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The dazzling morning sun came creeping in from the crevices of the curtains, causing me to open my eyes.
What first entered my sight as I woke was the ceiling light. Next was the round clock on the wall. There isn't much to look at here. This is the room that I'm used to living in.
(It's still 7 o'clock...a bit early to wake up at.)
This is my precious summer vacation, so I suppose sleeping for two more hours wouldn't hurt. I don't need to frantically search for apostles anymore, after all.
...I had come across three apostles by chance yesterday. Or rather, they decided by themselves to settle in my house once I got home.
I was told that they came here during the day where I went Chigayama. Then it seems that they found the key hidden in the yard's flowerpot. So, I believe that's how they got into the house.
(They're quite shameless fellows, but at last, I got the fighting power I was looking for. Furthermore, they're quite the bigwigs.)
They called themselves the "Three Princesses of Hell," and are characters in the upper echelons that hold top-class power.
Depending on their strength, an apostle can have the status of "Soldier," "Commanding Officer," or "General." Those three are one of the few "Generals" there are.
Heron type Mion.
King Cobra type Jyuri.
Hokkaido Wolf Kiki.
The animals they're based off of are pretty cool. I don't doubt their power, seeing how Mion was able to an even match for Aogasaki. Jyuri and Kiki have about the same power, so they're indeed reliable subordinates.
(Based on outer appearances, it seems that the oldest is Jyuri, followed by Mion, and then Kiki as third.)
However, they're not sisters. To start with, the concept of a blood relation does not exist for apostles. They're called the three princesses, but they're really just a trio of good friends.
Good friends...now that's a word that I don't want the apostles to use.
(In any case, now that these three are here, I can move forward for the time being. Actually, any more than this I wouldn't have any rooms left in my house. There's a limit to how many this house can support.)
I'll just go with a few elite for part two. There were more than a hundred apostles in part one, so I think this is fine in terms of crafting some differentiation. Quality over quantity, as they say.
(At last, I've gathered support from the enemy side. Now comes the matter of Tie. That guy still doesn't have the eagerness to be the final boss...)
While thinking about such things, I turned to my side. Upon which,
──There was a girl there.
A fair office lady with long blonde hair, who looked like an actress, was sleeping peacefully right in front of my eyes. In addition, she was utterly naked.
I shouted with a jump, and fell off my bed.
The back of my head hit the floor, but I somehow managed to get up and use my momentum to sit on a desk chair. I once again fell from the chair collapsing under the momentum, and this time, I hit the back of my head against the wall.
I feel like I received a German suplex twice.
For a brief while, I was writhing in agony, and then the girl on the bed got up.
At the same time, her enormous breasts swayed, bouncing up and down...What kind of breasts are those? How do they stay up when they're that big? Do they not know what gravity is?!
"Ah...good morning, Ichirou."
The girl, Jyuri, smiled while briefly yawning.
Her disheveled hair was erotic. Her eyelashes were long, the bridge of her nose was tall, and she has a beautiful face that one wouldn't imagine being achievable without make-up. Her white thighs were smooth and voluptuous.
"W, w, what are you doing?! Why were you in my bed?!"
Though I was screaming out loud, my line of sight was on Jyuri's abdomen. Such is the sad nature of a navel fetishist.
"I had an order from our ruler, Taotie. He said 'I don't any services, so take care of Boss instead.'"
"Of course, that is par for the course for us. You're Taotie's important vessel...you're one piece of our ruler, after all."
"No, like I was saying..."
"I, Jyuri, am the most 'sensual' of the three princesses. Since you're a second year high school boy, you must have a limit to your pent up sexual desire...you don't need to release it out onto anyone other than me."
"That's none of your business!"
"Broadly speaking, I'm in charge of erotic activities."
"That's too broad! Anyways, do something about your breasts!"
Jyuri gave a dubious chuckle, as if enjoying my reaction. Her scarlet tongue licked her lips.
"If you say it like that, does that mean your sense of reasoning could disappear at any moment from it?"
"I've heard that the minds of middle and high school boys are 90% preoccupied with 'sex' while the remaining 10% is preoccupied with a 'vague unease about the future.' You're no exception to that right, Ichirou?"
"Don't make fun of middle and high schoolers! We have more in our minds than that!"
"Don't lie to yourself. You're definitely harboring some thoughts when seeing me naked like this...I want to reenact that that adult video and play I saw before."
