"*sigh*...how did things come to this...?"
It was night. Returning home while feeling down, I voiced my complaints while resting my head on Mion's lap.
...The result of following Aogasaki on her date ended up being very troublesome.
Who would have thought that it would turn into a five to five team battle between the Aogasaki dojo and Getsushiyoukan. To think that I would also be introduced as one of their members...
This extra volume was supposed to end with a one to one fight between Ryuuga and King Arthur. I was supposed to have set the stage for the duel between these two and be done.
Yet, I still have screentime. At this rate, I'll probably be quite involved. I'll be forced to show up in the match.
"I didn't want to stand out at all back there. I just wanted to play a minor role..."
"Hm? Okay, turn your head the other way."
While listening to me speak, Mion cleaned my ears.
Her thighs were a perfect fit for my head. In addition, she was very skillful at ear cleaning, captivating not just me, but even Kiki.
"It seems that nothing good will happen without participating...nothing good..."
──Even after King Arthur left, I continued trying to persuade Ryuuga to reconsider.
It's definite that Ryuuga and Aogasaki will be members in the match. So, I tried asking if it would be fine to have the others be Yukimiya, Elmira, and Kurogame.
Five people is the requirement. Just enough to cover the main characters. That being the case, the heroines would be able to take an active role, so wouldn't that make it a worthwhile episode where everyone's teamwork would strengthen?
As a friend character, I would take a support role. I could be a commentator for the match. That would be the best option...and I frantically tried to propose it, but Ryuuga made a heartless reply.
"Sorry, but Rina can't do it. She departed to Canada yesterday in order to train for twelve days...wrestling with grizzly bears."
Is she Kintarou or something? (TLN: Kintarou is a Japanese folklore hero who had superhuman strength and befriended animals.)
"Furthermore, the Kurogame style of self-defense prohibits competitions between different schools. Either way, Rina can't participate."
So the tortoise had fled just earlier. It seems that slow-paced, airheaded, flat-chested girl won't be involved in the story again.
While I was disappointed, Aogasaki then gave the finishing blow in just a few words.
"Personally, I'd like it if you could participate, Kobayashi. This match is definitely...the most important match in my life, after all."
──No longer having a means of escape, my inclusion as a member had been decided.
After hearing the circumstances, Yukimiya and Elmira gladly decided to participate as well. Each of us would practice starting tomorrow.
"Well, since we're all abnormal people, the victory in this match will definitely be ours."
"...Yes, it's settled. Let's go big."
At that point of recollection, Mion struck my forehead. Next, she put the earpicks aside and then stared at me from above with a pout for some reason.
"Ichirou. A sword match is fine, but you shouldn't be getting along that well with Hinomori Ryuuga and the others, right? They're our enemies, after all. Furthermore, you're Taotie's vessel."
Quite the reasonable viewpoint.
They're the "Apostles of Hell," foes who have been threatening the world of humans since ancient times. They have a bitter history of being defeated by Ryuuga's ancestors countless times.
This is especially true for the "Three Princesses of Hell," Mion, Jyuri, and Kiki, who are generals that manage the apostles. Though they seem to forget about that due to their lifestyle, their positions carry a fair amount of responsibility.
"Mion. Are you still not giving up on destroying the world?"
"That...is something I can't decide on. Us three princesses work for Taotie. We follow the will of our ruler."
"And Tie doesn't want to fight Ryuuga, right?"
"I, I know. However, even if we co-exist with humans, I'm not willing to get along with Hinomori Ryuuga and the others. Especially with Aogasaki Rei."
"They say that an odd friendship can sprout between rivals."
"Who would want to be with her?! That Aogasaki definitely has an interest in you, Ichirou!"
"I'd like it if you three princesses would be their close rivals. I want you to establish your own position, draw your own line, separate from the other 'Apostles of Hell.'"
"Even if you say that...since Aogasaki has seen my face, she'll definitely pick a fight with me...oh, right."
Then, Mion suddenly clapped. The sound of it slightly echoed within my small room, which only took up eight tatami mats.
"Ichirou. If you'll let me make one request, I'll be close rivals with them."
"What? Is it something you want me to buy? Brand name short panties?"
"That's not it!"
