"Boss! Some bad guy showed up!"
Suddenly, Taotie's voice echoed in my head, causing me to suddenly stop walking in the hallway.
At the end of the hero show, Masked Wolf escaped from the stage in a hurry...and now I was in the middle of running around the school, searching for Kiki.
Ryuuga returned to second-year class B, as she had to be a maid again. As soon as she left, the number of customers seemed to have dropped sharply, and so her classmates began to plead for her to come back.
Our easily pressured protagonist couldn't refuse, so she once again put on a cat-eared headband to say 'nyan nyan' to the customers. My condolences.
"What, Tie? There's been bad guys showing up all morning. That includes you."
(That's not what I mean, it's probably that thing covered with faces! I think it's in that familiar abandoned factory!)
Covered with faces...in other words, that mysterious apostle amalgamation? That appeared again?!
"Are you sure? That ill will isn't from Goutokuji?"
(I'm sure it's that monster! Not the monster in this school!)
What the hell. I didn't expect a third one to show up.
There's no doubt that the monster is under Qiongqi's control. The fact that it appeared despite the school festival still going on...means that Qiongqi's broken the truce.
"It seems we'll have to go and take a look. Keep this a secret from Ryuga and the others."
Right now, the main characters are busy with the school festival part of the story. Ryuuga and Elmira are busy with the "maid cafe," Aogasaki's working on the "hero show," Kurogame's doing the "haunted house," and Yukimiya's involved with the "matchmaking game."
I can't let any disturbances get in their way. Since part three, the Qiongqi arc, will genuinely start tomorrow, we may not see the daily life part again for a while.
I'll have to deal with this alone. Leave school festival troubles to Kobayashi Support for reliance and results!
With that in mind, I quickly ran to the stairs in a hurry. Thereupon, another "Evil Spirit" called out to me.
(Hey, Sonny. You'd better get ready. Based on its ill will, this guy's pretty powerful. It's nothing like the monster we beat the hell out of before.)
I responded with "Alright," in response to Hundun's advice. In addition, after reflecting on what happened last time, I told the "Evil Spirits" in advance about what order to appear in.
"Listen, Tie will go first. If he can't beat it within ten minutes, then Uncle Hundun will come out. If another ten minutes passes, then I'll fight it in the end as well."
(Leave it to me! I won't turn my back! I'll go the whole distance!)
(Don't fall flat on your face. Or rather, is it alright for the vessel to take part as well...? Actually, knowing you, you'll win, Sonny.)
While speaking to each other, I left the school building and rushed out of the school gate.
A few minutes had passed. Arriving at the abandoned factory, I came across an unexpected sight.
Just like Taotie had reported, the monster was there. Its size was four meters tall, the same size as the last one. However, its ill will was an order of magnitude higher. It's several, no, dozens of times larger, I think.
"W, what is this thing...I didn't expect it to be this bad."
That wasn't the only thing I didn't expect.
For some reason, Yukimiya, Jyuri, Renie, even Shima and Saihiru were there. Furthermore, the four generals were in tatters, lying down on the floor.
...I can't digest this situation.
If I were to guess, it seems that all of them faced the monster and ended up having the tables turned on them. However, why were those three with Jyuri? Isn't that monster their ally?
Either way, there's no time to dawdle around. The situation's pretty urgent.
Tao's about to fight the monster right now. She appeared above Yukimiya's head, her long black hair rustling around.
"Hey, Tao! Stop! Go back into Yukimiya now!"
I dashed towards Yukimiya, carried her, and dashed again to take refuge near the entrance. The monster's eyeballs all glared at me, but I didn't have the time to care about that.
"I, Ichirou? Whatcha doin'?! I'mma beat that thing! I'll mess it up so bad that it'll be on page three of tomorrow's newspapers!"
"You don't have to do that! More importantly, please explain what's going on! What happened here?!"
"Shima and Saihiru appeared, and then Renie, and then Jyuri, and then that monster!"
"I don't understand at all!"
"Those four tried to protect me! But that dream team couldn't even lay a hand or foot on that thing! It's like when Brazil lost seven times against Germany in the World Cup semifinals in their own homeland!"
"Don't come up with that kind of stuff if you're so worried!"
