Cursed 010: Honoka

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Chapter 10: Honoka

“Oi oi oi… what’s’is, what’s’is? Are you joshin’ me? This ain’t right- *gehogeho* Augh, i’b swallowing wadder-! Gah, glub glub glub!”

“Keep that barrier up, Gakuto, or my heel’s going up your behind. Ugh, this rain…”

“Yer not even standin’ in it!”

A thin man, not looking unlike a drowned weasel, stood outside the park.

He could barely stand because of the rain and winds, and flinched at the distant thunder.

Inside, a woman with a dyed streak of pink hair in a long ponytail tapped her foot impatiently. Strangely, she wasn’t being rained on at all.

Strangely, nothing within the park was being rained on.

Above and around the park a barely visible, thin blue film was stretched out.

Both the man and the woman were wearing jackets that belonged to Tsunato’s crime scene investigation units.

“Tch. This is because you live too close to the park. WHY do WE have to be the ones to respond to this damn spectacle?”

The woman complained.

“An’ who… *geh, cough cough splutter* is just taken advantage of my apartment so you can drink your liver to death?!”

As they glared at each other, the man and woman noticed footsteps that sounded strangely clear on the sidewalk.

“Fufufu… it seems like Ooishi’s dogs are here already, Kei~.”

“Aruji, please watch your language.”

From out of the gloom, looking like she was just taking a walk in clear weather, was a colorless, large-bosomed woman followed by a man who looked like her attendant.

Over each of their heads was what seemed to be the top parts of umbrellas.

Strangely, no wind or rain blew underneath them.

“To be the first on the scene, goo~d work!”

The large-bosomed woman said.

“Geh. It’s the Witch.”

As she muttered that, the ponytail-ed woman made a clearly displeased face.

“Fufufu~ Even though you say tha~t, you guys are still in my de~bt! So what will you do?”

The ponytail-ed woman grimaced and looked sullenly to the side before she reluctantly reported,

“Aside from the target, there are two people inside. They smell like people from the Inari shrine.”

“Hm~ So it’s the doing of people from the shrine of Inari~ How unexpe~cted.”

“Oi, Witch, just so you know, we’d die if we went any further in. This situation is seriously bad shit.”

The pony-tailed woman wrinkled her brow and glared at the Witch, who had taken a step into the translucent, blue barrier.

“If ~I~ take care of it, I wonder how much you’d owe me~ is what I’d like to say, but as expected, this one is beyond me~.”

“Even so, Aruji, it won’t do to leave it.”

“Hm~ That’s true~. Kei, how long has it been since the lightning struck, and since the miasma spiked, ne~?”

“Five minutes since the miasma spiked. Nearing ten minutes since the lightning struck.”

“Hm~.”

Although she said it in a teasing tone, the Colorless Witch’s face darkened.

“I suppose we should go for a stroll in the park~. Kei, come.”

When the two – that is, the Witch and her assistant – had disappeared beneath the stormy, ominous wisteria, the man and woman left behind felt the tension go out of them.

“Damn, so they gonna actually fight ‘at thing?”

The man spluttered through the rain.

The woman snorted.

“Idiot. You feel that surge of spiritual power? Even the Witch can’t hope to defeat that thing. Whatever was lying sealed in that rock should’ve stayed sealed forever. The best she can hope to do is stall it, like what we’re doing.”

The man shivered.

“Like hell we can stall it! That thing, whatever it is, is gonna tear through my barrier like it’s tissue paper! What are we doing… we ain’t got a hope of a prayer of bein’ able to stay alive! ‘Contain the situation’ my ass!”

“I already know that! And to make it even worse, the soonest the Association will get mobilized will probably be another twenty minutes at the earliest.”

“Fuckin’ bureaucrats.”

Clenching their teeth and moving uneasily from side to side, the pair endured their fears and the pressure from the berserk power that threatened to swallow their town whole, unaware that on the opposite side of the park, a certain boy was about to enter.

————–

——-Kousei Side——-

“I don’t want to go, I have to, I don’t want to, I have to…”

Between gasps for breath and chattering teeth, I kept repeating these words over and over.

I’m dizzy, nauseous, and terrified, and the only thing keeping me sane was that mantra.

