“*sigh*…This is getting tiring.”
It was lunch break. Ryuuga, heading to the rooftop with me, let out a complaint.
As usual, there were no other students around, making this our own personal spot. So please, vent your frustrations. I’ll listen to all of them.
“To think that I would end up cosplaying at school…you’re the only one I want to be a maid for.”
“This is all my fault. If you’re really against it, you can skip school on that day. I can take your shift.”
“No. I can’t escape something everyone’s decided on. Especially since they’re advertising me as the venue’s attraction…”
Ryuuga sat on the floor and cradled her knees while her back rested against the fence.
Even though I was looking at her while standing…my mind was focused on an entirely different matter, despite how rude that was.
(That reminds me, I’m supposed to contact Yukimiya at noon.)
There’s also the matter of Renie, so I need to check with her on the situation. I can’t ignore the school festival, but I obviously can’t neglect Yukimiya’s situation either.
Yukimiya Shiori is the “Evil Spirit” Taowu’s vessel──which has turned out to be a problem time and time again.
Even so, she’s also the successor of one of the four gods, the “White Tiger.” She’s the “Shrine Maiden of Life” who fights together with Ryuuga.
At this rate, Yukimiya will have to play two roles, a “companion character” and an “enemy character.” There’s also that feud with Sebastian. The plot’s getting overcomplicated.
(I know her individual episode’s been postponed now, but isn’t this way too much to follow? Maybe I really do need to find a different person to be Tao’s vessel…)
…I guess I should ask Kyouka, Ryuuga’s younger sister, shouldn’t I?
Perhaps temporarily, I can have her be the vessel of an “Evil Spirit” again.
Then as originally planned, I can have Tao fight with Ryuuga’s team to deplete her power. Under those conditions, Kyouka should definitely be able to “convert” Tao. After all, she was able to “convert” Hundun before.
(In that situation, Yukimiya can focus on being a companion character. Kyouka would also have a new role in the story…hmm? No, wait a minute.)
That was when I realized something.
In the first place, having Ryuuga and Tao battle was a really bad idea.
I already know what happens when an exhausted “Evil Spirit” dwells within a body without falling asleep.
They continue sucking up their vessel’s life force.
On top of that, the vessel becomes so weak that they lose consciousness and are put in a life-threatening state.
(Isn’t that why I’m taking care of Hundun right now? In other words, the plan to exhaust Tao is…fundamentally unwise.)
Tao will have no choice but to remain at full power. Regardless of whether her landlord is Yukimiya or Kyouka.
However, that means it will be difficult to “convert” Tao. The only ones who can overpower an “Evil Spirit” at full power are Agito and me…but neither of those choices work.
What an idiot I am. How did I only realize this now?
(That’s not all. My ego’s rearing its ugly head again…)
What did I think of Kyouka just now? A temporary vessel? A “new role in the story”?
This only proves that I see Kyouka as just “a piece of the story.”
How can someone be so rude? What kind of upbringing, what kind of friends, would create a monster with this kind of mindset?
(I need to think about Ryuga’s feelings as well. Her sister had just been freed from an ‘Evil Spirit,’ but if another one’s forced onto her…that would be a troublesome matter.)
Before I knew it, I was sitting next to Ryuuga, cradling my knees in a similarly disheartened manner.
My self-loathing didn’t stop there. I couldn’t even cover for Ryuuga during the whole maid matter, what kind of friend character am I? I’m too ashamed to even see Nakajima’s face next Sunday evening.1Sazae-san, the TV anime Nakajima is a part of, airs on Sunday evenings.
“If I wear a maid outfit, will they found out I’m a girl…?”
“I’m a hopeless guy…laugh at me, Nakajima…”
“They wouldn’t take low angle photos of me, would they…?”
“Should I shave my head…? Actually, that would make me Isono…”2Likely referring to Isono Namihei, a balding father in the series Sazae-san, the same series Nakajima is in.
We both let out our complaints together and sighed.
Suddenly, the iron door in front of us opened, and three familiar girls walked towards us.
“Ryuuga, Kobayashi. So you really were here?”
One of them was a swordswoman with model-like proportions and a ponytail that went down to her back.
Contrary to her strict and stoic disposition, she was secretly a fashionista who kept up with the latest fads──the “Swordswoman of the Beheading Dance” Aogasaki Rei.
“What’s the matter with you two? Why are you sitting like that?”
Another was the vampire with a low blood pressure, the one who slept like a log at our class earlier.
Though she was a moody, wild, and devilish character, she’s into male romance and is the mother of the orphan apostle Shizuma──Elmira McCartney.
“Is this about Shio? If so, we’re also worried about her.”
The last one came from a kenpo household and also seems to be wearing leggings under her skirt.
She’s an athletic girl who keeps ruining the story plots I craft and acts recklessly without concern──the “Star-Wall Guardian” Kurogame Rina.
They were three of the heroines under the four gods, the last one being Yukimiya. They were regular characters in this story who fight against the “Apostles of Hell” together with Hinomori Ryuuga.
I guess they were looking for us, wanting to talk about Yukimiya’s situation. This matter is very important for them as well. That is, with the exception of Elmira since she knows the circumstances.
“Ryuuga, I just got a message from Shiori. She said that her health’s not a problem anymore and that she can attend school tomorrow. She’ll talk about Taowu once she’s here.”
Aogasaki’s words made Ryuuga lift her head and say “Huh?”
…That’s something we agreed on yesterday. This was a decision we made last night over the phone.
