The “White Tiger” stood beside Yukimiya Shiori, ready to pounce at any moment.
The spirit tiger suddenly vanished and the “Shrine Maiden of Life’s” presence completely changed. Renie had already sensed what happened.
(To think she’d come out now…)
Yukimiya Shiori raised her eyes and stared, though it wasn’t actually her.
It was none other than the lovable lord Rikushou Renie pledged allegiance to since ancient times. In other words, it was one of the “Evil Spirits,” Taowu.
“Renie, ya said some more cruel things to Shiori, didn’t ya? Today’s the day I oughta teach ya some manners.”
“Taowu…I thought the reports stated that you ate two chocolate bananas and fell asleep.”
“Don’tcha treat me like a child. A small nap was all it was.”
The “Evil Spirit” Taowu shook her fist in anger.
Renie still wasn’t used to seeing Yukimiya Shiori in this form.
The “Evil Spirit” Taowu always chose females as vessels. Furthermore, they were always intellectual, mature women or tidy, elegant beauties. Due to that, each instance always resulted in a sense of dissonance like this.
At the end of the day, it would be a bit disrespectful for a subordinate to suspect her of wanting to seem refined by possessing humans who held the characteristics she lacked.
“Taowu, why do you idolize Yukimiya Shiori that much? A vessel is just a vessel. For an ‘Evil Spirit,’ they are just containers.”
“That’s exactly somethin’ Qiong would say. An ‘Evil Spirit’ and vessel are one in body and soul…they’d normally grow fond of each other.”
“Then supposing that a better vessel existed──what would you do?”
This was the main thing Renie wanted to ask.
However, Taowu brushed the matter aside with a snort.
“There ain’t no landlord better than Shiori. I’ve made up my mind. I’m gonna be a child of the Yukimiya house.”
“That will not happen. The Yukimiya family carries a longtime enemy, the ‘White Tiger.'”
“They’re really rich, so it’s obvious they’d be keepin’ a tiger. Even on TV, ya see them as carpets on front entrances.”
In response to Taowu’s words, the cheetah apostle and rhinoceros beetle behind her whispered “Come to think of it, that does happen,” and “What would you do if you became a carpet?” It seems they didn’t take enough of a beating.
…Nevertheless, the situation was a bit unexpected.
He anticipated that Taowu would appear. However, Renie did not intend to fight her. That was natural. In what world would a subordinate attack their lord?
Though Taowu did appear, he planned on fighting someone else. That was the objective of this day. So…where was that person and what were they doing right now?
“Taowu, please listen to me. I am proud of my loyalty and am considering the best path for──”
Still, Renie tried to persuade his lord.
“Again with that? You sure like your pride, taciturn butler.”
A clear voice flew from an alley and a young woman entered the site of the abandoned factory.
She was a tall, sensual women who had glossy blonde hair and wore a white gown. She walked up to Yukimiya Shiori’s side, and despite wearing high heels, her footsteps made no noise.
(So she finally came? My optimal prey.)
Unaware of Renie’s thoughts, the woman with the white gown bowed to Taowu.
“No need to bother yourself, Tao. One of the ‘Three Princesses of Hell,’ Jyuri, shall take care of this task.”
Genshou Jyuri. She’s the only opponent Renie fought with his entire strength but couldn’t kill.
She’s the vixen-like apostle who refused to enter the top eight and won over Ranshou Mion and Boushou Kiki to form a separate power in the spirit world.
Indeed. She was the one Renie was waiting for.
It was neither Yukimiya Shiori nor Taowu who he wanted to lure──it was this apostle.
Rikushou Renie was already in his battle form. Banshou Shima and Kaishou Saihiru were as well.
Instead of greeting her brethren, who she hadn’t seen in a long time, Jyuri switched to her battle form as well.
…In truth, she had been observing the situation for a while, so she had a general grasp of the situation.
Jyuri was in charge of guarding Tao during school. Due to that, she couldn’t enjoy the school festival and monitored Yukimiya Shiori the entire time. She seemed quite serious about her work.
(So the two in the back are just witnesses? Anyhow, Renie’s pride wouldn’t let him receive assistance. *sigh*…I missed my chance to suck on, err…eat a chocolate banana.)
Moving her lower body, which had transformed into that of a serpent’s, Jyuri got in front of Tao. It was a bit of a hassle for her to protect Yukimiya Shiori with this form though.
“Now then, shall we begin, Renie? This time, I’ll knock you down and step on you with my high heels.”
“Whenever you’re ready, Jyuri. From the very beginning, you were my target.”
“Oh, is that so? Unfortunately, I’m not into spider guys.”
