The hakama wearing man who was accompanied with a great amount of undulating earth and sand――Fujiwara Taisei.
He was the head of a giant business group and the current legitimate successor of the bloodline of a legendary onmyouji.
He was also Hinata’s father.
Every single one of those titles was magnificent and troublesome. Such man was blocking their way with cool atmosphere around him. This situation, it made Kousuke and also Fukube wanted to look up to the sky in grief.
「――Sokujou Hitsukin Shihou Taihebi Gensei(Breathing Earth Absolute Forbidden Four Cardinal Directions Womb Snake Manifestation)」
He made the sword hand seal with one hand over his mouth and whispered the incantation. Then a roaring tremor broke out with thunderous sound.
「Ugeh, the escape road!?」
「No Fukube-san. In this case it’s the advance road.」
At the path ahead after they came out of the tunnel, there was a cave entrance for around dozens of meters. At one side was a drafty tunnel that was made as a substitute of roof for preventing falling rocks and the like. That entrance was blocked by the earth and sand that fell down from the mountain surface at the left side. In addition the soil was undulating like a coiling snake.
Guess the man had no intention of letting them to get away from this place.
The moment Kousuke thought that,
Suddenly Hinata yelled with an expression that was filled with uneasiness.
Kousuke didn’t ask what’s the matter. Not only Kousuke, Fukube also quickly take action with decisiveness.
He unlocked the car door. Took off his seatbelt, then Fukube rolled out from the driver seat to outside. At the same time, Kousuke also carried Hinata in his arms while kicking open the door and jumped outside.
In a hair’s breadth. The car’s floor exploded with a thunderous roar. The flow of earth and sand pulverized the asphalt and gushed out with such momentum that it made it looked like there was an explosion.
Kousuke and Fukube rolled on the ground while escaping to diagonally forward. They stopped with a posture of standing on one knee and looked up. There they saw a giant arm made from soil stretched out and grasped the car frame.
It must be because Hinata wasn’t inside. The hand mercilessly flattened the car easily like it was aluminum can.
「Aah, that’s an office car you know!? What do you think tax payers’ money is huh!」
「That’s what made you angry!?」
「Aa~, I’ll have to write written explanation……the hellish paperwork battle is going to start……unforgivable-」
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「Calm down Fukube-san!」
Fukube was consuming stomach medicine (one case all at once) in desperation. Kousuke gave him a tsukkomi, but even during that time hinata’s gaze was only focused wholeheartedly toward Taisei.
She had no memory, and even her recollection of him only came from a single dream.
Even so there was no way she could mistake him. He was the support of her heart. Her family. Therefore, Hinata was dumbfounded by the unforeseen reunion, but the impact just now made her came back to herself.
「Otou-sama! It’s me! Hinata!」
She desperately yelled at him. Even if her memory was stolen, her soul remembered her father. There was no doubt that she could meet him in her dream was surely because of htat.
Then, surely, Otou-sama too with her……
「Please stop, I beg you! Return to your sense――」
However, what came back was a heartless mantra.
「――On Handomadara Abokyajayani Sorosoro Sowaka」
「Hinata-chan!? Wait my neck feels hott!?」
Hinata suddenly bent backward as though she was showered with electricity. Her body stiffened. It must be a jutsu of binding. Kousuke too almost got his movement sealed just for a moment, but his neck instantly became hot as though it burst in fire.
The pain in his chest that attacked him intermittently last night and the heat in his neck this time. After that the phenomenon of the pain vanishing. Considering all those, there was no doubt that that he had just resisted some kind of jutsu again just now.
However, the heat was incomparable from before. Was the jutsu just that powerful? The pain felt like a soldering iron was pressed on his flesh. Rather the side effect of the resistance almost sent his consciousness flying.
The voice was short and with no intonation, no, with no emotion. The earth hand tossed away the car that had turned into a scrap into the forest beside the road. Then it rushed down on Hinata and Kousuke like avalanche.
「It even dispel the jutsu of the opponent that touch me, thanks a lot though!」
「You’re going to bite your tongue! Stay still!」
Kousuke was getting tearful from the pain of the resistance while jumping to the side to dodge. Perhaps because she was being carried by Kousuke, Hinata also was released from the jutsu and became tearful. It seemed bit her tongue from the abrupt movement.
But, right after that she raised her voice. Because there was a dry sound *bang* resounding.
