Chapter 12: Good Fortune? Bad Fortune?
Alright, it looks like the hamburgs are done stewing.
Plate, plate, plate… ah. There they are.
Being newly moved in, it’s hard to remember where you put everything, ne~.
There’s a strange atmosphere behind me.
I wonder what happened between Honoka and Daiki-san while I was in the bath.
Ignore it, ignore it!
“It’s already 1:30, but I guess it can’t be helped.”
I say, trying to break up the tense atmosphere while I set the plates in front of Daiki-san and Honoka.
Honoka… you’re totally drooling.
Aaaand she’s already eating.
You could wait for the rest of us.
It’s kind of amazing how like a kid she can act.
Even Daiki-san, who was watching her carefully with his guard up, is giving a wry smile.
Daiki-san and I don’t wait too long to join her, though.
Mmmm! So good!
Ah, I’m not self-praising; I was just so hungry, and I hadn’t realized it.
For a little bit there’s only the sounds of eating.
Ah, I forgot the barley tea…
Just when I was going to go get it, Daiki-san spoke.
“By the way, about Honoka-san living here…”
… Dammit. I was hoping to postpone that topic! Forget about it… Forget about it…
My mental waves don’t seem to be working.
“… I said she couldn’t stay, but now that I’m thinking clearly, I think she should stay for a few weeks, at least. If you really don’t have anywhere else to go, I mean.”
That kind of stupid sound comes out of my mouth.
Honoka doesn’t say anything, just watches the scene carefully.
She’s still stuffing her mouth full of hamburg, after all.
“No, well… see, there’s that woman that’s been going around attacking people with a curved knife. Even if she hasn’t actually hurt anyone yet, it won’t do to be negligent.”
Ah… there was that sort of thing, wasn’t there?
Maybe because no one’s gotten hurt yet, I haven’t heard about that at all.
“Is that okay with the both of you?”
“Um… yeah! Sure!”
Uotto. I was probably too enthusiastic.
Now I have a bit longer to figure out how to deal with this…
“The woman who attacks other women and then says, ‘You’re not the one’, hmm? Is the weapon a sickle, I wonder…”
…! Oi, Honoka, what are you saying?!
Daiki-san sits straight up and looks at her.
“Saying something like that out of nowhere! You sound totally suspicious, oi!”
I said, smacking thin air with my hand, like in a manzai act.
“Ahahaha, maa, it’s creepy, right? The disappearing woman. It was on the news for a little bit, then no one talked about it.”
Honoka says nonchalantly, polishing off her plate.
“It… could have been a sickle. Do you … know anything about it?”
Daiki-san asks. He doesn’t really seem suspicious of her, but he’s staring at her very intently.
Ah, mou… this kitsune is really good at riling people up!
“No… nothing that will help. Just curious~, just curious~.”
“Well, it could be a youkai. Not that there’s anything the coppers can deal with.”
“… Where did you learn that slang. No, the TV, right. Sheesh. Right after he okays you staying, you go and say stuff like that, mou…”
I’m letting Honoka take the bed tonight. Tomorrow we’ll get the spare futon out… but right now it’s pretty late.
I’m a guy. I can sleep on the couch.
But before that, Daiki-san went to take a bath, so…
Now! Now’s the time! Seize the day!
Or something like that.
Anyway, what I mean is it’s time to ask Honoka some questions.
About a lot of important things.
“Honoka… there are a lot of things I don’t understand and want to ask you, but I have to go back to school tomorrow, so I guess I gotta make it short. What happened at the end? How did you turn back to normal?”
Honoka stared at me silently for a moment.
“Haa… I thought as much. Did he have no idea what he was doing? No, that’s almost 100% certain, isn’t it?”
“… Oi. Don’t just talk to yourself, let me in on it too!”
“Fuuu-n. Okay, so what was making me crazy was the sudden influx of miasma, right? It came in too fast and I couldn’t get rid of it fast enough.”
“And then you made me your familiar, which let the miasma escape through you as well. You felt it, right? That pain that made you just want to explode and lash out? Iyaaaa, I’m glad it went well. You could have been incapacitated, you know? Like a vegetable in the hospital or something.”
“Ooooooi-! That’s not something to laugh about!”
She’s totally grinning, like it’s something interesting!
…If I mind it, I’ll lose.
“…So? How did I manage to make you my familiar?”
“… Eh? You made the magic circle and recited the spell, right? Ah, since I was once a servant of O-Inari-sama, having a divine rope would have helped…”
“I didn’t recite anything or make anything, though… I wonder how it worked out…”
I return Honoka’s exclamation of surprise.
“No… you HAVE to make a pretty complicated circle and recite the mantra properly to make a contract, though?”
“… Is it bad that I didn’t?”
“Bad that you… forget that, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to do it without doing it properly, you know?!”