After striking my forehead once more, Mion adjusted her seating posture.
She's acted a little strange. She's fidgeted for some reason while forcefully clearing her throat.
"So, what's your request?"
"R, right. Rather than a request, it's more like a consultation."
"Do want to try...making a baby with me?"
"What are you talking about?!"
Unintentionally shouting, I jumped up from Mion's lap. What an unexpected request.
"Please, you're the only upright one among the three princesses! I mean, can apostles even give birth to children?! You even said that the concept of blood relatives doesn't exist for you people!"
"That's why I said I wanted to try."
While I was confused, Mion's cheeks continued to redden. She wrote the character "の" many times on the floor with her finger.
"I only heard it once before. I was told that it's possible to increase the amount of apostles with a special human."
"S, special human?"
"Someone with supernatural abilities, someone who's the vessel of the 'Evil Spirit'...in extremely rare occasions, it's possible to make a baby if such a person exists."
By someone with supernatural abilities, she means people like Ryuuga and the other heroines.
By vessel of the 'Evil Spirit,' she means someone like Kyouka and me.
As far as I know, those are the only people who qualify for being the "special human" Mion's talking about. Furthermore, I'm the only guy among them.
"I'm a woman, after all...so do you want to see if we can make a baby? Luckily, you're just the right partner."
"Is that true about me...?"
Mion averted her gaze and slightly nodded.
What's the meaning of this? I had been worried a bit about it, but it seems that I really did raise some flags with her. Why is everyone associating with such a boring, worthless character like me?!
"Say, Mion. Could it be that I'm...an ikemen?"
"Are you talking about your face? Isn't it below average?"
I felt stupid asking that. It seems that apostles have the same aesthetic sense as us.
"Even so, I'm okay with you, Ichirou. I felt that we were a match ever since that time we first encountered each other. So why not try it out? Unfortunately for Jyuri and Kiki, I was the one who had an eye on you first, Ichirou..."
"Would the one born be an apostle?!"
"Correct. Perhaps one with capable fighting power. Maybe prominent enough to become Taotie's right-hand man."
"Don't hold such high expectations for a child! In the first place, there's a high chance that what you heard is false! I mean, there hasn't been a previous case of it happening, right?!"
"Well, I must admit that you're right. Relatives among apostles is not something that has been seen so far. Of course, apostles cannot make children with other apostles."
"If they can't make children themselves, there's no way they can with humans!"
"If that's the case, then how was I born? Why do we have genders?"
"Y, you can just leave those kinds of mysteries to the viewers and readers! I'm sure they can think for themselves!"
"Wouldn't it be quicker to try it out for ourselves? What complaint do you have in being able to get frisky with this cute girl?"
"I said it before! I don't want to make this story rated R-18! We're targeting a wider range of ages!"
We were in the midst of a quarrel.
Suddenly, the door opened, and Jyuri and Kiki entered. It seems that they came to my room after hearing my yell.
"Mion, stealing a march on someone else is a bad thing."
With a face of dissatisfaction, the blonde-haired beauty and bobbed-haired girl approached Mion.
This has gotten even more bothersome. I was forced to silence my complaints.
"Ichirou, excuse me for rudely interfering. However, after hearing the words 'frisky' and 'R-18,' I wondered if my time had arrived..."
"Take that pointless sense of duty you have and throw it away."
While leaving me to my grieving, Jyuri criticized Mion.
"Mion. As the eldest daughter-like person, I will have to scold you. It's my duty to take care of Ichirou's private area, right? Get permission from me first."
"Don't just arbitrarily decide to be in charge of my private parts!"
"Besides, are you even qualified to handle such dangerous tasks in the first place?"
"It's not particularly dangerous! It's simple! Also, Kiki's here too, so you should be refraining from the lewd talk!"
Before we knew it, Kiki had shrewdly placed her head on Mion's lap.
"Mion, please clean my ears. It was supposed to be my turn today, but Ichirou cheated."
"So I'm the one stealing a march...hey Kiki, ignore what Jyuri's saying."
"It's fine. I'm not a child anymore. I know what males and females do."
Now that she mentions it, I don't know their true ages.
