Sure enough, the city had fallen into a large panic.
As I ran towards the direction with many people, the number of screams increased.
...I'm worried about Ryuuga, but first of all, I have to evacuate these ordinary people.
If serious harm occurs, then Ryuuga is in danger of being harshly criticized. I have to avoid that with the best of my abilities.
(How many freaking doors to the spirit world were opened?)
Slipping through the escaping people, I searched for an apostle.
Soon after, I spotted a gorilla-like apostle running rampant in the middle of a three-lane road. It grabbed abandoned automobiles and tossed them at buildings, destroying them.
(The nerve that guy has to pop up during the climax!)
Being careful, I briskly walked up to him, and then──
"Sparrows start to nest, first cherry blossoms, distant thunder."
Following the jingling sounds of a Kagura suzu was the clear voice of a girl.
In that exact moment, the movements of the gorilla apostle turned sluggish. This was a phenomenon I had seen before, but this time it didn't stop there.
The nearby trees rustled in unison. After that, their branches extended and coiled around the apostle like a rope.
"Grrr! W, what is this!"
"Swallows return, wild geese fly north, first rainbows...Apostle, this is as far as you'll go."
It was "The Shrine Maiden of Life" that showed up──Yukimiya Shiori.
Her long hair fluttered, the hems of her skirt waved, and she stepped towards the confused gorilla apostle.
(Yukimiya...! Don't tell me you're here by yourself?)
I had a habit where if I'm peeking at a battle, I would hide myself behind a car. From behind, I saw Yukimiya show up, confronting the eight meter tall apostle.
"I, I can't move...little girl, is this your doing?!"
"I am 'The Shrine Maiden of Life.' I can heal wounds by bestowing the vitality of life, or I can weaken movements by taking away vitality. And, with a strong enough mindset, I can insert a certain amount of vitality into plants to do this──"
Immediately after, the gorilla apostle let out a voice of anguish.
The tree branches suddenly grew strong, cracking the bones of the apostle's entire body.
"Gugaaaah! Guh, gah..."
At the end of the merciless binding, both arms of the gorilla apostle loosely dangled. Next, his head feebly hung, then he began to melt and disappear within the branches.
"This is my new technique I've made using my abilities──Tree Binding Execution."
While saying that, Yukimiya bowed to the disappearing apostle. After seeing that, it reminded me of how Ryuuga would one-sidedly kill an opponent in an instant.
...She was worried about only being able to have a support role, but she managed to acquire fighting strength.
Although she's a shrine maiden based on compassion, her technique had the word "execution" in it. Is it okay for her to follow this path?
(Yukimiya, it'll also be a problem if you get too ruthless. Don't forget that you're the school's idol, okay?)
That's what I'm worried about.
Without time to even take a breather, many ill wills rushed in from all directions.
Up ahead, left, and right were new apostles that were swarming in. Maybe they heard the death cries of their companion?
Beast-like ones, fish-like ones, bug-like ones...a troop of over twenty surrounded Yukimiya. Though she acquired a new technique, as expected, she's outnumbered.
"Darn, there are still this many apostles..."
While Yukimiya was on guard, the apostles declared something in unison.
"Ehehehe! With the 'Evil Spirit' resurrected, this world is already ours! Give up, 'Shrine Maiden of Life!'"
"Never! We will definitely protect everything until the very end! This town! This world!"
"Ehehehe! There are still five doors open. Our numbers are more than a hundred. This is already the end for you!"
"In that case, I'll just have to defeat all of you!"
"Ehehehe! I wonder if you can even do that."
"Aren't you going to regret boasting later on?"
"Silence! Enough of your unsightly faces!"
"Your body colors are disgusting! Your skin is putrid!"
Not good. Yukimiya's remarks are becoming more harsh and insensitive. She's starting to hurt the feelings of the apostles.
I can't afford to leave things as they are, and I mean that in multiple ways. Most of all, I can't let Yukimiya face retirement here!
Thinking that, I immediately leaped from the back of the car, and charged towards the peculiarities surrounding Yukimiya. It's okay, the apostles won't lay a hand on me!
Yukimiya and the apostles looked over at my direction in surprise.
In that time frame, I had already beaten the apostles in front of me.
While Yukimiya was in shock, one by one, I was knocking out, kicking down, and tearing away through the apostles.