The best way to reassure Ryuuga and the others is to have Yukimiya show up looking healthy. Tao also knows that she shouldn’t do anything during that interval, which should allow for everyone’s focus to switch to Qiongqi.
(It’ll probably be safer for her to be with Ryuga and the others than to be at home. The three princesses won’t have to guard her then.)
In addition to my judgements, Yukimiya also seemed to have her own reason to attend school.
I didn’t ask for details, but she said “If I don’t go, I’ll bother everyone, especially Rei,” to me…and I suppose that’s why she sent that message to Aogasaki instead of Ryuuga.
For a while, we remained silent on the rooftop.
Surprisingly, even Kurogame dropped her shoulders in dejection and her expression was quite gloomy. As expected, even Yukimiya’s situation was a shock for the usually easygoing tortoise.
“*sigh*, I’m worried about Shio…couldn’t we have just forced ourselves in to meet her this morning…?”
“Don’t be so rash. Do you know how hard it was for me to stop you from smashing through the gates?”
With an exaggerated sigh, Elmira scolded the tortoise. If I’m hearing that correctly, she quickly took care of a situation that was about to go out of control? I suppose I could let her suck my blood later.
“After school, I plan on waiting at the supermarket in front of the train station. I hear that Mion often frequents that place. If we catch her, we can get her to spit out why she’s protecting Taowu. Even if it means using brute force.”
“Don’t do that. I thought I told you this morning already. Leave the three princesses to me.”
This time, Elmira was scolding Aogasaki. Consider me impressed.
“Elmira, why are you siding with the three princesses? This isn’t the time to act leisurely now that two ‘Evil Spirits’ have resurrected.”
“Yeah, Elle! The three princesses are bad! Let’s just hit them!”
…Unfortunately, the protagonist’s team had other thoughts.
Was I a bit too naive to think this would work without a hitch? Aogasaki and Kurogame represent two of the four gods. If the two of them continue being aggressive, Elmira alone might not be able to control them.
Thinking that I should help the vampire, I was about to open my mouth…but someone else spoke before I could.
“Everyone, calm down.”
With that dignified voice, everyone went silent. Needless to say, it was Ryuuga.
“First of all, if Shiori’s coming to school tomorrow…I think we should hold off on the ‘Evil Spirit’ Taowu situation until then.”
Everyone stared at the protagonist who surprisingly, lent a helping hand to Elmira before I could.
“B, but, Ryuuga. That means we won’t do anything until then…”
“That’s right, Ryu. The one who makes the first move is the victor. Don’t be so careless.”
In response to Aogasaki’s and Kurogame’s objections, Ryuuga shook her head while still sitting on the floor.
“Of course, I’m worried about Shiori as well. I want to see her soon too. But, now that my head’s cooled down…if we do that, isn’t that a breach of trust?”
“Shiori told us to leave it to her, so we should do just that. Of course, I believe…if she ever needs help, she’ll definitely rely on us.”
Ryuuga made a smile towards the two, who hung their heads without replying. She then turned towards the scarlet-haired vampire.
“Similarly, I want to believe in you, Elle. If you say that we should leave the three princesses to you, then I’ll do just that. That’s what friends are for.”
Elmira cheeks had faintly blushed. She obviously had a moment of heartfelt passion. Come to think of it, she’s the only one here who doesn’t know that Ryuuga’s a woman.
“Rei, Rina. I know you’re worried, but believe in our friends. Isn’t that how we’ve won our battles up until now? Our bonds──are our greatest strength.”
Yep. Ryuuga is definitely the best protagonist.
She’s the ideal hero I envisioned her to be.
If there’s anyone else who can say these kinds of lines so naturally and cleanly, then show me. Qiongqi’s eyes must be bad if he thinks that she’s “not fit for being the protagonist.”
(If possible, I’d prefer if she didn’t say that while sitting down and cradling her knees, but…I suppose that playfulness is also part of Ryuga’s charm.)
As I thought, I really do want to be Hinomori Ryuuga’s “friend character.”
I’m the only one who can support this protagonist.
If that’s just my ego talking, then I’ll gladly be an egoist. As if it’d be possible for the main characters of this story to be Kobayashi Ichirou and Tenryouin Agito.
Ryuuga will remain the central figure until the end. She will bring back peace to the human world. Anything else is just icing on the cake.
(If I were to restore peace in the world instead of Ryuga…that wouldn’t be a happy ending. That would be the bad ending. That would be the end of the world!)
Everyone else would think so as well. I think people would rather have the world perish than have the likes of a friend character save it.
Kobayashi Ichirou is no good.
This world is only worth being protected by the hands of Hinomori Ryuuga.
While I was affirming myself, Aogasaki and Kurogame soon humbly nodded their heads. Behold, this is the protagonist’s power of persuasion.
“…I see. Perhaps you’re right, Ryuuga. If we become restless now, we’d be doing exactly what the enemy wants us to. You can’t beat an enemy if you’ve lost your sense of composure.”
“I get it, Ryu! I’ll have some self-control!”
Elmira felt relieved upon seeing the two cool down. Next, she walked towards Ryuuga and kneeled down to match her at eye level.
“Ryuuga, thanks for trusting me.”
“Elle, you have the most contact with the three princesses because of Shizuma, right? This may be imprudent to ask, but could you carry out the role of a mediator?”
“Leave it to me. I’ll do my best…and by the way…”
After energetically nodding, the vampire then made an additional comment.
“Do your best as well, Ryuuga.”
“As a maid.”
Immediately following, Ryuuga fell over.
What a playful reaction.
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