Ryuuga and Kurogame turned pale upon Kyouka's entry.
The nightly riverbank had fallen silent. A soft wind blew across.
Honestly speaking...even I wouldn't have thought that the four of us would meet again like this after our trip at Chigayama. Not until Kyouka visited my home three days ago.
"Kyouka, what are you saying...? I mean, I definitely put away Hundun..."
Perhaps from too much shock, Ryuuga's tone of voice had returned to that of a girl's when she spoke. Well, the only people here are those who know about her secret, so it's not like it matters.
Disregarding her older sister, Kyouka released an enormous ill will from her entire body.
It was a dark, sinister ill will that took the form of a person behind her and shaped itself into a giant, muscular man. The figure had a dignified appearance and had a horn on its forehead...It was the "Evil Spirit" Hundun, who was thought to have been defeated.
At the same time, I also released an ill will for intimidation.
(Come out! Tie!)
(Alright, it's my time to shine.)
With that conversation, a jet black young man soon manifested behind me. He was a peculiarity who was tall, slender, and had a pair of sheep-like horns...He was the "Evil Spirit" Taotie.
"Two 'Evil Spirits'...!"
"I, I've never heard of this!"
Kyouka turned towards the two, who had already reached peak confusion, and added insult to injury.
"'Evil Spirits' don't die. Even if you defeat them, they just fall asleep once more. So, Hundun here has just a tiny bit of strength remaining. Barely enough to avoid falling asleep."
Alright. Good job saying it without fumbling, Kyouka. Revealing the information has been a success.
...For the final battle this time, I had to make a new script to incorporate "the existence of Kyouka and Hundun." The plot development consists of three stages.
Opening──Operation Phase 1. Put the protagonist in a tough predicament.
In addition to being separated from the heroines, two "Evil Spirits" would stand in front of Ryuuga. If I were a viewer, I would go "Whoa! Isn't this pretty nerve-wracking?!" while my eyes would be glued to the screen.
(To be honest, I'd like this to be where the episode cuts, but...it's not I can say that.)
After nonchalantly checking the state of my left arm, which had been struck by the tortoise, and being relieved that the pain was fading, I gave Kyouka some directions.
"Hundun. You'll dispose of the 'Black Tortoise.' The one who will bring down Hinomori Ryuuga──is me."
Kyouka immediately responded. I kicked my feet off of the ground.
I made a beeline towards Ryuuga with Taotie following me.
Ryuuga had a facial expression of hesitance for just a moment, but she soon took action. Her whole body brimmed with a golden aura, taking the form of a giant dragon.
"Unleashing divine might──'Yellow Dragon!'"
"Oh! So Ron...I mean, the accursed 'Yellow Dragon' has appeared!"
In order to meet the golden dragon opponent in the sky above Ryuuga, Taotie spread his wings and flew.
After glancing at that happening, I then faced Ryuuga and unleashed a barrage of fists. Entrusting Taotie with the "Yellow Dragon," I began a one-on-one fight with Ryuuga...That was how the plan went.
The protagonist's semi-boyfriend being the ringleader is the "essential piece" of part two.
That being the case, "Hinomori Ryuuga vs Kobayashi Ichirou" will be a major event that one can't afford to miss. Us crossing fists is an unavoidable fate!
Ryuuga nimbly dodged my chaotic rush. Perhaps still having some reluctance in fighting me, she solely focused on defending.
"Tsk, to think that 'Evil Spirits' won't die...!"
"What's the matter, Hinomori Ryuuga?! Come on, make your move! Let's see if you can best me!"
"Attacking Ichirou directly is something I can't do!"
"You're still going on about that?! Did you learn anything at all from your battle with Hundun?! Did you forget that your naivety in not attacking your sister is the very reason why you lost Kobayashi Ichirou?!"
I suppose taunts were par for the course in being a villain. It's difficult to find the opportunity to do so uninterrupted, though.
At any rate, I've been making sure that my attacks don't hit her. Perseverance isn't enough to describe what I'm having to do.
Due to Taotie's special qualities, my physical ability is still strengthened even if Taotie is away from me. Being able to communicate with him remotely is also a big help, and I had good reflexes from the onset as well.
I thought that I could drive her further into the corner, but...as expected, the protagonist's battle sense is outrageous.
"Come back to your senses, Ichirou! Don't surrender to the 'Evil Spirit's' control! Please be my lover!"