“Eh? …Eh? Eh? But … I didn’t do anything like that, you know?”
Honoka puts a hand to her head. Ararara… she’s really, seriously frustrated.
“Geez… just what kind of person did I end up contracted too…”
“This kind of person?”
“…You don’t know what you are either, right?”
“How cruel! I’m human… I’m pretty sure.”
No, there’s that weird Blessing. I’m sure of nothing! But I won’t admit it!!!
“Here I thought you had a plan or something, coming out into that sort of dangerous place… idiot, idiot, Kousei’s an idiot!”
“Ugh-. Sorry, I am an idiot desu.”
I obediently dogeza.
I know! I know, okay?!
“Haa… I suppose this is also fate. But now that I’m connected with your soul, I see why spirits get attracted to you.”
“…Connected to my soul? Huh?! Isn’t that… really kind of something serious?!”
“Achyaa, you’re starting to realize it. Yup, it’s something that you shouldn’t be able to do by accident!”
“…and I did it by accident… hahaha…”
“Yup. But now, our auras are mixed, so I can be your youkai-repellant.”
“Huh?! Really?! … How?”
“Nothing much. Just, my spiritual ‘scent’ will be on you now~. Not many youkai will want to tangle with property of a six-tailed kitsune! Kahahaha!”
“Oi. Who’s your property? If you’re my familiar, it should be the other way, right?”
“Maa, don’t mind the details~. It’s not exactly an ordinary relationship we have, ne?”
“…Well that’s true… I want to hear about the details about what it means to have you as my familiar, but it’s late, and there’s one more thing I want to ask. Is it… going to be okay?”
Honoka makes a bit of a pensive face.
“My situation, you mean? Hm… well, I won’t run from whatever O-Inari-sama and the zenko decide. Since contracting me was an emergency, they won’t hold it against you, I’m sure.”
“Well, it will be what it will be.”
With that dissatisfying answer, we ended the conversation for the night.
Although I have so many thoughts, like what does it mean now that Honoka is my familiar, and whether or not it will really be okay like this, and … what did I dooooo?!!!! I fall asleep a few minutes after lying down on the couch.
I’m really tired… snore…
“Uwaaaah! I’m late!”
I sit upright and fall onto the coffee table. Again.
“Ah, mou, why didn’t I move that…”
I rub my tender ribs.
Honoka looks up groggily as I barge into my room.
I grab my uniform. I need to hurry, get changed, make breakfast…
… That was close! I almost got changed right there with Honoka in the room!
“…Is there any need to be so rushed?”
Honoka asks. She sits up, a sleepy, amused smile on her face.
“I won’t have time to make Daiki-san’s bento! Although there’s the hamburg from the night before, nutritious side dishes are important!”
“… Were you a housewife in your previous life?”
“I was a normal young man, thank you very much!”
I shot back my retort as I left the room.
Ah… I need to make another bento for Honoka!
Un. Miso soup with just green onions for breakfast. Sorry, nothing special… tamagoyaki, a little on the sweet side since Honoka is here… double the amount for the bento… ah, the bacon’s fried. Half will be crumbled and fried with the blanched asparagus and dijon mustard. I don’t have time for rolled bacon-asparagus.
I don’t have time for a salad, so just mini tomatoes for both breakfast and the lunch.
Hm. I don’t like having the same thing for both meals, but it can’t be helped…
I’m totally acting like a housewife aren’t I …
Well, can’t stop now…
“Daiki-san, breakfast! Or like, aren’t you going to be late?!”
Daiki-san yells and shoots out of bed.
As he’s in his room getting ready, I leave a few slices of tamagoyaki in front of the altar. Un, can’t forget Daiki-san’s lover’s portion…
“Umu. Miso soup, how lovely. It looks delicious.”
Honoka is looking at the table setting, very nearly drooling.
If her tails were out, they’d be wagging, surely.
By the way, I ate my own breakfast while cooking.
“Un, here’s your portion. That’s Daiki-san’s portion. Your lunch is in the fridge with the plastic wrap. If there’s any miso soup left, you can have that too. Heat it up in the microwave if you want. Ah, make sure Daiki-san remembers his bento. I’m off!”
If I walk fast, I can make it-!
Well, actually, as long as no unforeseen delays occur, I’ll be fine.
That’s a flag-!
Even if you think that, nothing happened and I made it to school on time.
I fell forward onto my desk.
Even though it wasn’t like I barely made it, I feel like I haven’t stopped moving quickly all morning. And I’m sleep deprived.
“Hey, hey, Kousei! Hey, were you okay yesterday? If you had to go to the bathroom, it would have been faster to go back to the school, you know?”
“… Do people usually go to shrines to use the bathroom? Baka-tsu.”
Wow did that feel like a month ago. That’s right, something like that happened.
Mitsuo Higuchi and Shigeru Endo came up to my desk.
