DARK MODE 

Friday, November 18, 2022 @

Chapter 15, Part 2

 "I can guess what Kizuki's servant would be in here at this period of time, considering the incident the other day, which the foxes have been roaming in the city recently, and the creature she picked up recently. However, do you think she would be fooled by a monster of that caliber?"
 
 Well, she is, after all, a former head of the Onmyou dormitory. Can a beast who couldn't fight well against the exorcist defending the capital even when it was a calamity youkai beat her? It is nonsense that is not worth discussing if one thinks about it properly. But...
 
 "Let's be clear. Azuma Hibari will be eaten. And all the people in that orphanage. If I told you that much, you're smart enough to understand the danger."
 
 Some of that half-youkai are of precious youkai blood. If the foxes eat the former head of the Onmyou Dormitory, how much power will they gain? In the worst case, they may be reborn as more powerful youkai than they were before they were divided. If that happens, even the most powerful exorcist in the capital will not be able to fight.
 
 "...It is true that she has been very lenient. The atmosphere in the dormitory has become much more relaxed since she became the head."
 
 The old man opens his mouth as if remembering. According to the setting, when he and Azuma Hibari were in charge of the Onmyo Dormitory, the relationship between the members of the dormitory was quite good.
 
 The Kizuki family is one such example, but many of the exorcists' families have a very difficult relationship internally. It is no wonder since this is a world where curses really exist and where there is a blatant difference in talent and bloodlines. Moreover, there are many set-up moves and instant death moves, not to mention the first move, so the tendency is even stronger. (That is why the power of sis (anego-sama) is quite a foul play.)
 
 The same is true in the Onmyou dormitory, where there is a lot of back-stabbing over each other's achievements, and there are also many strong-willed people, and although it sounds good to say that there is a friendly competition, the atmosphere in the workplace is said to be quite bad. In this respect, Azuma Hibari, with her bitter experience as a half-Youkai, seniority, and broad-mindedness, played an active role as a mediator and lubricant in the dormitory and made great achievements in improving public morale and building cooperative and cooperative relationships within the dormitory.
 
 ...however, it is said that the atmosphere became bad again after she was expelled. The production staff points out that the reason they let the damned fox go is that the exorcists are not working well together, even though their abilities are of a disaster class.
 
 "The monster should not be allowed to grow fat, nor Azuma Hibari, such a valuable force should be ignored. I don't want to ask too much. I just want to ask for a little help."
 
 I bend my knees and bow reverently. As one who asks for the cooperation of elders.
 
 (It would be best if I could get him to cooperate with me here...)
 
 But...
 
 "I can't just accept easily, can I?"
 
 ...I expected that it would not be so easy.
 
 (Well, if this man has a doubt, it is the possibility that this is a trap set by the Imperial Court or a reward. Or maybe...)
 "I mean, how much do you think I would trust the word of a man who has a monster by his side? Especially if the other party is a lying demon (oni)."
 "...!!?"
 
 I bite my tongue while hiding behind my cloak and turning my eyes to the side. Hey, hey, hey, of all places...!!
 
 (No, in a way it's too much to be expected...!)
 
 I went out to see if there was any hiding place, but... it seems that my eyes were not so sharp. I have to re-do my training, I think to myself as I look at the black youkai energy gathering in front of me.
 
 "This is a little surprising. I had been very careful to hide myself from him since he had been so anxious about being followed. But I can't believe you found me so easily."
 
 The demon in the form of a begging monk had a rather troubled smile on her face. The old man looked at her and narrowed her eyes—
 
 "—Hohoho, I didn't expect. To think that such a notorious blue demon (oni) is still alive. And in such a place of all places!"
 
 The old man's face was filled with surprise, even though he had recognized her. He seemed to have recognized that she was a demon, but he could not recognize that she was Aoko-sama.
 
 (This is not good...)
 
 If this notorious demon appears in front of a youkai-hating old man, my credibility will be ruined. Worst case scenario, I may not even make it out of here alive. I don't know if I can beat the old man in front of me, let alone the demon.
 
 "...Now, Kizuki's servant. What is the meaning of this? I had no idea that you were not only a member of the Imperial Court but also a member of a monster. Depending on the reply, you might not be able to simply dismiss the Lord's request, will you?"
 
 The pressure of the spiritual power, which was definitely tempered, however, was enough to make me almost faint. I'm glad I didn't because of what I'd been through. Though I'm not at all happy about it.
 
 "...I apologize for my thoughtlessness in leading the demon to this place. But it's not right to say that I'm associated with the demon."
 "That's right, that's exactly what you meant. It's an insult, isn't it?"
 
 The demon interrupted me as if she was amused by my comment, which I barely managed to utter after holding my consciousness together. Hey!
 
 Then, I look at her accusingly through my cloak, but she doesn't seem to mind. However...
 
 "But then. From here on out, this is going to be a little embarrassing. I want you to sleep a little, okay?"
 "What?"
 
 The next moment, the shock of a slap on my neck darkened my consciousness. Just before I lost consciousness, the last thing I saw was a demon smiling happily right in front of me, and a startled old man with his eyes wide open...
 
* * *
 
 "...I was surprised. To think that a monster of your stature could take it so easy on a mere servant and carefully remove his consciousness."
 