I don't know why myself, but my whole body was being filled with strength. My limbs were also emitting a small aura.
"W, who is this! A human?"
"Wait! Isn't that wrong?"
"Should we attack?"
"No, I feel like we can't for some reason..."
While the apostles were preparing to flee, I kept on single-mindedly going on a rampage. While doing so, I called out the Yukimiya, who was dumbfounded.
"Yukimiya! Get back to Ryuga!"
Yukimiya blinks her eyes. Well, it'd be natural for her to be surprised when a sub-character suddenly appears and starts kicking the enemies around.
"Supporting that person is your duty! It's no problem if you leave this to me!"
"K, Kobayashi. What in the world are..."
"Now's not the time to be minding such things! Hurry up and go!"
I turned into a strange character after my tension rose up in the midst of my rampage.
"Is it really okay if I...?"
"It's as you can see! If you can defeat the 'Evil Spirit,' then the motivation of these guys will definitely turn into nothing! Their means to victory will also turn into nothing!"
"I, I understand...cool winds blow, evening cicadas sing, thick fog descends."
While nodding her head and turning around, Yukimiya recited some of the microseasons.
Upon which, the trees once again extended their branches an coiled around the apostles.
"Kobayashi! Once I leave this area, Tree Binding Execution will last for ten minutes! Please escape by then!"
"Alright! Thank you, Yukimiya!"
"...Shiori is fine."
Yukimiya ran off, leaving behind some troubling words. She headed towards the riverbank, where Ryuuga and the 'Evil Spirit' were.
The apostles, with their prey having escaped, started booing me from all four directions.
"Hey you! What are you doing!"
"You just suddenly appeared and started fighting us empty-handed!"
"To start with, who are you! What is that strange presence you have!"
There were an abundant variety of peculiarities, and they shouted while struggling within the tree branches.
I let my fists loose on each and every one of them in silence.
I've completely given up on being an ordinary person now.
After using those ten minutes to suppress the apostles, I once again sprinted towards the direction where there were ill wills.
It's likely that the heroines left the 'Evil Spirit' to Ryuuga and are dealing with the raging apostles in the streets.
I should take over for them so that they can head over to Ryuuga and support her. I think that all the main characters have to be present during the story's conclusion, the final battle.
(It looks like the evacuation of everyone has almost finished...apparently the apostles are prioritizing the heroines, so that makes things convenient!)
I advance forward while beating the daylights out of wandering apostles that I come across along the way.
Soon, I found "The Swordswoman of the Beheading Dance"──Aogasaki Rei.
(Whoa, what is this?)
It was a ghastly scene where the corpses of apostles were lying on the floor all around.
There seems to be around thirty corpses. All of them were cut up by a sharp blade, and they were melting or evaporating here and there. If there were also opponents that had already disappeared, then she's subjugated many of them already.
(It's not only Yukimiya, but also Aogasaki that's gotten stronger than before?)
I wonder if there was power-up event that happened while I was indoors. Anyways, it seems that she's going to wrap things up around here soon...or so I thought.
Soon after, Aogasaki was having a hard time.
In front of Aogasaki, who was wielding her wooden sword, was a heron-like apostle who calmly stood with an air of composure. Her arms were wings, looking a lot like what's known as a harpy.
With a physique that isn't very large, she gives a weak impression at first glance. This was an apostle with quite a human-like face. However, the might of the emitted ill will was in a different league, it was brutal.
There's no doubt that this apostle is one of the top-class...and she has breasts, making her a girl apostle. Unfortunately, her feathers are covering them, so I can't confirm if she has nipples.
"Mwahaha...you're not done yet, "Swordswoman of the Beheading Dance." You still haven't taken down fifty apostles with that one stick of yours. However, I'm not going to send any more small fries, alright?"
"I can see. That's why I need to slay you here!"
Aogasaki boldly declares that while thrusting the tip of her blade. After all, this is the kind of character she is.
I notice a small glint in Aogasaki's eyes, but the girl apostle reacts calmly.
"Ahahaha! You'll win against me, you say? I'm 'The Third Princess of Hell,' Mion!"
With a loud laughter, the girl apostle lets out her name, and it's unexpectedly one that I recognize.
(Mion? That girl is Mion?)
The one that was unexpectedly helpful, had a ponytail to the side, and wore black lace panties?
