Inside a deep forest that was filled with thick mist of pure white.
Ten giant Hihis(baboons) were carefully walking forward. Their body length was around three meters with black fur and features that could be mistaken as human face. They were distinguished apparitions even in the main land with a lot of legends of liking to eat women and children.
Although they had been reduced to the status of mere grunts right now, their slyness and brutal nature hadn’t been weakened at all. They were even eagerly waiting for opening to take down their temporary master who was binding them.
These Hihis were such apparitions. However, at this moment they weren’t even making the coarse laughing voice that became the origin of their name. They were giving off a tense atmosphere as though they had a blade pressed on their throat even now.
They were restlessly moving their gaze everywhere to cover each of their blindspot.
Carefully, carefully they were moving their legs so that they wouldn’t make any footstep, so that their breathing sound wouldn’t be heard.
If possible they wanted to turn around and escape right away, but there was no change to their order from their master, so they couldn’t possibly stop their invasion. They had kept reporting the danger befalling them, but their master didn’t even reply to them.
Their master shouldn’t be outside the forest, but did something happen to him? Although, even though their master was a thoroughly detestable person, they could do nothing except obey as long as the “binding” was active.
No, even if they were allowed to escape, surely it had been too late for them.
The Hihis understood that fact instinctually.
This forest, this thick mist that was so disgustingly white……
The leader Hihi stopped moving while holding his breath.
An especially old Hihi was said to be able to read human’s heart like a Satori(folklore monster that can read minds). That legend wasn’t mistaken. This leader of the Hihis was in possession of that ability.
The ability to read mind that it kept active in full strength was,
――Everyone, I’m counting on you-
Sensing a woman’s voice. The voice sounded courteous. It really tickled the leader’s instinct as a Hihi.
It understood just from the woman’s voice. Its instinct screamed 「First rate prey!」, while at the same time its mind screamed 「Run away quickly!」 from deep inside.
The Hihi leader didn’t hesitate. It punched its instinct and cried shrilly to warn its pack. Dodge, it ordered. But, it was too late.
*GOO-* The ground burst. Or that was how it felt like when roots powerfully snapped out from underground.
Tree roots that had been hardened to a degree that wasn’t a joke at all instantly speared two Hihis. They didn’t stop there and entwined around the Hihis tightly.
One more Hihi managed to jump aside before it got swallowed by a plant that had a large mouth opened wide.
At the same time one other Hihi got instantly constricted by a vine that was smeared by viscous liquid. This one was also instantly foaming in the mouth with its eyes rolling back as its body started to spasm.
The Hihi leader had no room to make a choice.
Rush at the direction of the thought that I sensed, there is a first rate prey there. First come first served! The leader gave such order to its subordinates to fire them up.
With their inability to sense their master’s thought, they already had no path of escape. Because this thick mist was throwing their sense of direction into astray.
They also didn’t know when the plants around them would attack them like just now.
But, even after receiving such catastrophic damage that reduced its subordinates from originally a hundred strong until just a tenth of it right now, the leader had managed to trace the thought of the enemy that was hiding somewhere in this forest, and now they had finally shortened the distance until where they could reach the enemy.
Then, there was already no other path than charging forward!
Beastly roars accompanied the radiation of their ghostly air, blowing away the white mist slightly. They dashed through that path in a straight line.
Their eyes were bloodshot in anticipation to devour the terrifying lord of this forest to their heart’s content――
「Awawa-, no good no good! As I thought they have already grasped my position!」
What came into view was a small woman sitting on top of a particularly huge tree.
They had closed the distance until they could see the enemy. It looked like she was panicking.
She was a woman who looked like a kid. Furthermore she was overflowing with power.
The Hihis were sensing nervousness and fear from her. Their mind immediately flipped from that. Ecstasy, sadism, and hunger filled their entire being.
Their pack had been thoroughly trounced. They wouldn’t let her die so easily. They would toy with her until she cried and screamed. They would taste her flesh from the tip of her body bit by bit, slowly.
It didn’t matter even if she was more than ten meters above ground. Such place couldn’t bring her to escape from the grasp of the Hihis.
They clung on the thick trunk and climbed up fast while letting out low joyous voice……
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Fancy pink shockwave surged.
If it was just a mere shockwave, then surely they would be able to endure it. But something like physical defense was completely meaningless against this shockwave. Because it was an impact that directly hit their soul.
Blank spot was formed in their thought. Their consciousness receded from unknown reason. Strength left their limbs and all of them dived to the ground together.
On that ground,
「Mister king! Please let them have it!」
The adorable voice was responded by the rustles of the leaves. Mountain of swords made from roots flew out from the ground.
Half of the Hihis were stabbed all over, while half were skewered and became unable to move.
Perhaps because of luck or perhaps because of actual strength, the leader was the only one who managed to twist its body between the gap of the sword mountain and got away unharmed. But it was meaningless.
*GO-GO-GO* A sound that was similar to a tremor reverberated. The leader whipped its hazy mind and looked forward.
Surely, if its human expression was described, it would say 「You’re kidding me……」.
A giant tree with total length of 30 meters was standing up.
Yes, standing up.
Countless tree roots lengthened and bundled together into legs that were like a spider. The middle part of the trunk split and formed a mouth of uneven teeth. Thick branches with great mass undulated like tentacles and whipped the air.
The manifestation of the king of the forest. Perhaps that was one way to described this.
The ground was rumbling loudly as the “King Treant” roared. The air rattled. The Hihis’ instinct was trembling in fear from the presence of this existence that was clearly in different dimension from them.