To be honest, after a bit I’ve forgotten what the words even mean.

The wind was harsh, the rain harsher, and it felt like the streetlights didn’t actually shed any light.

I don’t know how much time had passed, or, honestly, even what direction I went in. It was already difficult to keep from feeling like the earth and the sky had traded places, and that I was in the middle of the spin cycle of a washer.

Bang!

? ?!

The top of my head stung as I hit something, jolting me out of almost reaching a dark enlightenment.

“What… is this?”

The words slip out in my surprise and confusion.

I somehow reached the park, and in front of me are the wisteria’s blossoms. They’re eerily still, with a hint of violence and gloom.

How? When it’s hard just standing upright because of the wind…?

No, not that. What really surprised me is that all around the park there’s some kind of thin, blue-ish, transparent-ish shell.

Is it… dangerous?

I put my hand out, although it’s shaking from the weight of the rain and the winds, and touch it.

*puni puni*

It has an elastic feel to it; strange for something that gave me enough of a shock to wake me.

Can I… go through…?

Just when I think that, my hand sinks in, like pushing through jelly. Then my arm follows. Then my shoulder… my upper body…

GROSS!

It’s kind of what I’d imagine being eaten by a slime would feel like.

I can’t help shuddering a bit in disgust.

“Gk-!”

When I got through, a wave of bloodlust and a dark, unknown aura hits me.

Damn, it’s so heavy, it almost feels like it will push me right back through the blue shell thing.

I fell down, gagging a bit, but I got a bit used to it after a few moments.

Then I notice.

There’s no rain or wind, just a stagnant, heavy, violent air.

“What the fu…”

The sweet perfume of the wisteria that was gentle during the day feels violent and harsh. It clings to your face, threatening to suffocate you.

It’s like stepping into a jungle in southeast Asia, except instead of humidity it’s bloodlust and a sickeningly sweet scent.

SMACK!

I smack both of my hands against my cheeks.

“Hey, I decided this, so let’s do it.”

Somehow, just not having rain bearing down on me makes it easier to rouse my determination.

Stupid trauma.

The smack clears my head and I stand.

“Right. I already knew that this was stupid, but I made it here already, through the hardest part, so let’s go!”

Ruuuuumble, crash!

“Hiiiiii-!”

The sudden, violent noise and tremor in the ground scares me and I scream like a little girl.

“R-right, I guess she’s over… there?”

A-re-? How funny. My feet seem to be frozen to the ground.

Okay, shit, that’s terrifying. It kind of looked like someone dropped a bomb in the middle of the wisteria over there – and now I realize that there’s the violent sounds of battle.

“So… I need … to go over there?”

I suggested to my feet.

Eeeeeh… my legs are shaking a little…

“C-come on…”

I manage to persuade my feet to move, but the going’s slow.

Because it’s damn freaking terrifying over there!

Even so, I still want to see who Tenmei-no-Hikari looks like!

Stupid curiosity! It’s going to fry the cat on a tactical nuke!

Rustle SWOOSH

“…! Gya-!”

Something comes out from the darkness, brushing past the wisteria blossoms and breaking onto the path-!?

I couldn’t help the scream as I fall on my butt.

I’m not some hero in another world story, okay?! I’d run if I weren’t so damn terrified my legs didn’t work!

…Huh?

A man in a black suit and white tie appeared, brushing the loose petals from his shoulders.

This was that last thing I expected…!

He pauses a moment and looks at me in surprise.

A second of mutual surprise passed, and

A-ra! Kei, why did you sto~p?”

A flirtatious female voice breaks through from behind him.

Who is this-?!

Is what I thought about saying, but it’s that weird, boing – er, I mean the colorless lady who interrupted the welcome ceremony at school.

It’s hard to forget about her.

She pauses in slight surprise when she sees me, then a slow smile crosses her face.

“Oh~? What’s this~? A lost little kitten, is it~?”

Uwah. The honeyed voice makes my skin crawl.

But somehow, it suits her!

“N-no, I’m just, uh…”

Work, brain!

“… I was just passing through…”

… the brain is out of order.

The woman had an amused look on her face.

“Lies~. What normal boy could have passed through Gakuto’s strongest barrier without noticing it?”