"We're going back to being friends!"
I quickly glanced upwards to see that the 'Evil Spirit' was in a fierce battle.
He drove his elbow into the head of the "Yellow Dragon," who was coiling around him. Can't he fight in a more stylish manner?
──一Meanwhile, Kurogame and Hundun were in the midst of battle several meters away from us.
Despite unleashing the "Black Tortoise" and trying to attack from a blind spot, Hundun defended against it. However, I thought that was amazing enough considering that she was tackling an "Evil Spirit" by herself.
"I, I won't fall here after having mastered the Kurogame School of Archelon Fist!"
"It's utterly futile, 'Black Tortoise.' Don't think for a moment that one of the mere four gods can beat me.."
Hundun once again returned to his former character. Regardless of his appearance, he was good at acting. Ryuuga and the others would never realize that he's actually just a rough middle-aged man.
"Gameo! Move faster!"
"That's what you call the 'Black Tortoise?' What an absurd thing to call a turtle."
The rock-like giant tortoise, who had a snake growing from its tail, was desperately trying to bite into Hundun. It was quite the admirable guardian deity.
Kyouka stuck behind the back of "Evil Spirit," hiding herself.
Unlike Taotie, Hundun cannot act separately from his host. Kyouka had to be there in the frontlines as well. Of course, Kurogame probably won't aim for her, but it's still a little worrisome.
(Well, Hundun will definitely protect her. It seems that middle-aged man is quite fond of Kyouka.)
While thinking about such things, I began picking up the pace.
I made a fierce attack while growing increasingly stern. At least, Ryuuga could no longer respond by only evading, and began guarding. However, judging by how she could still glance at Kurogame's direction from time to time, she probably still had some leeway.
"Are you worried about your companion? That's why you're so naive!"
"Ichirou, come back to your senses! Everyone's worried about you! Shiori, Rei, and even Elle!"
"I'll pulverize all of those flags at once!"
"I, Ichirou......you idioooot!"
When I was about to question what she was going on about, something happened in an instant.
Ryuuga violently slapped me on the check. I thought my neck would tear off.
"Didn't you promise me?! You said you wouldn't go anywhere without me!"
When I stumbled forward, Ryuuga didn't pass up the chance to grab me by the collar.
Hold on, my head's still shaking. I've got a nosebleed, and it's not stopping...
"We're supposed to watch another movie! Eat a parfait together! Prepare a marriage registration in advance! Didn't you promise that?!"
I have no recollection of promising that last one. Actually, I had no part in the movie or parfait either.
"Whatever! If you won't wake up, then I'll force you to! The prince's slumber is remedied by the princess' fist!"
There were a lot of retorts I wanted to make, but I'll just have to let them remain unspoken.
"Hmph. Fine by me! You can leave Kurogame Rina to herself! Since she holds the defensive power of the 'Black Tortoise,' a few attacks won't hurGAH!"
She slapped me on the cheek again before I could finish speaking. I thought my eyes would fall from their sockets.
While my feet were staggering, Ryuuga began her counterattack. In a complete reversal, I was now the one defending, having to withstand a storm of slaps without any room to breathe. S, she's really mad!
"Hmph. F, fine by me! I won't go easy on you either, Hinomori Ryuuga!"
"Those words don't belong to Ichirou! My Ichirou is more of an idiot!"
"If I was that kind of final boss, there would be a lot of complaints!"
"Prepare yourself! I'll keep slapping you until you wake up!"
"F, fight more stylishly, Hinomori Ryuuga!"
The sounds of battle continued to echo within the riverbank during the evening.
Mixed in were the roars of the "Yellow Dragon" and "Black Tortoise."
...I wonder how long this battle will go on for.
Suddenly, Ryuuga leaped back and took a distance. Or least, I thought she did, but she immediately jumped.
"Unleashing divine might──'Dragon King,' unite with me and slaughter our enemy!"
Reaching an impossible elevation, Ryuuga made a heroic yell.
Responding to her, the "Yellow Dragon" immediately left Taotie, transformed into a whirl of light, and enveloped Ryuuga.
(I, is this is what I think it is!)
There's no doubt about it. This is Ryuuga's killing technique.
A bombardment of conjured light bullets, nicknamed "Dragon Fang (what I'm calling it)."
Right after I trembled in fear, a golden comet plummeted straight towards Taotie.
