“Why in Christ’s name are you possessed again!”
The first thing that came out of Kikyouin-san’s mouth was a cry of surprise.
Early morning the next day. Just as I entered the classroom, I ran right into Kikyouin-san. Recalling her playing exorcist the other day, I hesitated over whether I should call out to her or not, but ignoring her wouldn’t be much better, I thought, so I said an overly normal, “Morning.”
“This has to be a lie… two days in a row… what even are you…?”
According to Kikyouin-san, I was possessed by another evil spirit, apparently.
“Does this mean my exorcism was a failure… no, that can’t be. The ghosts from yesterday properly passed on, so…” She stared straight at the area around my shoulders. “Yeah, it really is a different ghost from yesterday. He’s been possessed anew…”
“… Look here.”
I was getting a little fed up, so I finally said something about it.
“Can you stop pointlessly scaring people like that? I’ll be your friend even if you don’t do this sort of thing. Ah, if you want, would you like to exchange email addresses?”
“Quiet for a sec.”
Refusing my good will, like an appraiser observing a curio brought in, she sent a serious look to my shoulders.
“Have you always had an easy-to-possess constitution?”
“Again with the yous. I have a name, and it’s Kagoshima Akira…”
“Answer the question.”
“… Yes.” I nodded. I mean, she’s scary. “Let’s see, I really don’t know anything about being possessed or not. I thought I’d been living a life relatively irrelevant to that sort of thing.”
“Right. But bein’ possessed by a different ghost right after an exorcism is usually impossible. It sometimes happens to people with ridiculously high spiritual energy, but yours doesn’t look like anything special… which means…”
Crossing her arms, she thought to herself. A little while later, “Hey,” she raised her head.
“After today’s classes, can I go to your house? ‘n wait, I’m going just to let you know.”
She said something outrageous.
“You didn’t hear me? I said I’m goin’ to your house,”
“I heard, but… but why?”
“Because I can’t think the cause lies with you. Now that it’s come to this, the place with the highest probability of being the underlyin’ factor is your house.”
“No, that’s not what I meant.”
Why was she going as far as telling a lie like that to come to my house, was what I wanted to ask. What is it. Does this girl have a thing for me after all?
“Around where’s your house?”
“Umm, do you know Gentle Breeze Park? Ah, strictly speaking, it’s a former park. Right now, it’s a large off-limits area… close to there.”
Though when she’d just transferred, there’s no way she could know. I thought, but surprisingly, Kikyouin-san gave a satisfied nod.
“So over there. That’s relatively close.”
“I’m surprised you knew. Kikyouin-san, didn’t you just get here?”
“It is an onmyouji’s duty to be versed in the lands they inhabit. I’m confident I know more about this town’s layout than you.”
I see, it did seem walking was her hobby.
“Alright, then at former-Gentle Breeze Park, after school… six I guess? We’ll meet up. I have to get back to my place to assemble all the necessary items.”
“What necessary items?”
“What I’ll need for an exorcism. You might not be self-aware, but you’re really in for it. Yesterdays was quite simple, but I have to do it for real today. Then six, okay.”
One-sidedly declaring our parting, Kikyouin-san entered the classroom. And left in the hallway, I frantically turned the gears in my head. What exactly was Kikyouin-san’s goal?
Luckily, yesterday night, I cleaned the place corner to corner in the hopes, ‘there might be money dropped somewhere’, so the house was extremely clean. Unlike with Orino-san and Kirisu-chan’s last visit, I doubt I have to do anything about my porn.
By the way, the military gains of my, ‘money dropped somewhere’ strategy were seven hundred and twenty-three yen. The five hundred yen coin in the pocket of my winter pants was the largest contribution.
… That being the case, that didn’t change the fact it was drops in a bucket. Thinking of how my next living expenses would come in three months, it brought tears to my eyes.
If only coins would come out when you opened the shelves like an RPG. Will defeating a stray cat net me some EXP or gold?
When I was considering animal abuse, a wild Orino-san appeared. Lightly puffing her face, she was making a displeased expression.