“You sure like to prattle, snake woman. I knew you were with Yukimiya Shiori. Once I purge the three princesses, Qiongqi will form a lasting alliance with Taowu…those were his words.”
“So, you’re going to start with me? In that case, you could have just called me over like normal…what a dull spider you are.”
“Even for me, it would be quite difficult to tackle the ‘Three Princesses of Hell’ at the same time. So, I used Taowu. Next will be Mion, then Kiki…I’ll deal with you all one by one. Only after that will I ask my lord to accompany me.”
A loyal subject using their lord as bait was quite unexpected.
However, the fact of the matter is that he managed to lure her using that bait. Well, thanks to that though, she could settle things with this unlikeable guy.
“Jyuri, ya don’t need to keep Renie company. If ya get injured, I’d feel mighty sorry for your lord, Tie.”
“Thanks for your concern, Tao. However, I am also Kobayashi Ichirou’s subordinate. He has given us three princesses the duty of dealing with──”
Before Jyuri could finish, Renie was already right in front of her.
“Is this the time to be talking so carefreely?”
The spider apostle, instantly closing the distancing at an astonishing speed, moved his six great arms. Predicting that his opponent would try to evade his attacks, he launched his fists in every direction to prevent her from dodging.
The king cobra apostle was faced with Renie’s repeated blows to the face, throat, chest, and stomach.
It seems he wouldn’t go easy on a woman. There’s no need to since his opponent was a “general.” She said it herself. The moment she asked “Now then, shall we begin?” was when the fight began.
“Genshou Jyuri! You’ve repeatedly mocked my pride, and for that, you will pay with your life!”
──By the time he unleashed one hundred blows, his opponent had already stopped moving.
Her beautiful figure was no longer recognizable, becoming a miserable pile of flesh lying down on the floor. Her neck and limbs were bent in unnatural directions, and she slowly began to vanish.
(I’ve made no mistakes. All of my attacks hit her vital points.)
Though it ended sooner than he thought, it seemed that this was the result of hitting her weak spots. Apostles who die in the human world will resurrect in the spirit world. Due to that, they can kill each other with much less hesitation than a human.
There was no need to lure Mion or Kiki. Once they hear that he killed Jyuri, they would do everything in their power to take revenge and would come to him.
All that was left was to confront them. At least, that was what Renie thought.
However, the air behind him swayed slightly.
Noticing that, Renie instinctively recognized the danger.
As soon as he turned around, a serpent tail came flying towards him.
Though he immediately guarded himself using two of his left arms, the impact reached Renie’s body. The arms he used to defend himself cracked, and he found that their bones were broken.
“I’ve changed my mind about you, Renie. You’re surprisingly good at solo dancing.”
Renie maintained a distance and readjusted his posture, scowling at his attacker.
There stood the king cobra apostle, who he thought he had killed, chuckling while uninjured.
…He already understood what happened. It was as she had said, he was dancing alone.
“An illusion? What cheap tricks…”
“Let me tell you something. Those who dominate the battle in the beginning will often find themselves being countered…those were Ichirou’s words.”
The half-human, half-serpent woman brushed her blonde hair and stuck out her tongue. As expected of Genshou…it was the first time Renie completely fell for her tricks.
“My skills work well on men for some reason. That’s especially true for middle-aged men.”
“Sorry, but don’t expect that to work twice. Those who show their skills in the beginning will often lose…that’s also part of combat theory.”
“Is that so? This has been a learning experience.”
The king cobra apostle and orb-weaving spider apostle confronted each other, ready to attack once more.
The cheetah apostle and rhinoceros beetle apostle watched the scene from a distance.
“Haha. Jyuri’s quite something, isn’t she? She led Renie around by the nose.”
“The three princesses all have the highest strength among generals. Underestimating them would be fatal.”
“Hey, Saihiru. Just watching is boring, so why don’t we bet who will win?”
“Stop, Shima. Betting is unscrupulous. I advise against such a gambling mindset.”
“Well, I think it’ll be Renie.”
“Listen to others. Such behavior is exactly why you’re not allowed to be part of the three princesses.”
“I, I rejected their invitation! Do you know the purpose of forming the three princesses? I heard it was for concerts, you know? Frilly clothing wouldn’t suit me!”
“Even the spirit world has some of those types of people. Maniac apostles.”
“Huh?! Stop kidding around! Are you looking for a fight?!”
Jyuri, fed up with the noisy outsiders, complained. Though, she didn’t forget to deal with Renie.
“You two, could you stop your comedy act? A serious scene is taking place right──”
It was at that moment.
A large black shadow fell down from above Jyuri and Renie.
Noticing it at about the same time, the generals both jumped to avoid it. Immediately following, there was a giant crash as the unknown figure landed on the ground.
