I’ve called Qiongqi the “Shota Evil Spirit” up until now.
From the type and tone of his voice, I thought for sure that he was just a kid comparable to an elementary schooler. However, after seeing him for the first time…he’s way different from what I imagined.
What appeared above Agito’s head was a half-beast, half-human peculiarity who was about the same size as Hundun. He’s definitely unique in appearance compared to the other three “Evil Spirits.”
(So this is what Qiongqi looks like…?)
Pure white fur coated his entire body. It matched with his host’s uniform.
Furthermore, he had tails. Nine of them, in fact. His body’s only visible from the waist-up, but those tails are probably from his rear.
Though, he had an odd face. This “Evil Spirit” had a mask on. It was an old-fashioned fox mask with patterns on the forehead and cheeks.
I heard Jyuri mutter in horror from behind.
Renie and Shima froze in place, evidently bewildered by the “Evil Spirit’s” sudden appearance.
Not minding the generals, Qiongqi suddenly took out a worn-out gourd and raised it up towards the sky. He slowly lifted it up, turning it towards the rhinoceros beetle’s soul.
As if responding to his call, the soul particles changed course. They headed towards Qiongqi’s old gourd.
Unable to take in what was happening, we merely watched. Nobody moved. Taotie and Tao both couldn’t comprehend the situation, and were left with their mouths agape.
Eventually, the last of Saihiru’s soul particles entered the gourd. The fox-masked “Evil Spirit” nodded in satisfaction and closed the lid.
(What is that gourd…? Did that thing collect Saihiru’s soul?)
After shaking the old gourd several times, Qiongqi opened the lid again.
“Now Shiyuu, have some food.”
With those words, particles of light spewed from the old gourd. They poured onto the monster like a shower, and melted into it. Thereupon──
The monster let out a chorus of screams, and the eyes around its body permeated with light. It grew another set of arms from its shoulders and charged towards Taotie once more.
“Whoa! What’s with this thing suddenly getting more energy?!”
Though Taotie fought back, the barrage of fists didn’t stop. With the sound of fierce blows, the “Evil Spirit” was falling back.
“Don’t mess with me! You were all beaten up a bit ago…ow! Ow ow ow! T, timeout for a bit! Technical timeout!”
Not caring that Taotie desperately formed a letter T with his hands, the monster went crazy with its barrage.
Seeing that, Qiongqi giggled like a child. Behind the expressionless fox mask, that is.
“Yep, the soul of a general is definitely great. It seems that its power was boosted by leaps and bounds. As I thought, quality over quantity.”
While talking to himself, Qiongqi walked up to me. He then glared at me.
I finally understood what Qiongqi was doing…and what he meant by “food.”
This monster is indeed an amalgamation of underlings. And now, Saihiru has become part of it. However, before asking about that, there’s one thing I needed to confirm with him.
“Qiongqi, what’s the meaning of this? Didn’t we agree on a cease-fire until the end of the cultural festival?”
“That’s right. But unfortunately for you, Renie is my subordinate. Him contacting Yukimiya Shiori or trying to erase Jyuri is irrelevant. The cease-fire is a promise between just you and me. Oh, and Saihiru’s disposal is just an internal matter, nothing to do with you.”
Qiongqi spoke without a shred of guilt, making me feel sick to my stomach.
“Your monster beat the hell out of Jyuri! Your argument has no grounds!”
“Shiyuu only responds to those who bear hostility. So, it just followed its instinct towards Jyuri and Tie. In other words, you’re the ones…who broke the agreement.”
What a shrewd fox. Qiongqi just took first place in my “list of people I want to punch if I have the chance to.” He’s tied with Kurogame now.
“Then what is this monster?! I know your subordinates are in that thing! You can’t keep it hidden forever!”
“Oh, I forgot to introduce you. This is my apostle amalgamation, Shiyuu!”
In response to Qiongqi puffing up with pride, Renie asked “Apostle amalgamation…?” in a questioning tone. It seems that he didn’t know about this.
Judging by Shima’s reaction, it seems that she didn’t know either. Saihiru was likely the same. That’s why they fought against the monster.
But why can Qiongqi do this? His ability is “immediately reviving apostles who have turned into souls”…so wouldn’t creating apostle amalgamations be a different ability?
“Qiongqi, have you been hiding that ability this whole time?”
“Hmm~, not exactly. I just furthered my normal ability. With some advice from Agito, that is.”
“Well, the fundamental concept is the same. Should I revive an apostle right after they turn into a soul? Or should I mix some together before reviving them…? It’s the same thing as mixed rice.”
What’s with that analogy? Furthering his abilities? That’s dishonest! Viewers and readers don’t like such after-the-fact establishments!
While everyone was at a loss for words, the cheetah apostle asked her lord a question with desperation.
“Qiongqi, if that monster’s under your control, then why did Saihiru…if he didn’t save me, I would have…was this Agito’s decision?”
Agito only stood silently after Qiongqi appeared.
At a glance, it looked like he was in a trance state, but he was actually just showing no reaction. Like me, he had “converted” Qiongqi.
“Shima, you really are a bit dimwitted, aren’t you? You’re not fit for being a general.”
The fox-masked “Evil Spirit” sighed sadly towards Shima, who faced the ground.
Taotie, unable to handle the apostle amalgamation Shiyuu, was driven to the corner of the site.
With one hand on the concrete wall, he shouted “Rope break!” many times, but of course, Shiyuu didn’t back down. Unfortunately, he’ll need to bear with it for a bit longer.
“Listen, Shima. This is an official order that’s coming from me, not Agito. You and Saihiru will be a pair of feed for Shiyuu.”