“What’s wrong, Orino-san. Are you feeling ill?”
“… What were you talking so happily about with Kikyouin-san?”
“That? Ah, no, I wasn’t particularly happy about it.”
Rather, I got the feeling we were both fed up with one another, just barely keeping the conversation going. To think she thought we looked happy, Orino-san must have been watching from a considerable distance.
“Um, you see,”
Explaining from start to finish would be a pain, so I abridged it considerably.
“Kikyouin-san said she wants to come to my house.”
Orino-san raised her voice. Opening her eyes wide, her entire face contorted into an expression of surprise.
“E-eh? Why does Kikyouin-san have to go to your house?”
That’s what I’d like to know. I’ve got no idea what her real MO is.
“S-so did you give the okay?”
“Yeah. Well, I think she can come over if she really wants to.”
“… What’s with that carelessness?”
Orino-san put her hand to her forehead. She was kinda making an extremely disappointed face. Was Kikyouin-san coming to my house of some great inconvenience to her?
“You’re kidding me… with yesterday and today… Just what is up with that girl…”
“… Orino-san, could it be you hate Kikyouin-san?”
“No, not particularly. I can’t say I hate her… though, I do think there’s something wrong with her attitude.”
Orino-san flowed her gaze into the classroom. At the end of it was Kikyouin-san, staring out the window with a sour look on her face. No classmates tried to talk to her. That was surely because Kikyouin-san was making it so.
It wasn’t that she couldn’t be friendly with everyone, she just had no intention to do so. As if she didn’t have any expectations for her surroundings, those were the sort of eyes she made.
“So what’s Kikyouin-san coming over your house to do?”
Really, that’s what I want to know.
“As I recall, your parents are both out overseas, right… t-then you’ll be alone together, won’t you?”
Ah, come to think of it.
Yeah. Certainly, that’s probably not good.
“So, you know. I’ll go too… ah, wait.”
There, Orino-san made the expression of someone who recalled business they had no way of avoiding.
“… I get the feeling my stomach’s going to start hurting after school, so I’ll give it a rest…”
“You can tell!?”
You mean to tell me she gained a precognition of stomach pains before they even happened? Orino-san really is amazing. She hasn’t gone through a series of stomach pain-induced tardies and early departures for nothing.
“Anyways, just because you’re alone, don’t get any funny ideas.”
“And properly put away your porn.”
She’s still dragging that on.
I’m going to be teased on that for the rest of my life, aren’t I. Last time Orino-san came around to my house, she cleaned up the porn in my room, experiencing a terribly painful event for a lady. For some reason, she was far more motherly to me than my real mother.
“You can’t leave erotica out in the open just so you can enjoy seeing her troubled face like you did with me.”
“That wasn’t what I was thinking last time!”
I definitely didn’t feel that way! I don’t find enjoyment in such maniacal schemes! She’s overdramatizing events!
“Hmmm. I wonder. Kagoshima-kun, you look like the type who’d purposely get a female employee to check you out when buying porn to get a peek at the look on her face.”
“No, no way! H-huh? Orino-san, do you hate me…?”
By the way, a majority of the porn in my house is a hand-me-down from dad. I can count the times I bought them myself on one hand. What’s more, I bought them all at man-manned counters, never once getting a woman to check me out. Yes, I’m a wimp.
“… Hey, don’t tell me you’re angry?”
“I’m not angry.”
She sullenly puffed her cheeks. No matter what angle I looked from, I could only see she was angry.
“No, you’re angry, right?”
“I’m totally not angry.”
“… No, but–”
“I’m super not angry.”
She turned her head away.
“I see. I’m glad you’re not angry.”
If she put a super on there, then I’m sure she’s fine. And now that I knew that Orino-san wasn’t angry, I felt relieved from the depths of my heart. I mean, she told me herself she’s not angry.
But Orino-san kept sullenly glaring at me.
Around five-fifty, I left the house to pick up Kikyouin-san.