I have no response.

Inside I’m thinking, Heh? So that was a barrier…?

CRAAAAAAAASH!

“Uwaaah-!”

I yell as something is propelled at us, blasting the poles that held the weight of the wisteria’s branches up out of the way.

Metal poles, dust, and blossoms are being thrown our way!

“Tsk. Kei!”

“Yes, Aruji.”

“Gya!”

After giving the suit-man a command, the colorless woman dodged all the chaos as if she were dancing.

Me? The suit-man just picked me up and dodged it all for me.

In a princess carry…

I’ll never be able to get married… not! This isn’t the time for that tsukkomi!

What! Wh-wh-wh-what is THAT?!

Before our eyes, at the other end of this trail of destruction, the source of this … miasma, was it? … was visible in the aftermath of the destruction.

Pale gold shone on dark blue amidst the pale blossoms.

A gigantic, golden fox spirit with blank, unfocused eyes lets up a cry to the sky.

… That … is Tenmei-no-Hikari.

A six-tailed kitsune.

Without even caring about finding a target, that monster rampaged, shooting fire and destroying everything around it.

My blood runs cold.

What kind of monster was I talking to all this time? Why did I let myself be pulled in, feeling a close comradery, with something like THAT?!

I’m weak. I’m really weak. Being so scared and ready to run.

I know I’ll hate myself if I run.

But now that I see her, really, there’s nothing I can do.

Why did I even come?

“Oh my~ Fushimi-san, did you need help~?”

The colorless woman’s voice broke into my self-misery.

Um, hello?! Giant six-tailed fox that’s going to potentially destroy the town over there!

…Wait.

Eh?

Fushimi-san?

The scary priest from this afternoon?

I turn my head to look in the direction of the colorless woman, at the end of the trail of discussion, and something catches my eye.

Among the light lavender blossoms of the wisteria, almost grey in the night light, there was an unnatural, bright red.

Eh? Isn’t that the loli-miko? Yui-chan?

She’s lying on the ground, unconscious – dead?!

No… I don’t think so… let’s think she’s unconscious. I hope she’s just unconscious!

“Tch. The Witch.”

Fushimi-san’s sullen voice sounds and I look over.

Uwaaaaah. He’s a mess.

Covered in blood with his clothes in tatters and hair disarranged, he’s propping himself up on one knee, wincing a little.

“Hm… Tell me, Fushimi-san, you didn’t happen to have anything to do with this, hm~? Releasing that seal over there-”

“Breaking a seal by O-Inari-sama myself? Of course not.”

Fushimi-san grumpily says, cutting her off.

The woman stands there a moment.

“… So this was a seal set by Inari-kami. My my. Who could have broken such a thing~? Hm, but that means this is something Fushimi-san should be protecting? Ara? It’s curious how Fushimi-san was here so soo~n.”

Oh. I see. This colorless woman is trying to force Fushimi-san to explain why he’s here, and seeing what he has to do with the seal breaking.

Me too. I’m curious too, but I’m also pretty concerned about Yui-chan’s condition –

… Hm?

Yui-chan’s over there.

Hm?

I suddenly flash back to the dream I had just a while ago.

That was a young kid’s voice.

Hm?

A young girl’s voice?

Hm?

…!

I scramble out of the suit-man’s princess carry (T-T) and rush over to her.

“Hey, um, Yui-chan? Yui-chan!”

Thank god, she’s breathing, but is it just my imagination or is there a burning smell around her?!

Oh my god, don’t tell me she was hit with lightning directly from a kami!

That child’s voice I heard in my dream was hers!?

“Then, where is that man who gave her this bad idea?”

I mutter.

Swoosh.

“Uwa-!”

I fall over from the colorless woman, whose face was suddenly right in front of me.

When did she move?! She’s like some kind of horror movie spirit!

And how did you hear me?!

Her eyes, grey as they were, bore deep into me.

“What. Did you. Say?”

Eh? Eh? Where did your frivolous way of speaking go?

Strangely, this serious tone is making me feel more uneasy-!

I’m so surprised that I can’t get any words out of my mouth.

“What do you know?”

Saying that, the woman moved even closer.

“Th-that, no, I don’t know anything for sure-“

“So it was this girl. But someone put an idea into her head, hm~?”

