It's been two days since the mistake that was the swimsuit showdown.
The moment Mion had finally calmed down, another critical moment for me had arisen.
──There's going to be a third conference between the protagonist and "Evil Spirit."
Though I'm exhausted after the turmoil caused by Taotie, I've been allowed to attend this time. Taotie has also been reflecting on what he did, so things shouldn't go as bad.
(Furthermore, the location is Ryuga's home. We won't need to be mindful of people around us. Though...if it's the Hinomori household...then perhaps...)
My hunch was right. Ryuuga's little sister, Kyouka, would be attending the conference as well.
Since it would be done at the Hinomori residence, that was natural. Of course, I have no problem with Kyouka being there. However, there's one factor worrying me──Hundun.
If Kyouka's participating, then that means her "Evil Spirit" is as well.
It's not the relationship between the "Evil Spirit" and Ryuuga that I'm worried about. Rather, I'm concerned about the relationship between the fellow "Evil Spirits."
(Will it be alright to have them be together..?)
The four fiends are on bad terms with each other.
Taotie and Hundun are no exception, they're very hostile towards each other. They would go "Ah?" and "Oh?" towards each other, as if they were delinquents.
(Kyouka and I will probably have no choice but to patch things up. Tie probably won't start a fight in front of Ryuga, and Hundun shouldn't be able to oppose Kyouka.)
With such wishful thinking in mind, I quickly dressed myself.
"Baron Ichirou, Baron Taotie, take care."
"Ichirou, is everything fine? Don't make light of Hinomori Ryuuga, okay? You too Taotie, don't go overboard."
When Kiki and Mion were there at the front door to see us off, the two of us responded with "Okay," and departed.
...Jyuri had gone out early in the morning and was absent. That king cobra-type apostle has lately been going outside often. When I asked her about it, she said that was "looking for a place to work."
(That would help out with the household's finances, but...is it okay to have a general of the "Apostles of Hell" do typical labor? For the time being, I can only see her being a hostess or a promotional model...)
Setting aside the matter of Jyuri, I arrived at the Hinomori household and ringed the bell.
Once I got through the gates and entered the garden, I gave Taotie permission to manifest. However, when the "Evil Spirit" appeared from within me, he had a dissatisfied, grim face and sighed.
"*sigh* I finally get to meet with Ryuuga, but now Hundun's there..."
"There's not much we can do about it. You should already know this, but don't lunge at Hundun, okay? Don't lunge, in a different sense, at Ryuga either."
Reminding Taotie, I opened the sliding door to the residence.
"Welcome. We were waiting."
Ryuuga had already been waiting at the entrance.
Of course, Ryuuga was behaving differently from when she would usually wear cosplay and embrace me. Her tone of voice was that of her male version and she was wearing the boys' school uniform.
As soon as the "Evil Spirit" saw Ryuuga's face, his tension immediately skyrocketed.
"Hello, Ryuuga! Thank you for inviting me!"
"They really do look the exact same..."
Ryuuga unintentionally let out her thoughts while glancing between the two of us.
Suddenly, Taotie stood back to back with me and he began to have us turn around. Before long, he stopped our spinning and stood next to me again.
"Now, which one's Tie?"
Ryuuga then pointed at Taotie and answered with "You."
"As expected of Ryuuga! You know me!"
"No, I mean..."
Anybody could guess that. There were a pair of sheep-like horns sprouting from Taotie's temples.
That was a measure taken to make it easy to identify him during the meeting. Furthermore, to take further precaution, I wrote "Evil Spirit" on Taotie's forehead with a magic marker back at home. He didn't notice, though.
"Well then, come to the reception room. Kyouka and Hundun are already there."
"I want to go to your room, Ryuuga. I'd like it if just the two of us could have a chat."
"I'm not going to be alone with you. I'm not letting a surprise attack happen again."
"It's not like that, Ryuuga! That's an expression of friendship in the spirit world!"
When Ryuuga didn't respond and turned on her heel, Taotie panicked and followed her. There were already signs to be concerned about.
"I wouldn't mind if Ichirou was this assertive, though..."
I heard Ryuuga mutter that while she went on ahead in the hallway.
At last, the "third conference" had begun.
Inside a spacious reception room that could hold a party, the five attendees surrounded a table.
Taotie and I were at the front. On the other side were Kyouka and Hundun. Ryuuga sat at the catercorner, letting her view both sides.
While I had a tense look, Taotie sat next to me and sure enough, he was glaring at Hundun.