A few minutes down the twilit pat, as I approached the meeting spot, former-Gentle Breeze Park, I caught sight of Kikyouin-san. Not in her uniform, she wore white and red Japanese clothing over her body.
I wonder if that onmyouji-ish attire was what she had to prepare for exorcism. She’s really into it. And there was another, smaller girl as well.
Blond hair that resembled Kikyouin-san’s, and a straw hat to snugly cover it up. She wore a pure-white one-piece dress. Her eyes were pointed fox eyes.
On her neck—she wore an old-looking, rustic designed necklace.
The two whose only real resemblance was hair color seemed to be discussing something.
“Tamane-sama. I really don’t believe you had ta come out personally. The spirit possessin’ him was the sorta low-grade ghost you can pick up anywhere, and I think I’ll be able to complete the exorcism alone without problem.”
“We did not come here out of worry for you, Yuzuki. But as your master, from time to time, I’ve got to see how far you’ve grown.”
“How long ‘re you goin’ to treat me like a child, seriously…”
“Hmph. From our eyes, you’ll always be a brat.”
“Of course, from your point of view, every human would have to be a child. ‘n wait, are you sure about this? I remember you were going to meet the local deity today.”
“We can do that anytime.”
“But if you’ve moved house, it’s better to meet the god of the region as soon as possible. That’s custom, after all…”
“Hah. We’re sure the measly god of this land hasn’t even noticed my arrival. This blasted collar has lowered our spiritual energy down to a tenth. We can’t even use my power without your Kikyouin House’s permission.”
“… I’m sorry.”
“Hmph. Yuzuki, it’s nothing for you to apologize about. The one who sealed us when we were but a newborn, was the Kikyouin House of many a generation ago. Well, we do have a personal grudge with your mother– Kikyouin Kaede, but that’s a separate issue. Just how many bitter experiences has she put us through…”
“… Mother’s just that sorta person. It’s like making toys of people is her reason to live. ‘Human? Youkai? No way there’s any equal or superior to me,’ I often hear her say.”
“So that ‘I am the one true god’ mentality of hers is still going strong… that one’s far more of a vixen than we.”
There, Kikyouin-san finally noticed me.
“It’s still five minutes ahead of schedule. You’re just early.”
I approached the two? Who’s this girl? Before I could ask the question, the girl in the stray had took a step forward.
“Indeed,” with fox eyes, she looked up at me curiously. “So you’re the idiot with an idiotic face, an idiotic brain, and an idiotic penchant for being possessed Yuzuki was talking about.”
… Isn’t that a few too many idiots?
Kikyouin-san’s backbiting’s no joke.
“Our name is Tamane. You heard from Yuzuki, right?”
“… No, I haven’t heard anything…”
“What’s this, you don’t know? Then listen well and take these words to heart. For we are the only daughter of the famous and fair, gold-pelted, jewel faced, nine-tailed fox—Tamamo no m–”
“Wai- wait a sec, Tamane-sama!”
Kikyouin-san hurriedly covered the mouth of the young girl proudly giving her self-introduction. And they started whispering amongst themselves.
‘Tamane-sama. This guy’s a civilian, so please keep the fact you’re the nine tails’ daughter a secret.’
‘Hmm? And why is that? You didn’t hide the fact you’re an onmyouji from the man. Then there shouldn’t be a problem.’
‘That’s definitely true… but there are some folks who won’t take kindly to an onmyouji and youkai living under the same roof. You’re not supposed to declare it openly, right?’
‘Point taken. But we’re not in your house because we want to be. For the sake of our mother locked away in your family shrine, we have no say in the matter.’
‘I know… but even in the Tsuchimikado main house, only a select few know of your existence. We can’t thoughtlessly spread the information…’
‘So in the end, the Kikyouin house is a house of shadows. Compared to the main Tsuchimikados, there’s not a bloom in sight. Is the cost of employing us too great for you?’
‘… Don’t make that face. Ah, fine, we get it, we get it. We’ll leave it all to you. Do what you will.’