I didn’t say anything! How did you-

The colorless woman stands, the coy look on her face still there, but her eyes were sharp and serious looking.

The suit-man spoke up.

“Aruji. Our priority should be the unsealed youkai –“

“Shut up. If THAT man is here, then it can become much worse.”

Cutting him off with a sharp tone, the woman turned away, scanning our surroundings.

Although it’s paths surrounded by the wisteria so that you couldn’t really see, but…

Or like, WHAT man? I didn’t tell you anything, though?

She’s completely making up her own version of the story, isn’t she?!

Already, the colorless woman has completely shut the rest of us out, only paying attention to the rest of our surroundings.

Um… big giant monster fox over there? Hello?! Shouldn’t stopping THAT be a priority?!

The suit-man gave a small, barely audible sigh, then bowed towards Fushimi-san.

“Please excuse us, Fushimi-san.”

… EH?!

In just a few seconds, the suit-man and the colorless woman had disappeared in the gloom under the wisteria.

I don’t really understand what just happened, but… you’re leaving us? Really?!

“… Selfish people. Just doing as they please.”

Fushimi-san startles me as he spit that out.

As I turn to look at him, he glares at me.

Uuu-! Please don’t be so angry!

“So you weren’t an ordinary boy after all. You have [Oracle]? [Sixth Sense]? No matter. Get Yui-san out of here, to the nearest hospital. Although she was warded, burns from “kaminari”(lightning) that truly contains “kami” is something that shouldn’t be ignored.”

“Y-yessir!”

I reflexively jump to it, but…

“…Eh? Wha-what about you?”

“This flimsy barrier won’t hold that monster. It’s already a miracle it didn’t immediately destroy everything. I don’t know why it hasn’t broken out of the park and killed everyone yet.”

Hey. That monster is my friend! And it’s not a miracle, she’s doing her best to not kill everyone, even if she did kind of lose her mind!

Even though I was just calling her a monster earlier, somehow it bugs me when someone else does it.

Fushimi-san stands unsteadily.

“… Are you going to go in that condition?”

“I have to stall it at least until the Association arrives. Though it’s questionable whether I can. However, it’s the duty of the head priest of the shrine of O-Inari-sama. And it’s worrying that the youkai’s rampaging is getting worse.”

Ah, yeah, I can see that. Ooooh, look at the fire… Thank god for the barrier, or I think part of the town would be awash in a sea of fire… eh?! That’s not a crack, is it?!

I’m suddenly aware that Fushimi-san is staring hard at me. He frowns and says,

“Why, were you going to do something?”

I shake my head so hard I feel like I have motion sickness.

Nononono. Noooo, you go right on ahead and fight the six-tailed kitsune…!

With a soft snort, Fushimi-san then proceeds to ignore me, walking resolutely towards the sea of fire.

I wonder if it’s my imagination that he seems to be pale and shaking a little.

I wouldn’t blame him if that’s the case.

… What’s the “Association”?

Whatever.

I push those thoughts out of my head and bend back over Yui-chan, rolling her over a little so I can try to piggy-back her.

“Hah-!”

I can’t help but gasp.

Although it’s not raw, burnt flesh, there’s clearly something like a burn mark down the left side of her face.

Poor girl. I hope it will go away.

Haa… It really was Yui-chan who was tricked into releasing the seal… and I suppose Fushimi-san came to stop her? Although it was male, that other voice in my dream was clearly not Fushimi-san’s voice.

If I think about it logically, un. Fushimi-san probably saw Yui-chan and got suspicious or something and followed her, or figured it out and tried to stop her.

I somehow manage to get Yui-chan’s limp body on my back, but then I realize…

… Where is the hospital?

Eh? Huh? Ah, this is something I should have looked up as soon as we moved!!!

As I hesitate,

Bang!

Whoosh!

Kaboooom!

Sounds that should only exist in a manga sounded from the direction that Fushimi-san disappeared in.

Eh… it was just a few minutes, and yet the kitsune – no, Tenmei-no-Hikari and Fushimi-san had disappeared from my field of view.

Although it’s easy to tell where they had gone, since the fighting was so intense.

