Is it Tough Being a Friend?

Is it Tough Being a Friend? v7 Chapter 1 Part 2

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Anyhow, I managed to establish Tao as an ally, taking care of a necessary matter before the decisive battle.

We also need to rescue Renie and find Shima, but without Shiyuu making an appearance, we can’t do anything about Renie. Qiongqi and Agito will probably be busy with transferring schools.

(So for the time being, we should focus on finding Shima.)

Making that judgement, I decided to devote my free time to searching for the cheetah apostle.

If that kuro gyaru ends up as feed, Shiyuu will grow even more powerful, perhaps to the point where Taotie is no match for it. Even more so for Hundun, who hasn’t recovered yet.

(Though, Qiongqi said that he could make up to two Shiyuus. The other one is likely weaker, but still far stronger than any of Shiyuus we’ve beaten so far…the final ‘Evil Spirit’ really isn’t any ordinary foe.)

Up until now, Qiongqi has been quite strategic. Agito’s smarter than me as well, making him a tough final boss.

“He’s as sly as his foxy appearance suggests, isn’t he…?”

“Qiongqi has been called ‘Qiongqi of Wisdom’ before. No one’s better than him at tricks.”

It was Thursday, three days after Tao’s reveal.

Taotie had replied to my complaint about Qiongqi.

It was seven in the evening. I went searching for Shima around the city after school, but came home with no leads. Since she’s a kuro gyaru, I even checked the tanning salons, but she wasn’t there.

“Hmm, ‘Qiongqi of Wisdom,’ you say…? Come to think of it, Tao was called ‘Taowu of Technique’ too, right? To think that ‘Evil Spirits’ also had aliases.”

“Of course. Even the generals have them…oh! It’s a shoot!”

Taotie spoke while invested in his video game. He’s recently been addicted to a soccer game.

…Another name, an alias, a second name. An important aspect of battle stories.

Just having one makes a character stand out. They’re often based on a character’s attributes, abilities, and personality, which makes it easy to remember them.

(Mion’s is ‘Ranshou,’ likely since she’s attributed with the sky and wind. Jyuri’s is ‘Genshou,’ certainly because of her abilities. Is Kiki’s ‘Boushou’ because of her personality? She does get into a fit of rage if you forcibly wake her up.)TLNRanshou contains the kanji character for “storm,” Genshou contains the character for “illusion,” and Boushou contains the character for “violence.”

Come to think of it, Ryuuga and the others also have aliases. The “Successor of the Dragon King,” the “Shrine Maiden of Life,” and other similar names.

In any case, aliases are good. Of course, I don’t need one.

“So if Tao and Qiongqi have aliases, do you and Hundun have them too?”

“Yeah. Hundun’s is ‘Hundun of Power.’ Though, I wouldn’t lose to him in a contest of power.”

“So, what are you called?”

“Mine is ‘My Neighbor Taotie.'”

“Yours is the only outlier! Are you Totoro or something?!”

“Well, I am a soothing guy…anyways, it’s about time to go, Boss.”

Taotie then turned off the game and stood up.

Looking at the time, it was about to become seven o’clock. Normally, it would be time for dinner, but…Taotie had an important job before that.

Today’s the weekly day to make contact with Shizuma in the spirit world. It’s the day we confirm both the present state and safety of our beloved boy.

This goes without saying, but he’s a descendant of a vampire and an apostle. A toddler who was under Elmira’s care. Having kept him in this house, I’m a proud father of the boy. Kiki is his proud sister.

Shizuma’s now doing his best to restore order in the spirit world, which no longer has a leader.

Because of our worries, we send Taotie and Hundun there once a week. An ‘Evil Spirit’ can transfer to the spirit world for around ten minutes.

That’s why Elmira, his proud mother, also comes to my house. Currently, she’s helping prepare dinner in the kitchen.

“Please, Tie. You have everyone’s letters, right? You’re carrying Shizuma’s favorite chocolate, right? There’s enough space in the video camera’s memory, right?”

“It’s all good. Now then, I’m off!”

Once the clock struck seven, Taotie immediately vanished into thin air.

After seeing him off, I decided to leave the room and head towards the kitchen. Taotie should be back when dinner’s served.

(Oh, hey. We should give Shizuma an alias as well. A really cool one, at that.)

What if I took a character from his birth mother’s name, Reida, to make him “Reisho Shizuma”? He does have a pretty face. Or maybe “Renshou Shizuma, or “Hashou Shizuma”…TLNThe Rei in Reisho means “beauty,” the Ren in Renshou means “refined”, and the Ha in Hashou means “supreme”.