‘My dearest thanks.’
After a deep bow, Kikyouin-san turned in my direction.
“Umm, this girl is my… right. My little sister Tamane-sama. Isn’t that right, Tamane-sama?”
“Yeah, that’s right, that’s right. We’re Yuzuki’s little sister Tamane.”
Tamane-chan arbitrarily nodded.
To be quite blunt that self-introduction didn’t really enter my ears. Rather, a majority of it wasn’t reaching me. Because there was something that bothered me far more than that.
… This girl called Tamane-chan casually threw out the royal ‘we’.
She’s seriously using it. It’s the first time I’ve seen it in my life.
Whoah, this is harsh… I’m sure as a result of trying to stand out through elementary school, she made a grand mistake.
“What is it, whelp? Those eyes of pity?”
… She called me a whelp. It looks like she’s well versed in the vocabulary of her part. I wasn’t particularly irritated at being called a whelp, but when I considered the girl’s future, taking on this attitude to her elders was definitely no good. So I decided to properly caution her on it.
“You know, the way you speak is extremely strange.”
“… What?” Tamane-chan stared at me blankly. “What are you talking about? You say we speak funny? What part of it is strange?”
“And I’m telling you, that’s just it. The way you call yourself we and–”
“Wai- what do you think you’re saying!?” Kikyouin-san hurriedly cut in, “It’s perfectly fine to refer to yourself as we.”
“But Kikyouin-san. If you want her to cut it out, you’d better do it early. It might be cute now, but this girl will eventually grow into an adult.”
“Q-quiet, I’m beggin’ ya, keep quiet!”
“Oy, Yuzuki. What has this man been talking about? What’s wrong with us referring to ourselves as we?”
“There’s nothin’ wrong at all! Nothin’ strange about it at all!”
“Kikyouin-san, if you truly treasure your little sister, then even if it hurts her a bit, you should teach properly tell her what’s strange.”
She seemed kinda desperate.
Rather than being angry that her sister was being mocked, it felt like she was doing her best to make sure someone who definitely shouldn’t be angered remained calm.
“… And wait, Kikyouin-san, why do you speak cordially to your little sister?”
“I-I’m free to do what I want! That’s just how it works in our family!”
Hmm, I see. If it’s a house rule, then there’s nothing I can do about it. As I thought, famed houses that’ve been around a while have some strange rules. I thought over it as I shifted my eyes from the big to little sister. Giving up on correcting her manner of speech, I decided to give a normal self-introduction.
“I’m Kagoshima Akira. Your big sis’s classmate. Pleasure to meet you.”
“Hmph. Though we’ve no mind to get familiar with a human such as yourself. We’ll at the very least permit you to address us by name. With respect and reverence, call us Tamane-sama.”
“Okay. Got it. Umm, then it’s Tamane, so I’ll call you Tama-chan.”
“Tama-chan, you say!?”
Tama-chan opened her large eyes in surprise.
“… Our years surpass eight hundred, and yet you would dare call us, a proud demon fox, Tama-chan…”
Her cheeks were twitching stiffly.
“… It does seem you’re in need of some discipline. Our energy may be sealed, but we wouldn’t be us if we couldn’t match blades with one so low in spiritual power as yourself…”
“Please calm down, Tamane-sama! Don’t take the words of an idiot seriously!”
“Unhand us! Unhand us, Yuzuki! We don’t take orders from you!”
As Tama-chan looked like she was going to come at me, Kikiyouin-san got her in a Nelson hold from behind. Seeing her behavior,
I said a little harshly, lightly tapping Tama-chan’s head.
“Wwha!?” said Tama-chan.
“H-huh!?” said Kikyouin-san.
Both their faces seemed to ask, what is this guy doing, is he alright in the head?
“You can call me an idiot all you want, but you can’t be that rude to your own big sister. Got it?”
I said something nice.
“I-Idiot! What are you doin’! Apologize to Tamane-sama at once.”
“Kikyouin-san, she’ll never learn if you keep spoiling her. If you’re her big sister, then you must properly teach her how to interact with her elders.”
