Monday, February 20, 2023 @

Chapter 59, Part 2

Revision : bee shikigami => hummingbird shikigami

 "Ah... No, stop..."
 And... that's precisely why, for the boy, this is the act that gouges out his conscience more than anything else...
 "Ah... Ggh!?"
 The boy woke up with a dull pain, and immediately afterward he let out a small scream as pain shot through his mouth.
 'Oh, you're awake. I cut your mouth, okay? Well, I guess you don't have to worry about it if it's just a cut like this.'
 A hummingbird, which literally perches right in front of the boy's nose, declares. The hummingbird brings its mouth close to the boy's mouth as it declares.
 "What!? What the... Ggh!!?"
 'We don't have much time. If you regain consciousness, it's convenient. For now, please drink up this.'
 The hummingbird shikigami forcibly begins to thrust its mouth into the boy's mouth. Even if he tried to resist, his whole body was in pain, and he couldn't move at all due to the viscous spider silk. Gulp, gulp, gulp, Hayama keeps getting a fluid substance with a bitter iron taste poured into the back of his throat. When he is about to spit it out, the hummingbird forces it back into his stomach with its mouth.
 "Ah... Ggh!? Nggggg......!!!?"
 'Please don't be violent. You won't be able to keep it in, you know?'
 Ignoring his near suffocation, Botan's shikigami mercilessly pours it into Hayama, pouring it in, pouring it in, and pouring it in... Finally Hayama's stomach gives in and accepts it, and the shikigami pulls its mouth out of the back of his throat with a squirm.
 "Cough... Cough! Cough!?"
 'I apologize for the roughness. But even if I do it normally, the kappa factor in your body will reject it and you will try to vomit. If I don't do it forcibly, the precious medicine will be wasted. There's no replacement.'
 The hummingbird shikigami defended herself against Hayama who was coughing profusely with tears in his eyes, explaining in an indifferent and obliging way. In fact, the person who operates this shikigami does not have any sense of guilt for what she has just done, nor does she have a guilty conscience. She did what she did because it was necessary, that's all.
 'Now, it's starting to have an effect. Let's cut this string. I have the tool ready. Can you at least move your wrist?'
 Hayama looks doubtful, and the next moment he notices something cracking and peeling off from his cheek. He looks at it involuntarily.
 There were scales. Green scales, like those of a rotting and tattered fish... the characteristic scales that encircle the bodies of kappa were rotting away as if they had perished.
 "This is..!!!?"
 'Please hurry up. There's a limit to how long it can stall. There's still work to be done, isn't there?'
 The hummingbird shikigami that had perched on Hayama's hand replied nonchalantly and opened its mouth so wide it looked as if it would split open. From there, it comes the hilt of a dagger (tantō). The handle of the dagger (tantō) is engraved with cherry blossoms, and from the end of the handle emerges a shining blade.
 The next moment, Hayama grips the hilt. He thrust the blade into the thread that held his body. The web of threads, which an ordinary sword would not even be able to cut, and the blade itself would have fallen off, was cut as easily as if it were slicing agar-agar.
 "I can do it...!"
 He cuts through the web of spider silk and shakes it off. There was no pain in the broken bones and torn muscles from the beating of the clay spider. He doesn't know why.
 But it didn't matter. He didn't care what horrible side effects that medicine he'd just been given had. All that mattered now was doing what needed to be done, that is, preventing the cave from self-destructing in the way the Tsuchigumo was planning.
 "I have to hurry...!!!"
 The next moment, Hayama stood up and tried to deal with the human-shaped detonator in front of him.
 But just as he did so, one of the walls of the room blew away, and the Giant Spider and the Giant Hawk came tumbling in...
* * *
 Shikigami can be divided into two types: the traditional type, in which sacred beasts and youkai are subdued and subjugated, and the simplified type, in which a temporary form in the shape of an animal or other creature is created through the medium of a charm or other such medium.