In any case, defeating that monsters takes priority. The full story can come later.
Fortunately, Tao reluctantly withdrew, reverting to the usual inelegant Yukimiya. After telling her to stay still, I immediately gave orders to Taotie.
"Go, Tie! Knock that thing down and don't hold back!"
Taotie immediately manifested in his battle form and charged towards the monster.
In order to protect the generals, I ran towards Jyuri first. It's situations like these where Taotie's ability to act independently comes in handy. That's his only merit.
"Hey, Jyuri. Hold onto my shoulder. I'll have Yukimiya heal you later, so please bear with it for now."
"I, Ichirou, I'm sorry...for showing this shameful display..."
"Don't worry about it. You did better than Brazil's national team."
Jyuri changed to her human form without me telling her to. The hair she was so prideful about was now disheveled, and her white gown was covered with dirt. There were painful blue bruises everywhere on her body.
It wasn't just her. The other three generals were the same as well. They were all riddled with wounds.
"Be careful...the magnitude of that monster's strength is extraordinary. Even Taotie shouldn't take a direct hit from that thing..."
"Is it that dangerous?"
"Yes...what an embarrassment for the four of us generals to end up like this...I've lost my honor."
Could it be that this strange ill will isn't just for show?
Renie was known as the strongest of the top eight.
Jyuri can fight evenly with him.
Furthermore, Shima and Saihiru put up a good fight with Tao, though she wasn't in her optimal state.
If the four of them group together, they could probably boast the strength of an "Evil Spirit." Will Taotie...be okay?
Upon looking at the battle, I found that Taotie was moving in circles around the monster with light steps. It seemed that his goal was to daze it, but there's no point when it has all those eyes on its body.
"Hey, hey! Come on! Welcome! Congratulation!"TLNThese are all said in English.
After taking a backward glance at Taotie, who was provoking the thing with whatever English proficiency he had, I carried Jyuri to the entrance.
We moved at a rather slow pace. The moment I turned around to get the other three generals...
I heard a muffled blast and Taotie tumbled over towards my location. He took a punch from the monster.
"Aah, Tie's down!"
The moment Tao shouted, Taotie jumped back onto his feet. He swept the dust off of his body and faced the monster again. As expected of an "Evil Spirit," he's sturdy.
"I was caught off guard just now! I can see through that thing's attack now!"
After a span of one second, Taotie tumbled back towards me. He took another punch.
"You didn't see through it at all!"
"I was also caught off guard just now! The same attack won't work on an 'Evil Spirit' thrice!"
Though, in the end, he tumbled back again. If this were an anime, I think the joke would start to get stale by now.
"Stop being so careless!"
"I, I'm just in a bit of a bad shape! My face is drenched in water, you know!"
"What are ya, made of anpan or somethin'?!"TLNThis a reference to the Anpanman, whose weakness is getting his head (which is made of bread) wet.
In my head, I heard Hundun ask "Should I take over?" in a shocked voice.
Ten minutes haven't passed, but it might be better to do so. Despite being pumped up, he was only falling flat on his face...or so I thought.
"Now I'm getting mad, damn you! You think you can just inflate your strength?!"
On the fourth try, Taotie dodged his opponent's punch.
In retaliation, he let loose an uppercut that sunk into the monster's guts. Thereupon, the opponent's giant body flew off of the ground for a bit. It was an absurd show of strength, as if the monster being twice as big as him didn't matter.
The monster's many mouths all let out voices of anguish.
Ignoring its cries, Taotie continued beating up the monster without giving it room to counterattack.
It seems that he's finally serious. As I thought, Taotie's strong when he's not messing around. If he was weak, there would be no point to his existence.
"Wahaha! How do you like that?! Learned your lesson yet!? Say 'I've learned my lesson,' to me! Say 'Your strength is amazing,' 'You're an ikemen,' and 'I'm sorry for my mistake. I deserve exile,' to me! Let me hear it from any of your mouths!"
While spitting out his shameless requests, Taotie drove a knee strike with the force of his whole body onto the monster.
At last, the monster fell down to its knees and became completely silent. If a coach were here, they would definitely throw in the towel.