Perhaps Ryuuga was waiting for this chance! By defeating the "Evil Spirit," the owner will be released. She was aiming for Taotie from the beginning. Her slapping was merely a diversion!
(Whoa, this is actually pretty dangerous.)
However, With the swing of an arm, Taotie reflected the comet. He dealt with it very easily, as if it were a fly.
Ryuuga, who had to defend against it with all of her might, tumbled over the ground while bouncing numerous times. After being sent ten meters away, the golden aura dispersed, leaving behind only a girl who was lying face-down.
He had a vast amount of power, far surpassing that of Hundun from part one.
(Aah, sorry Ryuuga!)
(What are you doing, you idiot?! I thought I said not to cause any injuries!)
(It's not what you think, Ryuuga! An 'Evil Spirit's' power is largely influenced by the host! Boss is the one at fault here!)
(You! Don't blame others!)
While we argued remotely, Taotie and I stood next to each other while making a small smirk.
Though I wanted to immediately rush over to her, I couldn't. It's quite painful being the final boss.
"Ugh, guh...what's with this guy...?"
Ryuuga somehow got up and looked at us. Fortunately, she didn't seem to have any injuries.
However, since her killer technique had ended in a failure, she had exhausted a great deal of stamina. Kurogame was also being cornered by Hundun, falling to her knees while breathing roughly.
...It would appear as if the results of the final battle have already been decided.
"Hmph. How foolish, Hinomori Ryuuga. Did you think you could attack Taotie with just the 'Yellow Dragon?'"
Taotie and I slowly approached Ryuuga. I was dripping with sweat from the extended battle. I had taken off my coat.
"If you want to put Taotie to sleep, you'll need the power of all four gods. However, the 'White Tiger,' 'Azure Dragon,' and 'Vermilion Bird' are in the midst of battling the apostles. And the 'Black Tortoise' has nothing up her sleeve against my sworn friend Hundun."
"Let's assume for a moment that you do miraculously defeat Taotie. Even if that did happen, would you still have the strength to fight Hundun?"
With a tearful voice, Ryuuga thrusted her fingernails into the ground. It felt as if she had thrusted her nails into my heart.
"Is it...to late to bring you two back? Come back...please come back..."
I was desperately trying to find a way to break the silence after Ryuuga had snapped.
...Ryuuga, remember. There was something I should have said in Chigayama. "It'll definitely turn out as a happy ending. I'll make my way back to you in the end," is what I said.
(Boss, I think Ryuuga is in a big enough of a predicament. Doing any more than this is insufferable.)
(I know. Alright...Kyouka, are preparations ready?)
Once I secretly signaled to Kyouka using my eyes, she nodded with a slightly nervous face. It'll be fine, you'll be able to do it. I value you highly as a sub-character.
──Now then, let's get started. Here's the second surprise for today.
"Come now, be prepared to take a visit to the afterlife! Hinomori Ryu──"
My loud yell was interrupted.
With Kyouka's order, Hundun fired a wave from his palm.
It wasn't heading towards Ryuuga or Kurogame──but towards me.
Taotie just barely stopped the surprise attack.
With the impact reaching me as well, I couldn't endure it and fell to my knees. It felt as if a blazing fast bowling ball hat struck me.
"Guh...! W, what is the meaning of this, Hundun?!"
Glaring at me in anger, Kyouka threw away her sunglasses and spoke bluntly.
"You've finally shown an opening, Kobayashi! I've been waiting for this chance!"
Subsequently, Hundun's character suddenly changed, and he scratched his unkempt hair.
"Tsk, am I not strong enough? If I had my original power, my host could crush you into pieces...wouldn't you agree, my fellow Taotie?"
"Hundun, don't tell me...that you're on the side of the humans!"
Ryuuga and Kurogame were flabbergasted at the sudden division between the "Evil Spirits"
Kyouka gave the two an explanation.
"L, let me explain! I was pretending to be their companion! I have complete control over the 'Evil Spirit!' Hundun's harmless at this point!"
Right. This is the next step in the plot.
Midgame──Operation Phase 2. Kyouka will switch sides and be with Ryuuga.
With a former enemy lending their power...the rest is simple. The hopeless situation will take a complete reversal, and though cliche, it'll still be enticing.
In fact, this is the reason why Kyouka visited three days ago.
What she wanted to consult with me about──was precisely the same problem that I had.