They said this before, but it seems that the "Apostles of Hell" show no signs of aging. I was told that the apostles take the form of men and women of all ages, but their appearances take shape three years after birth and don't change anymore afterwards.
In other words, it's possible that Kiki's older than me. No matter how you look at it, her mental age seems the same as that of a kindergartener's, though...
"Do you comprehend the meaning of that?"
"In short, the conversation was about Baron Ichirou giving birth to Mion's child."
"It's the other way around! You think men can give birth?! This isn't Elmira's novel!"
Elmira made a novel with characters using Ryuuga and me as reference. The two fall in a forbidden love with each other as fellow boys, and the result is that I suddenly get pregnant.
"Unh, Baron Ichirou. Stop talking about Emilre. I hate that vampire as much as I hate Spectacle Man."
"It's Elmira! You should remember the name of a main character!"
"I'm not good with Western languages."
"You remember the names of the monsters tho──"
It was at that moment. A voice from within me interrupted my words.
While hearing that idiotic yawn, I felt a strong presence from my back.
When I turned around, I saw a boy who looked exactly like me, wearing the Oumei High School uniform.
"Boss, it's been a while. Any incidents happen?"
Needless to say, it was Taotie, the "Evil Spirit."
He was one of the frightening four fiends, played the role of the final boss for part two, and dwells within me.
When seeing Taotie, the three princesses adjusted their posture, sat next to each other, and kneeled. He looks the same as me, but he's their ruler. Though I feel that they're getting used to each other recently, that doesn't change the fact that he's their leader.
"Um, what day is today?"
Mion answered "It's August 18th," in response to Taotie's question.
Thereupon, the "Evil Spirit's" complexion suddenly changed, and he raised a hectic voice.
"This is bad! I slept on the 4th too?! Hey, what happened during the third round of the Hanshin Tigers vs. the Yomiuri Giants?! Did the Hanshin Tigers win?!"
"They kept missing the ball."
"They lost in face of a shutout for two matches."
When Kiki and Jyuri responded, Taotie writhed in agony along the floor.
At this point in time, this "Evil Spirit" was unfortunately in quite a sad state. In both appearance and personality, Taotie is strongly influenced by his host, though...
"Damn it, they made a mistake in choosing the relief pitcher again! Even after I spoke so much about it!"
"If only I were the manager...or rather, if only I could be drafted...!"
"Shut up! 'Evil Spirits' aren't supposed to care about the pennant race!"
"But, Boss! Are you going to just let the Yomiuri Giants get so far ahead of everyone else?!"
"Fine by me! I'm a Yomiuri Giants fan!"
"Oh, by the way, Taotie. How's your condition...?"
Mion asked a worried question towards the noisy Taotie. At this point, the three princesses seemed to have completely given up and accepted this ruler for who he is.
"Oh. I'm still far from a complete recovery, but I'm full of energy for the time being. Hey Mion, get me something to eat."
"Is cup ramen okay?"
"Instant noodles, is it...? Well, I suppose there isn't much of a choice."
As a matter of fact, today's dinner was fried shrimp. It should be possible to prepare some more still, but it's probably a pain to do so.
This is the degree of treatment the "Evil Spirit" receives in the Kobayashi house now.
"Oh right, Boss!"
After a brief period where Taotie had dropped his shoulders in disappointment, he then turned towards me with a glint in his eyes.
"Thank you for waking me up!"
"It's been settled! I have a date...err, discussion with Ryuuga!"
...I forgot about that matter.
Taotie had been "converted"──or in other words, has become a harmless existence who's under my control. I completely forgot that I had to have Ryuuga and the others know that.
(I ended up having to take part in the battle against Getsushiyoukan, but that's not the only thing I have to do...)
I'd like to push it back if possible, but I can't say that.
This is a matter that affects my future position.
Honestly, I'm depressed. As you can see, the "Evil Spirit" Taotie has...been charmed by Ryuuga. To put it bluntly, the reason why he wants to co-exist with humans is because he doesn't want her to hate him.
(Can this guy even maintain his dignity and rationality in front of Ryuga...?)
I thought that this would just be a mere extra volume, but I have to deal with the matter of Taotie as well.
Isn't this substory becoming increasingly more complex?