No, it wasn’t just the Hihi. It was something that was felt by all the external enemies that were currently invading this “Sanctuary of King Tree”.
The Hihi that had even the ability to speak in human language attempted to open its mouth to purchase sympathy. Its sly nature had noticed the naïve personality of the woman――Aiko who was protected by the leaves and branches of King Treant.
Its realization was certainly accurate. It was impossible for Aiko to commit murder proactively. That was even truer if someone begged for their life toward her.
However, the Hihi didn’t know. Because even though it could read the thought of human, it couldn’t read their memory.
That Aiko was the type of person who would commit when it was really necessary.
In addition, she was also a type of person who when she was at her wits’ end, other people’s words would enter her right ear before it simply came out from her left ear as she was spinning her wheels.
「Hajime-kun and all the divine spirits aren’t here……the world will be in grave danger if I failed……uu, my stomach hurt……but you can’t break down Aiko! You have to stand strong! After all Hajime-kun trusted me to do this! Fiiighttt, fightttttt-」
Just when the Hihi wondered what the woman was muttering with low voice, she suddenly huffed with fighting spirit and completely ignored the Hihi leader’s pleading.
「Mister king! Do itttt!!」
Acknowledged! King Treant skillfully made a thumb up with the tip of its branches and sent its countless branches to batter violently at the Hihis desperately trying to get away from the field of root swords.
Although they were called branches, each one of them was extremely thick. And when it came to their destructive power, it was at the level that could pulverize a single house in one blow.
And those branches, they mercilessly hit, hit, hit, hit, hit. Like doing tap dance! Tap dance! Tap dance! Tap tap. Of course, the Hihis were apparition so they would only disperse after dying. They didn’t leave behind any pile of minced meat.
The Hihis vanished with a look of despair.
「U~mm, with this all of the large packs should be dealt with for the time being……I prioritized defeating the monkeys just now……next there is still the few at the east, and a new group from the west? Muu, as expected this might not end as long as I don’t dispatch mister Treant to subdue the caster. I don’t really want to send them out of the sea of trees though……」
Aiko fell into thought before deciding her plan with a nod. Then she poured magic power into the stick in her hand.
It was a wooden stick with appearance of around 30 cm. It was something using the wood of the King Tree as the base that Hajime combined with ore.
Not only it could connect with the avatar Laila, it was also a license as a proxy who could use a part of her authority. At the same time it was also an artifact that had the power to explosively increase Aiko’s ability as a master farmer and her soul magic.
Its name was “Protection Wand”.
Currently this sanctuary forest was in a different state than usual. That too was the result of this wand’s authority combined with Aiko’s power.
Even though there was already a barrier that disturbed perception to protect the King Tree constantly, thanks to the “Sea of Trees Manifestation” being applied on top of it, the area was transformed into a haunted area filled with the white mist’s ability to throw perception into disarray and an army of plant type monster and demonic tree.
「Mister Knight! Mister Bishop! Also ten mister Pawns, please investigate the outer edge of the sanctuary!」
The surrounding trees immediately started moving. Pawn Treants that were around five meter tall, Knight Treant that was around ten meter tall and possessed the greatest sturdiness, Bishop Terant that was around eight meter tall and could use every kind of magic were humbly bowing toward Aiko before moving to the other side of the thick mist.
As could be understood from their naming, even the Treants had type and special technique that was connected to chess pieces.
And not only the sea of trees area, the surrounding of the King was always surrounded by a royal demonic tree guards.
Even just now, actually the Hihis could be annihilated before they arrived here, but King who was apprehensive that it wouldn’t get any turn to fight intentionally allowed them to pass with the reasoning of 「Even I want to get ordered around by Aiko-dono!」.
Also, inside the trunk beside Aiko, there was a “humanoid demonic tree Queen Treant” acting as guard. It possessed equal ability with the humanoid cockro*ch aka the imitation apostle that once stood as the opposition in the labyrinth of the great tree, so there wouldn’t be any danger to Aiko either way.
Aiko was at her wits’ end was simply because of her usual habit of spinning her wheels.
「That’s really amazing sensei. You’re exactly like a “queen of the forest”.」
「Why are all of these people in the type of “isn’t it’s enough with them alone”?」
Aiko was startled by the voices of a man and woman that suddenly addressed her. When she looked ahead of the branch where she was sitting on, she found Kouki and Moana coming out from a gate.
「Amanogawa-kun and Moana-san!」
The two walked toward Aiko with a conflicted expression, as though they were a bit exasperated, or smiling wryly from a loss of self-confidence.
「Is the other side alright?」
「Yes. Yes, Yue-san is mowing down the enemies like grass.」
「I see. It’s Yue-san after all.」
It was the first wife-sama’s quality that could make other convinced just from that.
「Then you two are coming here to help out?」
「Yes. Both of us came just in case, we thought that it will be balanced if two front liner like us come as backup for sensei but……」
「It doesn’t seem necessary isn’t it? I understand now the reason why his majesty the demon king said “it’s limited to just inside the sanctuary but, Aiko is practically unrivaled when she is holding the Protection Wand with Sea of Trees Manifestation activated”.」
Kouki and Moana said that while handing the orb filled with magic power stock that they obtained from Hajime.
In addition, it was possible for the sea of trees’ white mist and the plant type monsters to regenerate in the blinbk of eye as long as Aiko’s magic power hadn’t run out. Furthermore, she could also grasp the whole situation inside the sea of trees through the white mist.