 As the name suggests, shikigami originally refers to the traditional shikigami, which is difficult to master, and its nature makes it difficult to use for miscellaneous tasks, etc. So, the simplified shikigami, which can be used more widely and is easily disposable, was developed and is now widely used by the exorcism clans, surpassing the originals.
 However, this is precisely why, on the contrary, the traditional main method was valued as a valuable existence because of its difficulty in learning and its incomparably higher ability than the simplified method. A typical example is 'Hikiyo', one of the few living divine dragons that Kizuki's family members follow.
 ...In the original story, 'Hikiyo' were under the control of only one master, no matter what route they took. Or, to be more precise, there were no worldlines in which 'Hikiyo' was under the control of a sole master.
 The dragon may have recognized Kizuki Hina and followed her as her servant, but never under her little sister. Some of her fans thought that Kizuki Aoi was despised by youkai because she was tainted by youkai, or simply because of her arrogant personality... but the truth is not known. At least, the creators never gave a clear answer or even a hint about it while I was alive in my previous life.
 At any rate, Aoi, who is the rival of Kizuki Hina, also had to take countermeasures against dragons as long as she faced them. No matter how much of a genius she was, she could not imitate Hina's foul-headed abilities because they were innate to her. Especially when it comes to two against one, even she could die if she plays a bad move.
 Therefore, she has kept a hawk as her pawn.
 The hawk is a creature that has been respected as a messenger of the gods since the time of the gods, and at the same time, it is a symbol of power and authority. If one unravels the mythology, one will find a legend that the hawk gives blessings to the government forces as a symbol to conquer those who do not worship the gods.
 It was a kind of beast of fortune in its own right, and she reached out to it when its divine authority had waned over time. Not with good intentions. It's because the miscellaneous fishes couldn't even stop the divine dragon that her big sister has. At least, if the fish is not skilled enough to stall for time, there is no point in keeping them.
 Kamitaka 'Souten', one of the three traditional shikigami which Kizuki Aoi prepared to confront her sister in the original story, was the contents of Kizuki Aoi's parting gift that was sealed in the sealed charm.
 "This is unexpected...!"
 A spider and a hawk are entangled in the deepest part of the cave, struggling with each other. I throw up while lying on the ground from the shock of the aftermath of such a monster war.
 In the climax of the original story, when the sisters kill each other, 'Souten' is rather casually roasted by sis (anego-sama), but that is only because it is against sis (anego-sama). In fact, it is commendable that it is only burned moderately even if 'Annihilation' is used. In the case of the unknown, not even charcoal is left, and even the great youkai and calamity youkai are usually charred to the core.
 "But it's convenient. I can't keep fighting that monster...!!!"
 It was tiresome, and even though the spider was half-playing with me, it took a lot of nerve to even avoid her attacks. Avoiding the spider's fast swinging legs, and predicting her movement from the trajectory of the spider's legs, was difficult to do for a long time. Just a graze would cause a cut, and a direct hit would end me.
 "Ggghhh! What a shame that you are transformed into a shikigami! Or do you want to turn me into that too?!"
 The Tsuchigumo leaps away from the battle with the divine hawk. The young girl's body sways as if she were suspended from the ceiling of the cave by her eight legs. The expression on the young girl's face is one of anger. She stares at 'Souten' as if she had seen something truly unpleasant.
 "A bird that is kept by a monkey is making a fuss! But that's perfect! You'll be eaten alive to fill my belly before I slaughter the monkeys!"
 The spider also cries out in response to 'Souten' on the ground, spreading its wings and cawing menacingly. The spider leaps toward 'Souten' with a cry. They collide with each other, releasing youkai power and divine power. The two forces cut each other down, feed off each other, and neutralize each other. The remaining simple heat is released, and once again a roar and a storm of destruction resound.
 "D*mn... the spider, but even the hawk ignores me...!"