Is all I can really say.
“By the way, new hairstyle? It suits you, and the contacts.”
Uwaaah! Did I not slick down my hair this morning?! Oh no! And I forgot my glasses!
What happened to my straight-laced image I was going for?!
“More importantly-“ “Just talking over me?!” “-were you okay last night? A really bad lightning strike hit the park. That’s near your house, right?”
Endo said, ignoring Higuchi.
SO glad he changed the subject. Endo’s quite good at reading the mood.
“Ah… yeah. It was… really scary at the time.”
“Man, that storm was CRAZY-“
Ding dong ding!
Higuchi was cut off by the bell, and I breathe a long sigh of relief.
I thought my weird actions yesterday would be off-putting, but it seems like I’ve survived through that.
I tilt my head.
With everything that happened, is it okay to keep in contact with those guys?
Honoka said her ‘scent’ would keep other youkai away, so…
Eh? Could it be that I might be able to live a kind of normal life?
Even so, my many years of solitude has left me very confused with this sudden stroke of good luck.
Actually, can this be considered good luck?
I’m so confused, and no matter how long I think about it, I’m not coming to any answers.
In fact, I’m just making myself so dizzy that I just want to go to sleep…
A gaudy woman in a bright white coat lined with fur hanging off her shoulders sat sultrily in the chair next to the hospital bed.
“…This has given me qui-ite a bit of trouble, you knoow…”
She dragged her words out lazily, tapping one long, red-painted fingernail against the side of her face.
“…Forgive me. There is nothing I can say to excuse myself.”
In the hospital bed, Fushimi-san kept his eyes low, staring fixedly down onto the bed.
If he could shrink himself to take even less space in her field of vision he would; that’s the kind of feeling he was giving.
“We-ell, I personally don’t mind either way, but the others are making qui-ite the ruckus. I can’t let this go so-o easily.”
Fushimi-san closed his eyes in resignation.
“… I understand, and I’ve come to terms with it, but the girl –“
“Hm-m. It’s a shame.”
The gaudy woman looked honestly apologetic.
Fushimi-san felt his chest tighten and his stomach drop.
He looked over at the bed where Yui-chan slept.
A grotesque burn mark marred the left side of her face, and her left eye was a milky white.
“In the first place, it’s not got anything to do with me. It was Raijin’s power. Nor do I have any obligation to do anything about it. It already took everything I had to keep her from gaining the Traitor’s Mark.”
“I understand. Just that was more than I could hope for. It’s just, her spiritual powers…”
“My hands are tied to that. If I meddle too much … well, even the kami aren’t immune to the effects of meddling with karma.”
“Is that so…”
Fushimi-san didn’t have much hopes to that either.
After all, one could say Yui-chan had brought it on herself.
For such a young girl to bear these disfigurations, it was already heart-rending.
They would neither heal nor be able to be fixed with surgery. They’re scars with a kami’s magic in them, after all.
But the worst part was that Yui-chan’s spiritual powers that she had been so proud of, since they exceedingly powerful for someone her age, were gone. A curse from betraying her patron kami she had sworn to serve.
“Naaaaaani, there’s no need to fret. It might seem like a long time to her, but as she grows she will regain them again. She is lucky she’s human. The kami are kinder to the fickle-hearted humans than they are to the youkai who betray their expectations.”
At first the woman smiles gently, looking at the girl, but as she continued on her expression grew solemn, then severe.
“… Although I have failed my task, I will bring back the sealed one without fail –“
Fushimi-san was startled as the woman suddenly leaned forward and put a finger to his lips.
“Nuh-uh. Although I would ordinarily say that it is your duty, I think you are quite aware of the differences between your strengths.”
As if he didn’t even say anything, the woman continued on, saying,
“Well, unless that one has changed, if that one has regained her sanity I’m sure she wouldn’t give you any trouble…”
“But no, it’s not your ability I’m judging. Simply speaking, the someone who defeated that one who is so much more powerful than you has taken her out of your jurisdiction.”
Fushimi-san blinked in surprise.
“Defeated… no, that’s true, the sealed one must have been defeated. But who-“
“Nuh-uh. That isn’t information that you are permitted to kno-ow. But now it’s a li-ittle troublesome… well, that’s not something you need to worry about.”
Fushimi-san tightened his lips in frustration as the woman gave a little wave, disappearing through the door.
As she walked down the hospital hall, the woman’s eyes sharpened.
“I suppose I’ll need to scope out that situation, hm?”
<a/n: Thanks junior1210 and Raist for your donations!
There is a patreon button to the right and here for those of you who would like an easier way to donate regularly.
Even if you don’t want to donate might as well visit the page, because there is a pic of Honoka and Kousei in the banners, although Kousei’s hair is… meh.
Nai’s Senses chap 2 is also up>