ill will coming from them?
The answer is that those two are “Apostles of Hell.” That explains it all.
“…Shima. Actually, is it alright to call you that?”
“That’s fine. I hate formalities.”
“You two are Qiongqi’s subordinates, right? Tell this to your boss, ‘You’re now the final boss of part four, so withdraw for a bit.'”
“Haha. You’ve got some guts, Kobaichi. That’s something Qiongqi likes.”
In a split second, the kuro gyaru’s and monk’s bodies changed.
Shima’s entire body was suddenly covered with yellowish-brown fur and she grew a tail from behind. She had a flexible, feline figure. Her fur also had some black spots…was she a cheetah type?
As for the monk, his giant body grew even larger. He had black armor around him, a short horn protruding from his forehead, and a long one on the top of his head…it seems he’s a beetle type.
The two, who had turned into peculiarities, reintroduced themselves.
“I am one of ‘Hell’s Top Eight,’ Banshou Shima. Nice to meet you.”
“…I am Kaishou Saihiru. I am also one of the top eight.”
I already anticipated this after witnessing the strength of their ill wills, but it seems they really are generals.
This is very problematic. Not only in terms of the present situation, but also in regards to the story.
This cheetah apostle is…one of Agito’s band members. I thought she was a character in the other story, but she turned out to be an “Apostle of Hell.”
(Another crossover…? Now that it’s come to this, I have to change my understanding. That is, my understanding of Agito.)
Actually, I had this underlying feeling for a while.
──Could it be that there is no story with Tenryouin Agito as the protagonist? Was he a character involved in this story from the start?
(In that case, I can understand his supernatural ability. Could Agito be one of the top eight…? No, I shouldn’t focus on that right now. Right now, a battle could start at any──)
At that moment, Yukimiya suddenly kicked the ground from behind me. She nimbly jumped over a concrete wall nearby and landed into the cemetery.
“Kobayashi, let’s handle this in the cemetery! There shouldn’t be anyone in there at this time!”
I immediately followed suit without responding.
I can’t afford to leave her. Right now, Yukimiya can’t use her supernatural abilities.
(I have to hold out right now. This isn’t a situation befitting of a friend character, but…I have to protect Yukimiya until Ryuga and the others arrive!)
While following Yukimiya from behind, I took out my phone to contact Ryuuga.
Suddenly, a black silhouette appeared next to me as I ran. It seemed to be Shima.
“Haha. You’re too slow, Kobaichi. You can’t throw me, Shima, off you know?”
As expected of a cheetah apostle, she was quick on her feet. Perhaps she would be even faster if she didn’t have her jiggling (estimated) F-cups.
“I can win in a race, both in the spirit world and human world. Give up.”
I tried to ram into her while running, but Shima dodged my charge. It seems I can’t make her trip either.
“Heehahahaha! Nothing you do will work!”
“Then take this!”
When I reached for her breasts as a last resort, the cheetah apostle screamed “Gah!” and took a big leap forward. I immediately ground to a halt and faced Shima as she glared at me.
It seems that we already outran Yukimiya at some point. A pair of idiots, we were.
“…Hey Kobaichi, that wasn’t cool. I’m still a girl, you know?”
Shima objected with a hateful glare while turning red up to her ears. That was an unexpected reaction.
“It was bound to happen. In the first place, you were the one who pressed them onto me at the bowling alley. Your breasts, that is.”
“It’s different if you’re trying to grab them!”
“I had to do it so that I could stop you. I’ll admit that you’re lightning fast. I’ll also praise your chest for its elasticity.”
“Shut up! You better take responsibility by being my boyfriend!”
Shima shouted, revealing her fangs. Thereupon, Yukimiya finally caught up. A little while later, Saihiru came as well.
At an intersection surrounded by tombstones, we faced the two generals. The rhinoceros beetle apostle had quite the build, but seemed quite slow.
“Now, how about we split our shares? I’ll play with Kobaichi and then as planned, you devour the main course, Yukimiya Shiori. What do you say, Saihiru?”
“Shima, you ran too far. I advise against your thoughtlessness.”
Their aggressive ill wills continued to intensify.
In addition, I sensed many ill wills approaching from all sides. It seems that they brought their troops.
(Even with a light estimate, there must be thirty of them…under normal conditions, Yukimiya could seal the enemies’ movements with her Kagura suzu.)
However, I can’t expect her to do that right now. Nor can I hope that she uses her “Tree Binding Execution” on them either.
(Are we completely surrounded? It was a mistake coming to the cemetery…no, with Shima here, escaping would be impossible anyways.)
Ordinarily, this situation would be an absolute crisis. If this were a dark story, it may be possible that…Ryuuga would rush in to find two tragic corpses on the floor.
