I wonder when I had first heard about the existence of "doppelgangers."
Such beings have the same appearance as someone else, and if the actual person happens to meet them, they will soon die. They could also be called "doubles,"and the literary master Akutagawa Ryunosuke also seemed to have left a story saying that he saw his doppelganger before his death.
Some say it's a psychic phenomenon, others say that it's a hallucinatory phenomenon. They appear in games as a race of monsters.
At any rate, they're "another you" that you don't want to meet if possible...that's what a doppelganger is.
(Taotie has the same look as me. Perhaps it's a sign that I'm going to die...is this guy my doppel?)
Though I had such concerns, I quickly denied them on the account of him being an "Evil Spirit."
"I've been within you this whole time, and it's had an effect on me."
"Before I knew it, my appearance and personality were affected. I'm quite easily influenced."
He just has no identity. This a pretty disappointing "Evil Spirit."
...According to Taotie, he's been dwelling within people of the Kobayashi household for a hundred years. When a vessel passes away, he gets transferred to another one as he waits for the time of his resurrection.
It seems that beforehand, he had dwelled within my grandfather, Kobayashi Kihachirou.
However, eleven years ago, my grandfather passed away, and at that time, he transferred over into my five-year-old self...Father, look how "lucky" I am.
Eleven years ago was exactly when I was doing that Momotarou play and had awakened to the appeal of a supporting role.
"And here I thought that it would take another hundred years before I resurrected. It seems that we have a good affinity, Boss. My power was growing faster than expected."
"How habitable a vessel is, you see. From the start, your family lineage is an extraordinarily comfortable place for me, Boss. Amongst them, you're the best out of all the successive generations, Boss."
While saying that, Taotie laughed.
I am not happy about this at all. Hey, don't rub your hands together. An "Evil Spirit" doesn't try to get on the good side of a human.
"Up until now, I was able to let out a voice occasionally."
"I, is that so?"
"Right. For example, when you muttered 'What is the capital of Belgium,' I said 'Belgium.'"
Now that he mentions it, something like that did happen. I thought it was just the wind."
"Well, the decisive moment was when receiving an attack from Hundun, someone that of the same race. That sent in a strong amount of life."
...During the final battle of part one, I had taken in a wave attack from the "Evil Spirit" Hundun in order to protect Ryuuga.
However, I was uninjured since Taotie was dwelling inside me. Thanks to that, I became a profoundly mysterious character that "was fine even after an attack from the final boss."
(I had carelessly gotten involved with Hundun, and now it's backfired in this way...)
While I had an displeased expression, Taotie was grinning like he was reading a manga journal.
If my parents came back home right now, they would collapse from the shock of seeing double the sons. Well, my mother and father said that they "wouldn't return home by the end of the year due to work," so I'm fine for now.
Anyways, for the time being...I have to do something about this "Evil Spirit."
"I get what you're saying. Taotie, come with me to the yard for a bit."
"Tie is fine."
"Are people even supposed to call an 'Evil Spirit' by a nickname?! Never mind, just follow me!"
When I got out of the house with Taotie, I immediately dug a hole in the yard with a shovel──and buried him there.
To repeat myself, I am not suitable for being the last boss. I am going to discreetly relinquish myself of this role.
(Nobody knows about this yet right now. I'll deal with this before someone finds out!)
After all, I want to be Ryuuga's friend character. I still have a lingering attachment for it.
I shouldn't give up hope. There's definitely a way to get back to being one. To make things the same as what they used to be, first of all, I have to pretend that what occurred with Taotie had never happened.
However, that failed.
As I was about to head back to the entrance, the "Evil Spirit" immediately emerged from the ground.
"Come on, what are you doing? Aren't you normally supposed to do these kinds of things at the beach?"
"Guh, is it hopeless...?!"
"Aah, my whole body is covered in soil. I'm going to enter the bath first."
Next, I took Taotie to a park in the neighborhood.
I left Taotie there like an stray dog...normally, I wouldn't forgive the act of abandoning a pet, but for an "Evil Spirit," I feel that there's no other choice. Given the circumstances, people should realize that I can't keep him.
However, that also failed.
When I returned home, Taotie somehow managed to come back earlier than me.
"Ah, welcome back."
"Oh, hello again...wait, what am I doing!"
