'Everyone, anything new? I've been doing fine, no particular incidents have occurred.'
That night, we played back a video from a tiny camera connected to a TV.
I saw my beloved son on the screen, bowing.
"Shizuma is so great, always greeting us!"
Immediately following, the vampire girl and Hokkaido wolf girl clung to the TV and held hands while shouting. They were as fanatic as idol enthusiasts.
──Today's the day of the week that Shizuma gets in touch with us from the spirit world. During these nights, we check the safety and condition of our beloved son who's working hard to restore order there.
We decided to do video messages in addition to the written letters from before.
This video was taken by Hundun when he transferred to the spirit world. An "Evil Spirit" can teleport to their home for around ten minutes.
"Shizuma's face looks quite gallant. Also, doesn't he seem taller than last week?"
"He might not be an adult yet. If he turns into a stylish young man at this rate, I might end up giving him a taste."
Mion and Jyuri sipped tea while exchanging words.
"Damn it, it was supposed to be my duty to meet Shizuma!"
"The video you took last time was blurry. I'm better with the camera."
Behind me, the upper halves of Taotie and Hundun spoke to each other.
Among all of us, there was one person who stared at the screen from a distance. Of course, it was Yukimiya.
...Inevitably, Elmira found out about Yukimiya living with us. Similarly, Yukimiya found out that Elmira lived here until last month.
Receiving the new information, the "Blood-kin of Eternal Darkness" and "Shrine Maiden of Life" both pouted, but I managed to have them come to an agreement after kneeling down and explaining. First, they knew about the three princesses freeloading, and now they know about this.
'In the spirit world, there are still many who oppose my existence, but thanks to my companions, suppressing them has been progressing smoothly. I have some very reliable commanding officers.'
The camera shifted to reveal three apostles kneeling behind Shizuma. They weren't in their peculiarity forms, but their human forms.
I already knew about them.
They appeared on the previous recording as well. They introduced themselves at that time.
'It's an honor to receive your praise. I will continue to risk my life, protecting the young master.'
The one who said that in a bombastic manner was a one-eyed, middle-aged man with several scars on his face. He was large and muscular enough to compete with Saihiru, one of the top eight.
He was a giraffe apostle and a commanding officer of Jyuri's subordinates, Gaigo.
'Leave it to me~. Those who go against Shizu will get a spanking~.'
The next one to speak was someone who was total ikemen, but was also a very playful, effeminate man who wore eye shadow and makeup.
He was a hornet apostle and a commanding officer of Kiki's subordinates, Yagujya.
'Well, don't worry about the boy. We're with him.'
Finally, the one who spoke while smoking a pipe was a laid-back, college student-looking guy with messy hair and a bandana over his head.
He was a falcon apostle and a commanding officer of Mion's subordinates, Zelva.
...Oddly, each of them were the three princesses' right-hand men and number 2 in their respective armies. They were a gang of reliable monsters with strength close to those of generals.
"Do your best, Gaigo. Someday, I'll reward you by stepping on you with high heels."
"Yagujya, take care of Shizuma. Show me the pride of an effeminate man."
"Zelva, you're still smoking tobacco! I told you to stop already!"
The three princesses all spoke to their commanding officers.
I have a humble request for them too. I'd like for them to go beyond military barriers and work together to protect Shizuma. I'll send them a year-end gift in December.
Onscreen, Shizuma straightened his back and continued to report information.
Before I knew it, he was standing in a black military uniform with a mantle and boots, an outfit resembling that of a commissioned officer. He's probably the only two-year-old in the world who would look good in this attire.
'The other day, I went to a shrine named Konminden, but I couldn't find my mother Reida's soul. I still haven't checked through all souls yet, but...it's disappointing.'
Shizuma's true mother is a female apostle named Reida.
She fell in love with a vampire who was Elmira's relative, and was purged by Qiongqi's subordinates because she wanted to live as a human.
'It seems that there are around three thousands apostles sleeping in Konminden right now. My mother's soul wasn't there...it's likely that Qiongqi collected her.'
Apostles who die in the human world are sent to the spirit world as souls and revive in around two hundred years.
Three thousand sleeping souls, all of them defeated in the human world...they're probably apostles Ryuuga, the four heroines, and their ancestors defeated.
The "Evil Spirit" Qiongqi holds the ability to, just once, negate the "two hundred year penalty" for revival. That is his greatest strength.
'I'm worried about my mother, but I can't afford to neglect my mission. I will look for my mother's soul only after my quest to gain control over the spirit world comes to a rest.'
"Ah, Shizuma...you don't have to push yourself so hard..."
Elmira wept after hearing the courageous two-year-old's words.
At the other side of the screen, the trio of commanding officers also appeared strange. I felt relieved after seeing that they were more sympathetic than I thought. Asking for apostles to have sympathy is quite something.
'I sympathize with the young master's worries. We must subjugate the spirit world as soon as possible.'
'I'm also feeling blue~. Reida was a soldier in my unit~.'
'We're going to persuade the commanders of other troops. Shidora and Kiriya kicked the bucket, didn't they?'
'Hmm, an unauthorized attack? It seems that Mion's troops have gotten lax.'
'Oh my, doesn't that apply to us as well~? Even Kiki's and Jyuri's troops had members attack the human world without permission~.'
'In other words, you all are no better. Don't get cocky, you masochist and transvestite.'
'Who are you calling a masochist?!'
'Ah, how mortifying, you birdmeat!'