However, that won’t be the case. Because Kobayashi Ichirou is here.
Though it was against my will, I have two “Evil Spirits” with me. In fact, it’s the opposing side that will face an absolute crisis.
(Though, I want to avoid annihilating the enemy. I have to bring Ryuga here as soon as possible…the problem is whether that quick-footed cheetah will give me the chance to contact her.)
While I tightly grasped the phone in my pocket, Yukimiya stared at the two.
“You called me the main dish. Did Qiongqi order to…erase the successor of one of the four gods, the ‘White Tiger’?”
Shima laughed loudly in response to Yukimiya’s question.
“Heehahaha! That’s not it, you know? You being Taowu’s vessel is more important than being the host of the ‘White Tiger.'”
While Yukimiya and I gulped, Saihiru continued the conversation.
“Capture Taowu’s vessel, Yukimiya Shiori, or destroy her…those are our orders. Taowu likely can’t use her full strength right after waking up. That’s a prime opportunity.”
“Furthermore, Taowu’s quite the fool, isn’t she? So, the one who should withdraw isn’t Qiongqi, but Taowu, don’t you think, Kobaichi?”
…What the hell. Qiongqi knew about Tao’s resurrection? Furthermore, he even knew that she had no intentions of threatening humanity!
(How did he know? Only a small portion of people know this information.)
The ones who know about this are me, Taotie, Hundun, the three princesses, Yukimiya herself, and──
(Was it Sebastian?)
He’s the only possible one who could leak this information. It has to be none other than Rikushou Renie.
(Could it be that the orb-weaving spider butler turned Yukimiya over to Qiongqi? In other words, he turned Tao over to Qiongqi?)
As if to confirm my suspicions, the rhinoceros apostle spoke with a deep voice. Looking closely, there was a band of prayer beads hanging from his neck. It seems he’s a monk character through and through.
“Taowu’s associate, Renie, grieved about the status of his lord. So──I lent an ear to him.”
Saihiru’s words surprised me. I then remembered Sebastian’s false nationality.
Could it be that the “Buddha-like person” the monk looked for was…Renie? Did he mean to say a “French person”? There’s a limit to how far you can confuse words!TLN“Buddha-like” and “France” kind of, but not really, sound similar in Japanese.
(To think that he asked the protagonist about his companion’s whereabouts out in the open…!)
While I was grinding my teeth, the apostles began to appear in succession and surrounded us.
A beast-like one, an insect-like one, a fish-like one…with a gathering of peculiarities at a cemetery night like this, an outsider might think that this was a “youkai sports gathering.”
(Tie, you understand the situation, right? I’ll protect Yukimiya, so please take care of Shima and Saihiru.)
When I spoke to Taotie using our remote communication, I immediately got a reply. Good, I don’t know what I would do if he was still sleeping.
(Leave it to me! Still, that delinquent girl was Shima, huh? I’ve never seen her human form at all, so it completely evaded me. She even got a tan.)
After the “Evil Spirit” made his carefree statement, another “Evil Spirit” entered the conversation.
(Hey, Sonny. Let me fight instead of this useless guy. His body’s growing dull.)
(W, what?! You’re butting in again, Hundun! Recently, I’ve been having fewer opportunities to shine! Think about my fans!)
(You have no fans. Here, how about a fair game of rock, paper, scissors?)
(You’re on! I’m going to go with rock! If you pull out paper, you’ll lose, okay?!)
The “Evil Spirits” began a game of rock, paper, scissors inside me. They had no sense of tension.
(Alright, rock, paper, scissors! Rock, paper, scissors! Draw! Draw! Draw! Guh, this obviously isn’t working…in that case, let’s settle this with a word-chain game! Alright, apple!)
The “Evil Spirits” started a word-chain game inside me. I wanted to knock some sense into them.
(Unfair, Hundun! You keep using ‘ru’ words!)TLNThe words in Japanese were Ringo – Gooru – Runba – Bairingaru – Ruumania – Arasaaaidoru
“Either of you, get out here now! If you guys keep this up, neither of you will have fans!”
I shouted in a fit of anger.
Suddenly, Yukimiya soundlessly took a step ahead of me.
The “Shrine Maiden of Life” surveyed her surroundings and then finally stared at Shima and Saihiru. The aura around her had obviously changed from before. She even had a black aura around her. Could it be?
“…Ya’ll tryin’ to lay a hand on my landlord?”
She spoke with a dialect. It was Tao.
Shima’s and Saihiru’s expressions immediately changed. They immediately exercised caution and were on guard.
The surrounding apostles also stepped back in a wave. Their faces were all tinted with fear.
Before long, the silhouette of a woman appeared from Yukimiya’s back.
“In that case──I ain’t forgivin’ ya’ll.”
Tao declared war before I had a chance to do anything.