The otherworld of mist and forest that was impossible to destroy, filled with unending army, where it was impossible to hide or escape inside.
And here was the forest’s king who had the whole forest in her grasp.
No wonder. She was certainly unrivaled here.
We are awfully useless……the light in Kouki and Moana’s eyes were almost dying, but Aiko shook her head in panic seeing that.
「That’s not true at all! I’m feeling discouraged staying by myself……I’m really reassured that the two of you came here!」
The two’s faces softened greatly *howaa~*. They looked like people who felt healed when looking at cat video after going through an unspeakable experience.
「Besides, because I lost Laila-san’s support, there is this discomfort in my control of the sea of trees that I can’t just remove. It gives me a bit of difficulty……」
The divine spirit slimes who were defending this sanctuary together with her until not long ago were currently inside the “world inside the treasure warehouse” ――the “Miniature Garden” because of a certain circumstance. They did that as a part of solving the present situation.
Because of losing the real time support from the King Tree’s goddess, the control of the sea of trees――specifically the difficulty of manipulating the sanctuary that was the base of the sea of trees apparently shot up drastically.
「Is that, could it be it’s because of the King Tree’s trait?」
「That seems to be the case.」
Kouki made a conjecture from the smattering of knowledge that he obtained from when he diverted the topic to somehow escape from the special energy drink’s recommendation.
Aiko nodded at that question. She was waving the Protection Wand around to give instruction to the whole sea of trees while the finger of her other hand pointed straight up. She was talking as though she was giving a lesson in a classroom.
「You know about how the branches of world tree produce particular power that is appropriate for their respective world right?」
「Yes. In Moana’s world it’s the blessing power.」
「And what Kouki and others are using is magic power isn’t it?」
「Right right. And, for earth’s power, Hajime-kun named it as “willpower”.」
That was earth’s unique power. In the past that power had decayed until just one-ten thousandth of the past, but currently with the revival of the King Tree, the power was circulating all over the world through the dragon’s vein.
One of Hajime’s work that he was doing in the sanctuary was the analysis of this unique energy of earth.
Aiko was talking about what she heard from Hajime during his analysis. According to her, this willpower’s element was quiet similar when compared to magic power.
「In other words……what does that mean?」
「Perhaps it means that its easier to be converted to other energy?」
「That seems to be the case. At the same time, it also means that it can easily accept other energy.」
Kouki and Moana tilted their head. Aiko lightly tapped the tree trunk with her Protection Wand’s tip.
Thin foliage immediately stretched out and formed human shape and the letter of earth.
「We earthlings are people with latent willpower residing inside us or perhaps a race with affinity to it.」
「……I see. By all rights it’s strange for earthlings like us to be able to handle Tortus’s magic power that has different property. But」
「In the first place it’s the willpower’s property to be able to easily accept other energy, so Kouki and others who have aptitude with willpower are able to control magic power.」
「Both of you are really smart!」
Aiko praised with a cheerful smile. It caused the two’s expression to soften *howaa* again. Kouki asked a question while looking a bit embarrassed.
「In that case, can we also control other energy if we try it?」
「In theory. However, we already accepted the property of magic power into us, so it might be difficult unless we can somehow reset ourselves first. A human’s body isn’t so convenient that it can freely switch multiple powers of different nature so easily.」
「I see. In the end it just means that we have the foundation for such possibility.」
「That’s right. And, do you remember it Amanogawa-kun? What Pope Ishtar said when we were summoned to Tortus.」
Kouki thought for a bit and recalled the memory of past talk that seemed to be related with the current talk.
「You mean, the talk about how our fundamental spec is higher than Tortus people?」
「Correct! It must be because we have gone through something like high-altitude training.」
In other words, because earthling was living in a world where the energy was mostly dried up even though they possessed a body with a property that could adapt to element energy, they possessed the grounding that could accept magic power, and just like when people who lived in a high ground where the oxygen was thin went down to low ground, they had also cultivated the grounding to be able to receive vast amount of magic power.
In Tortus, magic power was also related with human’s physical ability, so naturally the specs of earthling also became superior than Tortus people after receiving magic power.
「Though remember that this is still just a theory in the end. Right now we have to prioritize with dealing against this situation.」
「I see. But I think this theory holds merit.」
「I also think so. And, we got off topic, but we summoned people have gotten accustomed to magic power so……」
「In this sanctuary that is filled with willpower, it’s possible for Sensei-dono to absorb the energy, but because of the different property it’s harder to control it, is that right?」
For some reason Moana was getting a radiant smile on her face from the middle of the talk as she looked alternately at Kouki and Aiko before she spoke of the conclusion.
Aiko smiled at Moana’s way of addressing her and she nodded. Kouki didn’t notice the two of them exchanging gaze and lifted his face after looking down deep in thought.
「I see. Laila-san was in charge of adjusting that before this but because she is in the Miniature Garden right now……wait, sensei? Moana?」
Kouki finally noticed and tilted his head in puzzlement.
Then, Aiko smiled in a bit of embarrassment while,
「Good work. The class is over with this!」
She said such thing. Moana smiled beside the dumbfounded Kouki and bowed.
「Thank you very much, Sensei-dono.」
「Please ask if there is anything that you don’t understand. Although, even though I said that, I myself only have impromptu knowledge so there are a lot of things that I don’t have the answer for.」
Kouki finally understood after hearing that. Aiko’s explanation wasn’t simply an explanation of the situation, but also her consideration for Kouki who had dropped out of school early. Her explanation just now wasn’t simply “like in a lesson”, it was definitely a lesson that he hadn’t received for so long.