It was gunshot. At some distance away from them, Fukube was pointing a small automatic handgun in weaver stance.
「It’s just rubber bullet. Please forgive me if he get injured a bit……wait, oh my. This is why fantasy is so troublesome.」
He must be trying to knock out Taisei with the bullet’s impact. But, before the bullet could strike Taisei’s solar plexus, the earth hand coiling around him blocked it.
He wasn’t a certain bugged bunny. Although the speed of rubber bullet was slow, it was hard to think that he blocked it reflexively by sight. In other words, the earth was able to perform automatic defense.
It wasn’t a perfect control. As expected, that great amount of earth and sand was an existence that was able to take autonomic action to some degree――it was none other than an apparition. How extremely troublesome.
「O, oo? It’s multiplying?」
The surface of the earth and sand was wriggling. The soil overflowed from the inside to the outside like mole popping out from the ground.
From careful observation, the sand and earth on the road and the surrounding were also increasing in amount.
Fukube was having cold sweat. His expression was twitching.
「Endou-san, just what kind of youkai this is!?」
「No, I too am not a youkai maniac you know!?」
Even while they were having such exchange, the earth and sand undulated like snakes. They moved at Kousuke and Hinata and also to Fukube.
Kousuke dodged while carrying Hinata in one arm. At the same time he attempted to bind Taisei with iron string. But as expected the earth and sand swelled out to protect him.
He summoned a clone. The clone circled the earth and sand that was concentrated to block the iron string to approach Taisei. Furthermore,
The clone activated other world fantasy. A gravity field with several times the gravity force was generated around the clone. It pushed down the remaining sand and earth that moved to intercept the clone.
The clone broke through the earth defense. It reached out toward Taisei, in order to grapple him into submission in a range where there was no way for the earth to interfere.
However, the title as the father of the strongest onmyou girl wasn’t just for show as expected.
「――On Shurimarimamari Marushushuri Sowaka」
A talisman fluttered out from his sleeve. It emitted a white light and changed into a flame that felt slightly divine. The clone was swallowed right from the front.
There was no sensation of being burned. Rather the white flame kindly unraveled the magic power that was making up the body and returned it to nature.
It was an unbelievable attack. To think that the clone was defeated in one blow……
Taisei sent the big earth snake that was blocking the path toward Fukube who was looking for an opening to fire his rubber bullet. At the same time he counterattacked at Kousuke who unconsciously slowed down from astonishment.
Taisei swiftly formed a two-handed hand seal.
「――Bakusetsu Isshin Bansei Kuchiku Seirei Fudou Kyuukyuunyoritsuryou(Whole Body Binding Myriad Spirits Extermination Unmoving Vengeful Spirit Carry out with haste)」
Instantly, there were explosions from five spots in the earth that was scattered around Hinata and Kousuke, and from inside appeared shining white talismans. The next moment they noticed those talismans, the five points got connected with shining lines and a pentagram took shape instantly.
A pressure that felt like they were being pressed from all directions attacked Kousuke and Hinata.
「H-Hinata-chan! Your dad is real tough!」
「T-this isn’t the time to say thattt!」
Certainly, compared to the dozens of practitioners and hundreds of shikigamis that attacked them at Fushimi Inari, Taisei alone and a single youma was far more troublesome here.
So there was this much difference between the branch house and the head of the main house.
Kousuke thought of such thing while looking at the earth and sand that surged from all directions like high waves as though to make doubly sure in finishing them off.
Fukube was barely escaping from the earth large snake with an acrobatic movement that was unexpected from a middle-aged man. He yelled to this way with an expression that was filled with anxiety.
Right after that, the earth waves swallowed Kousuke and Hinata.
It shouldn’t kill them. After all Tsuchimikado clan needed Hinata to be their puppet princess.
Even so, it was checkmate with this. What was left was to knock out Hinata and kidnapped her. Kousuke could simply be finished off――
「Stop holding back and get serious alreadyyy!」
It’s hard for an old man like me to go through heavy exercise like this! Fukube’s complaint echoed loudly.
In respond to that statement of Fukube that didn’t fear Kousuke’s defeat at the slightest,
「Rude. I’m already serious right from the start. I’m just not going at full power.」
A casual reply came back.
The emotionless and expressionless Taisei finally showed a change of expression at this point. His eyes widened while he reflexively turned to where the voice came from, right behind him.