…It had a huge body nearly four meters tall. It had a thick, mighty ill will that could choke someone. Furthermore, it was a grotesque oddity with countless faces on its whole body.
One glance was all it took for Jyuri to know what it was.
There’s no mistaking this ugly figure.
(This is the monster Ichirou spoke about? Though, isn’t the magnitude of its ill will too abnormal? This isn’t at the level of a general. At worst, it could perhaps even rival an ‘Evil Spirit’…)
Just facing it alone made her whole body sweat. She felt a dizziness from its murky miasma.
No wonder Kiki and Elmira lost to it. Actually, it’s a miracle that they managed to come back alive after facing it. Such a monster was so out of the ordinary.
“W, what’s that there monster?! Is that fella an apostle?!”
“Tao, stand back. That thing is dangerous.”
Jyuri urged the confused Tao to fall back. Though it was rather forward of her to do so, she had to take care of this problem.
…Or perhaps, an ‘Evil Spirit’ might be able to defeat that monster. However, it was too dangerous to leave Tao to such a task.
Except for Taotie, “Evil Spirits” cannot fight separately from their vessels. If their vessels are “destroyed,” then there’s a risk that they won’t be able to maintain their forms.
(If Hinomori Ryuuga’s team were the opponents, then that risk would be gone. They would never attack human vessels. However, this monster…)
It would probably attack a vessel without any care. Yukimiya Shiori, in a trance state, was defenseless.
(If only Yukimiya could ‘convert’ Tao, at the very least.)
At least then, she wouldn’t lose consciousness and could protect herself…but there was no use complaining about it now. At any rate, she couldn’t rely on Tao.
She then noticed that the four generals strangely gathered in front of Tao. It was as if they were protecting her from the monster.
That was probably a reflexive act as apostles. In face of an unknown opponent, protecting an “Evil Spirit” takes priority…and it seems such an instinct came into play.
However, Jyuri couldn’t understand.
Wasn’t that monster the work of Qiongqi? Why would Renie, much less Shima and Saihiru, be cautious? Were they surprised by it, unaware of that such monsters existed?
The giant stood still for a while, the faces on its body muttering ominous groans of resentment.
While closely observing the situation, Jyuri spoke to the three next to her.
“What are you doing? Why did you all come here?”
Renie was the first to speak.
“That’s what I wanted to ask. Jyuri, do you know about this? What is that?”
Next, Shima raised her voice in disarray.
“Is that an apostle?! That ill will is super dangerous though!”
Finally, Saihiru muttered in a low voice.
“Very strange. Which face do we speak to?”
…The three didn’t know about it? If so, was that monster unrelated to Qiongqi?
Jyuri’s bewilderment heightened. Before long, the monster’s many eyes all looked at them at once.
Or rather, it wasn’t looking at Jyuri and the others. It was looking behind them, at the girl wearing an Oumei High School uniform. That is, it was looking at Yukimiya Shiori.
(It’s after Tao? In that case, this is where I come in…I don’t know how long I can last against it though.)
It’s times like these that she wished Mion and Kiki had mobile phones. Having no means to contact them, she couldn’t ask for their help. The odds were against her.
(How unpleasant, I’ve gotten prone to complaining recently. I have to do this since it’s my duty!)
She would have to risk her life here. It’s her mission as an apostle to protect Tao. Furthermore, it’s her duty as a teacher to protect a student.
With rumbling footsteps, the monster approached.
Right when Jyuri stepped in to intercept it──another person did the same.
It was the spider apostle with six arms, though two of them were limp. The unlikeable butler who tried to kill Jyuri just before.
“Oh, that’s surprising, Renie. You’re lending a hand?”
“That monster is targeting Taowu. I must eliminate anyone who intends to harm my lord. That is what my pride stands by.”
“Again with that? In my opinion, you’re disqualified from being a loyal subject the moment you go against your lords intentions.”
“Leave this argument for later. Shima, Saihiru, you two help out as well. If you can’t protect an ‘Evil Spirit’ in this situation, relinquish yourselves as generals and as part of the top eight.”
Being rudely asked to cooperate, the cheetah apostle and rhinoceros beetle apostle made grim faces.
“Haha. You beat us up and now you’re asking for our help…well, looks like we don’t have a choice. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”
“We have both acted disloyal by attacking Taowu at the cemetery. We shall make up for that sin here.”
Shima and Saihiru surprisingly agreed to cooperate. When was the last time she fought alongside generals outside of the three princesses…? She couldn’t remember.
(I’m unsure about our teamwork, but it’s better to have them.)
It happened the moment Jyuri decided that.
The strange monster ferociously charged towards them.