Finding a Crevasse
“Kyouka! I missed you so much!”
It was the evening. Two days had finally passed since our previous visit to the spirit world.
As discussed, I went over to the Hinomori residence. Jyuri, Kiki, Shizuma, and Hundun joined me.
Meeting his former host for the first time in a while, the “Middle-Aged Evil Spirit” rushed forwards while spreading his arms out. Kyouka ran around the entrance to escape his evil hands. He didn’t make it very far since he couldn’t leave my vicinity.
After arriving, we headed to the reception room. Thereupon…
…There was sushi. Rather expensive sushi, even.
Sea urchin, salmon roe, fatty tuna…and even sushi I’ve never seen before were all neatly arranged on a plate. Beside me, I heard Kiki mutter “I’ve never seen this sushi before.”
(I feel bad bringing this many people. I’m really glad that we left Tie in the spirit world.)
Ryuuga smiled cheerfully while telling us to take a seat.
“At first I thought about cooking something myself, but I decided go with something grand as a symbol of my friendship with the three princesses and Shizuma. I also left some for Mion. She’ll be back today, after all.”
“You didn’t have to go this far, you know? You could’ve just served some cucumber rolls.”
Despite my reluctance, I checked for the closest fatty tuna to me. I made sure not to make my intentions too obvious.
“Kiki, Shizuma, do you two prefer no wasabi? I wanted to bring the four gods along as well, but I suppose we’re only here to investigate the enemy’s movements. Let’s hope for the best.”
I’ve already gotten the heroines’ compliance. That’s why Elmira isn’t here.
If we all entered the spirit world, the human world would be empty, which is a risky situation. It’s possible that Qiongqi could make a move here in the human world.
Therefore, only Ryuuga, Jyuri, and I would enter. Shizuma would stay in the Hinomori residence to rest. Kiki declared “I’m staying with Shizuma,” and decided to remain as well.
“Sorry Sonny, but I’ll be waiting in front of the gate again this time. Spending time with Kyouka is more important than the spirit world.”
“I don’t have to enter the spirit world, right? We can just talk across the gate, right?”
“Of course, Kyouka! Over there, I can move independently from Sonny! I’ll be right next to the gate! You won’t need to come in!”
While the second-year middle schooler and the middle-aged man had a chat, we feasted on the first class sushi.
In the blink of an eye, the clock struck seven, and it was finally time for us to depart.
“Okay, it’s open. Time to move now.”
“Sis, good luck.”
“I really think I should go too…”
“No! You have to rest, Shizuma!”
Hearing the encouragement of the people staying behind, we passed through the gate and entered a small, familiar room.
It was the waiting room behind the audience chamber where we reunited with Shizuma. Unfortunately, neither Mion, the commander trio, nor Taotie were there.
“First thing’s first, we need to meet with the others. Alright Ryuga, let’s look around the castle for a bit.”
Bringing along Ryuuga, who was looking around, we headed towards the small room’s exit. This was where we parted with Hundun.
“Amazing, it’s really a castle…whoa, is that a throne? There’s even a soft red carpet.”
Ryuuga voiced her amazement while using a flashlight to light our surroundings.
“Ichirou, please wait.”
Walking behind us, Jyuri suddenly called out to me.
Turning around, I found that the king cobra woman had stopped. She brushed her blonde hair aside to reveal an ear, listening closely for something.
“What’s wrong, Jyuri? Do you hear something?”
“I do. Numerous footsteps, angry roars, and sounds of clashing…it seems that a battle has begun.”
Hearing that, Ryuuga and I immediately exchanged glances.
A battle has begun? In other words, we’re right in the midst of a castle attack? Is that why Mion and the others aren’t here?
“We need to help! Where is it happening?!”
Jyuri was quite calm while I was panicking. She was as calm as a yokozuna.1Yokozuna is the highest rank in sumo, awarded based on a sumo wrestler’s power, skill, and dignity.
As expected, a general is used to these types of situations. Or perhaps she has absolute faith in Mion and the commander trio.
“Before that, please listen to what I have to say. The ‘Hell Castle’ has two gates, one in the front and one in the back. There are also invisible barriers and a deep moat to protect against invasions.”
“Front and back…so, which one is under attack?”
“Both of them. I can faintly sense the ill will of Mion at the front gate and the ill wills of the commander trio at the back. On the attacking side…I also sense Shakuhou’s presence.”
That underwear thief general is here too?
“Fortunately, I don’t sense any trace of Qiongqi. Well, that means we have a chance to beat the enemy. I’ll take care of the back, so you two take care of the front, okay?”
In other words, Ryuuga and I would help Mion. Alright.
“Hey, Jyuri. What about Tie?”
The king cobra apostle hesitated to answer Ryuuga’s question. Her calmness wavered, dropping her down to a makishita’s level.2Makushita is the third highest sumo rank.
“Hey, Jyuri. Is he in the front or back?”
“…I sense Taotie in the library. He might still be reading manga.”
He really is a good-for-nothing. I’ll have Ryuuga scold him later.
At any rate, we split up to offer our assistance to both sides.
I didn’t expect to enter a battle scene, but it seems I have no choice. Since this is a skirmish taking place in the final chapter, let’s have the protagonist take an active role.
(Ryuga didn’t participate in the battle against Shiyuu at the abandoned factory the other day. To make up for that, let’s have Hinomori Ryuuga show off here.)
I feel bad for doing this after she treated me to sushi, but I will only be here to cheer her on. I’ll make it seem like I have no presence.
Ryuuga and I rushed out of the audience chamber, heading towards the large staircase.
Arriving at the first floor, we found ourselves at the entrance hall of the castle. Unlike last time, the giant entrance door was open. That means we can traverse outside the scripted scenario.
“Ryuga, this is your debut in the spirit world. Now make a scene!”
Nodding in response to my encouragement, Ryuuga gave a thumbs up. I then expected her to reply with “Alright, you can count on me!” in a courageous manner.
“Anything for you~.”
However, she went back to speaking like an oiran. Rather than sounding courageous, she sounded posh. She was wearing her boys’ school uniform though.
“Stop that! Know the difference between what’s appropriate in public and in private! This is an important scene right now!”
“I suppose I’ve gotten a little too accustomed to yesterday. Do you hate this side of Ryuuga~?”
Oh dear, the protagonist has fallen.
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