“Now practice what you preach!”
“… T-tttt-this is the first time we’ve suffered such a disgrace. You mean our head was poked by a human who isn’t even an onmyouji…? Oy, Yuzumi. This one’s dead. Any complaints?”
The flames of rage blazed up in the back of her fox eyes.
In the next instant, her straw hat was blown away as if pushed by some force from below. The hem of her one-piece waved up as if something had sprouted from her behind.
“Wait, Tamane-sama! Your ears and tail!”
Kikyouin-san anxiously shifted her eyes between me and Tama-chan, but I couldn’t get what she was talking about.
I couldn’t see that at all.
“I see. This guy’s spiritual power’s so low he can’t see,” Kikyouin-san found understanding on her own. “Anyways, calm down Tamane-sama. It is but the drivel of an idiot who knows not of what he speaks.”
Somehow managing to swallow down her rage (though I’ve no idea why she was angry in the first place,) Tama-chan took a step back and exhaled a big breath. After picking up the fallen straw hat, she put it back on.
“Yuzuki! We’re going to go home and sleep!”
“… Yes. Understood.”
“Hold it, Kikyouin-san. Are you sure? It’s getting dark, so it’s dangerous to send a little girl home alone.”
Just stop opening your mouth, said the eyes glaring at me. Why?
Giving a heartfelt displeased snort, Tama-chan turned her back to me and started walking off.
It really did worry me to let her return alone, but… well, she looks like a level-headed kid, so I guess she’ll be fine.
“Bye-bye Tama-chan. See you next time.”
When I waved my hand, Tama-chan executed a dynamic turn
She cried with a bright fed face.
“Fool–! Foooool–! Your mother has an outie!”
After saying what she could, she disappeared as if melting into the evening shadows.
“Ahaha. You hear that? You think she felt lonely about going home alone? She’s still just a kid, that Tama-chan.”
Kikyouin-san fell to her knees, her mouth sealed as if to say she no longer had the willpower to speak.
After Tama-chan returned, Kikyouin-san and I followed our original schedule, heading for my house just the two of us.
“Come to think of it, how old is Tama-chan?”
“How old was she again? She’s definitely over eight hundred… a usual demon fox takes over nine hundred years to grow nine tails, but Tamane-sama is…”
“Ah! Umm. Yeah. She’s nine, nine years old.”
Nine, huh. So exactly how she looks.
“I’m an only child, so I’m jealous of people with brothers and sisters. Kikyouin-san, is it just you and Tama-chan? Do you have any other siblings.”
“None. I only have Tamane-sama…”
A shadow suddenly crossed Kikyouin-san’s face. Gazing at the darkening sky, she spun her words with a sorrowful expression.
“My parents were busy. I was pretty much raised by Tamane-sama. How to use an amulet, how to walk the uho, and the nine cuts, Tamane-sama taught me all of them…”
She was raised by her little sister.
Just how unreliable of a big sister must she be? She looks strong will, but is she surprisingly weak in the family?
“I’m truly thankful to Tamane-sama… I heard she even changed my diapers for me…”
Even I couldn’t let that one by. I was struck dumb. My voice shook in abject terror.
“… K-Kikyouin-san, you had your little sister changes your diapers…?”
Tama-chan is nine, so wouldn’t that have to be recent?
That would… totally have to be… that sort of play, right?
Whoa… whoa, whoa, whoa.
She just came out with something incredible.
Seeing me draw back, Kikyouin-san who had entered her own world was taken aback.
“Ah, no, y-you’re wrong! T-that’s not…”
“No, it’s fine… really. Yeah. Isn’t it fine? Even if you like that sort of thing… there are all sorts of people in the world…”
“Ah, god, you’re wrong! I’m telling you Tamane-sama changed my diaper was back when I was a baby.”
“Eh? But at that time, the nine-year-old Tama-chan hadn’t been born, right?”
“…. Yeah, that’s right! I have my little sister change my diapers! You got anything ta say about it!?”