For some reason he felt nostalgic. Even though he had run away on his own because of his inability to just sit still, it made him extremely happy to still be treated as a student like this. Kouki let out a strange voice 「Nnn~~」 while covering his face with both hands.
And then, with a mutter in a small voice,
「Thank you, for the lesson.」
He said that.
「Yes-. Then, please go out of the sanctuary and catch the caster! It seems the caster isn’t at the outer edge, so they might be hiding quite far away from here while sending their apparitions to attack! Now, chop chop!」
「……Sensei. Please let me to bask in the aftermath for a bit more」
Aiko-chan-sensei clapped her hands and easily changed the atmosphere.
Kouki made an expression like a lost child while leading the wryly smiling Moana to immediately search for the enemy outside.
At Nagumo house――or rather the house across the street in midnight.
「Dear! Dear look! There is someone entering the house of Nagumo-san again!」
The madam was peeking from the gap of the curtain while calling for her husband with a stifled voice.
The husband who was relaxing at the living room made an undisguised frowning expression. He looked like he really wanted to tell his wife who frequently observed Nagumo family house from the curtain’s opening just how distasteful her hobby was.
「Say, dear. Have you ever seen the video of more than ten people coming out from inside a normal car?」
「Aa, before this it was done in a special show of shocking footage wasn’t it?」
The husband tore his gaze from the television screen with a dubious look at the sudden change of topic.
His wife was staring fixedly at the other side of the curtain while speaking with a voice that was trembling from fear.
「Nagumo-san’s place, it’s certainly a large house. After all the husband is a company president, and Sumire-san is that “Sumire-sensei”. Their earning is different from us.」
「Nhh-, w-well, I guess……」
「Their earning is just different.」
It was an important (?) matter so it was said twice. The husband agreed with a bit of desperation.
「But their house isn’t anything like a mansion by all means. At best it’s just a level better than the surrounding houses.」
「That’s obvious just from looking. What is it that you want to say?」
「The number of people invited into the house is too many in contrast to the house’s size!」
The wife looked back across her shoulder. Her eyes were filled with a definite fear from witnessing something incomprehensible.
「……You have been watching the whole time since some time ago, but are there really that many people?」
「It’s more than a hundred already.」
「So many!? Is it a celebrity party!?」
Indeed. Although the house was a splendid one, Nagumo family house still hadn’t left the category of an average residential area’s house. That number was definitely an over capacity no matter how they looked at it.
「Thinking normally, the inside of the house should be like the hold of a smuggling ship right now with that many people inside shouldn’t it?」
「If they got jam packed like sardines inside there, well, guess that many people will be able to enter. It’s scary from just imagining it though.」
「That’s not all. Today there wasn’t any drama that I wanted to see, so I have been observing for four hours you know?」
「Yeah. I couldn’t say anything because I was scared.」
「Yes-, it’s scary! People who I never saw entering keep coming out from the house! Just what’s going on! And recently the police officers are patrolling around here too often! And not too long ago there was this abnormal presence from their garden! Besides there are also people who looked like mafia or people who clearly aren’t civilian visiting! Just what’s going on!」
The mafia looking people were in other words the group of Director Magdanese of Britain’s security bureau when they visited during the Vatican incident. The men in black riding the black cars in charge of protecting the director. Magdanese herself wasn’t giving off an atmosphere of a decent person.
The people who clearly weren’t civilian were the disciples of Yaegashi-style and government officials like Fukube.
The many things happening since Nagumo Hajime’s return from his class’s disappearance.
The housewife across the street had witnessed all of them! Even her husband couldn’t avert his eyes from how she was trembling hard with a pale look.
His gaze ran through his house that still had remaining unpaid loan, then he resolved himself to speak to his wife about the thing that he had actually been thinking all this time since things became hectic with Nagumo family.
「Ha? I absolutely don’t wanna though?」
The wife looked at her husband as though he had lost his mind. Just what is this person saying even though they haven’t even finished paying the loan for this house? Her gaze said. Her expression was serious despite looking like she almost lost her sanity just before this.
「Eh, no, but, you’re scared right?」
「Yes, it’s scary. It’s strange no matter how you look at it, Nagumo-san’s place. You’re happy because you can look a lot of beauties from there though. How many times it has been for you to go to work with a sloppy face after Remia-san greeted you hmm? Dear, have you perhaps been aiming for the timing when Remia-san go to send off Myuu-chan?」
「That doesn’t matter at all right now! I’m worried about your mental health here!」
Ride the momentum to get through this! The husband yelled as though to say that. The wife said this to her husband who was like that.
「My mental health……it’s in extremely good state. Or rather, because too many things are going on so often since Hajime-kun returned home, I can’t stop feeling excited every day! Something like a normal daily life……that kind of daily life without any thrill will be absolutely unbearable! If you want to move then do it yourself!」
「Ah, that’s what you mean……」
The wife gestured with her hand ‘shuh shuh’ to her husband. The husband sat back down on the sofa. His gaze immediately returned to the TV screen. It seemed that Mountain Fuji was letting out smoke. What a disaster, perhaps this is also related to Nagumo-san’s place, haha……he muttered the absolutely correct answer inside his heart while healing his heart with the dinner-time drink that didn’t really taste good.