Fushimi-san, don’t die!

crrrRRAAASH!

“GWAH!”

Before I could even move to leave, once again a humanoid shape flew out of nowhere, past me and into a tree, narrowly missing me and Yui-chan.

*Cough cough* What, you haven’t left yet…? Go-!”

Spitting blood, Fushimi-san stood up again.

Nonono, you shouldn’t worry about us-! How are you standing back up –

Zuwa.

The hair on the back of my neck is standing up.

Slowly, creakily, I turn my head –

-and come face to face with Tenmei-no-Hikari.

Wild eyes, sharp fangs, and a dark aura that freezes you in place.

“A-aaaaah…”

I can’t even muster the strength to scream.

I can only collapse in fear.

It – she opens her mouth, all of those teeth, glistening. This is the end…

Suddenly, something like a magical formation appears beneath us.

“Tch. Harae tamae, kiyome tamae. As the kannushi of the shrine of O-Inari, sinner steeped in impurities, I speak out O-Inari’s verdict. Be bound once more and slumber in this land. Kyu kyu nyo ri – ku-!”

Fushimi-san almost bites his tongue as he dodges the sharp, outstretched claws.

The formation disintegrates immediately.

A-aaah… somehow, it went after him… I grab Yui-chan, not even caring to be gentle, and crawl away as fast as I can.

Fushimi-san’s figure was the most noble thing I have ever seen in both lives!

I thank you with all my heart, Fushimi-sama! Thank you, Fushimi-sama!

He glared hard at the kitsune, though he himself was trembling from the miasma that surrounded Tenmei-no-Hikari, and said,

“So I must thoroughly immobilize you first. So be it! Warriors, fight as one! Rin! Pyou! Tou! Shaa! Kai! Jin! Retsu! Zai! Zen!

With his right hand, Fushimi-san cut a kuji, the ‘net’ flying out to inflict 9 slashes.

Although I have seen other spiritual practitioners perform this (although it was attempts to “purify” me), there is clearly a power in Fushimi-san’s voice that not very many had held.

Even so, Tenmei-no-Hikari dodged it, but as if he expected that, Fushimi-san threw an ofuda seal with his left hand and it struck her on her leg.

Baaaa-!

Paper streamers and rope exploded from the seal. A shimenawa-?

The sacred rope wrapped itself around Tenmei-no-Hikari, trussing her down to the ground.

Breathing heavily, Fushimi-san winced as he stood before her, and once again, with a raspy tone, he said,

Harae tamae, kiyome tamae … Haa… haa… *cough* …  As the kannushi of the shrine of O-Inari, sinner steeped in impurities –

Guuuuu…. GUOOOOOOOH!

With an unearthly yowl, Tenmei-no-Hikari broke the sacred rope as if it was tissue paper and fire lit up inside her mouth.

“Tsu-! Wall of protection, arise!

Throwing another ofuda down, Fushimi-san barely got the words out when a transparent something shot up.

At the same time, he was engulfed in flames.

Eh? EH?!

Fushimi-san!

When the flames and smoke cleared away, he seemed unhurt, or at least not on fire, but he was lying limp on the ground.

Shit!

What should I do? He’ll be killed –

Just when I was panicking, suddenly the kitsune turned its face and its mad eyes towards me.

N-no… why is it coming over here?

Why didn’t I run when I had the chance?

Why are my legs turned to jelly right now?!

Ah… what… what am I supposed to do…?

Fushimi-san, Yui-chan, and me, what can I do to save us …

Suddenly, staring into the kitsune’s eyes, I remember.

[You! My name is …]

That’s right.

I’ve forgotten in the terror, but she doesn’t want this. She doesn’t want to kill anyone.

That’s why I came here.

I came because I have THAT!

“Y-Yamiyo-no-Fukahi-de-Tenmei-no-Hikari! Stop!

Freeze

The effect was instantaneous. Tenmei-no-Hikari stopped mid-step, a blank look on her face (as blank as a monster fox’s face can look, anyway).

It worked! It worked…

“*cough cough* Ugh…”

I was hoping to just call her name continuously to keep her frozen, but it doesn’t seem like that will be possible.

When I yelled her full name, it felt like something went out of me.

Ugh…

So this is a true name.

