“All of you who’ve been in my army, come out now! You all are first on the list!”
As we left the castle, we heard an angry voice reach our ears.
Some stone paving stretched out in front of the large iron door. On the other side of the iron bars ahead, I could see a bridge spanning across a moat that might as well have been a ravine. It looked strong enough that it wouldn’t break any time soon.
(The bridge’s about fifty meters in length and four meters in width…the only way to enter the castle directly is through here.)
The action was happening at the center of the bridge.
As I thought, the heron apostle flew around, scattering the swarming enemies.
Mion alone overwhelmed the mob of peculiarities. Furthermore, the fallen troops became obstacles, blocking the bridge. It was a splendid use of a locational advantage.
“Don’t falter! She’s only one person! Once we break through the bridge, the castle is as good as conquered!”
“In that case, you go! Us members of Mion’s army know how cruel she can be!”
“That’s right! All of you only know the Mion that dances at concerts! That’s all just an illusion! If you’ve seen the other side of her, you’ve seen hell!”
“Yikes! Someone fell into the moat again!”
“It’s fine, that’s commander Zamosu! He’s a swordfish apostle, so he can swim like──gah!”
The people at the bridge fell into a panic. One by one, apostles started dropping into the moat. The unruly heron girl hurled them all away.
“Did you think that you could win against me with large numbers?! Don’t underestimate Ranshou Mion! Also, whoever made that comment about seeing the other side of me, get over here!”
This tough situation made me feel a bit irate.
As for why I’m irate, it’s because Mion is likely going to win by herself at this rate. That’s a problem. I mean, we spent all this effort to bring the protagonist here!
“Ichirou, I’m heading in. I’ll give Mion a hand.”
With those short words, Ryuuga increased the pace she ran at. She instantly left me behind, charging into the bridge like a gust of wind. Perhaps she’s worried that she wouldn’t get some screentime?
“That’s as far as you’ll go, ‘Apostles of Hell’!”
With a heroic yell, she leapt into the midst of the enemies, soon mowing down a number of apostles in front of her. A pitiful victim who flew into air fell down the moat and splashed into the water.
“Huh? Hinomori Ryuuga? You came all the way here?”
Both the enemies and Mion were surprised by the sudden intruder.
“Yeah, I’ll help out with protecting this castle. Jyuri’s helping out with the back gate.”
“W, why do I have to team up with you?”
“Because we’re friends, of course. And friends look out for each other.”
“So be it…but don’t expect any thanks! Maybe I’ll clean your ears again!”
Showing her tsundere nature, Mion reluctantly stood alongside Ryuuga.
After judging that I didn’t even need to participate…I hid behind a stone pillar near the foot of the bridge.
“Listen well, apostles! I am the ‘Successor of the Dragon King,’ Hinomori Ryuuga! I have reconciled with Taotie, Hundun, and Taowu, and we now have a friendly relationship!”
The apostles were noticeably upset by Ryuuga’s yell. The effects were immediate.
If their old enemy, the “Yellow Dragon” made allies with three of the four fiends…then what chance at winning did Qiongqi have? Were the benefits worth it? They seemed hesitant on the matter.
“It’s not too late now! Let’s leave this meaningless fight aside and find a path to coexistence! Withdrawing is an easy task, right?!”
Hey, Ryuuga! Your oiran side is showing!
“If you surrender now, I’ll forgive you. That doesn’t go for the one who said that seeing my other side meant seeing hell though! Whoever that was, tell me what you saw!”
Hey Mion, aren’t you taking your grudge too far?!
As the two walked forward, the apostles lowered themselves. Enemy morale hit rock bottom. About a third of the apostles on the bridge had been suppressed.
(At this rate, the battle scene will end without much action from Ryuga…don’t give up, apostles! Isn’t someone there to break this deadlock?!)
While I was rooting for the enemy…
I saw someone leap out from the other side of the bridge.
(Hmm? Who’s that?)
Immediately following, the figure leaped through the many apostles at a great speed, approaching our side. With one last, particularly large jump, a figure instantly appeared before us.
“Ooh ooh ah ah!”
With a monkey-like roar, the figure descended while swinging a rod-like weapon. That weapon was aiming for Ryuuga’s head.
However, Ryuuga dodged it in an instant. She avoided the attack with minimal movement.
She countered with a lightning kick, but the enemy dodged with a leap. With a spin, he landed on a spot a few meters away from Ryuuga.
(This agility and monkey-like character…could this be Soushou Shakuhou?)
One of “Hell’s Top Eight” who’s leading the army. The mandrill apostle who overslept for a hundred years, got rejected by Mion, and loves persimmons.
It seems like it’s him. He’s even holding what seems to be the Monkey King’s stick.
“Ooh ooh ah ah! To think that this Hinomori is a woman! Furthermore, a beauty to my liking!”
“Hate to burst your bubble, but I’m a guy.”
Mion responded to Ryuuga’s insistence by muttering “You don’t really pass off as a man…” and soon raised her voice.
“Shakuhou! Not just Hinomori Ryuuga, but Taotie, Hundun, and even Taowu are on our side! Even so, do you intend on turning against us?!”
“Ooh ooh ah ah! Even if you’re the one asking it, I won’t reconcile with humans! I’ve decided to follow Qiongqi!”
