Is it Tough Being a Friend?

Is it Tough Being a Friend? v7 Chapter 1 Part 5

At any rate, we successfully found Shizuma and got a rough idea of the current situation.

Before I knew it, there were five minutes until the time limit. We needed to return to the library before Hundun’s door closes. Otherwise, we’d have to stay in the spirit world for two days.

(At any rate, this has turned into a more troubling situation than I thought…this story is growing harsher and harsher towards a friend character.)

Qiongqi was the one who launched an attack on Shizuma. Attempting to suppress the spirit world failed. Furthermore, Soushou Shakuhou has revived.

That’s all bad news, but at least Shizuma is alive. We should have our son under our protection before Qiongqi launches a second attack.

(Now that it’s come to this, perhaps we should bring Shizuma back to the human world for now. We could give Shizuma and the commander trio a break, have them request for Ryuga’s help, and plan countermeasures.)

Shizuma did well on his own this whole time. As a father, I’m proud of him.

The commander trio also supported Shizuma to the point of gaining everyone else’s hostility. They aren’t easily swayed by temptations.

While thinking about the next course of action to take, I suppressed my anemia and got up. In front of me, Shizuma kneeled down while listening to his mother.

“I see…Qiongqi wanted me so that he could feed me to an apostle amalgamation called Shiyuu. So Qiongqi has that kind of power now…”

“That’s right. Four of the top eight, Balon, Higaia, Saihiru, and Renie, have already been absorbed into it. Among them, Renie was Shiori’s butler──”

Hearing the general facts explained, Shizuma made a concerned expression. His hair glowed with a burning crimson color, as did Elmira’s. They really do look like mother and child.

“Hey Ichirou, we don’t have any time left.”

“Ichirou, let’s return to the library. If we run, it shouldn’t take longer than a minute.”

Urged by Mion and Jyuri, I got up while making a proposition to Shizuma.

“Say, Shizuma, let’s return to the human world for now. We can carefully plan out our──”

“No Father, we can’t do that.”

However, Shizuma shook his head. He rejected the option of a tactical retreat.

“W, why Shizuma?! Qiongqi’s after your soul, right? He knows you’re in the spirit world…”

“Even so, I must protect this castle.”

“Why?! Are you in your rebellious phase?! Are you at that age now?”

“N, no, Father. If Qiongqi is collecting the souls of apostles, then abandoning the ‘Hell Castle’ is the last thing we should do.”

Upon Shizuma’s words, the three princess held grim faces while seeming to agree with him.

Okay, but why? Someone, explain so that dad and mom here can understand!

“You don’t know, Ichirou? The basement of this castle is where ‘Konminden’ is.”

“It’s the shrine where apostles killed by humans go to. It’s where we sleep for roughly two hundred years before we revive.”

“There are people like Shakuhou who oversleep though.”

Konminden. The place where apostles who turn into souls regain their bodies. It’s where three thousand apostles are currently sleeping.

…I see. I understand what Shizuma means now.

Qiongqi’s ability lets him instantly revive apostles who have turned into souls. In other words, if Qiongqi takes over this castle, he will have access to Konminden.

“So, he wants to revive all three thousand apostles that are sleeping?”

If that happened, they’d all likely ally with Qiongqi. That itself would still be okay. However, if he uses those three thousand apostles as material for Shiyuu, that’s a different matter…

Understanding the situation, Elmira bit her lip while grumbling.

“Indeed, it would be a problem if Qiongqi took control over the ‘Hell Castle.’ It could easily lead to Shiyuu growing rapidly stronger.”

“That’s right, Mother. Besides, I said that I was going to bring order to the spirit world. If I run home from just this much, then I will never accomplish what I had set out to do.”

Shizuma made a firm assertion. For a three-year old who’s actually only four months old, he has a surprisingly strong sense of duty. The “Evil Spirits” should follow his example.

“…I understand, Shizuma. In that case, I will stay. That is a parent’s responsibility.”

“I will stay too! That’s an older sister’s responsibility!”

Elmira made a firm assertion as well, and Kiki raised her hand too.

