DARK MODE 

Friday, December 30, 2022 @

Chapter 39, Part 2

 "Cough... Cough... Tsk, you've got to be kidding me!!"
 
 Iruka coughs and swears in the room where the white, numbing, pungent smoke still hangs in the air. Iruka's tone was filled with endless hatred.
 
 "Hey, hey, hey, what's the situation here? Where are the brat and the guy?"
 
 Then a man suddenly appears out of the shadows and boasts. It is the man called Kamui who left the room alone earlier. He looks around pleasantly and asks them.
 
 "Hey, you're here at last...! You didn't check his hidden weapon properly...!"
 "Calm down, Iruka. I checked his hand too. I'm sure he didn't have anything. Probably it was a rat hiding somewhere. I underestimated him."
 
 Ryuuto analyzes while admonishing Iruka. He thought that since he had killed so many shikigami, there would be no problem, but he was wrong. In hindsight, the fact that it was only for combat might have been a decoy. In fact, their real purpose was to hide and watch...
 
 "So, what are you going to do? Are you just going to let him go?"
 "Of course not. Some information has been leaked from Shikigami, but nothing definite. All we have to do is track him down and secure him. Especially that little girl."
 
 Ryuuto changes his priority goal to securing Tachibana Kayo. Regarding the recent invasion of the capital, it was the monster and Kurayoshi, who were hiding in the Imperial Court, who assisted with the issuance of forged bills, hiding places, funds, and other tools. The former's request was to secure and interrogate the servant, and the latter's was to secure Tachibana Kayo. As for the former, there seemed to be more chances rather than the latter. After all, he is a servant. It is much easier than targeting a nobleman.
 
 Letting Tachibana Kayo go would probably make the kidnapping more difficult this time. On the contrary, if they fail to secure Tachibana Kayo, Kurayoshi, who has nothing to trade, may even lose his position.
 
 If that happens, it will be like a vat of potatoes. From their village's point of view, the deal with Kurayoshi so far has been a very tasty one. They do not want him to lose his position to continue their business with him, which is something they cannot give up to fulfill their obligations to him.
 
 "Kamui. Tell that monster later. The request will not be ignored. We'll do what we're assigned."
 "Hmm, understood."
 
 Even if he's intelligent enough to infiltrate the Imperial Court, he's dealing with a monster. Therefore, Ryuuto ordered him to convey his intentions so as not to cause any displeasure, but his partner... Kamui responded in a somewhat random manner. His attitude made Ryuuto lower his trust in Kamui, though he did not say so.
 
 (I thought they sent someone trustworthy to find out what the Imperial Court was up to, but... I can't rely on this.)
 
 The special abilities that Kamui possesses are useful enough for both infiltration and assassination, as well as for ordinary battles, and since he was sent out to infiltrate the Imperial Court, his other abilities should be ranked quite high among his compatriots. But this...
 
 "...let's go. They are wounded. They have no weapons. It won't be hard to catch up with them."
 
 At any rate, they have only one task at hand now. Ryuuto takes the two men and heads for the target.
 
 "D*mn, that son of a bitch! I'll kill him for sure!"
 "Don't get so worked up. That's why you'll get outsmarted."
 
 Ryuuto tries to warn him to shut up and do his job. At the same time, however, he senses something unnatural in the conversation, wrinkles his brow, and tries to turn around.
 
 "...? Hey, wait. What you just said..."
 
 Immediately after that, he saw something pass right beside him. At the same time, he turned around and saw Kamui's head explode right in front of him. The skull erupts, and white bones, red blood, and red peach-colored contents are scattered.
 
 "......?!"
 
 They were stunned... but it was less than half a second. In the next instant, Ryuuto and Iruka also jumped from the spot and attached themselves to the wall of the room, looking in the direction from which something had jumped into the room with all their might.
 
 There was a small hole... yes, a hole that could have been made by a stone the size of a man's head, for instance, penetrating through it. And... the next moment, the whole wall made of wood was blown away. Soaring building materials and smoke...
 
 "Oh my, oh my, did he leave his cloak and Dagger (tantō) too? He is unarmed. I'll have to punish him after.... even though I gave them to him..."
 
 From the smoke came the voice of a graceful, beautiful young woman. And then a gust of wind blows it all away. And out of the smoke emerges a young girl.
 
 Against the night sky with a full moon, this fantastically beautiful girl with peach-colored hair and dressed in a Japanese kimono looked like a celestial maiden from a story, or a noble princess. She seemed to have concentrated the concept of "beauty" to the maximum extent possible for a human being, but neither Ryuuto nor Iruka were able to admire her. Of course, it was not because they were both homosexuals or for any other ridiculous reason.
 
 After all, if someone so blatantly exposed their spiritual power and killing power, they could not react to it no matter if they were completely naked or not. Besides, her spiritual power was so strong and her killing power was so fierce. Her eyes were hidden in the shadow of his cherry-red bangs, but the men could instinctively sense her sharp eyes.
 
 "This person...."
 "This is a problem. It's Kizuki's second princess, as we had previously learned."
 
 Ryuuto and Iruka muttered as they held their swords. Although physical detection was not used to avoid suspicion, the area had been covered with many, many kinds of detection-blocking boundaries in advance, including one for exorcist people. Not even a search curse technique can easily locate the place... is it a shikigami, after all?
 