 Whether it's a certain light giant or a giant humanoid robot, there is no room for the people under their feet when such a thing goes on a rampage. Especially in this confined space. If I'm not careful, I will be blown away by the shockwave, and my body might be crushed. But I guess they are not aware of a small existence like me, just as humans do not care about ants under their feet.
 "D*mn, let's just run..!!!!"
 I force my numb legs to run amidst the dust. And I find him soon after getting lost for a while.
 "Here you are...!"
 "Tomobe-san!? Why are you here!!?"
 The hidden group member, who had escaped from the web of spider threads, exclaimed in surprise when he caught sight of me.
 "I was worried that you might not make it. So, I'm here to meddle. Oops... Looks like I came to the right place, huh?"
 I declare jokingly, dodging fist-sized rocks that fly at me on the way. After I say it, I realize that I was a bit too casual. I guess I was a bit high because of the situation. Hayama is a good guy, but he still doesn't want his ego to be known among the hidden group...
 "Huh... Y-yes... That's right... Thank you."
 I was thinking about how to cover it up, when Hayama's startled silence and then his awkward down-turned attitude confused me.
 'We don't have time for this. Let's move quickly.'
 The awkward atmosphere was about to flow, but it was the hummingbird shikigami who broke it by reading the air, or maybe not reading the air at all. No, perhaps the silence was a waste of time for her regardless of that. So, she ordered us both to hurry up.
 "!? Ah, first of all... let's go."
 "Yes, let's go!"
 Hayama nods his head in affirmation when I urge him to go after the spider slams against the wall, sending a lot of sawdust around us as we stay on the ground. While the spider was screaming and yelling at Kamitaka "Souten", we were running.
 "Hayama, please! I'll handle these guys!"
 "Understood. I'll return this to you...!"
 I order Hayama to go ahead of me when I see several kappas appear from behind. Hayama responds by throwing the Dagger (tantō) I had lent to Botan's shikigami.
 "I'm saved! Miss Botan, please follow him. Take care of the detonation."
 'I understand. Let's deal with it as quickly as possible. I wish you good luck.'
 "I wish you good luck too!"
 I replied to the hummingbird shikigami's words, and charged toward the oncoming kappas. The yellow eyeballs of the kappas swayed like youkai in the dim darkness.
 "Get the hell out of here!"
 I pass through the side of one that tries to grab me, and slit its throat with a Dagger (tantō) to incapacitate it. The second kappa comes up behind me and I kick and hit the kappa I just killed. When the kappa hits the corpse of its comrade and stops it, I come up behind it from a blind spot and stab its spine, killing it instantly.
 "Don't get close to me!"
 The third one tries to cling to me from behind, but I stab the second one in the spine and slam a roundhouse kick into its head. Thanks to the steel plates in the shins of my legs, the kappa's neck were snapped at a right angle the next moment. But...
 "What!? That's crazy!"
 Maybe it's breeding stock, or maybe it was made from a pregnant human, but the next moment, a small kappa comes flying at me with its tongue outstretched, breaking through the back of the kappa whose neck I snapped off. Is it a lupin dive?
 Immediately I pull the dagger (tantō) out of the spine of the second kappa, and using centrifugal force, I hit the kappa with the handle of the dagger (tantō) to the side and blow it away.
 'Ki... kikiki... Kiik!?'
 The baby kappa bounces several times on the ground, and when it tries to stand up, it is caught in a big fight between two monsters and crushed. Of course, the two monsters that crushed it didn't seem to notice.
 Even though I understood that I was dealing with monsters, I frowned because of the dimness and the silhouettes of the monsters. But even I understood that I didn't have time for such a thing.
 "That was a close call. ...I'll join them soon—'Boy, watch your back, okay?' Huh!?"
 I heard the voice in my ear like an auditory hallucination, and I almost swung my dagger (tantō) as an unconditional reflex. The dagger (tantō) was thrust toward the forehead of the shadow that seemed to turn around, but it stopped moving before it pierced the forehead.

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