Kousuke was there standing with composure. Hinata was also there with her eyes blinking in puzzlement as though asking what happened. She was being held firmly in his one handed embrace.
――Abyss Style Space Tonjutsu The Abyssal-the rest is abbreviated
It was the treasured one time use artifact in the shape of pebble for teleportation by switching it with the real body.
When Kousuke ordered his clone to carry out its suicidal charge, he also ordered the clone to throw the artifact to behind Taisei.
He aimed for the moment when Taisei sent away the majority of earth and sand obeying him at his surrounding for offense.
Although Kousuke was astonished by the offense and defense from Taisei’s jutsu and the youma that acted in perfect concert, the amount of experience between the two of them differed. It was only natural to prepare several plans that were running simultaneously in parallel.
Taisei reflexively moved to pull out a talisman from his sleeve, but he was already in Kousuke’s range. No matter how excellent of a practitioner he was, no matter how troublesome the youma’s existence was,
「I’ll have you stay down for real this time!」
It was impossible to stop Kousuke.
Kousuke smoothly closed the distance and put his hand that was equipped with the romance filled “The Second Coming and Refusal’s-the rest is abbreviated(fingerless black glove)” over Taisei’s forehead.
He didn’t yell “Rakshasa’s Evil Hand-“. It was embarrassing because he was still “Kousuke”.
The activated magic power shockwave gave Taisei a concussion with the suitable amount of impact.
Taisei’s body jerked. A beat later, he swayed and fell backward.
Hinata reflexively reached out with her hand.
「It’s alright Hinata-chan.」
I only knocked him out, he said while putting his hand around Taisei’s back to hold him and smiled at Hinata――but, Kousuke’s hand passed right through Taisei.
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Taisei broke down into pieces. He wasn’t fine at all.
The way he crumbled was just so thorough. His body broke with a snap from the point where Kousuke’s arm tried to support him. The upper body and lower body that parted tragically fell on the ground and scattered *dosha-* everywhere like a smashed mirror. The body’s original form didn’t remain at the slightest.
As expected, both Kousuke and Hinata were stunned with their eyes turning into dots seeing that.
A beat later.
「This is a lie righttt, OTOU-SAMAAAAAAAAAA!?」
The incident of Otou-sama is too brittle. Kousuke and Hinata’s expression turned like the expression of 『The Scream』 by Munch.
But then a human shaped white paper fluttered down at the corner of their sights.
What’s this? Although they focused on it, a warning came before they could check it.
「Endou-san! Behind, behind youuu!」
The large snakes also crumbled at the same time when Taisei was smashed. Fukube who got the time to catch his breath pointed behind him like a certain comedy skit.
Not wanting to waste the time to take the action of looking behind, Kousuke obeyed his sense of danger that was sending a chill into his back and dashed forward.
Right after that, white flame burst up once more at the place where he was just standing at.
When he landed while looking back at the same time, there was Taisei there showing only his upper body from the solidified earth and sand that was whirling from the surrounding.
He was making a one-handed sword hand seal. He was absorbing a different human shaped paper than before into his head while his lower body was gradually rising with the earth and sand forming it bit by bit.
Hinata became at a loss 「Uh」 when Kousuke confirmed with her. She felt relieved that her father was alive, while at the same time Kousuke explicitly pointing out 「Your father, his humanity is even more doubtful than me though, is that okay!?」 to her caused a calm part of Hinata to agree 「Certainly, I don’t want this kind of Otou-samaa!」.
There, gunshots resounded in succession.
The bullets hit Taise’s feet that were currently being reformed and they crumbled. Both his hands also got shot, perhaps so that he couldn’t make hand seal.
「Endou-san, let’s go already-. The situation isn’t good! We need to hurry!」
「? Aah, roger!」
「Eh? You two!?」
Fukube didn’t even look at the earth and sand that began to move again. He ran as fast as his legs could carry him from the right side of the road into the mountain.
Kousuke also followed behind him while carrying the bewildered Hinata. He left behind a clone to buy time.
The sound of a great amount of earth and sand *gogogo* undulating was reverberating from behind. Kousuke quickly caught up to Fukube and ran in parallel with him during that time.
「It’s two kilometers in a straight line. It’ll be nice if we can shake him off but, whoops!」
Although Fukube was using a small flashlight to illuminate the ground, it was still amazing how he was able to run really fast in the wilderness like this when it was night.