But fortunately, Hundun ignored him and began serving tea for everyone. As expected of Kyouka, she taught him some manners. She's a top-notch "Evil Spirit" handler.
Feeling let down by Hundun's attitude, Taotie then faced Ryuuga.
"Ryuuga. I'm a little sad."
"A, about what?"
"I mean, you've been using your boy version when in front of me. Even today, you're wearing the usual school uniform."
"Look, Taotie. I'm taking part in this discussion as both the head of the Hinomori household and the 'Successor of the Dragon King.' I have to be a male."
Ryuuga gave a reasonable response, but Taotie grumbled like a child.
"Couldn't you at least wear the girls' uniform? Just that much would change my motivation."
"No, wearing a skirt in front of an 'Evil Spirit' is a bit much..."
"Don't say such reserved things. At least take off your sarashi!"
"I said no."
"At least call me Tie, then!"
"I, I see. If I do that, can we move forward with discussions?"
"Say it! Say it!"
"Ugh...my father's going to scold me again for calling an 'Evil Spirit' by a nickname..."
I hit Taotie on the forehead and said "Hey, don't bother Ryuga anymore."
As can be seen, Ryuuga is weak to pressure. It's quite possible that she could be convinced into removing her sarashi and wearing a skirt.
"Now we're even more intimate! The four gods don't even know that you're a girl, right?"
"I know a secret that not even your companions know, right?"
In contrast to how delighted Taotie was, Ryuuga felt a little down.
"I really am dishonest...deceiving my companions."
She was currently hiding her secret from Yukimiya, Aogasaki, and Elmira. Though it can't be helped, it seems that she feels more guilty than I thought.
"I should tell them...but, what kind of face would they make...? Ichirou, Kyouka, what do you two think?"
...Something's gone awry here. This has turned into the protagonist's "consultation meeting."
To get things back on track, I supported Ryuuga. Of course, Kyouka joined in to support as well.
"There's a time and place to reveal something like that, right? Since what you're doing is part of the code, you shouldn't worry too much over it."
"He's right, sister. How about we speak with our father once he returns?"
We were in the midst of comforting Ryuuga.
And then Taotie raised a hysterical voice once again. He really is a troublesome "Evil Spirit."
"Hey, Hundun! Stop kidding around! It's really easy to see that you hate me!"
Upon looking at what was going on, the teacup in front of Taotie was filled with just water. A goldfish was even swimming inside it.
Contrary to what I initially thought, Hundun had also been up to something. He's also turning out to be a troublesome "Evil Spirit."
"As if I'd use such expensive tea on a 'Stupid Evil Spirit' like you. You should be thankful that you're at least getting pond water."
"Is that the kind of attitude to have towards a guest?! Should I gouge out your guts and turn your bladder into a yoyo balloon?!"
"Someone with below average looks like you isn't a guest."
I felt pretty disrespected by that.
...On another note, it seems that "Evil Spirits" have a bladder. That doesn't really matter, though.
"Whatever, pour me some tea! Some waffles too!"
"Don't scream so loudly. You'll frighten Kyouka."
Once saying that, Hundun turned towards his host and gently asked "Right?", wanting her to agree.
Ryuuga and Kyouka...it seems that "Evil Spirits" will speak to a girl affectionately when taking a liking to them.
"What are you asking?! You 'Lolicon Evil Spirit'?!"
Once Taotie hurled that, Hundun's complexion changed for the first time.
In a flash, his eyes were filled with rage and his unkempt hair rustled around. Did that strike a nerve?
"You said something you shouldn't have...! Listen, I am not a lolicon by any means! I only like girls who are in the delicate growth stage where they transition from children to adults!"
"Doesn't that effectively you make you a lolicon?!"
"A lolicon is someone who would have a reaction to someone like Kiki! That doesn't happen with me!"
"Do you think such an excuse would pass in this society?!"
The quarrel continued on, making me want to cover my ears.
Ryuuga and Kyouka both slammed the table at the same time and roared. They were perfectly in sync despite not having coordinated beforehand.
The "Evil Spirits" reluctantly backed down in face of the Hinomori sisters' reprimand.
The final bosses of part one and part two were already unrecognizable. This is definitely something that can't be shown to the "Apostles of Hell."
"Ryuuga, don't be fooled. This guy hasn't learned his lesson yet. If he switches vessels, he'll definitely threaten humanity again, especially little girls. Don't trust an 'Evil Spirit' so easily."
"Do you realize that applies to you too? You're an 'Evil Spirit' as well."
The Hinomori sisters made a deep sigh upon Taotie and Hundun quarreling once more.
This time, I joined them as well.