It’s practically a spell in its own right. I can probably only manage to say it a few more times before I won’t be able to invoke the full effect.

So then, time is of the essence, but…!

“F-fushimi-san! Fushimi-san! Wake up, please!”

I ran over to where Fushimi-san is lying on the ground.

No good.

There’s a small trickle of blood running down the side of his face.

Shit! He hit his head!

What do I do? I’m afraid to even shake him in an attempt to wake him up.

Guuuuurooooh!

Tenmei-no-Hikari is already snapping out of it?

Kousei-san, think fast! Don’t just stand there staring!

Even though my brain has stopped working, my body jumps into action.

This rough thing in my hand… the sacred rope!

Eh?

EEEEH?!

Kousei-body, are you serious about this?

Please consult Kousei-brain before making important, life-threatening decisions!

The six-tailed kitsune is attacking agaaaaaain!

Yamiyo-no-Fukahi-de-Tenmai-no-Hikari! Stop!

Again she freezes, but this time her eyes glaring with madness are roving all over, blindly seeking out whoever it is that keeps doing this to her.

Sorry! It’s me!

Uh… what do I say … Fushimi-san’s spellthing… it was … something about being the spokesperson of Inari-sama…

… Right.

Screw it!

I take a deep breath and put everything I have into it.

“Yamiyo-no-Fukahi-de-Tenmai-no-Hikari! [BE BOUND]!”

Let’s go back to how it was before.

I’m scared, you’re terrifying, and I just want to run, but…

… although I didn’t know you all that well or all that long, I want to talk more with you.

I want you to listen to me.

I don’t want you to die.

Why? I don’t know myself.

It doesn’t matter. Let’s go back.

Suddenly, my vision is dyed red.

Wh-what-!?

“GYAAA!”

I have a vague feeling that the shimenawa has disintegrated in my grasp, but there’s something overflowing within me.

I feel like I’m going to lose my mind-!

I want to just… lash out to get rid of this pain, but I grit my teeth, trying to bear it.

… No, it’s too much… I can’t help but scream.

“AAAAURGH-!”

How long was I like that?

I don’t know.

When I finally collapse to the ground, I’m breathing heavily.

“What… what just happened…? Ah, Tenmei-no-Hikari!”

What happened to her?!

The moment I look up, I see long, white legs and dainty feet.

…Huh?

My brain stopped working for a second.

A slender beauty stood before me.

…Un. Two fox ears are on her head. They twitch a little and look pretty soft.

Six foxtails are at her back. Un. They sway on their own and look really fluffy.

…This… this is Tenmei-no-Hikari, isn’t it?

I don’t even know how to feel about how this template appeared.

Like, surprise, or shock, or … “Oh, so it’s like this.”

Ah. She looks exhausted, but a kind of mischievous, slightly arrogant smirk spreads across her face.

Yeah, although I didn’t know what she looked like, that’s the look I imagined her having when she was talking to me.

A flood of overwhelming feelings rush through me when I see it.

Relief and exhaustion … and a strange joy.

Even though I have never seen it, I was afraid that I’d never see it again.

Before I knew it, tears slowly fall from my eyes.

“Hahaha… so that’s how it is.”

I can’t help the soft laugh that spilled out of me.

She laughs in response.

“Fufufu… that’s how it is.”

“Hahaha.”

“Kukuku.”

“Ahahaha!”

“Kahahaha!”

We laugh like idiots in the middle of this scene of former chaos.

When we finally wore ourselves out laughing, Tenmei-no-Hikari knelt down in front of me.

“I will discard my old name and take a new one. So? What name will you give me?”

“…Huh? What do you mean?”

I don’t understand.

“I had a name in the past that hid my true name. That is no longer my name. So what name will you give me?”

I stare at her.

“… I have to?”

“Hm… you reached out to me. Take some responsibility!”

She said with a smirk.

“You started it all first!”

She says nothing in reply, but that look of amusement and expectation says it all.

In the pale moonlight … ah, when did the storm stop?… her hair glistens, and the soft breeze that has begun to blow tousles her long, golden-brown hair.

Wisteria blossoms drift on the breeze as well, and the oppressive, heavy scent has become light and refreshing.

“…Honoka.”