Furthermore, he had already entered the bath and was quite clean. He looked exactly like me other than the traces of him having been in hot water.
"Go back to the park! There will surely be a kind person who will come by for you!"
"You know, I have the same appearance as you, Boss. That would cause various problems."
"Nobody would pick me up anyways because this revolting image."
"Don't just disrespect me without a slick of hesitation!"
It's probably as he had said. The neighbors would likely spread rumors about "Ichirou of the Kobayashi household acting weirdly." I had acted rashly, quite unbefitting of me.
After that, I tried to package and shove him into the storage room so that he would ascend into the afterlife, but it was completely futile. No matter how much I tried to tuck this guy away, he'd appear behind me.
"Now that it's come to this, I can only get someone else to take over as a vessel now..."
I was at my wits' end for a short time in the living room while Taotie was sitting across from me at the table.
"I would not advise doing that."
He had prepared two teacups and made some tea. The "Evil Spirit" kept on sipping his tea while offering a cup to me.
"Normal humans can't withstand being a vessel. They would die the moment we dwell within them."
"T, they'll die?"
"Right. That's why it's hard for me to find a vessel...'Evil Spirits' cannot exist in this world without someone to summon them with."
Taotie lightly shrugged his shoulders while saying so. Talking to someone that looks like myself is a very strange feeling.
"For that reason, your family lineage is very convenient. The Kobayashi family is the best host family for me."
"Is the same last name good enough? We can probably find another Kobayashi by walking around here."
"No, I believe that it would be dangerous if they don't have a blood connection with you, Boss. If it doesn't work, you'd become a murderer, you see."
...The risk in doing it is definitely too high. The law wouldn't be able to pin anything against me, but I'd still have a guilty conscious.
In the first place, even if there was someone who could withstand being a vessel, how would I even force the "Evil Spirit" onto them?Could a scoundrel doing such a thing even be qualified for returning to Ryuuga's "friend character"?
"I have just one request. Please let me stay as your inhabitant."
Taotie turns to my back and rubs my shoulders. Like I said, an "Evil Spirit" shouldn't be trying to butter up someone.
"It'll be fine, I won't cause you any inconvenience. I'll even help you around the house."
"Leaving that aside, there's been something on my mind this whole time..."
I asked Taotie a question while crossing my arms and making a sullen face. I'm feeling a little better now that he massaged my shoulders.
"You took a bath just a minute ago, right?"
"You were preparing tea in the kitchen just now as well, right?"
"In other words...you were taking action while away from me, right?"
This is something I've been worried about since a while ago.
Actually, this was a suspicion I've had since that time I left him at the park.
"Are you perhaps able to act separately from me?"
"I can. I normally do."
"How unfair! Hundun couldn't do that!"
The "Evil Spirit" Hundun that dwelled within Kyouka never separated from her. Even during the midst of battle, his actions were limited to whatever he could do while above Kyouka's head.
That's how it is. For "Evil Spirits" to exist in this world, there needs to be a vessel for them.
It seems that he's been going around silently doing his own solo matters without my permission!
"Instead, I don't have the ability to open doors to the spirit world. In short, each "Evil Spirit" has differing special skills...ah, by the way, I can reveal my horns as well."
A pair of sheep-like curved horns suddenly appeared on Taotie's head.
"Retract them! Actually, with that, you can call up some apostle companions, can't you! What am I going to do if they just suddenly appear!"
"I don't need any subordinates. I am a soloist. I'm a lonesome Evil Spirit."
"Anyways, I'm placing an absolute ban on free movement!"
Taotie is the spitting image of me. I can't bear having him walking around as he pleases.
If this guy happens to destroy the town, I'm going to be the one arrested. Then, if I get expelled from the school for that, I'll never be able to return to being Ryuuga's friend.
"Eh, isn't it fine to overlook this? Let me go to the convenience store, at least..."
"Definitely not! I do not permit you going outside! I'll beat you to death if you spend the night elsewhere!"
"There's plenty of excuses you can give for us. You could say I'm your doppelganger, or that I'm Player Two."
"That's not how it works! Especially with that latter one!"
"Then, you can pretend to call this the 'Scientific Ninja Arts, Conjured Clone Technique.'"
"Don't make me an even more complicated character than I already am!"
I got a slight dizziness from yelling at someone with the same face as myself.