I'm not some kind of idiot.
With all these heroine flags I've gathered up until this point, there's one more person that I should be worried about. Of course, that would be Elmira McCartney.
Now that it's not only Ryuuga, but also Yukimiya Shiori and Aogasaki Rei that I've been holding secrets with, I'm shuddering in fear over that vampire. I never want anything to do with her. I don't even want her to approach within a five meter radius.
(Kyouka's fever seems to have gotten better, but she's still being nursed and is absent from school...once she fully recovers, Ryuga's cosplay show will reopen.)
Before that, I have to displease Ryuuga by any means possible. I have to become a serious character.
I've already tossed my secret notebook, the one about the three sizes of girls, into the shredder. I've also thrown away my lewd books and lewd DVDs, and I've also erased the lewd pictures in my hard drive.
I have to immediately establish myself as a "clean Kobayashi."
"Perverted conduct" and "getting involved with Elmira"...those two are absolutely taboo.
"Wait a minute, Kobayashi Ichirou."
However, the chains of fate didn't let me go.
It was after school on Tuesday. I was trying to head towards the bookstore to buy some books on law, which would serve as honor student character props. About ten minutes after heading out of the school gates, a voice called to me from behind.
It was the vampire with deep crimson hair and a low blood pressure.
"'Gah,' is how you greet me? I thought that I'd be generous and give you some advice."
With an irritated expression, Elmira briskly walks over to me.
Along with her steps was her flame-like, medium-long hair that swayed around. Even though she wore her Oumei High School uniform loosely, she had a noble-like, high-class feel to her.
As one of the three major characters, she's very charming, but her beauty is also rivaled by Aogasaki's and Yukimiya's.
"Right. Some advice. Actually, I wonder if 'advice' is the right way to put it."
Perhaps Elmira's noticed that I've been getting more acquainted with the other two former heroines/candidates? Did she come here say "If you keep doing that, I'll drag you into hell," and warn me?
I shouldn't make light of a non-human. It's possible that she's suspecting me of the slight interactions I've had with Yukimiya and Shiori. Though, she probably doesn't know the part about Ryuuga being a woman...
"W, wait, Elmira. It's not what you think. I never wanted this!"
"Huh? What are you talking about?"
Elmira tilted her head to the side while looking perplexed.
Oh, was I wrong? She didn't come here to give me the yellow card?
Not minding my confusion, Elmira pointed forwards. Since I was facing towards her, from my point of view, she was pointing towards my back.
"Kobayashi Ichirou. Stop walking on this path."
"I sense a discomforting ill will beyond this point. There's something seeping out from hell──a dark, cloudy miasma."
So in other words, it's an "Apostle of Hell," I suppose.
The peculiarities have been remarkably silent lately, but could they be waiting just up ahead?
"E, Elmira. If that's true, shouldn't we call for Ryuga and the others?"
"Ryuuga is in the middle of taking care of his sister. The ill will up ahead doesn't seem to be that strong of an apostle. Arbitrarily calling in everyone doesn't seem...oh?"
There, Elmira slightly shrugged her shoulders.
"It's coming this way as we're speaking."
Looking over my shoulder in a panic, sure enough, a single man came walking this way.
He was a young man with a suit. Judging from appearances, he only seems like a typical company employee. However...
(There's more to it. That's not a human...I'm not quite sure why I think so, but I'm not mistaken here.)
As the man draws closer, an indescribable feeling of oppression grew stronger.
For some reason, the back of my neck feels hot. There's a buzzing in my ears. I can't breathe the way I want. Before I knew it, my whole body began to sweat.
Thinking about it, this was the first time I've faced an apostle at so close a proximity.
"A pleasure to meet you, Apostle. It's quite admirable that you came all the way here to get knocked down."
Elmira stepped forward to try and protect me. As expected, even if she's rotten, she's still a main character. She's a vampire of justice that would protect an ordinary citizen.
Following that, the man stopped his feet at a distance of around five meters from us.
He observed us with his emotionless eyes for a brief moment. He seemed like a carnivore evaluating some prey.
Soon, the man introduced himself. For some reason, these "Apostles of Hell" have a biker gang-like naming sense. (TLN: The kanji characters in Shidora's name directly translate to 'Thin Death Ballista.' Ow the edge.)
"Remember it. It's the name of the one that will consume you!"
In the next moment, the man's body expanded.
With a billowing sound, his suit tore as he morphed into a large build of three meters that was covered in hair. A pair of fangs pointed upwards and reached from his mouth to his ears. Although he stood on two feet, he was an apostle that seemed like a wild boar.
The apostle's roar echoed throughout the unpopulated alley.
"Elmira McCartney! You're a foolish girl that allies with humans despite being a non-human! I've been waiting for you to be alone!"
"Did you think I would be beaten by a single being? It seems you're making light of me."
Elmira's scarlet hair began to wave. At the same time,
I felt another strong pressure against my body. It far surpasses that of the apostle's, and furthermore, there was a fighting spirit(?) that carried traces of blazes.