'Shut up, small fry. Oh? You want to fight?'
On the other side of the screen, the trio of officers began a scuffle. And now I'm back to being worried.
'Everyone, stop. You're in front of Hundun! Uncle Taotie and the three princesses will also view this video!'
While frantically stopping his subordinates with his small hands, Shizuma apologetically bowed his head. He's probably the only two-year-old in the world who's gone through so much.
'I'm sorry, Father. I'm not as popular as you...oh, Hundun, it seems that it'll be ten minutes soon. Well then, we'll unfortunately have to end things here, everyone. Gaigo, Yagujya, Zelva, pull yourselves togeth──'
Thereupon, the video ended. At the very last moment, I saw the trio of commanders morphing into their battle forms. I wonder what they're doing right now...
"Are your subordinates really alright? Can I leave my child to them?"
The "Blood-kin of Eternal Darkness" glared at the three princesses with the gaze of a parent, and complained.
In the first place, the three princesses themselves abandoned the spirit world and came here. They're partly to blame for Shizuma's struggles.
"I, It'll be fine. Not only is Gaigo very strong, he can take a lot of punishment. He'll become energetic when you beat him with whip. He'll even pant and ask for more."
"Is that really okay!?"
"It'll be fine. Yagujya is an Asian giant hornet, but he becomes a butterfly at night. He's called the butterfly of the spirit world's Nichome."TLNNichome is known for being a gay quarter in Japan, especially active during the night.
"Is that really okay!?"
"Zelva's the only one who's fine. Though, he did burn down a lodging house after smoking in bed. I almost became a grilled bird."
"Seriously, is that really alright!?"
The three princesses attempted to soothe Elmira, who was on the verge of anger.
While watching the scene unfold, Yukimiya suddenly smiled at me.
"It seems that Elmira and the three princesses have opened up to each other. Though, I really wish that...Sebastian was here too."
...Of course, I had to inform Yukimiya that I encountered Renie at the supermarket today.
I prepared myself and told her that the spider apostle was against "coexistence with humans" and therefore united with Qiongqi's faction. This wasn't something I could hide.
"Sorry, Yukimiya. At the very least, I wanted him to agree to talk with you..."
"No, it was a selfish request of mine. It's fortunate that we, albeit indirectly, know his true intentions now."
Noticing our conversation, Elmira and the three princesses stopped making noise. Perhaps realizing the situation, Taotie and Hundun withdrew into me.
"Shiori, don't give up. When we defeat the 'Evil Spirit' Qiongqi, Renie might change his mind."
"If you can't talk with words, talk with your fists."
"If he still doesn't get the message, then he can reflect on his actions for two hundred years. Leave it to me, Hebizuka."
Seeing everyone's encouragement, Yukimiya gave a slight bow. The sidetailed maiden placed down some tea for her.
"By the way, Yukimiya, what will you do? As long as it's clear that Renie is an enemy, your stay here will lengthen considerably."
That's true. If Renie's thinking about allying with the other side, he'll likely come up with a scheme to bring Tao and Qiongqi together. It's possible that he will take strong measures for that to happen.
For example, he could kidnap Yukimiya...and since he abandoned his identity as Sebastian, he might be alright with hurting a vessel. He even said that Yukimiya was "not qualified for being a vessel."
Though I came to the conclusion that she should probably stay here a while longer, the "Shrine Maiden of Life" herself claimed the opposite.
"I think I'll go back home for now. No matter how you look at it, I'll be a burden until Qiongqi's defeated, and I can make do with Tao and Byatoran somehow."
Byatoran is Yukimiya's guardian deity, the "White Tiger." Come to think of it, her supernatural abilities have returned, haven't they?
"Even if Renie tries to use force, I won't lose. Truthfully, this is a thought I had for a while, but I've kind of taken a liking to living here..."
That's true, I suppose. Indeed, Yukimiya's a long-time warrior. She's not weak enough to easily fall into the enemy's hands. Or rather, with the combination of the "White Tiger" and "Evil Spirit," perhaps she might even be the strongest heroine now.
Still, is this house that comfortable? It's a bit ironic that the two heroines who don't know that Ryuuga's a girl are the ones who lived here.
"Kobayashi, I've only been here for a short time, but thank you for your kindness. I will return to my own house."
Yukimiya straightened her posture and bowed on the floor. She looked like a wife going through divorce.
Before I could reply, Mion said "Hold it, Yukimiya."
"What will you do about your singing lessons? We're still in the middle of them, you know? In any case, it's only a little bit longer until the school festival, so why don't you return home after that's over?"
When Yukimiya blinked in surprise, the phony schoolgirl suddenly turned away.
"D, don't get the wrong idea. I'm just making sure you won't fail during the performance. That's my duty as a mentor. Nothing more."
...What an incredible tsundere move just now.
The heron girl is quite the helpful person. Perhaps this is a result of her "mother attribute"?
When Yukimiya glanced at me, wanting my opinion, I gave my approval. Thereupon, she gave a delightful smile and said "Then I'll do as you say. I'll be here for a while longer."
If she's taken a liking to this place, she can stay here for as long as she wants.
For Yukimiya, her home is probably quite lonely without Sebastian.
"Don't be so reserved, Shiori. Think of this as your own home and be at ease."
"Why are you saying that, Elmira? Those are my words."
The bobbed-haired girl immediately retorted to what the vampire girl said.
Though, she's a freeloader here as well...