...In the end, it was a one-sided victory. Though the "Evil Spirit" took three hits at first, it had no effect on him. It seems that Jyuri's worries were unfounded.
(So, it seems that there's no need to protect Renie and the others anymore?)
Upon looking, I found that Renie, Shima, and Saihiru were already standing up.
Forgetting their injuries, they paid close attention to Taotie, who stood in front of the monster with an daunting pose. Well, he did solo an opponent who easily brushed aside four other people.
"...An 'Evil Spirit' truly is frightening."
The spider butler let out a shaky voice of admiration.
"Oh no, I think I'm feeling some butterflies in my stomach..."
The cheetah kuro gyaru held a hand over her chest while her cheeks slightly reddened.
"Stop, Shima. Right now, the lord you're supposed to serve is Qiongqi. I advise against such urges."
The rhinoceros beetle monk reprimanded his coworker.
After calming herself down, Shima staggered towards Saihiru. She struck his chest and then smacked his chin.
"Hey Saihiru, let's withdraw here. For now, let's report about this monster to Qiongqi."
"No. Our orders are to observe Renie's work. The abduction of Yukimiya Shiori, or the disposal of Jyuri...our mission is not complete until either of them are fulfilled."
"Is this the time to be saying that?! Now that Taotie's here, this is all for nothing!"
"If we leave here, Renie will be left alone and in trouble. We cannot abandon him. Without Renie, the alliance between Qiongqi and Tao wouldn't have happened."
"Don't call her Tao! Here, grab my shoulder...! You're heavy, you monk!"
Shima tried to force Saihiru to grab her shoulder and leave the scene. Despite insulting him, it seems that she doesn't want to abandon her colleague.
(If they're leaving, I'm grateful for that. Then I can just take Renie to the Kobayashi house and have him talk with Yuki──)
However, two unforeseen circumstances popped up.
With an ear-piercing scream, the monster stood up. Nevertheless, it took a lot of damage from Taotie. This sudden turn of events was fairly unexpected.
But like I said, there was another problem.
Namely, a new guest appeared at the abandoned factory.
"──Your perseverance and sense of duty are admirable, Saihiru."
The cheetah apostle forcibly dragged the rhinoceros beetle in order to quickly flee.
Behind them stood a young boy. He was the ikemen transfer student who wore a Hakubou Private High School uniform and was supposed to be working as a maid until late afternoon.
Seeing him, Shima gasped in shock.
"A, Agito?! You...why are you...?"
"I'm here to assign you a new mission."
Thereupon, Renie noticed his presence, as did Tao and Jyuri for the first time. They noticed Tenryouin Agito.
Not paying any mind to us noticing him, Agito spoke with his usual poker face.
"On behalf of the 'Evil Spirit' Qiongqi, this my order──become sustenance for 'Shiyu' over there."
A split second later, Agito turned around and threw a kick.
Saihiru reacted immediately and pushed Shima aside.
As a result, the rhinoceros beetle was the only one kicked away. That is, in the direction of the monster that Taotie was neglecting.
I once took a surprise roundhouse kick from him, but that was nothing compared to this serious blow. Despite how heavy Saihiru was, he flew like a crumpled sheet of paper.
Immediately following, the monster's giant arms knocked down Saihiru as he flew towards it.
After crashing into the floor, the monster then trampled over the rhinoceros beetle apostle. It crushed him with its entire body weight, over and over again.
"Hey, monster! I'm your opponent here! Stop! Don't make light of me!"
In a hurry, Taotie kicked the monster to stop its rampage.
However, it was already too late. Particles of light sprung up from Saihiru's body and he quickly began to vanish.
He was transforming into a soul. That is, the rhinoceros beetle apostle was about to die.
With a raging fury, the cheetah apostle tried to leap towards Agito.
However, just before she could reach him, she suddenly stopped. Or rather, she became rigid.
As for why──a dark aura emerged from Agito as he turned into a puppet. An "Evil Spirit" with a beastly appearance, comparable to the monster nearby, emerged.
"Not so fast, Shima. You also need to be Shiyu's food."
The high-pitched voice of a child echoed within the silent venue.
It belonged to someone I knew well, the "Evil Spirit" Qiongqi.