「Ah!? A silver haired beauty broke the second floor’s window by jumping out through it! Aah, she fell on the ground with her head……she was definitely got thrown out! Look-, there is a girl holding a knife at the window!」
The wife was witnessing everything even today. Of Nagumo house’s abnormality, from the curtain’s gap.
With a scared face of someone enjoying a haunted mansion.
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And, about the girl holding a knife who sent fairy Etemp flying from the window of Hajime’s room――Yuuka.
「Yuuka-chi, calm down~」
「Looking at this scene normally, it’s totally the event of a murder case isn’t it?」
「Shaddup! This is because you guys are making fun of me!」
As usual, Yuuka was angrily lifting the corner of her eyes after she got teased about her relationship with Hajime and Etemp went too far with her joke that she got shoulder thrown out of the site――Hajime’s room.
Also, she went too far by pushing down Yuuka on Hajime’s bed and wrapping her with the bed’s blanket.
Yuuka’s face almost blushed boiling red from the fact that it was Hajime’s bed she was on, but she snapped when the grinning Nana and Taeko readied their camera, and when even her parents and Shuu & Sumire were peeking into the room also while grinning.
Embarrassment was power. With that she performed a magnificent escape & shoulder throw.
「Ah, sorry! I broke the window――」
「Yeah, really. Please reflect on yourself, Ka-chan.」
「Who are you calling Ka-chan! Or rather, don’t stand behind me!」
She protested hard at Etemp who instantly flew back inside like a phantom. During that time, somehow the window frame shined and the window glass was repaired automatically. It seemed that there was an artifact of regeneration magic set up somewhere in this house. It seemed that Nagumo house had been installed with self-repair function before she knew it.
「Yuuka, it’s already midnight. Not just the neighbors, the other people who are already asleep will also get disturbed even if they are underground. What you did is appalling.」
「Geez, my daughter is just not honest at all……I’m really sorry, Sumire-san.」
Yuuka’s father――Hiroshi chided his daughter while the mother Yuuri spoke with a troubled expression. Their daughter just threw out someone from the second floor even though it was an inhuman existence despite the human appearance but……from the way the parents ignored that, it should be said that Sonobe family had gotten infected quite seriously too.
Sumire and Shuu who also ignored the throwing as expected replied 「Preposterous!」 and responded with a serious face as though they were preaching logic.
「What are you saying Yuuri-san. Being tsundere is a status. That’s just Yuuka-chan’s good side.」
「Exactly. This cuteness isn’t something that can be obtained just in a day. Even Hajime seem to hold Yuuka-chan in high regard, so we will always warmly welcome her anytime!」
The parents were getting heated up by themselves. And when it came to the embarrassment and discomfort that they were causing.
Yuuka’s face couldn’t turn any redder than right now as she crouched down.
……While the city was put under a strict watch by the cooperation between Yaegashi family and the local polices.
With the ascertainment of the mastermind’s true identity and the drastic development of the situation, currently the families of the classmates were taking refugee in Nagumo house.
There was no problem during the school trip thanks to Myuu’s combat force, but the majority of that force right now was currently out with Myuu to Kyoto. Half of the classmates headed by Yuuka were standing guard here, but in preparation of the worst case, they were staying awake for the whole night today.
Each of the refugees were asked to spend time in their own room that was like a hotel room in the underground space that was expanded using space magic.
Just in case, Hajime and others had taken care of all the enemy agents in the surrounding area, and Fukube’s subordinates were also laying out a security net in the area, so there had been no particular problem occurring so far.
And so the atmosphere in Nagumo house wasn’t heavy. Perhaps that was why, Yuuka couldn’t avoid from getting teased about her relationship with Hajime.
Not only by her classmates, but even by the parents.
That’s not true! The more she denied like that, for some reason the more the surrounding’s gaze at her became warmer. Whyyy! She could only cry like that while performing Charism* Guard in her mental state.
Though even that tickled the hearts of the parents and made them went 「So cuteee」.
「And so, Ka-chan. How is the scent of master’s bed――」
「More importantly! Just where is Netemp!」
Change it, change! That topic is still better than this! Yuuka yelled with such intention.
「Mu, what is it. Are you dissatisfied with me? Why in the world?」
「Because you are a lump of dissatisfaction compressed into a human shape.」
So insulting! Even while thinking that, because Yuuka-chan’s gaze was gradually turning into that of a murderer (knives were also slipping out from inside her sleeves), Etemp answered the question with a pout.
「If you’re looking for my foolish sister, she has been in the Miniature Garden this whole time.」
「Miniature Garden? You mean the world inside the treasure warehouse. What is she doing there when there is emergency like this?」
「It’s exactly because there is an emergency. It’s annoying but, my foolish little sister is more useful for master than me for this situation.」
「? What do you mean?」
「Just like how I have reincarnated into a beautiful fairy who possess so much loveliness that there won’t be anyone like me ever again in the future」
「You will become even more lovely if you cut down on that excessive confidence by some you know?」
「My foolish little sister has hijacked the exclusive android of the SF world’s boss character. With that blasphemous method, she slyly achieved an extremely deplorable reincarnation into something like a maid robot that is self-evident to be an overly blatant attempt to curry favor to master.」
「Do you notice that you yourself are a hopeless fairy who is too blatant in slandering your little sister to make yourself look good?」
「Because of that! When it comes to mechanical analysis and calculation, adjusting the element conversion system, and programming, she is in the level that is beyond anyone else. What an annoyance.」
「You don’t need to say the last sentence.」
「Do you know? Master personally bestowed her with a maid uniform! Even though I made my own outfit!」
「That information is even more unnecessary.」
「That sh*tty bi*ch!」
「Shouldn’t you reexamine the meaning of loveliness one more time?」
Taeko, Nana, and then the parents of Nagumo family and Sonobe Family were whispering to each other. When it came to Yuuka’s uprightness, or her nature to react properly even toward attitude that was screwing around, that kind of aspect of her made her really easy to tease, so cute, they discussed.