“You know how dangerous this is, yet you choose not to leave. I will stay. I’ll stay here with you.”

“If we didn’t stay, we wouldn’t be a family that shared blood! We would be wild animals!”

I didn’t have the time to retort that they didn’t actually share blood.

For some reason, Mion and Jyuri also raised their hands and declared that they would stay.

“It looks like we don’t have a choice. If you’re going to say that, then I have to stay too.”

“We’re also part of the family, Shizuma. Let’s protect this castle as the Kobayashi family.”

…Perhaps some kind of touching background music would play right about now.

Before I knew it, everyone except me had raised their hands. Shizuma, Elmira, and the commander trio all raised their hands too, showing their ties with the Kobayashi household. It seems that I have more family members now.

Elmira and the three princesses all stared at me.

Their silent glares said it all. “Now, Kobayashi Ichirou, you too,” “Ichirou, hop onboard too,” “Ichirou, what are you waiting for?” “Come on, Baron Ichirou!”

It seems that I have no choice on the matter. That’s fine. There’s no way the head of the household can leave when everyone else is staying.

The Kobayashi household will take care of the “Hell Castle.” Let’s think of this as a trip to a vacation home. Two days isn’t that long anyways. It’s not every day that you get the chance to become the lord of a castle.

“Alright. I’ll stay. I should raise my hand, right?”

The moment I raised my hand, everyone else immediately lowered their hands.

“There you have it. Let’s leave it to Kobayashi Ichirou.”

“Now Shizuma, let’s go home.”

“I’ll have to reheat dinner.”

“Everyone, hurry. There’s only three minutes left.”

Everyone immediately began to exit the room while leaving me behind.

It seems I was set up. What a nefarious trap. The burden is forced onto the one who raises their hand last!

“Oh, hell no! This is not some kind of gag! Why do I have to defend an entire castle by myself?!”

“I have school.”

“So do I!”

“I want to watch Spectacle Man.”

“So do I!”

“I have a reservation at a beauty salon.”

“So do I!”

“Wait, you do?”

Mion reached towards me from behind.

Next, she placed her hands on my back in reassurance and spoke.

“Don’t worry, I’m staying. If it’s just two days, I can manage.”

Though Mion stated once more that she would stay, Shizuma hesitated.

“Mion, thank you for your sympathy. However, to trouble you this much because of my mistake…”

“It’s fine. I know this castle better than you do. You should return to the human world and take a break.”

“W, what? I’m already fine. I’ve finished resupplying my energy.”

The heron apostle once more stroked Shizuma’s head as he tried to decline her offer. The look of affection in her eyes was like those of a true older sister’s.

“You should be a bit more self-aware, Shizuma. You’re still a child, you know? You don’t need to put on such a bold front. It’s fine to rely on your family.”


“Besides, it’s only two days relative to the human world, right? In the spirit world, that wouldn’t even be a single day.”

…What does that mean? Does time flow differently in the spirit world compared to the human world?

After asking the three princesses about it, it seemed that was indeed the case. Time flows about twice as slow in the spirit world than in the human world. I would’ve liked to have known that sooner.

(This reminds of the Ryugu Castle. Thirty minutes in here is one hour in the human world…)1The Ryugu Castle is a palace in the Japanese folklore of Urashima Taro. A few days in the palace becomes many years in the outside world.

If that’s the case, then perhaps we can leave it to Mion. It’s just one day.

If Taotie and Hundun take turns to check the state of affairs, then even if Qiongqi appears, we can likely find a way to manage. Having “Evil Spirits” on my side is an advantage.

An “Evil Spirit” can only transfer in four-hour intervals, but if they alternate, we can check the situation every two hours. Over on this side, that would translate to Taotie and Hundun coming every hour.

“Of course, you’ll stay here too, Zelva. We’ll guard the castle together.”

“Seriously? I want visit the human world just once though…”

Zelva begrudgingly decided to stay behind upon orders from his boss. Though, not without grumbling “Maybe I should have switched over to Qiongqi’s side too.” Will it be okay having this guy here?