She snapped. As she turned red to her ears, I somehow put my heart in order, “… No nothing,” I said quietly.
… No, there really are all sorts of girls in the world.
Can she only get excited if it’s her sister? Is it something like that?
Come to think of it, they say people with strong spiritual sense have strong sensual desire.
As I felt the expanse of the world, “… I should’ve just let him die,” I heard a dangerous mutter from Kikyouin-san, but continued walking. A few minutes later, we finally arrived at my house. A regular two story. It was built… around twenty years ago, if I recall correctly.
Seeing my house for the first time, Kikyouin-san held her mouth half-open at a loss for words. Rather than my house, it was as if she was staring at something whirling around it.
“…A den of evil. You’re kidding me…? This isn’t just ten or twenty, these numbers.”
A den of evil? What does she think she’s calling someone else’s house? She’s in for a libel lawsuit one of these days.
“… I’m surprised you can live in a place like this.”
“I’ve been living here since I was born. Maybe I build up a resistance or something?”
I arbitrarily responded. I mean, no matter how I looked at it, all I could see was my familiar, loving home.
“Dad and mom bought it at the same time I was born, apparently. Said an acquaintance gladly handed it over for fifty thousand yen.”
“Yeah. He said a lot of things happened in the house, so they got it for cheap, apparently.”
“What do you mean ’a lot of things’!? Go and have a nice talk!”
Come to think of it, dad did say his work started taking a down turn when we started living in this house. On the contrary, ever since he flew off somewhere, he said he’s been doing so well he’s surprising himself.
Taking only those events into account, it seemed almost as if this house was haunted by some evil spirit, but if I start thinking about it like that, I’ll be prey to all the phony exorcist scams in the world.
You have to learn, Kagoshima Akira.
Walking round and round the house, Kikyouin-san returned to the front door and let out a big sigh.
“I got it right when I thought your house would be the problem, but… I never imagined it would be on this scale… seriously, I should be getting paid for this.”
“You’re not getting a single yen out of me!”
Like the fiend of money I was, I bit onto the word paid. When it came to money, the situation’s been extremely severe lately.
“It’s fine, really. I’ve already hopped aboard, I’ll properly do something about it. ‘n wait, when you’ve shown me somethin’ like this, I can’t just leave it be.”
Kikyouin-san produced a stack of paper from her breast pocket and started counting them off.
“I’ll set up a barrier to clean them away in one sweep. Step back a bit.”
She had completely entered work mode, and I could only nod. No, but what’s up with this situation? She even dressed in onmyouji-esque clothing to come, so it might just be best to tag along with her ghostbusting games. Yeah, let’s go with that.
“Mn? Huh? I don’t have enough amulets… ah, right, I used one yesterday… can’t be helped.”
She muttered to himself, this time taking out blank white paper.
She bit right down on her thumb. Blood started oozing from a small open wound. With accustomed hands, Kikyouin-san used it to smoothly draw out red lettering on the white paper.
“There we go. Huh? You’re still here? It’s dangerous, get further aw–”
“What are you doing!?”
I reflexively cried, sprinting towards Kikyouin-san and grasping her right hand.
To suddenly bite her own thumb till it bleeds, is this girl alright in the head!?
“U-uwah… look at how much you’re bleeding.”
“W-what are you doing!? Let go, let go of me!”
Disregarding her struggle, I looked at the wound. It was an extremely clean cut, the sort that looked like it would heal quickly.
“What were you thinking, Kikyouin-san!? You should treasure your own body more!”
Yes, I know you see it a lot in manga!
I know all the cool kids in Naruto do it to summon!
“Shut it! Let go! Blood letterin’s just the same as usual, I’m perfectly fine!”
“The same as usual!?”
How could this be… I did think she seemed truly accustomed to it, but to think she was a repeat offender. Is this the same sort of suicidal action as cutting your wrist…
Perhaps Kikyouin-san is afflicted with PTSD. That’s why I’m sure she’s got all this going on. She’s in need of some urgent mental care.