Anyway, Netemp Mother, aka Netemp-san who had apparently transformed into a maid robot was currently in charge of an important duty in the Miniature Garden.
In that case, she still had to accompany this annoying creature that was rushing headlong toward an annoying direction for a bit more.
「Nagumo……come back quicklyyy」
Yuuka muttered a bit of lamentation.
Of course, all the parents writhed while going 「Ara ara my my!」 like Remia when they heard that. At the same time her close friends were securing the moment in their smartphone with rough breathing.
There, Remia came up to the second floor. She saw the situation inside the room and made an expression of someone looking at some troubling people while asking if they also wanted to eat together because she had cooked the dinner for the other classmates who had the turn of standing guard.
Yuuka took advantage of the offer eagerly. However in the middle she let out 「……Ah」. She sensed the air of anxiety that was subtly drifting around Remia.
「……Remia-san, I would cook the dinner if you just asked me.」
「You are worried right, about Myuu. ……Please don’t force yourself.」
Her daughter went to a place that was like a battlefield. There was no way she wasn’t worried as a mother.
Or perhaps, she couldn’t calm down unless she was doing something, that was why she made the dinner.
Although, even if that was the case it should be better if she wasn’t doing it alone. Just like how it was better to eat a meal together rather than alone, it was also more fun to cook together rather than doing it alone. Yuuka knew that very well.
Remia’s eyes widened slightly at that consideration from Yuuka, then she smiled happily as she went 「My my ufufu」.
「Thank you very much, Yuuka-san. But I’m fine you know?」
「Is, that so?」
「Yes. After all Shizuku-san and the demon rangers are also together with her.」
That was why she would believe in her daughter and wait, Remia said. Hearing that, Etemp who was considered as the trump card for this house’s protection, which sounded nice in paper but currently she was simply a mass production factory of stress for everyone raised her hand.
Yuuka asked 「What?」 at her while both her hands were holding knives tightly. Nana and Taeko were making twitching expression saying 「Crap, we made fun of her too much. She is defaulting to equipping knives while conversing……」 while standing by at both sides of Yuuka. They casually held her hands in place.
「There is Arachne at Ojou-sama’s side, so we can watch the situation over there if the Arachne here share its vision, how about it?」
「You’re giving a respectable opinion!?」
The knives slipped from Yuuka’s hands and stabbed the floor. Just a bit more and the knives would hit the toes of Nana and Taeko. The two of them screamed 「Hyaa!?」.
「Oh, that’s good isn’t it, Remia-chan. Let’s watch it.」
「This is also a good chance to check the friends that Myuu has. Or rather Etemp-tan, you should mention it quicker that such thing is possible.」
Remia also nodded at Sumire and Shuu’s words.
「No, because of getting this body, I became unable to use mechanical part to project image……I didn’t want to give any chance for my sisters inside the arachnes to get achievement.」
「There is a limit even in being narrow-minded.」
Yuuka’s tsukkomi was sharp as usual.
An Arachne which was Etemp’s sister of unknown number came out from a “treasure warehouse” with a screech of Ii- and landed on Hajime’s desk.
And then, its movement stopped slightly before its red eyes flickered *beep beep*. Then a tip of its food reached out to connect with a port of Hajime’s PC and its display turned on.
Then, the screen showed a glitchy image while sound came out clearly.
『Return! Come back here-, Hujiao(tiger dragon)! Why are you ignoring me!?』
『Sh*t-, even though the binding should be holding still!』
『Bafuku! What’s with that face!? I never saw you making that kind of fawning face before!?』
『W-what the hell, what the hell are youuu!! Are you Tsuchimikado’s caster!?』
『Nice to meet you, I’m Myuu! What are you name uncles! Nano!』
『You’re, introducing yourself!?』
It was the voices of multiple men that were filled with confusion and Myuu’s energetic voice giving a greeting.
The voices 「Aa~」 of understanding echoed inside the room. Perhaps the inhuman creatures that were employed by the opponents got snatched away, or rather became Myuu’s friend, that must be what was going on.
Sure enough, what was shown in the image when it got clearer was……
Countless strange fishes and mysterious animals swimming in the air were snuggling obediently on Myuu. That sight caused the people wearing pentagram mask――most likely the casters of “Shadow Monk” to be thrown into complete pandemonium.
「Fumu, it looks like the casters of “Shadow Monk” are trying to capture the apparitions of Kyoto, including those that are sealed in the temples and shrines there. However Ojou-sama and others got in their way, which lead to this situation.」
Throughout the process, the monsters of the main land that they employed――especially all of the aquatic type among them seemed to be ignoring the order from their master to send love call at Myuu.
A human faced monster was immediately looking lovestruck after Myuu immediately called it with a pet name.
Remia covered her face with both hands.