Furthermore, she said she was "The Third Princess of Hell." I didn't know that the apostles also had three major heroines among them.
"Female apostle! Victory is commonplace for me!"
"Then let me play with you!"
The two had clashed before I could break in.
Aogasaki strikes out with a tremendous speed, and Mion flies around to counterattack, also at a ridiculous speed. My eyes wouldn't stop moving around when viewing this battle of great swiftness.
"You're slow, 'Swordswoman of the Beheading Dance.' Look, over here!"
While saying her provocation, Mion soared high into the sky. So it's come to this?
For Aogasaki, who wields a wooden sword, a flight-type enemy is a bad match for her. Even if you account for the length of the wooden sword, her range is still only two or three meters...it's making me worry.
"Secret Sword, Sonic Blade!"
When Aogasaki swung down her wooden sword, a void wave released from the blade.
A blade of wind soared through the air, similar to Kamaitachi, and headed towards the opponent. (TLN: Kamaitachi are Japanese youkai that swiftly cut up their victims in a whirlwind)
Mion's complexion changed after seeing the ranged attack that was beyond her expectations. Dodging the attack by a hair, she gets onto the surface and distances herself from her opponent.
(T, that was dangerous...Mion got careless.)
An ordinary apostle would have received a direct hit and that would end it. As expected, she's in the top-class. Or rather, why am I feeling relieved?
"You dodged it? It seems you really are an apostle I can't deal with using normal means."
Aogasaki once again approached Mion.
In face of that, Mion sharpens her wings into blades.
"*huff* Who knew you had a projectile...I hadn't been taken by surprise like that in a long time."
"I am 'The Swordswoman of the Beheading Dance.' The core of my ability is controlling the way of the sword. Now that I've awakened to the deepest level of the art, my field is no longer limited to just close combat."
"What a nuisance, Gin-and-Tonic."
...I didn't think Aogasaki would acquire a new technique as well. Also, that one name sounded cocktail-like.
(Is she trying to move out of her Japanese-style character design at this stage? I'd kinda appreciate it if she didn't deviate, but...wait, now's not the time to be worrying about such things!)
I can't afford to just thoughtlessly spectate. I'm not a sub-character anymore.
"Female apostle! This time I'll have your head!"
"I, Mion, will not be made light of!"
At the moment the two were about the resume their battle, I leaped in between the two of them.
The sheen on Aogasaki's sword fades as I grab her wrist. At the same time, I grasp Mions sharp wings between two of my fingers.
Aogasaki and Mion were both surprised.
However, I myself am not startled. Since I'm not an ordinary person, I probably can do this much like it's normal. My power surge from a bit ago was still in effect.
"Are the both of you not going to stop?"
The two stare blankly as I make my comment. Since I was still in high tension, I became a strange character again.
"Y, you, at this time..."
Ignoring their confusion, I glared at Aogasaki first.
"Ms. Aogasaki! Now's not the time to be fooling about!"
"Huh? M, Ms.?"
"Don't forget about the battle with the final boss! Why does it seem like you're not going?"
"I won't hear any excuses! Furthermore, Ms. Mion!"
Continuing on, I glared at Mion next.
Overwhelmed by my vigor, Mion froze in place. Her entire bloodthirst vanished in a flash.
"Do you recognize my figure?!"
"Y, you appeared again...the sexual harasser that I can't attack for some reason!"
Her voice stiffened with fear. Her cheek twitched. How rude.
"What do you mean by sexual harasser?! Didn't you also get swept away by the mood?!"
"T, That's wron──"
"Did you not go as far as to clean my ears?!" (TLN: Ear cleaning is generally seen as a sign of intimacy in Japan.)
"No! That's not right! That's what you call an delusion by the mind causing a..."
"Anyways, I won't forgive you if you attack a human! Otherwise, next time, my harassment just stop at the degree of where it went last time. You can relay that your subordinates as well!"
"N, nooooooo! Pervert!"
Immediately, Mion screamed while fleeing.
She jumped, spread her wings, and flew away in the sky as fast as she could. In the blink of an eye, her figure blended into the glowing sunset. Since the situation turned out like this, things should be fine.
Thus, Aogasaki and I were the only ones remaining.
This is a secret, but it was quite lucky that Mion ran away. I honestly didn't want to see her die.