“Ah, wait, Kikyouin-san, stop thrashing around. Your bleeding won’t stop.”
“And I’m Telling You Let me go! I’m thrashin’ because you won’t let go of me!”
The yell she threw out with the face of a fierce god didn’t enter my ear, I just stared at the hand in my hand.
Ah, it just keeps bleeding…
“… Now that it’s come to this!”
I held Kikyouin-san’s thumb in my mouth.
Ignoring the strange cry she raised I continued sucking at her blood.
“Okay, it stopped. That’s good, Kikyouin-sa—hegh!”
When I rejoiced over her complete recovery with a full-face smile, an iron fist was hammered in. When I looked, a red-faced Kikyouin-san was loudly gritting her teeth.
H-huh? Isn’t she kinda angry?
“Y-y-y-you pervert! Pervert! Are you alright in the head!?”
“No way… I just wanted to stop the blood… see, it happens all the time in shoujo manga. When the clumsy main character girl cuts her finger with a kitchen knife, the man licks it for her, and the girl squees like crazy, that sorta thing.”
“Everythin’ that happens in shoujo manga has the unwritten prerequisite of, ‘this has to be carried out by a hottie’!”
She just said it point blank… if she says something like that, it really just lowers my general motivation in regards to life…
“Uwah… you’re seriously terrible, seriously creepy. When I get home, I have to disinfect…”
Kikyouin-san rubbed her finger clean on my clothing.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like my good will got through to her.
“… Ah, I really didn’t want to be called creepy by the girl who does baby play with her little sister.”
“Hah!? Who are you saying does baby play!?”
“What? You don’t?”
“…… I-I-I do, but…”
Grating her teeth more, she glared as if to curse me to death. It was the sort of terrifying look that might curse my household for seven generations.
“I even braved the risks of infectious diseases through oral blood ingestion to suck you, and this is what I get.”
“Don’t say you sucked me. And my blood is the epitome of clean and wholesome,” There, Kikyouin-san’s movements came to a sudden halt. “Wait a second. Wait a second, w-wait…”
“You sucked my thumb, didn’t you…”
“And the reason you sucked it is because I bit it and it was bleeding, right…”
She began shaking, her face turning red and then ghastly pale.
Ah, I see. I could tell what she was getting at.
“I guess that was an indirect kiss.”
I said lightly, adding on a tehe.
“To hell with tehe!”
She grasped my lapels and shook me back and forth.
“I-I’m sorry. Ah, but I see. I thought I tasted something that wasn’t blood, but that was the tasted or your lip cream. I get it now.”
“Just keep your mouth shut!”
To think she would be this flustered by an indirect kiss. It seems Kikyouin-san was a purer girl than I thought. I was more worried about preventing infection, so I’m not really embarrassed about it.
As the two of us held a playful back and forth (personal opinion)—
“–! T-this is–”
In an instant, Kikyouin-san’s face went grim. She forcefully turned around, focusing her glare on the darkening sky.
As if her panic from before had been a lie, she gazed over space with an exceedingly serious expression.
As if some switch had been flipped.
Like a first-rate professional with a complete division of personal and private.
“This is bad… the ghosts are beginning to run amuck.”
She said with a click of her tongue, gazing vexingly over the amulets scattered over the ground she had dropped in that prior ruckus.
“In casting, the procedure is everything. Good grief, because of you, this is getting to be a pain. It looks like the charms I dropped have stimulated the spirits.”
She muttered self-derisively as she turned to me.
“With spirits this dense, even someone with spiritual power as low as yours can see them, right?”
Hearing those cynical words, “… Yeah,” I gave a serious nod.
“No, what are you talking about?”
To see and not see, see what? I don’t particularly see anything.
Kikyouin-san dropped her shoulders.
“E-eeh? No way. You mean you can’t even see that? At that level, it wouldn’t be strange if a civilian could see…”
She said as she took out a paper, and stuck it on my chest.