He was choosing the spots to step on accurately. Even though he had been busy dodging desperately in a dangerous situation that made him ran out of a breath just now, he still hadn’t run out of breath right now.
Kousuke plainly thought 「This person is scary huh」 after catching a glimpse of Fukube’s real strength. He understood now why Hajime warned him 「The new contact person. He isn’t a bad guy but don’t let your guard down with him」 before.
「It’s fine. Let’s go the rest of the way through the sky. I need to chant properly if there are three of us like this, so please explain to Hinata-chan in my placee」
Kousuke took a deep breath and started concentrating. He started chanting with a small voice that Hinata couldn’t listen in.
「Yes yes. Please don’t worry, we aren’t abandoning your father by any means.」
Fukube spoke to the bewildered Hinata while the sound of fierce fighting was coming from far away behind.
「It’s just as you saw, your father there is a fake. Though it will be a different story if you father isn’t human from the start.」
「I-I think Otou-sama is human though……」
If Taisei wasn’t a human, that meant Hinata also wasn’t a human, but with how she got hungry and bleed when getting injured, she was a human. In other words,
「That body must be remote controlled. Like Endou-san’s clone.」
「Otou-sama……as I thought he isn’t human?」
「Can you stop talking with the premise that I’m not human?」
Ah, the chanting is going to cut off, Kousuke said while returning to his focus in panic. Fukube glanced at him as he continued.
「In the first place, it’s strange that mister Taisei is showing up. Because, he is necessary as a sacrifice right?」
Taise was a powerful practitioner who possessed the strength that was the closest to Hinata. He was also accompanied by a powerful youma.
However, from the information about the enemy’s objective that they heard from the justice young man, it was too strange for him to come out alone to intercept them. The risk was too high.
If he got taken back by their side there, then both the “princess” and the “main house’s head” would be gone from the enemy’s grasp.
「I think their objective is to agitate Fujiwara-san and if possible obtain you at the same time if things goes well. But more than that――」
「It’s for buying time isn’t it? Aa, how can this be……」
Hinata’s thinking and intuition that were dulled due to her reunion with her father were regaining their normalcy.
Her intelligent mind connected the pieces and gave her understanding of the current situation.
「The barrier destruction ritual is already……the ritual to sacrifice Otou-sama and others is starting-」
「Right you are.」
Originally the five hidden cornerstones of the “Great Barrier of Heavenly Star” had to be destroyed first before they carried on the ritual to offer the jutsu and blood of Fujiwara people at the suitable place――at Seimei Shrine.
However, there were too many irregularities going on for Tsuchimikado clan.
They started to become impatient after allowing Hinata to escape.
Even though they had discovered the five cornerstones and took the time to use their jutsu attacking them and damaging the barrier, when they noticed the cornerstones had been restored.
They weren’t aware of this but, it was because Hinata repaired the barrier from Seimei Shrine at the other world. Now they had to make preparation and spent time and effort like before again to attack the cornerstones one by one.
Next was their failure in securing Hinata when she left from the other world.
They never even dreamed that the specially selected practitioners and a hundred shikigamis would get routed. There was no doubt that such result never even crossed their mind considering of Hinata’s amnesiac state.
On top of that, no matter how many curses were sent to Hinata’s powerful shikigami Kousuke (or that was what the Tsuchimikado thought), all of them got repelled and even their attempt to silence the prisoner ended up in vain.
「Those guys must be feeling real anxious right now.」
Even if they carried out the ritual to sacrifice Fujiwara clan at the main headquarters of Tsuchimikado clan, the great barrier’s destruction wouldn’t be realized.
But, conversely speaking, they would only need to destroy the five cornerstones after that. Even if they couldn’t do that, the powerful youmas should be able to slip through the barrier and manifest in this world without a doubt after that.
「They’re compromising with their second best option.」
「So because they sensed my arrival to here, they prefer to take some risk rather than having their plan meeting a complete setback, is that right? We have to hurry-」
Hinata’s young pretty face twisted in impatience. It was then, a prickling numbness ran through the back of her neck. Something was approaching. Her instinct was telling her that.
「Endou-sama, something’s coming-」
「I know! My clone also got done in!」
Kousuke’s clone was destroyed by a forceful method Taisei self exploding a new lump of ground and his flesh body. Now he was chasing after them. Considering that the ceremony of barrier destruction was also progressing in parallel, Kousuke couldn’t help but shudder in fear by Taisei’s skill, which was to be expected from “the current head of direct descendants of Abe no Seimei”.