 The old man's astonishment was understandable. The record of the cruelty of the blue demon in the capital a thousand years ago is clear. Every day, she makes the people choose one sacrifice per town and builds her own mansion from the bones of the people she has eaten. The boundaries of the inner palace were so strong that the emperor was threatened with hostages lined up in front of the gate begging for their lives... this was only a sideshow. The name of the four evil who drove the city into the depths of terror is no joke. That's why...
 
 "I don't want any lasting damage. It's the right thing to do."
 
 For a demon whose arm strength is strong enough to wipe out a human body with a mere swing, how difficult would it be to deliver a shock that cuts off the consciousness of an opponent without cutting off his flesh and bones, and without creating any aftereffects? And to hold the fallen human in her arms so that his head doesn't hit the floor, or to look at him with loving eyes... it's hard to believe that she is the same being as the infamous demon.
 
 "Ah, is there somewhere he can sleep? ...Hey, bear. Bring me something."
 
 A muddy stream of youkai force was directed toward the Onikuma. This Onikuma, whose soul has been transformed into a shikigami after its capture, has completely lost its natural ferocity and is now shaking like a puppy. The demon was so displeased with the attitude of the small fish that she thought about cutting off its head...
 
 "Genbu, there should be a rug and a futon right there. Bring them to me."
 
 The bear creature hurriedly obeys the order of its master, the old man. The demon instantly changed her mood and carried the servant in a so-called "princess's hug" to the place and laid him down carefully.
 
 "Ah, I'm saved, I'm saved. He is in pain if I carry him in a princess's hug all the time, you know. His ribs are broken, so I can't push him too hard."
 
 After putting a quilt over the person who lies down like this, the demon tosses away the pillow and kneels on her knees. She smiles at the servant as if she were his mother or something.
 
 "...you seem to be quite attached to this human. Blue demon."
 "Of course I am. He's my favorite. I have to take good care of him at least on occasions like this."
 
 It was quite an auspicious attitude for a demon who is loyal to desire, unforgiving and selfish, yet insatiable and difficult to be with others.
 
 "May I ask what is your relationship with this person?"
 
 So the old man asked. You never know what might set the demon off. If he didn't know what was going on between them, he had no idea what would happen next.
 
 "He's my hero."
 
 She said shortly. Then she continues.
 
 "I can see it. I saw it at first sight. He's going to be great. No, he could be. Great enough to take me down, great enough to kill me. I mean, you know? He's never failed me before."
 
 And then, the creature in the shape of a beautiful woman twists her mouth. It is much wider than humanly possible, and her gentle lips reveal a pair of sharp, ghastly fangs.
 
 "I want to see the heroic tale completed. That's why you have to help him, okay? Oh, but I also think it would be fun for the two of us to frolic around together like we used to. Well, that depends on his mood. I shouldn't be the one to decide."
 
 From the beginning, the demon was just talking about herself rather than answering the questions. It was a very self-centered and selfish way of talking.
 
 "I see..."
 
 And the old man agreed with his answer without hesitation. He knew that this was the kind of reply he would expect from the demon. Nevertheless, he had learned a lot from it.
 
 (He was charmed by the demon, huh? What a pity.)
 
 The old man looked at the man lying down with sympathy as if he had never seen him before. To be favored by a demon was, in a way, far more unfortunate than to be eaten by a demon.
 
 "Oh, that's right. Here you go."
 
 A grotesque sound echoes through the room. Then the demon threw something at the old man. A monster cat catches it in its mouth and brings it to its master.
 
 "This is..."
 "This is the payment for the job and proof that he is not my pawn, okay? He's usually working so hard, spitting up blood. This time it looks like I'm the one who made things complicated, so here's the payment. I'm a part of a demon who lives for a thousand years, so I'm sure it's worth something, right?"
 
 The demon threw a finger at him. Perhaps the little finger of her left hand, itself a part of a creature that has lived for a thousand years. Its value as a material for experiments and rituals must be considerable. No, a more arrogant, haughty, and self-respecting demon would not offer up her pinky finger to a mere mortal...
 
 "...to do this for a mere mortal... I can't believe you're that treacherous demon."
 "I don't like the sound of that. If I'm not treacherous and cruel and infamous, no one will pay attention to me when I'm defeated in the public eye. Can I ask you to keep this to yourself?"
 
 Like a mischievous town girl, she holds up her index finger to her mouth and declares.
 
 "Well, that's all I ask. I can't make any more compromises for the sake of pride. You can talk about the details with him. I'm a minor player this time anyway."
 
 The demon closed one eye and said so carelessly, and then she lost interest in the old man. After that, she begins to gently pat the head of the person lying beside her. The old man does not blame her for her rudeness, nor does he feel any discomfort. He understood that this was the maximum concession for a demon to make to a human being.
 
 "...Apparently, it doesn't seem that way."
 
 The old man muttered as he looked at the demon's state of complete indulgence. And then he understood. He understood the twisted values of the demon, its foolish scheme, and the desperate situation of the man lying there.
 
 "...hmm, I guess this can't be helped, can it?"
 
 And the old man rubbed his beard and made up his mind. He decided to cooperate with this man. He had no choice. And that he must train this man. Because he understood that this was one of the few chances he had to kill the crazy, love-struck monster in front of him.
 
 ...And, conversely, to prevent the man from going astray and becoming a demon through temptation and lies, so that he could always kill the newborn demon before it was unleashed upon the world.
 
 Yes, even if that is exactly what the cunning demon in front of him intends. Just as long as it serves the purpose of both...

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