(S, she really isn't a human!)
The surrounding temperature instantly rose. The air warped from the heat, the blowing wind turned hot like a hairdryer. My bag turned piping hot like a steamed bun.
...This is Elmira's battle mode.
Were you this overwhelming? You weren't just a sleepy character?
"Guh, what an aura...who knew that 'The Blood-kin of Eternal Darkness' was this dangerous of an existence...!"
I and the wild boar apostle both flinched.
It's good that she revealed her true character with vigor, but her expression was already losing its composure. Did I misinterpret Elmira's power?
"Shidora, is that how you say it? I will now pass judgement onto you."
Elmira slowly walked.
"I see. Perhaps your sentence will be death by fire. With my hellfire, I'll roast you until you're well-done. I'll burn..."
Then, at that moment, Elmira unsteadily staggers left and right.
Next, her knees lose their balance, and she topples onto the ground. The blazes and the pressure she had emitted rapidly vanished.
"E, Elmira?! What's wrong?!"
"T, this is bad..."
"I don't have enough blood...come to think of it, I didn't absorb any from Ryuuga recently..."
What the heck. Elmira is out of fuel at such a time!
Blood is the energy source of her flames. She can effortlessly resupply by sucking blood, but Ryuuga prohibited her from doing that. Ryuuga told her "You can suck my blood instead."
Elmira's following that agreement, so she probably could only have supplied energy using her own blood. And now, when trying to bring out a large fire, caused a state of anemia to happen to her.
(All because I kept monopolizing Ryuga...)
Despite Ryuuga being who she is, it seems she forgot to let Elmira suck her blood. She was so engrossed in me, it seems that she overlooked the need to resupply Elmira.
Don't tell me the negative effects of me straying away from my character would manifest like this.
"M, Mwahaha...what's wrong? You're the 'The Blood-kin of Eternal Darkness.'"
Inferring the situation, Shidora instantly regained his spirit. Talk about an apostle that's all talk.
"It seems that you're in a bad shape. I could easily kill your current form!"
"K, Kobayashi Ichirou...run away."
Elmira gasps hard to say that while not even being able to stand up.
"I can buy a bit of time...so in the meantime, run off to find Ryuuga..."
That's not good. If I do that, Elmira will be killed, and I'll be the indirect cause of that.
(I can't do that. This guy isn't even all that tough, he's supposed get buried by the main characters!)
As I was thinking of such, my body already moved on its own.
I quickly sent Ryuuga a message, then ran off from my location. In a reversal of the situation just now, I stand in front of Elmira to protect her and face the apostle.
"W, what are you doing Kobayashi Ichirou. Quickly, get out of here...!"
"Leave this to me!"
I rejected Elmira's proposal and glared straight at the apostle.
The distance between us was only a little under two meters. To be honest, it was not a riveting feeling. Even if twenty delinquents surrounded me, I wouldn't feel as nervous as I am now.
"What are you up to? Do you want me to consume you first?"
Shidora looked down at me with his wicked eyes.
I'm getting cold feet. Right now, I'm "the female protagonist's semi-boyfriend." While I'm at it, I'm also a heroine's advisor and a heroine's coordinator.
I can't afford to make a unsightly display of myself here. I am a pro co-star...and until I return to being a friend character, I'll operate under this role with all of my might!
"You humans have sufficient courage. However, reality does not turn out as they would wish!"
"I'll make it turn out as I wish!"
As Shidora was talking with his large mouth, I lunged at him.
I then tossed my school bag into his mouth.
The apostle was slightly surprised by the unexpected attack of an ordinary citizen. I made use of the opportunity──
I quickly turned back and ran away as fast I could while holding Elmira in my arms. This makes it the second time I've done a princess carry to someone, the first time being with Ryuuga.
Elmira and Shidora went "Wha?!" in unison. Time to flee. There's no reason for me to go against him up front!
"W, wait Kobayashi Ichirou. What are you planning?!"
Elmira is puzzled while in my arms. It was fortunate that she was lighter than I thought.
"You saw what I did! This is a retreat, a retreat!"
"Are you going to neglect the apostle?"
"I'm not letting him go unchecked! A certain someone is going to knock him down! He'll knock him down for you, Elmira!"
"Say, what's with your leg strength..."
While doing this and that, the gap between Shidora and I opened up.
I can't have a peace of mind with just this much, though. As evidence of that, I felt an ill will from behind me shortly afterwards. I have to speed up.
(He's a wild boar apostle. His strength is in charging forward, but he should be weak at swerving...so to run away, I'll need to zig-zag as much as I can!)
To break free of the pursuit, I kept turning left and right on the road. I kicked my way up a short concrete wall, jumped over a wire mesh, and sprinted across the railing of a fence.
"Y, you are not human! Your speed is ridiculously──"
In the far distance, I heard Shidora yell something from behind.
However, I soon couldn't hear his voice anymore.