「It seems that Ojou-sama’s friends that has been in Kyoto since the beginning added with the friends of the friends are splitting up to capture the “Shadow Monks”. Right now they seem to be in a place called Oikeniwa? A place located in Kyoto Imperial Palace. Apparently that place is a first rate “dragon’s den” and Ojou-sama and her friends are protecting that place. If left alone, it looks like the enemy is going to toss in Ojou-sama’s friends into the dragon’s den in order to pollute it.」
The picture of Shizuku with a distant look was projected beside Myuu. Sometimes her right hand would blur. Most likely she was cutting something with a godspeed unsheathing. The sheath of her black katana itself was wrapped in a faint shine, so perhaps she was also cutting some curses with sword skill that could tear apart even the immaterial.
But, that was all that she was doing. The apparitions that betrayed (?) their masters and demon rangers were turning the table on the opponents.
「It looks like Ojou-sama’s friends that were captured and bound by the “Shadow Monk” has also been mostly rescued. It seems they are also going to protect the cornerstones of the barrier. Fumu, as expected from the young lady. She might really form the Hyakki Yakkou at this rate!」
Remia mama crumbled down. She knew that many apparitions were man eater or disaster with a lot of terrifying legends. She knew because she was worried and studied about those beings.
It would still be better if the number of the friends could be counted with the fingers of two hands, but seeing her daughter rushing headlong on the path of “can I make a hundred inhuman friends?” for real made the mama’s mental state to be burdened heavily.
『How can this be! You cursed man-eating fiends, how dare you swarm such innocent little girl like that!』
A voice of a young man interrupted. The place that was already wrapped in chaos was visited by a youth wearing a fox mask while making a cool pose.
『Young ladies, you can rest assured now! Justice is here!!』
『We will manage. Please leave.』
Shizuku-san’s dead tone replied swiftly!
But, Justice aka Tsuchimikado Taiga didn’t get discouraged by such extremely scathing reply. Or rather, he wasn’t listening!
『Accursed monsters! You all better leave that girl alone right away! And then all of you scoundrels who are laying waste to the capital of Kyo! I have already defeated your comrades! I got lured away from the city due to a cowardly scheme but, justice will always come back no matter how many times! As long as there are people who cry for help!』
Justice was making cool pose and movement with excessive sharpness in them *shuba- shubababa-* while at the end he spread out several charms in fanning shape in both hands with a posed look.
Everyone realized, aa, he must be Aby’s victim huh……
『Please wait, Justice-san! These children aren’t bad people nano!』
『What? Still, little girl, you don’t understand just how terrifying of beings they are――』
『It doesn’t matter nano! We all can become friends if our hearts are connected with each other nano! Isn’t that right, everyone!』
All the apparitions nodded energetically together. Justice staggered in shock.
『How……can this be…… What is important is the heart-. I, have forgotten such important thing despite touting up justice around! It’s you who are none other than the true Justice!』
Everyone thought. Perhaps, even all of the “Shadow Monks” there were also thinking the same.
What the hell is with this farce……
『My justice is about to run out after the battles that came one after another. I thought that perhaps this is where I will die but, fuh. Young lady!』
『There are still enemies. Apparitions are serving them but, if it’s you then surely you will be able to become friend with those new apparitions too! That is your path of justice! Then I shall commit justice together with you!』
『Everyone! Let’s carry out justice together nano!』
The apparitions somehow got into the mood and roared 『oOOOOOO-』. Somehow the casters of “Shadow Monk” were shrinking back by the abnormal pitch.
Justice paid no mind to that and directed a gallant smile toward Shizuku too while offering his hand.
『Now, you too shall hold justice――』
*ZAN-* An invisible slash cut Justice. That was how it looked like. Justice cried 「Ah!?」 and fell.
The place, fell silent.
Justice gasped and jumped back on his feet. There wasn’t any external wound on him. It seemed that he only lost consciousness just for a moment.
Shizuku’s slash that could cut something optionally if it was an immaterial existence seemed to cut his consciousness just for an instant.
Just what the hell did you do! Justice almost protested, but, he saw Shizuku’s smile and screamed 「hih」.
『Originally this was caused by my friend’s clumsiness, so I apologized that I reflexively used force.』
『Eh, ah, yes?』
『But, please stop yelling justice over and over in my presence while also inciting Myuu-chan. If not』
『I won’t be able to stop myself from punching your face until you cry and apologize.』
『……I thought that it will be a good time soon to pick up freedom too.』
Justice was defeated. It seemed that Shizuku-san didn’t really like to have justice pushed on her. Because of various things that happened in the past with a certain childhood friend.
Shizuku’s dead gaze rolled toward Myuu. Myuu let out a 『Hih』 from her mouth.
『Myuu-chan, I won’t tell you to choose your friends. But, being indiscriminate is not admirable. Don’t just get carried away by the place’s mood, look properly at the other party too. After doing that, if it looks like you can really make friend with them, talk to Remia-san about it. You don’t want to make her worry right?』
After saying what she should say as a big sister, she gave a smile at Myuu who was nodding her head up and down. Like that, she did a skillful thing of erasing her smile just from her eyes while running her gaze at the apparitions around.
『Please remember. Regardless of what feeling you harbor toward that child, I won’t let any of you get off lightly with just cutting you down if any of you harm her. ――I’ll twist up absolutely every little bit of your legends.』
Surely, perhaps, such thing wouldn’t be really desirable for them. Strangely they didn’t think that she wouldn’t be able to do that. Ah, this was someone who would really do it if they said that they would do it. They were made to understand that as apparition. After that they could do nothing except nodding up and down obediently.
『Right, then let’s go without letting our guard down.』
The enemy’s reinforcement came rushing in that timing, so Shizuku smiled cheerfully and clapped her hands once.
