“Hey, Agito. Let’s get straight to the point. Are you──Qiongqi’s vessel?”
It was the next morning. As soon as I met Agito in front of the station, I immediately asked that.
This was a bit of a long shot. It’s also possible that he’s one of “Hell’s Top Eight.”
However, considering his superstar-like nature, it’s unlikely that he’s just a mere apostle. Since he’s fairly involved with the protagonist, Hinomori Ryuuga, he must have a more unique position…that’s my opinion.
“That’s how it is. In other words, you and I are alike. We both hold ‘Evil Spirits’ and we both love Hinomori Ryuuga…this is a fated rivalry, so to speak.”
Agito’s lips shifted slightly as he responded to my question without feigning ignorance. I think that was the first time I saw him smile.
(So I was right. This guy is Qiongqi’s vessel…)
Despite being prepared, I couldn’t control my disappointment.
Now my relationship with Agito is all for nothing. Within this love triangle between Agito, Ryuuga, and me, my initial affection towards Agito has vanished.
“What are you so disappointed about, Kobayashi? You should be honored to be my rival.”
“How can I not be disappointed? Do you know how big my hopes were for you? It made my heart flutter when I thought that I could be a normal friend character…”
“I don’t really understand your mindset. Well, it doesn’t matter, if you refuse to be the protagonist, I’ll do it instead.”
“Hey, aren’t you getting quite cocky for a supporting character?”
I glared at him as he shamelessly declared himself as this story’s protagonist. Even as a joke, that’s not funny.
Hinomori Ryuuga is undoubtedly the leading actor in this tale. That won’t change unless something really dire happens.
“Listen, Agito. I know you’re Qiongqi’s vessel, but aren’t you getting too arrogant for an ‘enemy character’? In the end, I’m sure that Ryuga is destined to defeat Qiongqi.”
“I’ve changed my focus. The one I should settle my matters with isn’t Hinomori, but you.”
“Why do you have to clash with a friend character?!”
I immediately shut my mouth after blurting that out.
We were at the square in front of the train station. Furthermore, since it’s the morning rush hour, a large crowd of pedestrians passed by us. I’ll be publicly shamed if I act too aggressively.
“Anyways, you should be thinking about what will happen after Ryuga defeats you. You should transfer schools again, act like a victim manipulated by Qiongqi, or change to a simple, cheerful classmate character…”
“Don’t give me your idiotic advice. I, Tenryouin Agito, will never lose to another.”
“No, I assure you, Ryuga will win. You no longer have──the plot armor of a protagonist.”
For a brief moment, Agito and I glared at each other.
I didn’t want it to end up like this. The sad part is that a friend character shouldn’t be having this confrontation with one of the masterminds.
“…Sorry Kobayashi, but our conversation ends here. I’m not the one who’s supposed to speak with you today.”
Thereupon, Agito turned around and immediately walked towards the station.
“We’re changing locations. It would be inconvenient for you to have Qiongqi appear here, right? We’ll carry this over at my house.”
“I’ll serve you some coffee. Or are you perhaps…afraid of entering an enemy’s stronghold alone?”
“That coffee better not be instant.”
Indeed, there’s the risk of someone seeing us here.
If he’s inviting me, then I’ll take him up on the offer. I’ve got two “Evil Spirits” with me, even if they’re here against my will. I’m confident that I can push through any critical situation.
Agito and I took a train, got off at the fourth station, and walked together without saying a word. It was a new residential area near the sea, with many buildings under construction.
(I probably would have been excited about Agito inviting me to his home if this had been earlier, but now I can only sigh.)
Furthermore, I was starting the week off by skipping school.
Though due to the circumstances, it seems that Jyuri’s helping me out with that. She apparently gave my homeroom teacher Minegishi a subconscious suggestion to act like I’m attending school.
“…This is my residence.”
While saying that, Agito entered a brand new, fifteen-story apartment.
Judging from the gate, it was clearly a luxury apartment meant for the upper-class. The entrance was scattered with fancy sofas and there was even a water fountain. It was like a hotel lobby.
“Don’t worry. This apartment is my property. There are no usual tenants.”
“All floors have only one room. So, it’s quite spacious. I live on the top floor.”
What a custom-built place. So if there are fifteen stories, does that mean only fifteen people can live here? Even if they tried finding tenants, nobody would rent such living spaces.
“I kind of knew you were rich, but…what were you thinking with this strange arrangement? What will you do with the other fourteen floors?”
“Apostles live in them.”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“This apartment currently houses around one hundred and fifty apostles. Those who pledge allegiance to the ‘Evil Spirit’ Qiongqi have zero rent.”
“So you do have tenants! A whole crowd of them!”
“I only said that there are ‘no usual tenants.’ According to reports, the ‘Three Princesses of Hell’ are living in your home too, right? It’s much better being here than being kept as your sexual playthings.”
“We don’t do any of that! Stop it with the dirty talk! It’s only the morning!”
“By the way, soldiers occupy the first floor through the sixth floor…they all live together in the large rooms. Those who want their own private room will need to raise their status and perform an achievement.”
What the hell. This apartment is an apostle hideout. A “Hell House.”
“In addition, there’s a soundproofed studio in the basement. It’s where my band Apostle practices.”
“So your band is actually real…?”
“I’m the bassist. Shima is a guitarist. Saihiru is the drummer.”
“That monk’s a member too…?”
“I should also mention that our vocalist, a crow apostle named Hasuki, was killed in the graveyard last night. That husky voice was our entire selling point…the ‘Black Tortoise’ Kurogame Rina was the one who dealt the killing blow.”
“So that tortoise is even interfering with Apostle…?”
…Thereafter, I took an elevator up to the top floor and entered Agito’s house-sized room.
Before me was a giant room with glass walls that was twice the size of a classroom.
Simply put, it was like the president’s office of a large company. In front of a window was a huge desk, and in front of that desk were a sofa and table that could fit ten people. The four corners of the room had decorative plants, and on the ceiling was a large fan I couldn’t comprehend.
“Now then Kobayashi, help yourself to the sofa. I will summon Qiongqi.”
──Before long, I would meet Qiongqi.
However, the details of that will have to wait for another time.
Perhaps this is just a groundless fear, but…I feel as if I don’t have enough time to explain it all here.