"What adult video?! What play?!"
"Be relieved, for I will comply with everything you do. I swear by my name as one of the 'Three Princesses of Hell.'"
"Stop it with that useless sense of duty!"
Not carrying about my retort, the blonde haired deviant made a bewitching display of herself by lying down on the bed. Her enormous breasts were still swaying.
"Now, don't hold yourself back. Please indulge in your desires."
"Don't say that so politely!"
"If you're into the interspecies kind of thing, I can revert to my apostle form."
"What are you saying this early in the morning!"
I had finally gotten some apostles, and yet...I feel very uneasy about the future.
Twenty minutes afterwards, I finally got Jyuri to put on some clothes.
We played rock, paper, scissors, and each time I won she would put on panties, a bra, garters, a belt, stockings, and other such articles. Each time I lost, she would remove them. I managed to get her to put her suit back on after thirty games. It's baffling that we're doing "reverse-strip rock, paper, scissors."
"Heheheh. You're stubborn, Ichirou. However, I won't lose tomorrow."
"You're coming over again...?"
While letting out a mischievous smile, she headed down the stairs and into the kitchen. It isn't even eight in the morning, and yet I feel tired.
...So, as I got closer to the kitchen, there was some kind of appetizing fragrance. It was the aroma of grilled fish and miso soup.
"Ah, good morning, Ichirou."
Who showed up was a female high school student wearing a uniform, stirring a saucepan of miso soup, stopping the ladle she was maneuvering with her hands to greet me. She wore an apron, had a nice figure, and had a ponytail to the side...it was Mion.
"Good morning, Baron Ichirou."
Next came a little girl serving bowls of rice, who then stood on a chair and bowed her head. Her facial expression was still as unclear and unknown as ever, and she looked like a kindergartner with a bobbed hair-cut...it was Kiki.
"What's with calling me Baron? I don't remember gaining such a title."
As I was frowning, Jyuri gave an explanation from my side.
"It seems that it's a word she recently picked up, and thought that it would be good to use for someone with a high status. Well, I wouldn't worry about it."
Meanwhile, Kiki was placing chopsticks on the table, pouring hot water into a teapot, and was doing her best at helping out with breakfast.
I wonder if this kid is really a general. Is it fine as her guardian to not have her go to kindergarten...?
Though I held such a worry, I had no choice but to have faith in her abilities. As a Hokkaido wolf type apostle, she did manage to track this house from the lingering scent of Taotie's ill will, after all.
"Ichirou. It'll be ready soon, so go wash your face. Kiki, please bring me the soy sauce. Jyuri, carry the miso soup over."
After Mion promptly gave instructions, we replied with "Alright." She's seems like a pretty steadfast second daughter. I wonder if this is her true nature.
"I want to eat candy along with fish."
"I want to eat Ichirou along with fish, in a sexual way."
...I'm really uneasy about the eldest and third daughter here, actually.
Afterwards, the preparations for breakfast were soon done, so we got around the table, put our hands together, and said "Thank you for the meal."
The grilled fish and miso soup were both delicious like their fragrance had suggested. I never thought that Mion was an apostle that had this much womanly power...it seems that it isn't just comforting that she's good at.
"As expected, your home cooking is superb, Mion."
"You all should learn at least one portion of housework. You can't rely on me the whole time."
Jyuri and Kiki stuck out their tongues in response to Mion's scolding. There doesn't seem to be any sense of evil in this circle around the dining table.
I should mention that Taotie isn't here.
It seems that he hasn't woken up from inside me yet, he isn't responding no matter how many times I call out to him. He was probably playing video games late into the night.
"At any rate, this is quite troubling...who would have thought that Taotie would be uninterested in destroying the world?"
Around the time that everyone was finishing their meal, Mion sighed as she said so while holding a cup in her hand.
The three already know about Taotie not wanting to be the final boss. I hoped that perhaps I could convince him otherwise...but in the end, it seems that it was in vain.
"How about this, Mion. What if we moved according to our own decisions? Let's start dealing with the four gods before we attack Hinomori Ryuuga."
What Jyuri said was quite apostle-like, but Mion rejected it.
"We're supposed to follow the wishes of the 'Evil Spirit'. Taotie doesn't want to fight. Engaging in battle without permission is a bit improper..."