“A charm to measure spiritual power. Something like a meter. Past a certain level, you just shake it off, so only people with low spiritual energy can use it, bu—wait, h-huh?”
Kikyouin-san opened her eyes wide.
“It’s not reacting at all. Which means… your spiritual power is… zero? Nonexistent…?”
Apparently, my spiritual power is zero.
“… I see. So that’s why he couldn’t see Tamane-sama’s ears or tail. He could see the technique she used to look human, but he can’t see the parts she’s not putting any effort into showing…”
As she started whispering to herself, I couldn’t help but ask.
“Is having zero spirit power amazing or something?”
“The opposite. It’s completely unamazing. The exact opposite of genius. More specifically speaking, you have absolutely no talent. In shonen manga terms, you have the sort of constitution that prevents you from ever becoming a main character. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever seen someone so hopeless.”
This girl really says what’s on her mind.
“Yeaah. I’m not really getting it. Can you try equating it to something simple? Even more shonen manga-ish?”
“Let’s see. The scouter won’t even pick you up.”
“That was simple!”
The scouter won’t pick me up… I’m practically the background.
I’m not even trash with a power level of 5.
But, good grief.
I don’t really tell what personal rules Kikyouin-san used to determine my spiritual power, but she’s been putting her all into this ghostbusting game for a while now.
I was just about getting tired of it, should I change the topic? Looks like she reads shonen manga, so how about I try bringing up dragon ball?
“Lately, Trunks and Vegeta’s Super Saiyan 3 forms have started coming out in games, but what do you think about that? As a fan of the source material, that sort of thing is just kinda–”
In the middle of my chat, Kikyouin-san pushed me away. As if she had just saved me from a ‘something’ approaching at a tremendous speed. When I regained my posture and looked at her, she was no longer paying attention to me.
Sticking up two fingers on her right hand, she prepared charms in her left.
Repeatedly jumping as if to avoid unseeable attacks, she measured out the timing, and making symbolic gestures alongside a tempestuous voice, she threw the paper charms.
Her bundled, blond hair was always one step behind her practiced wasteless movements.
“Shikigami summon—‘Kara’, ‘Kiri’, ‘Kuru’!”
She threw three human-shaped papers. As they left their masters hands, I wonder if a gust began blowing, as not falling to the ground despite the passage of time, they began to flutter around Kikyouin-san.
“Fuh!” “Shi!” “Haaaaah!”
Swinging her hands in empty space, stepping back, throwing her charms, making hand symbols.
“This is… the end!”
Her finger tore through space.
Five times. To draw a five pointed star, five lines.
“By the name of the Twenty Fourth head of the Kikyouin House, Kikyouin Yuzuki, I release now the power of the five elements!”
For an instant, a flash raced across the area. It was so bright I instinctively closed my eyes. When I opened them a while later, the air had become a little lighter, and there was Kikyouin-san looking up at the sky, breathing heavy breaths.
“Ah, that was tiring.”
Letting out a voice overflowing with fatigue, she walked over to me.
“I somehow did it. Good grief, you should really be thankful to me. That was a job I’d usually take fifty thousand for, at the very least. Well, I’ll be properly charging you next time…”
As she started speaking triumphantly, I grasped her by the shoulders.
“… It’s alright.”
Maybe my voice was shaking.
Maybe I was shedding tears.
“You don’t have to push yourself to draw my attention anymore. You’re fine just the way you are. Even if you’re just you, I’ll be your friend…”
This girl is… really in for it.
Saying there are ghosts and making an uproar, speaking formally to her sister, doing baby play, doing something like cutting her wrist, and finally, carrying out a pantomime of outrageous quality…
I could only think she was shouldering a mental ailment I could no longer laugh at. This can’t go on. I can’t leave this child alone any longer. I have to do something!
Receiving my warm eyes overflowing with kindness,
Kikyouin-san unpleasantly clicked her tongue.
Unfortunately, it seems my love (?) didn’t get across.
My blazing hot heart won’t be dampened by such cold eyes.
I’ll turn Kikyouin-san into an upright human being!