Tuesday, May 16, 2023 @

Chapter 87, Part 1

 [Part 1/5]

 In the original "Firefly of the Dark Night (Yamiyo no Hotaru)", which is filled with hidden routes, the protagonist's choice of equipment, skills as so-called "exorcists", and jobs are crucial for reaching different endings.
 In the first scenario, the protagonist starts with a random choice of either swordsmanship, spear techniques, archery, kenjutsu, or staff techniques, but since this is still early in the scenario, it does not make much impact on the ending, although it may affect the status of the protagonist later on.
 The real branching point comes in the second scenario, after the protagonist is adopted by the Onitsuki family, where they choose their equipment and abilities. Even though the equipment and skills themselves can be changed later, the selection not only affects the mentorship with the exorcists but also the events that occur throughout the story.
 For example, selecting archery increases the chances of encountering events with Onitsuki Ayaka, such as her being chest-busted. Choosing kenjutsu leads to interactions with Gorilla-sama and Blue Demon (oni), while choosing Shikigami techniques increases the chance of being drugged slowly by the young-looking old hag and to be corrupted by the Minister of the Left. Finally, choosing the swordmanship is a must if you want to go the Darth Tamaki route, which kills all the characters in the game.
 However, swordsmanship is particularly difficult and risky in this game. After integrating the experiments of many fans, it was found that selecting swordsmanship as the main skill leads to various unreasonable events that have a 40% higher chance of occurrence, and the number of bad endings is the largest in the game.
 So, for that reason alone, the swordsmanship should be avoided as an option. Moreover, this pattern was far more troublesome and ominous compared to the normal route. After all...
 A loud bang filled my ears as Miyamizu Shizu, the judge, pronounced so. A moment later, the wooden sword, torn from its handle, fell to the ground.
 "Oops, I'm sorry. I overdid it because of the sword's sharpness," apologizes the noblewoman with purple-blue hair dressed in a furisode, which is not really suited for rough work, who carries burdock.
 "T-thank you for the match," Hotoya Tamaki, who had just sparred with her, stared dumbfounded at the hilt for a moment, then bowed reverently and admitted defeat. At the same time, the spectators in the dojo murmured in unison.
 It was late November of the 13th year of Emperor Seiri's reign... As winter deepens in northern region, the villages and cities become more isolated due to heavy snowfalls. In the dojo set up in one corner of the Onitsuki family's mansion in the valley, the family members were engage in sparring matches to pass the time.
 During winter, exorcism jobs are scarce, and to maintain their skills and for entertainment, the Onitsuki family holds these sparring matches, which are not uncommon.
 Even so, there are many people interested in the newcomer to the house, the protagonist. And most of them let out a sigh of admiration at the scene of the match.
 (It's not surprising. Even with a handicap, it was still a surprise to see Tamaki take that crazy lady's blow.)
 If I may say so, Tamaki's swordsmanship with the wooden sword was quite good, even in my opinion. This was probably due to the excellent guidance given by Katahiko, who acted as her teacher. The defense technique Tamaki was practicing for the young lady was very advanced and practical, and if her movements were supplemented by physical strengthening through spiritual power, she could have been on par with the swordsmanship of the best swordsmen.
 Furthermore, the woman who wore furisode outfit and infused her spiritual energy into the burdock root to strengthen it, amazed onlookers with her swordsmanship, which shattered the wooden sword like it was a piece of candy with her last strike.
 And for me, however, the fact that she was here, in the Onitsuki family's house, was the most surprising thing of all.
 Onitsuki Sumire, also known by the name of Ako Sumire, is a woman from the prestigious exorcist family, the Ako family, in the western region. She is the mother of Onitsuki Aoi.
 As the saying goes, "like mother, like daughter", this phrase could be used for both Onitsuki Sumire and Aoi.
 So, due to her love for her husband, Onitsuki Yuusei, Sumire allowed her daughter to be mistreated and polluted by ugly creatures.
 Sumire is one of the main heroines in the game and a lunatic woman controlled by her desires, which is typical of the characters in this game... but strangely enough, does not appear in the game. On the contrary, in the novel version, the manga version, as well as some other side stories, she is only mentioned briefly, and not described in detail. The only thing that is known is that she died before the start of the main story.
 Or it may be a material that the production team have been saving for the future. This story may be possible, but unfortunately, the truth is forever in the darkness, so there is no point in thinking about it.
 The problem is her current position
 In the original story, she has already died, and in this world line, although she is not dead, she has been away from the house for many years, and it was not a month ago that she came back to the house as a matter of course. And the fact that such a woman is now the master of the swordsmanship of the protagonist is enough to confuse me and make me change my mind about my future plans.
 ...D*mn it, why is she choosing swordsmanship?