"So do we make friends with the humans?"
When Kiki asked that, Mion and Jyuri exchanged glances, then turned silent. Eventually, the two grumbled "I feel a bit opposed to that..." in a bitter manner.
I listened in on their conversation for a while.
Then, I suddenly spoke out loud towards the three princesses, who were stumped.
"No. Us 'Apostles of Hell' have a long-cherished desire of the world's destruction...don't forget that."
The gaze of the three gather towards me. They looked as if they needed to resort to desperate measures.
"I've been patiently trying to persuade Tie. Leave this to me for the time being. Also, have none of you met up with other apostles?"
Mion answered my question, as if she were representing the whole group.
"Unfortunately, it's just us. Many of the apostles were taken away from the previous battle. I'm not sure about how many survived..."
"I see. Since I'm Tie's vessel, I've been searching for apostles as well, but...the only one I found, a buffalo type, was killed by the enemy."
"Buffalo type? That was probably Goburu, wasn't it?"
Mion asked the blonde apostle in order to confirm.
With the subject having been brought up to her, Jyuri stared into the air for a while before clapping her hands.
"Aah, Goburu. He was definitely one of my soldiers. Oh dear."
How sad it is to see that she doesn't even know about her own subordinates. I can't help but feel sympathy for Goburu, who was simply shrugged off with an "Oh dear."
(Well, I suppose it isn't that saddening for these fellows.)
This is something I heard from them yesterday, but...it seems that the "Apostles of Hell" don't really "die" in this world.
When they receive a fatal injury, their corpses melt and disappear. I've seen that phenomenon myself countless times, but it seems that it's a case of "not being able to maintain their existence here, so their soul is sent back to the spirit world."
When their souls return to their own world, they'll regain their own physical body over time. However, that takes about two hundred years, so they can't do anything but sleep during that period...I suppose it's fundamentally like the "Evil Spirits," where they can't revive without storing up enough power."
"Ichirou. If there are surviving apostles, they'll definitely gather in this town. This is the sacred place where 'Evil Spirits' rest."
"If Baron Taotie could open doors to the spirit world, he could summon friends from there."
"Kiki, they're not friends, you know? You have to call them subordinates."
The steadfast second daughter scolded the third daughter. It seems that the only one self-aware about being a general is Mion.
It seems I need to mend the ways of not only Taotie, but the three princesses as well...while thinking of such things, I placed my teacup down on the table and talked to the girls.
"Listen up. It's easy enough to say that we're running an evil organization, but I think you all should learn to take a little more leadership. Everyone keeps showing off, only to get crushed over and over again...that kind of thing is a stupid plan."
"Apostles don't have any coordination."
"We can't command them as generals, though."
"They like freedom."
While the third princesses were scratching their heads, I once again made a proclamation.
"Taotie's army won't follow the same path from now on. There are too many sacrifices, I recommend a plan where all members cooperate. A 'one for all, and all for one' attitude."
The three princesses say "Huh?" in unison. Have they really not heard that phrase before?
"Due to the sorry state that Tie is in, I'll be in charge of commands at present. You will refrain from taking unofficial actions unless I give approval. No problems?"
Mion and Kiki nodded their heads, while only Jyuri seemed to have a displeased expression while saying "But..."
"We shouldn't strike down even one person from the enemy forces for the sake of Taotie's motivation, right? For me, Jyuri, letting someone else take control is──"
"No can do. We'll make a move, and we'll all follow a plan."
It is intolerable to have forces wounded from pointless battles. It would also be bad for damage to accumulate in the town.
After the large panic that happened in the final battle of part one, there have been a lot of police-looking people around. Fortunately, mystery cases are common in this town, so everyone was accustomed to it, but...I'd like to tone things down if possible.
"Jyuri. Ichirou's words are as good as Taotie's. We don't know much about this place, so let's follow his orders."
"Follow Baron Ichirou."
Once the second and third daughter warned her, the eldest daughter reluctantly agreed and said "...I understand. There's a majority rule here." The fact that these fellows are surprisingly democratic has saved me.
Getting the approval of the three princesses, I stood up from my chair and adjourned this meeting.
"You three, pretend that you're my cousins. When you see people around the neighborhood, don't forget to greet them."
As the three princesses said "Okay," simultaneously, the hand on the clock moved.
It was only half past eight.
TLN: Thus ends this chapter.