Hearing her sort-of death sentence, Shima’s lips trembled as she uttered “T, that…”
“Originally, it would have been ideal if you and Saihiru died at the cemetery the other day. By the hands of Tao, Hinomori Ryuuga’s team, or even Kobayashi boy, that is.”
The cheetah apostle dropped to the floor. With her partner Saihiru dead, though he didn’t actually “die,” and her lord letting her go, she was in a state of chaos.
“In practice, my ability to create apostle amalgamations…actually comes with some bothersome limitations. It seems that the souls of those Agito or I personally dispose of won’t work. We need to either have Shiyuu kill them like you just saw, or have someone else kill them instead.”
“The quickest way is to have an enemy turn them into souls. That’s why I’ve been so generously dispatching my subordinates and losing them up until now.”
Inside my head, I heard Hundun say “What a bastard.” No objections there.
From the very start, he only saw his subordinates as food for Shiyuu. This is the first time I’ve encountered such an ill-natured enemy. This guy’s the first one to actually put the “Evil” in “Evil Spirit.”
“Hey, Kobayashi boy. Three hundred eighty-one一──do you know what that number represents?”
“That’s the number of apostles you guys have defeated so far. Around a hundred of them came here when Dun opened those doors. Small fries who died instantly, I believe?”
So Ryuuga and the others have defeated that many? I mean, a small number of those were from me, but it’s still a spectacular number.
“I’ve steadily been collecting the souls of apostles. I’ve been doing this since Hinomori Ryuuga came back to this town, when the ‘story’ finally began…so in other words, I resurrected earlier than Dun and Tie.”
“Earlier than Hundun and Tie? So, you revived a long time ago?”
“Yep, but you know, I’m the final boss of the four fiends. I wanted my appearance to be grand and I wanted to collect souls for Shiyuu.”
What the hell. Don’t tell me that Qiongqi was the first to awaken. Not to mention that he’s been using Ryuuga’s battles to gather food for Shiyuu.
Even after we knew that he resurrected, he still wouldn’t appear on the front stage. He would only repeatedly send his apostles to be slaughtered.
It was all to create his trump card, Shiyuu…I’ll give him praise for his awareness as a final boss though.
“Then, you calling me on the phone back then to tell me about Higaia attacking Elmira…”
“Yep! Of course, there would be nothing better than eliminating the ‘Vermilion Bird’ and kidnapping Shizuma, but failing to do so was no matter. As long as my subordinates fall and I get souls.”
Finally, the mystery of this has been solved. The question of why he told me about Elmira and Shizuma’s crisis.
Perhaps he was after Shizuma for the sake of feeding Shiyuu? Can a baby even become food for the monster!?
“First, I made a prototype Shiyuu using a hundred souls of soldiers. Though, Hinomori Ryuuga and the others ended up taking it down.”
Qiongqi was happy to talk about his plans.
He really is a little brat. An egotistical fox who embodies both the innocence and cruelty of children.
“Next, I made a prototype with double the amount, two hundred soldiers. That was the one Dun beat up at the riverbank. It died before the first one.”
That was the heavyweight monster that overwhelmed Elmira and Kiki at the riverbank. The monster Ryuuga’s crew defeated at the abandoned factory was a lightweight.
I thought that Qiongqi scaled down, but it turned out that the smaller one was made first.
“Those were valuable experiments. I still don’t fully understand this ability, so I wanted to keep testing it secretly. I wanted to test how many apostles I could use to make what kind of Shiyuu.”
At this point, the abandoned factory was pretty much Qiongqi’s stage. Tao, Jyuri, Renie, Shima, and I all listened to his words in shock.
“So, taking my time for the third body, I built up food to create the ‘strongest Shiyuu.’ Two generals, Balon and Higaia, along with fourteen commanders make for high quality souls.”
Is that what the Shiyuu here is made of? The reason why Balon and Higaia didn’t revive is because they turned into food?
“No matter how many souls of generals I use, there’s a limit to what they can do. So for my third creation, I decided to include the souls of commanding officers or greater. Now that I’ve come this far, there’s no need to keep it a secret. From now on, Shiyuu will harvest souls by itself.”
Thereupon, Shima muttered while on the floor.
“I knew something was strange. Qiongqi wasn’t reviving the dead apostles very often…even for commanding officers or generals like Balon or Higaia…”
“That’s right. I used them as food for this ‘Complete Shiyuu.’ Though, if I had one miscalculation, it would be that it still couldn’t match Tie. But──now I can use Saihiru. Shiyuu definitely has room to grow stronger still.”
Taotie was still being cornered by Shiyuu. He tried to grapple him, but was thrown around. He really is an “Evil Spirit” that can’t do things seriously.
“We were just food from the start…”
“You’re right. It’s my decision to determine the fate of you apostles, right? The ‘Evil Spirit’ is your king, after all.”
Qiongqi spread his arms, which were covered in snow white fur.
“Well, that’s my plan. So, Kobayashi boy, won’t you hand me the souls of the three princesses? And you Renie, could you become Shiyuu’s food?”
“Qiongqi, so this…is why you wanted ‘the elimination of the three princesses’ as a requirement for our alliance. And you even wanted me to eventually become part of that monster.”
Renie spoke in a low voice of disgust. It seemed that two of his arms were injured. Did Shiyuu do that?
“Well, I must admit that I’ll sacrifice the souls of the top eight and three princesses for Complete Shiyuu. Once that happens──we will see the birth of a fifth ‘Evil Spirit.'”
“An ‘Evil Spirit’ above the others, loyal to me.”
This is absolutely insane.
──I’m sure I’ll be a final boss who performs beyond your expectations, you know?──
Those words he said when I was at Agito’s apartment weren’t a bluff.