A roaring noise of landslide and slightly rhythmical footsteps were coming from behind.
It wasn’t the sound of human footstep. Kousuke felt like he had heard of it from somewhere. However the strange footstep sounded slightly different from what he remembered.
「I’m finished preparing. Let’s shake them off just like this――」
Pseudo flight using gravity magic. So that Hinata and Fukube wouldn’t get dropped no matter what, and also to keep down the magic power consumption to the minimum, Kousuke had been carefully chanting to construct the magic. Just as he was about to activate it,
Kousuke inadvertently looked back across his shoulder. His expression spasmed when he saw the scene there.
It was a horse.
However, it had a huge body around three times bigger than a normal horse. Its eyes were tinged in piecing red color. Its mouth was splitting until its ear, and its excessively long mane was covering its body like willow branches. Its legs were six.
Besides, Taisei was riding it with a transformed look that was like a vengeful ghost with a complexion that looked somewhat bad, hollow cheeks, and sinking in eyeballs. He was chasing with abnormal speed and followed obediently by a torrent of earth and sand behind him that swallowed the trees like a high wave.
It was terrifyingly scary. It was the scariness from panic genre rather than horror genre. This wasn’t like the hair raising ghost story, but a monster attack in B-rated movie.
「Endou-san! Runnn! Super run away with us alonggg!」
「I-I hear you loud and clear!」
Kousuke and the others ran away to the sky just a hair’s breadth away before Taisei riding on the “hell horse” caught up to them in the blink of eye.
They got soaked with cold sweat seeing the ground getting washed away by high speed avalanche.
Fukube felt moved with「Oo」 from floating in the air free from the yoke of gravity even though he was soaked in cold sweat.
Kousuke wondered if Hinata was alright and dropped his gaze to his arms.
「Horse……Otou-sama dashing like the wind of night……where did Otou-sama pick up that kind of monster……please return it to where you found it…………the enraged Okaa-sama, Otou-sama throwing a tantrum……flying knee kick……uh, my head-」
She didn’t look alright at all. It looked like she had regained a part of her memory. It seemed that the memory wasn’t a really good one, but it was a good thing that she recalled her mother’s face. Surely.
「I-I’m fine. More importantly, how is Otou-sama……」
「Right. He looks exhausted for some reason. He used that kind of absurd jutsu. Perhaps the burden on him is also real bad. Or perhaps……」
「It might be the influence of the ritual eh.」
「We need to hurry……Endou-sama-」
「I know! We’re going to speed up!」
Kousuke converted the gravity direction to horizontal direction. They flew through the sky without stopping with freefalling speed.
When they dropped their gazes to below, the wave of earth that swallowed and crushed everything on its path had vanished. The figures of the hell horse and Taisei had also vanished suddenly.
Had they given up because they couldn’t reach them at the sky as expected……
Anyway, perhaps there wasn’t that much time left in order to rescue Fujiwara clan.
Showing a tragedy to Hinata was out of question.
「It’s fine. We will absolutely make it in time. I swear I’ll make us made it in time.」
「Yes……yes-. I’ll leave it to you, Endou-sama!」
Hinata tightly clung on his chest. Kousuke nodded strongly at her.
But, it was then, Fukube let out a voice of impatience, or perhaps despair.
「Ah, no good-」
「!? What’s the matter-, Fukube-san!」
For some reason the constantly composed man was looking unusual. Both Kousuke and Hinata turned their gazes at him in puzzlement. He who was flying in parallel beside them was busy patting down all over his body.
「……My stomach medicines, I dropped them-!!」
He yelled that with an expression of despair. His eyes seemed to be asking「Can we go back to look for them?」.
Kousuke and Hinata looked at each other. They nodded at each other with complete understanding of each other’s heart.
「You’re adult right? Endure it.」
「Fukube-sama. Forgive me but, it will be very helpful if you can read the atmosphere a little.」
Perhaps because they felt their spirit dampened, they reflexively replied like that with cold gaze and tone like how a rebellious child would act toward his father.
Fukube’s expression became like a dog that was abandoned under the rain and he muttered「I don’t want it, until we wim」. (Note: What Fukube said here is the favorite saying of a Girl and Panzer character, hoshigarimasen, katsumadewa)
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