While I was cheerfully pondering such things──a storm was brewing, unbeknownst to me.

Ten minutes later, a bit of trouble would spring up to ruin my mood.

A problem that would snowball into something larger.

 

“Boss, what should we do…? We’ve got some trouble.”

Exactly ten minutes had passed. Taotie returned to the living room, where Elmira, the three princesses, and I were.

However, his expression was clearly grim. I felt a bad premonition.

“W, what happened, Tie? Did Shizuma miss me so much that he cried?”

“Or maybe I’m the one he was crying over?”

“Was he crying because I was the one he wanted to see?”

Taotie was hesitant to speak to the father, mother, and sister. The anticipation furthered our anxiety.

“No, Shizuma…didn’t show up. Not at our usual meeting place.”

Shizuma didn’t show up? That’s strange. That’s never happened before.

He would always come fifteen minutes prior and wait for the “Evil Spirit” to arrive.

If he just overslept, that would be fine. However, the thought of something happening to Shizuma…made me uneasy. I felt an eerie sensation from below.

“Could he in his rebellious phase already…?”

Similarly confused like I was, Elmira muttered that out loud.

Fearing the worst, Kiki’s facial expression changed as she shouted.

“Shizuma has gone bad! It’s definitely Zelva’s fault! That hoodlum must have given him alcohol and cigarettes!”

“W, wait! He wouldn’t do that to him…! Probably.”

“Then it’s Gaigo! That pervert must have tied up Shizuma! He must have been stuck in ropes!”

“W, wait a minute, Kiki! An extreme masochist like Gaigo wouldn’t tie someone up! If anything, he would be the one tied up!”

Mion and Jyuri refuted Kiki’s claims. Their answers agitated our anxiety.

“Then could it be Yagujya’s fault?! Did that effeminate man use his words to lead Shizuma down that path?! No, Shizuma! You’re too young!”

This time, Kiki refuted Elmira’s worries.

“Yagujya wouldn’t do that! He’s a sensible effeminate man!”

──The falcon apostle Zelva is a commanding officer under Mion.

──The giraffe apostle Gaigo is a commanding officer under Jyuri.

──The hornet apostle Yagujya is a commanding officer under Kiki.

The trio of commanding officers are apostles in the spirit world who became Shizuma’s companions. We’ve seen them in video messages as well.

They’re certainly quite unique, but they wouldn’t lead a two-year-old child astray. I don’t think they would. If they did, they’d be dead meat.

The living room no longer became a place for supper, but instead a room holding a giant clamor.

“Good grief, you’re all so noisy…you woke me up.”

From my back emerged a large, middle-aged man.

Needless to say, it was Hundun. The second “Evil Spirit” dwelling inside me.

“Oh, is it grub time already? I got up at just the right time, then.”

Hundun spoke in a carefree manner. Only one “Evil Spirit” can fully manifest at a time. Furthermore, Hundun can only be around three meters away from me whenever he appears.

“Now’s not the time for food! Hey Uncle Hundun, you have to head to the spirit world now! Find Shizuma!”

Seeing Hundun raise an eyebrow, I briefly explained the situation to him.

The “Evil Spirits” can only transfer to the spirit world for around ten minutes. Moreover, after a single round trip, it takes around four hours before they can travel again.

In other words, Taotie can’t go there for the time being. This “Lolicon Evil Spirit” is our only hope.

“Oh, Shizuma…well in that case, I could go there, but I think I have a better idea. Why don’t we all go there?”

Hundun’s words surprised everyone.

Everyone going to the spirit world? What did that mean?

“Actually, after receiving Sonny’s life force, I’ve already recovered half of my power. As of now, I can probably keep the gate open for thirty minutes.”

Opening gates to the spirit world──that is the “Evil Spirit” Hundun’s unique ability.

It’s because of him that Shizuma could enter the spirit world. At that time, he could only keep it open for ten seconds. To think that he would recover that much!

“It’s quite the feat for you to remain fine after draining this much life force from you, Sonny. You really are a monster. What do you usually eat?”

“I eat the same thing as you! Or rather, now’s not the time for that! Alright, open the door now! Let’s all head to the spirit world!”

The three princesses and Elmira agreed with me. Like that, we quickly formed the “Shizuma Search Party.”

Who would’ve guessed that we’d not only need to search for Shima, but now Shizuma as well…?

To think that a friend character would make a debut in a parallel world…

Though it’s for the sake of my son, I’ve still committed a crime.


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