I have a debt to repay after she let me rest my head on her lap. Furthermore, my head surprisingly matches well with her thighs.
"K, Kobayashi. What in the world are you..."
Aogasaki, who hasn't yet grasped the situation, barely squeezed out a voice.
"Ms. Aogasaki, go with haste."
I repeated my intentions to her with an intense expression.
Unfortunately, my tone of voice didn't return back to normal. Please do not pursue too deeply into this character.
"At this very moment, Ryuga is fighting the 'Evil Spirit' by his lonesome self. Furthermore, the vessel for the 'Evil Spirit' is his sister, the lovely Kyouka."
"If you don't support Ryuga now, when will you ever get the chance to?! Would you pass away in satisfaction sacrificing yourself to hunt these apostles?!"
"So that's why you were acting absurd. You put yourself at risk...so that I wouldn't die..."
"Come now, rush back to Ryuga with haste! Run like the wind!"
"...I understand. I'll do as you say."
She stared at my direction with her eyes moist for whatever reason. Aogasaki complied and started running.
"Kobayashi! You have to evacuate! Don't conduct any reckless behavior again!"
"If it so pleases you!"
"I wonder what on earth happened. My chest is beating so fast..."
I heard Aogasaki speak to herself as she ran off, but I decided to pretend that I didn't hear it.
Now that I had sent Aogasaki off, I ran around the whole town searching for the remaining major heroine.
The only one left is Elmira McCartney. It's likely that she's out there somewhere repelling the apostles. Once I cover for her, all the actors will be present at the final battle.
(The number of apostles out there are around one hundred. There shouldn't be that many left, though. No wait, since the "Evil Spirit" opened those doors, it's possible that new troops could come in...)
That being the case, the heroines have to hurry and get to the riverbank. Otherwise, the "Evil Spirit" won't be defeated and the situation won't reach its major conclusion.
I need to have them rush in dramatically to support Ryuuga, who can't attack her sister...and, while I was thinking about that,
Elmira came to me from up ahead.
Her prized scarlet hair was in disorder, and was somewhat darkened. Her uniform was covered in dirt, and her manner of walking was unsteady. It seemed she was quite exhausted.
Perhaps she was forced into a hard struggle. Perhaps if I had met with her sooner...
"Are you okay?! Elmira, you──"
"Give me your blood!"
Rushing up to me while I was confused, Elmira plunged her teeth into the nape of my neck.
"Huh? W, wait a minu──"
At that exact moment, she began to forcibly absorbing my blood. I was amazed at her absorption force, it was like a foreign-brand vacuum cleaner.
My whole body lost its strength in a flash, and I fell onto the floor.
However, Elmira did not let me go. I had no choice but to listen to her gulp down.
"...Aaah! Your blood really is the very best!"
About a minute later, Elmira finally stopped sucking blood.
While wiping her mouth, she had already recovered from her exhaustion as if it hadn't even happened. Her body was glossy and her deep crimson hair regained its vividness.
"So, Kobayashi Ichirou? What are you doing in a place like this?"
The vampire asks that question at this late of a time.
However, I can't even give a reply. Slumping on the floor, the best I could do was give a moan.
"Say, are you fighting against the apostles? As I expected, you're doing something reckless."
"Don't worry. I can't sense the ill wills of apostles anywhere now. For the time being, the town is safe...I wonder if Shiori and Rei are safe."
"The two...are back with Ryuga..."
Mustering the energy I had left, I finally manage to tell her that.
"Eh, is that so?"
"You too...should hurry and go...help Ryuga..."
I've once again turned into a strange character. This time it's different though, since now my tension is at its lowest.
"I see. My supply is in top shape now, so I'm not disheveled anymore. With my current self, there's no need to fear the 'Evil Spirit.'"
As my field of vision turned blurry, I saw Elmira do a peace sign. However, I couldn't react to it. It seemed that I was losing focus and losing consciousness.
"Kobayashi Ichirou, take refuge. Leave the rest to us."
"When I come back, let me absorb some blood, okay? Keep this a secret from Ryuuga."
Whispering that at the end, Elmira gave a light wink.
Like that, she ran off full of spirit, and I vacantly saw her off with my dim consciousness. Since I lost an extreme amount of blood, my body was getting cold.
Can someone out there...give me a blood transfusion?