The apparitions kept sending concerned glances at Shizuku even while they started fighting with desperation somewhere inside them to try and win some trust 『We are fighting for Ojou-sama’s sake! We don’t have any wicked thought at all! It’s true』. Perhaps that was why their strength couldn’t be compared with the apparitions that were under the binding of the enemy and simply carried out order.
Shizuku cut apart all types of curses that were coming at them, while Justice too was toying with the opponents using a freedom way of fighting while keeping his tension suppressed, so their defensive line was solid.
「Fumu. With Shizuku-sama’s protection as well as monitoring, it looks like there won’t be any problem there with just Ojou-sama’s combat force taking care of things.」
There wasn’t any objection at Etemp’s conclusion.
But, only Remia alone was,
「I wonder, how many friends I’ll get introduced to when they come home? Ufufu……」
She got a slightly distant look in her eyes.
At the base of Omnibus, the anti demon organization that was located underground Vatican.
At a space that was particularly big even there――the great hall that served as the training ground as well as the experimentation site, a violent roar of a beast was reverberating.
The sound was so loud that anyone would reflexively cover their ears. Furthermore it was a roar of a dragon that originally would send any kind of creatures to fall into fear.
However, there was nobody there who harbored any fear to that being. Rather they were feeling pity for it.
Because, that roar sounded like a crying voice somehow.
Raw sound of destruction and shockwave surged out each time that low voice of fighting spirit resounded.
The four entrances that connected into the great hall were blocked by the Omnibus members who were staying behind, but they were just standing still while looking completely speechless.
「Uwaa, just what is this situation?」
「My, Shia-san. You are quick.」
The one who entered the training ground was Shia. The one who answered her was the former exorcist, the one who was considered as like the mother of everyone here, Madam Maya who had been notified beforehand of her arrival.
She had already retired and right now she was given the role of managing the secret passage, but currently she was dressed in black combat uniform with a large bow hanging from her shoulder.
「Your warning really saved us. Sure enough, dragons almost manifested from the holy relics in our possession that are related to them. Patrick is facing it right now.」
Looking closer to the scene once more, there was something at the center of the training ground that was sinking into the ground. A dragon that only had its upper body manifested was there with the chief of Omnibus, Patrick Dime straddling it.
And then, for some reason his upper body was bare naked. His macho body that was unthinkable for an old man was sweating with vapor rising from it while his muscles were undulating――he was giving a beating down on the dragon’s head.
His expression could only be described as the expression of a man-eating fiend even if it was understated.
In one hand he was holding a large metal book. He was using it as a blunt weapon like a war hammer. His other hand was holding a chain that was connected to the metal book. He was shutting the dragon’s mouth by wrapping the chain around the dragon’s jaw. In addition it seemed he was also choking the dragon’s neck with it.
Each time the voice nuuhn resounded, scales were smashed and scattered to the surrounding. No matter how fiercely it struggled, he was balancing himself like in a rodeo and wouldn’t stop his beat down! Perhaps it was just their imagination, but it looked like the dragon’s eyes were starting to get teary……
「That person, is a human desu?」
「That question is often asked. But, he is really a human.」
「I came after hearing that there are quite a number of relics that are related to dragon here though……」
「That’s the last one. In the end Patrick beat up all of them.」
「……I’m not needed for this from the look of it. Just in case I also bring some weapons and barrier artifacts that are effective against apparitions but……that director alone is already enough by himself isn’t it?」
Thinking about it once more, it was an old man who couldn’t be subdued even by Kousuke unless he created clones. He must be strengthening his body using magic power unconsciously, even so he was like the incarnation of violence.
Madam Maya shrugged at the half exasperated and half impressed Shia while changing the topic.
Just in case she was standing by with her sacred weapon, a bow and arrows so that she could give back up anytime, but it looked like it wouldn’t be necessary.
「”Shadow Monk” was it? Do you think they will also try something here?」
「H~mm, I wonder. I was told to bring barrier artifact to here because this place apparently is also a first class spiritual land but……no matter how many manpower they have, they are dispatching most of their combat force to Fuji so I came here just in case you know? Their secondary target is the sanctuary after all, and our activity in Vatican stand out too much so we don’t think that this place will get targeted.」
「The fundamental reason why they desire Japan so much is that then.」
According to Hajime, the land with nice circulation of willpower was temporarily termed as “sacred ground”, and it seemed that Japan was an extraordinary one. Vatican was also a first rate land, not to mention the sanctuary, but they still couldn’t compare to Japan at all.
The reason for that went without saying. That was because Japan was actually a land that wasn’t a land.
「To think, that Japan itself is a dragon……」
「Thank you for lending us Claire-san and the others. In exchange I’ll put up a barrier properly here.」
「Japan itself might become a great disaster, so there is no way we won’t cooperate. Please don’t mind it.」
「……That dragon, is it crying?」
「An exorcist that made even demon cry, that’s Patrick.」
As expected, Vatican would be fine with Director Dime here……Shia thought as she tossed away her worry for the people who might become relative through the connection with Claudia.
A thought befitting a warrior bunny 「I wonder who is stronger, this person or my father?」 showed up from her face just for a bit.
Patrick who got power, or Karm who got technique.
In the end……
The dragon raised a particularly loud roar and cry at the end before vanishing without being able to manifest fully.
After that, the figure of Director Dime raised his fist toward the sky while vapor was rising from his upper body.
That was truly the figure of the victor.
A beat later.
The people of Omnibus burst with loud cheers.
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