Rejecting the heron apostle’s words, the mandrill apostle rushed towards Ryuuga once again.
Ryuuga gave Mion a glare that said “don’t interfere,” and intercepted the incoming attack. Instantly switching to melee combat, the two engaged in a one-on-one fight.
(This is good. If Ryuga defeats Shakuhou here, it’ll be a great scene for the protagonist. If things go well, the army will collapse too. It’ll be two birds with one stone!)
I secretly gloated.
Surprisingly, the two were taking turns on attacking and defending. I thought that Ryuuga would finish him off quickly, but it seems they’re evenly matched.
I did not see that coming. Could it be that Shakuhou’s actually quite powerful? This is the guy who wears panties as a nightcap, right?
(No, wait. Rather than Shakuhou being strong…Ryuga’s movements seem a bit off.)
It’s something I can tell after seeing her fight many times. Right now, Ryuuga is clearly limiting her power. The power of her punches and kicks are roughly half of what they normally are.
What are you doing, Ryuuga?! Did you eat too much sushi?!
“Hey, Hinomori! There’s no reason that you should have a hard time with that monkey! Your attacks were sharper when you sparred with Kiki and me at the graveyard!”
It seems that Mion felt the same. She harshly scolded the protagonist’s substandard performance.
“Are you trying to make us look weak?! Finish this at once! Then, hurry up and go home! Did you even finish your homework?!”
In response to the heron apostle’s complaints, which started sounding like those of a nagging mother’s, Ryuuga turned towards her and said “Well, but…” with a troubled face.
“If I get serious, I might end up killing him.”
“So what?! You’ve gone all out before, haven’t you?!”
“I mean, yeah, but…you said it before, right? If an apostle dies in the spirit world, there is no second chance for them.”
…That’s right. If an apostle loses their life here, they can’t revive. They are truly dead.
So that’s the reason why Ryuuga’s movements are worse? Is she holding back because she’s worried about Shakuhou?
“It doesn’t matter if you kill him! He’s an underwear thief!”
“The circumstances have changed. Right now, we’re supposed to build friendly relations between humans and apostles. If we kill a general, that’ll only create animosity, wouldn’t it?”
“That’s why you’re holding back?!”
“Yeah. I could probably beat him in one blow…”
“So this is happening because Shakuhou is weak?!”
“He seems to be trying his best too.”
“Ooh ooh ah ah! Why are you patronizing me?! I don’t want to hear any of that from you!”
Shakuhou went into a blind rage, swinging his magic staff with reckless abandon…all while on the verge of tears.
However, he couldn’t touch Ryuuga. She quickly dodged all of the lightning quick attacks. All while she was holding a conversation with Mion.
“Then just push him off the bridge!”
“Ooh ooh ah ah! Pay attention to me!”
“There’s only water below, so he won’t die! It’ll take a few hours before he can get back up!”
“Let’s go with that. We only have thirty minutes to act, anyways. We can’t waste much time.”
“Ooh ooh ah ah! I’m begging you! Pay attention to me!”
“By the way, how much time do we have left?”
“Err…give me a moment.”
“Ooh ooh ah ah! Don’t take out your cell phooone! Stop checking the time!’
“Oh, Hinomori. You have a grain of rice near your mouth.”
“R, really? Ugh.”
“Ooh ooh ah ah! Don’t take a hand mirror! Stop tidying your hair in-“
The mandrill apostle seemed so pitiful.
Ryuuga sent a kick that moved even faster than he could swing his staff.
Receiving a blow to his stomach, the mandrill apostle flew away. He was fervently doing a breaststroke, but he was still suspended in mid-air, past the handrails of the bridge. It was only a matter of time before he would fall into the moat.
“Ooh ooh ah ah! You’ll regret this, Hinomori! I’ll definitely kill you one day! And Mion! Please go out with-“
Shakuhou plummeted without hearing the cold heron apostle’s response. Hearing the sound of a splash, it seemed that he safely landed into the water.
It happened in a somewhat comedic way, but with this, the enemy general is no longer a threat.
Now the apostles have no choice but to retreat. Thinking that they would soon flee…I decided that it was finally time to appear from the stone pillar.
“──My, that was quite the spectacle, Hinomori Ryuuga. Quite nice for a supporting role character.”
The sound of clapping accompanied a child-like, high-pitched voice.
It was I voice I knew very well. There’s no mistaking it. That irritating, condescending voice.
…Before I knew it, the crowd of apostles moved aside to clear a path on the bridge.
Some of the apostles quickly carried up their teammates who were lying on the ground. They stepped away to avoid obstructing their ruler.
Paying only a passing glance towards them, he calmly walked forward. His pure white hair fluttered, his nine tails swayed, and his beast-like feet moved smoothly.
(This was only supposed to be a warm-up fight scene…why can’t that guy ever read the mood…?)
Before long, the “Evil Spirit” arrived in front of Ryuuga and took a look at this surroundings. His fox mask was decorated with patterns on the forehead and cheeks.
“Oh, Shizuma isn’t present? I was here for him.”
Needless to say, it was Qiongqi.
The final “Evil Spirit” that Hinomori Ryuuga needed to defeat. The final boss of the series.
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