Thereupon, Jyuri also ordered her subordinate to stay.

“Gaigo, could you stay as well? I won’t take no for answer. Okay, you worthless filth?”

“O, okay! Thank you for your graceful words!”

Those words were definitely not graceful, but Gaigo kneeled down while his eyes were gleaming. Will it be okay having this guy here, too?

Kiki also gave similar orders.

“Yagujya, help Mion. You can be like a junior mama.”

“Understood~. Well then, let’s put on some makeup at once, Mion~.”

“I, I don’t need it!”

Yagujya brought out a set of makeup tools from thin air was about to apply foundation to Mion. Will it be okay having this guy here, as well?

──Mion and the commander trio saw us off as we left the room and dashed towards the library.

I felt a little bad leaving Mion behind, but there’s no other choice. If we’re taking Shizuma, then we need someone else to lead the trio.

If I recall correctly, “Evil Spirits” can’t transfer into the “Hell Castle.” It seems that only Hundun’s door can enter the castle directly.

That’s why we usually meet with Shizuma outside the castle during our routine communication. In other words, Qiongqi cannot transfer directly into Konminden.

As long as we don’t lose the castle, Konminden will be safe…at least, I hope it will be.

“…Oh? You sure took your time, Sonny. The door’s about to collapse.”

Seeing us rush into the library, Hundun placed his manga back onto a shelf and stood up.

“Wait! Just a bit longer! There’s only five pages left in this volume!”

Not knowing understanding that it’s time to quit, Taotie frantically turned the pages of his manga. He didn’t even glance at Shizuma.

Elmira stared daggers at the insanely rude “Evil Spirit” and scolded him.

“How worthless of an ‘Evil Spirit’ are you going to be?! We finally brought Shizuma here, so at least say hello to him! You’re supposed to be an uncle to him, right?!”

“Unlike you all, I meet Shizuma on a regular basis… huh? No way! The plot in this manga just got serious!”

“And our circumstances also got serious! To think you’d be reading manga under this situation…hand over your title of ‘Evil Spirit’ to Shizuma and start over from the bottom ranks, third class soldier Taotie!”

“You’re exaggerating, vampire! How about I whack you with a log?!”

“Why a log?!”

While Taotie and Elmira were arguing…

The door was slowly beginning to close. On the other side, I could see the familiar living room. I could see tonight’s dinner, sweet and sour pork, on the dining table.

Once the door completely shuts, it will disappear. There may not even be ten seconds left!

Leading Shizuma by the hand, Elmira and Kiki jumped through the door. Jyuri, Hundun, and I followed suit. The only one left was the third class soldier.

“Hey, Tie! Hurry! Dive in head-first!”

“Just one page left! There’s a bonus gag strip at the end of the book!”

“Stop reading! How addicted are you to that manga?!”

“Alright, I’m done! Ooooh! Taotie Meteor Dive!”

Taotie sprinted and gracefully leapt. However…

The door closed before he could get through. Taotie’s Meteor Dive failed.

With the sound of a crash and a yelp from Taotie, the door soon disappeared. We stood still in the living room, and before we knew it, we put our hands together in prayer.

…By the way, in order for an “Evil Spirit” to use their transportation ability, they have to stand in the human world as a starting point.

In other words, transferring to the human world from the spirit world is impossible. So, Taotie will have to spend the next two days there.

“Baron Taotie didn’t make it in time…”

“It seems we’ve pushed another burden onto Mion.”

The youngest and eldest daughters worried about the second daughter’s well-being.

“Well, it’ll be fine. With Taotie there, Qiongqi can’t easily lay a hand on the castle.”

“What? Qiongqi appeared in the spirit world?”

Elmira explained the situation to Hundun.

Meanwhile, Shizuma suddenly looked up at me and spoke.

“Um, Father?”

“What’s up?”

“If Uncle Taotie wanted to read that badly…he could’ve just brought the manga with him here…”

Oh, he’s got a point. Embarrassingly, I didn’t even realize that.

This kid really is wise.

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