 I complained and cursed internally for a while, but finally, I accepted the reality. Yeah, well, it wasn't my place to interfere anyway. So, I give up. I mean, I screwed up right from the start...
 (Even though it was written in the text, is it really burdock, huh...?)
 As I returned my attention to my surroundings, I caught a glimpse of the woman bowing and backing away with the weapon in her arm.
 According to the descriptions in the side story, Onitsuki Sumire was forbidden by a curse to pick up any kind of blades, because her father, the lord of Ako, had accused her of her cruel and brutal swordsmanship, as well as her gruesome and outrageous fighting style. Since then, her weapon of choice has been limited to non-bladed items, and after trying several, she chose burdock (produced in Azuma Prefecture). What a ridiculous idea for the production team to come up with...
 ...To be honest, it's not funny that she's using the burdock to slaughter the youkai army.
 "Ahaha, I lost. As expected, Lady Sumire is so strong," chuckled Tamaki.
 "I was very anxious. I'm glad you weren't injured despite such intense movements, Miss," Suzune said with relief.
 To someone who doesn't possess supernatural powers or the slightest knowledge about martial arts, the match that had just taken place seemed like a merciless fight to the death. Of course, in reality, it was not like that.
 In fact, if Sumire were serious, Tamaki would have been killed within seconds. And considering the scenario of the original story, the yandere in this world are all those who go wild with their impulses and instincts without thinking about the consequences. Just like the match event with Gorilla-sama in the original work, players could not let their guard down even a little because they could have their abdomens penetrated depending on their prior choices and the number of friendship. But in all honesty, even during the recent match, I was worried that the protagonist might be killed if she made a mistake.
 In other words, at this point in time, it is unlikely that the protagonist is displeasing the lady. Lucky her.
 (But the problem is that her safety cannot be guaranteed at all in case of an emergency...)
 Like Gorilla-sama and Blue Demon, I have no idea where the landmines are buried. Sumire is so crazy that she has abandoned even her own daughter, and I was worried so much that I felt a hole in my stomach every day to make sure that Tamaki would not say something bad. ...I mean, I was so scared of that after the training sessions of the servants, I would visit the dojo to see how the matches were going on.
 "Ah! Tomo—Yun-shoku also came to watch the game? How was the match we had earlier?"
 And just as I was worried about this, the protagonist came running towards me and called out.
 "Hmm...? Ah, I think it went well?" I replied absent-mindedly, my mind still preoccupied with my own previous thought.
 The protagonist's cheeks puffed out at my answer and showed an obvious expression of dissatisfaction.
 "Hmph. Judging from your behavior, you weren't really watching my match, were you? That's terrible, I was fighting so hard." Tamaki huffed, her voice tinged with annoyance.
 "Eh, um... P-please forgive me," I stammered, bowing my head in apology to Tamaki, who is in a bad mood.
 Although I wanted to say something like, "I was worried about your life," it would only confuse things at this point.
 "Miss, you shouldn't speak so informally in public..." Suzune admonished Tamaki's behavior, her voice stern and disapproving after she looked around her surroundings.
 Fortunately, most of the crowd is either paying attention on the next match or talking to Sumire for advice or small talk. However, some people were giving Tamaki suspicious looks because of her behavior.
 "...As the maid said. A Yun-shoku may be a high rank, but a lowly servant is still a lowly servant. So I ask that you treat me accordingly."
 As I whispered my advice while bowing my head, the protagonist made a bitter expression.
 "But...Yun-shoku. I owe you a debt of gratitude. I can't treat you so poorly, can I?"
 From Tamaki's perspective, it seems that she recognizes that she owes me a debt due to the incident in her hometown. Such a righteous and honorable character befitting of a protagonist. If she were an ordinary nobleman, she wouldn't care what happened to the people below her. But such a character is the reason why she gets into a lot of trouble in the original story.
 "Please, I kindly ask that you refrain from being rowdy. It not only implicates Miss but also myself. As the saying goes, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do", please be mindful."
 It was my honest intention. Although the recent incident was supposedly resolved on surface level, it was nothing more than a cover-up. If things go sour, my memories may be forcibly extracted during another investigation and I could end up brain-dead. I don't want to attract any unwanted attention.
 "...it's awful," Tamaki muttered, her voice cracking with emotion. "Was there something unforgivable that I did during my childhood? Even if there was, it doesn't justify this kind of behavior, where everyone is ganging up on me."
 "Miss," Suzune interjected sharply in whisper, "let's not discuss this further. We also have to consider Iruka's situation." Tamaki fell silent, her eyes widening in realization as she heards about Iruka. "...!!?"
 By the way, Tamaki has been living with the Onitsuki family, and she is even being overlooked for a criminal record. She can’t voice her dissatisfaction. Tamaki understands this, and her expression is contorted in frustration at Suzune's comment.
 "I'm sorry. I tend to wallow and be no help..." Tamaki said, her voice low and sullen.

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