 "I wonder if I need to tell you that?"
 
 Kizuki Aoi, Kizuki's second princess, declares condescendingly as she spreads out her fan. It was the same attitude that the nobleman of Fusō-kuni had toward the barbarians, who mocked and scorned their opponents to no end.
 
 "Iruka, you go after the girl."
 "Osiki? Can you do it alone?
 "It's not whether I could. I have to, don't I?"
 
 Ryuuto is right. Obviously, they cannot ignore the fact that there is a woman standing in their way, a woman of considerable ability. They have no choice but to abandon the mission, and they have a time limit. And with only two of them left, it was inevitable that their forces would be dispersed.
 
 "....got it. I'll be right back."
 "What is it? Don't worry, I'll take care of you before then!"
 
 It was at the same time that she said those words. Ryuuto quickly blocked the flash of the fan with the boundary he had formed. At the same time, one of them leaves the scene by concealing himself.
 
 "...You're not going to attack, I'm surprised?"
 
 Ryuuto asks as he readies his sword and, using it as a decoy, prepares to throw a poisoned needle from a torikabuto (a type of helmet worn by samurai)... a poison is effective because exorcists are human unless they have some special unusual powers or skills to negate it... Anyway, it was intended to distract the other party's attention, but at the same time, he has a genuine question. Because he had heard the information in advance, and the enormous spiritual power that would be unleashed right before his eyes, why would it be too easy for him to block her pursuit of the servant? And she let his other men get away with it?
 
 "...You know, I'm in a very bad mood right now."
 
 There was no response to Ryuuto's words. Instead, she declared her own capital match.
 
 "The truth is, I'd love to take him around and play in this capital. After all, there's nothing really interesting back home, and there's a lot of surveillance in the countryside. On top of that, there's that annoying, loud-mouthed woman."
 "......"
 
 Ryuuto answered Aoi's words with silence. It was dangerous to move carelessly, and his reply might also be caught in the art of the word. Therefore, he responded in silence. She would not expect an answer either.
 
 "And yet, why do we have this problem? Why is it that when the capital is supposed to be so safe, all of a sudden there's so much commotion? And of all the things to do, he gets seriously injured because of it every time. It's all because of the negligence of the top management."
 
 Aoi declares. In fact, it is partly due to her own naive outlook, but she ignores it. She is willing to take responsibility for him, but she has never even thought of admitting her own fault to other people. It was an arrogant perception to the point of arrogance.
 
 "Besides, b*tches come here and there with their scent. And of all people, they're the ones who don't know their place. They're like flies drawn to the scent of flowers."
 
 It's all right if they just lust from afar. It's all right to envy. At best, just his plaything for a time. After all, I am the only one who can stand by his side forever. She thought.
 
 Aoi truly believed that she was a generous person. Otherwise, she wouldn't allow other b*tches to touch him or show him to other bitches or even allow them to use him up when they were in heat. What's that? What's the patting? What's "ahhh"? What's "kabe-don"? You b*tches have no respect for your positions. Shall I spit in your intestines?
 
 "I know this is really annoying. But... that's not what really pisses me off."
 
 Yes, what really pisses her off is that someone's undermining him, trying to bring him down, and making him kill people.
 
 "That's the one thing you mustn't do."
 
 Aoi knows. That day, that time, that incident at the end of their escape. Amid the despair, she was not expected to come back alive, still, she desperately clung to the hope, and what was waiting for her at the end was that merciless trap. And... that was the first time Aoi saw it. That person was angry at others with murderous intent. At the end of an ugly struggle, that person took the life of a lackey. But then... the look on his face, stained with sorrow, pain, and trembling.
 
 "...I still don't understand it. I can't believe that he could still have that expression on his face after being treated like that."
 
 If Aoi had been in the same position back then, she would not have felt any conflicts at all. On the contrary, she would have brutally, cruelly, and cold-bloodedly sent them to a miserable end. Aoi still thinks it is her right to do so. No mercy for the man who tried to kill him. But he...
 
 "He seems to have no problem with youkai. If it were true, I would have thought it was a mistake, but... I don't want to see him like that ever again."
 
 Aoi loved him. It was not malicious of her to put him in a difficult situation or to make him fight. It was for his sake and her sake. It is not to make him fight. It is a process, not a result.
 
 That's why Aoi never does what he really and sincerely refuses to do. She can't do it. She can't make him do it. She doesn't know when the memory will come back to him, and if it does, he will suffer and despair.
 
 So, she can't allow that to happen, and that's why she doesn't want him to be disgraced, to be wronged, and to kill each other.
 
 "That's why I'll have to deal with you."
 
 Aoi concludes her speech after having said many one-sided things. Witnesses and culprits are needed in this racket, and that's why Aoi doesn't let the man in front of her go. Maybe she can handle the one in front of her, but... this lackey in front of her is too much for his beloved who doesn't want to kill. Anyway, he won't get away with it now, let alone be captured alive.
 
 More than anything, she wants... to take it out on someone.
 
 "So... don't break so easily, okay?"
 
 The girl scoffed in a voice as beautiful as the tinkling of a bell, but with a horrifyingly twisted mouth.
 
 "......!?"
 
 In the next moment, the lackey, hit by the horrifying air, had sweat pouring down his forehead and was throwing a poison needle at the girl's neck...

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