I say.

“… Ass. Are you trying to rub my past mistakes in my face?”

“…! Shit! I didn’t  – I was thinking heads of wheat, not heads of rice!”
(Honoka – heads of grain+scent)1

Ah. She’s actually laughing, not trembling with anger.

“So be it! I will accept it.”

“…Is that really ok?”

I can’t help but ask. I mean, it does almost sound like I’m being mean…

“Yes.”

Eh… why is she getting closer…?

Like a fool, I was kind of expecting… No, well, I knew better, but still, moving your face in so close will give me some kind of expectations.

Instead of touching lips, she bent down and touched her forehead to mine.

…EH!

A light flashed between us.

? !?

She leaned back with a soft smile and said,

“Then it is completed.”

… Heh?

What is?

Before I can ask, Tenm – Honoka collapsed onto me.

“Ah! Hey, are you okay?!”

“… nn.”

Don’t scare me like that!

“Fool.”

…Eh?

That soft word came out of her lips.

“Hey, that’s-“

As I protest, she wiggles around so she could look up at my face.

“I explicitly told you to run, and what do you do?”

“No, somehow I –“

“Coming out here was suicidal.”

“W-well… no, I mean, yes, but –“

“Idiot.”

“H-hang on!”

“No-brained fool. Reckless idiot. Foolish … problem child. Stu…pid Kou…sei… … ..”

“… Honoka?”

Arara. She fell asleep.

She was really tired.

Me too…

It’s a little surreal.

All that violence and terror, and now it was perfectly peaceful. Ignoring the scorched earth.

Also surreal are the fluffy ears and six fluffy tails Honoka has …

… There is a naked woman asleep in my lap.

Yeah, she was a giant fox monster destroying everything in sight just a little while ago, but right now, she’s an attractive woman with lithe limbs and skin that glows almost white in the moonlight.

I can’t blame this on puberty. Any guy would be hard-pressed to keep cool in this situation!

Uh… I can’t let anyone see me – I mean, her – like this.

…Oh.

I suddenly remember her telling me about her death sentence.

Shit.

I really can’t let anyone see her.

Although it would have been better if I had re-sealed her in the rock…  not that I really know how.

But I can’t just leave Fushimi-san and Yui-chan –

“Over there is where the spiritual energy spiked.”

“Move cautiously! We don’t know what we’re dealing with!”

Crap!

Although they’re in the distance, I hear voices and people approaching.

I rush to pick up Honoka.

Heavy!

But it can’t be helped!

Thankful for the cover of the wisteria, I stumble off into the night, leaving Fushimi-san and Yui-chan to people who (hopefully) have a better idea of where the hospital is.

Shifting Honoka in my arms, I hurry off.

Back towards home.


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  1. 穂香. Honoka can be represented many ways, and especially for fictional characters the kanji can get pretty obscure, but the most common is “heads of grain”+”scent” or “heads of grain+flower”. Either way, it’s not unreasonable (hopefully) for Honoka to comment on it, given her connection to a ruined rice paddy.

<A/n: Uh… It’s quite long, but there was no good stopping point.
I hope Kousei didn’t come off as a complete wuss. He was all over the place, even for me… It’s kind of interesting to note where he calls Honoka by “Tenmei-no-Hikari” and “her”, versus where he calls her “the kitsune” and “it”. He was fighting hard to see her as his friend instead of a monster.>

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17 comments

    1. Even a 3 tails can be a significant spirit. Stories throw around 9 tails all the time, but such beings are basically minor gods.

      Like

  1. “Stupid curiosity! It’s going to fry the cat on a tactical nuke!” < I laughed out loud at this line

    That was quite a thrilling chapter! The soundtrack for this scene would be epic.

    One typo I noticed: "…in my dream was her’s" should be "hers"

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the meal!

    Hey, you really like to torture your characters huh?

    With his personality I’m sure it’s *all* fun and games and no frustration at all whatsoever from here on out, yup!

    Like

    1. I agree: most translation sites I avoid the originals since they often are pretty lacking (too close to their inspiration while less consistent in updating) but here your originals are the main reason I keep coming back, not that I disdain reading ovrmmo or vendm but they pale in my opinion compared to your own productions !

      Like

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