Chapter 17: Meeting Unit 2 and the Witch
In front of us are a woman with animal-like parts to her, a short and slim oni guy, a yakuza with a game console, and a guy with no particular notable qualities about him.
… If you stare that hard, I’m going to blush~.
No, seriously, why are they all looking over here?
Every single one of them is staring right at me.
Why?! There’s a six-tailed kitsune right over here, though?! Isn’t that something way more interesting?!
The fact that I called her “that” is something I won’t be telling her any time soon.
Haa. What is with everyone…?
It’s taking everything I have to avoid hiding behind Honoka like a shy brat out with his mom.
*Step step step*
Geh. More people are coming…!
How populated this barrier is! Even though it was designed to keep people out!
Ah, no. Is it, like, a separate space?
I don’t know which of these is the way this barrier works, but why is there such a large(ish) population in here?
It’s two men and a woman who are approaching… eh.
Isn’t that the boing-woman and the man who princess-carri – I mean, her assistant.
I feel cold sweat forming on my back.
I-I-I am sooo BUSTED!
No, well, they saw me in the park in that whole mess with Honoka, right?
This isn’t going to turn out bad, is it?!
The person who broke the silence was Daiki-san.
He’s talking to the other guy who walked up, the one I don’t know.
…He’s tall. He’s the second tallest person I’ve seen in either lives.
Supervisor… Supervisor… If I remember right, Daiki-san’s supervisor is Supervisor Endo.
Then who is Supervisor Ooishi?
Ignoring my confusion, this Supervisor Ooishi nodded his head once and said,
“Thank you for your efforts.”
“Y,yes, thanks for your efforts, too.”
Daiki-san replied as if he was at work, but um…
Is this really the right situation for that!?
“Who might these be?”
Ah, Supervisor Ooishi gave a very pointed look in our, that is Honoka and my, direction.
… Ah, I see. Are we ignoring the fact that this is an abnormal situation? Is that what’s going on? Neglect play?
“Ah, these are my nephew and … um…”
Daiki-san stares at Honoka a second before he finishes with,
“ “Familiar.” ”
Both Honoka and I say.
Oh, they’re surprised, they’re surprised.
Yes, I know, it’s hard to believe someone like me made a youkai like her a familiar, you don’t need to look so shocked…
Or like, despite the exaggerated expressions of shock in the background… I feel like I understand that boing-woman is a big shot so I’m not surprised that SHE’s not too surprised, but Supervisor Ooishi didn’t even change his expression at all.
What do you mean by just, ‘I see’?
And then there’s Daiki-san, who isn’t sure what there is to be surprised about.
It’s SO obvious that he doesn’t know a damn thing about youkai.
Well, yeah, he just found out about this stuff within the past half hour.
“Fufufufu… I see, I see. I thought it was weird an ordinary kid could wander into that mess last night. So you had some sort of plan after all, hm?”
Nononononono, you’re overestimating me VERY much!
Geh! Daiki-san, don’t give me that look.
“I…I don’t know what you’re talking about…”
Yeah, right. That’s the first excuse I can think of?!
Honoka~ save me~!
I don’t know if she heard the screams of my heart, but Honoka moves herself directly between that woman and me.
“Hm… you’re rather protective of him, aren’t you? Although I didn’t think the contract binding would be of the mutual type…”
The woman takes a step back and smirks like that.
Honoka tilts her head back a little, looking down her nose at the woman arrogantly.
“Fufufu, you must be joking. Do you think someone like me could be bound without a mutual contract?”
“Oh my~, well you certainly didn’t appear to be in a state for reasoning with last night~.”
Yes, sorry, she was there last night. I didn’t get a chance to tell you…
With a little eye roll at my apologetic look, Honoka turned her attention back to the woman.
“Oh you must be joking… Someone like me being so susceptible to miasma poisoning, as if that would be possible. I’ll admit it was intoxicating, but it could hardly be called losing my mind.”
… THAT’s what you’re going with?! Eh, but unlike me, Honoka actually looks like she’s telling the truth, so the woman backed off with,
“I see… though it’s still interesting that someone like him could manage to bind such a strong youkai, overflowing with miasma, isn’t it? I wonder exactly what his abilities are like~.”
“Oh dear, you do seem to be interested in elevating the status of his spiritual abilities, aren’t you?”
“Oh you must be joking~, I am simply making an observation.”
“Ara, when people like you get close to someone like him, there’s always some sort of ulterior motives, right?”
“Oh my, of course people would be interested in a person who could tame someone like you~.”
“…What is this…”
I can’t help the half-exasperated mutter from coming out of my mouth.
I’m half expecting them to start going, ‘Oooohohoho~!’ like some rich ojou-sans bad mouthing each other.
Everyone around us is just standing around watching this train wreck.
“Although, seriously speaking, there will be a lot of troublesome people popping up. I’m just trying to help you mitigate the problem, see~. I would imagine there are a lot of things an unskilled boy with all that power will get into. I specialize in connecting people into relationships that will be beneficial for them, see~.”
“Hoooh… beneficial for them, is it? And what does the person who does the connecting get out of it?”
Uwaaaaah… Honoka-kun, Honoka-kun, some kind of dark, firey aura is coming out of you… Eeeek…!
Or like, lady, you have guts to withstand this kind of intimidation!
…Ah. There are sweat drops appearing on her brow, even if her expression hasn’t changed.
Everyone else looks like they’re going to wet themselves.
Ah, Daiki-san isn’t used to this kind of thing at all…!
I tug at the hem of Honoka’s shirt.
“H-Honoka… uh… it’s a little…”
“Hm… it’s been awhile since I’ve done this. I can’t control my aura well yet…”
“Oi, that was totally bloodlust, not an aura!”
“Don’t laugh it off!”
Just like flipping a switch, Honoka dispersed her aura.
“Fuuu… Six-tailed kitsune. While you are certainly powerful, for someone who hasn’t been awake for hundreds of years, the world has changed a lot, hasn’t it? It’s also true on THIS side of the world, you know~?”
Wow, that woman is talking like nothing happened, complete with her flippant tone. As I thought, she’s a big shot on THIS side, isn’t she?
“’So leave him to me’, that’s what you’re trying to say, hm?”
“Now I wonder~, I don’t know a thing about whether his Blessings would be compatible with mine? But coming under my name will give him some sort of protection. What I’m saying is out of concern you know? With what just happened tonight, you’re aware that it will be impossible to just keep him hidden, ri~ght?“
Eh. Is that true?
… Honoka, don’t just avoid eye contact with me, answer the question!!!!
“Aruji, you need to keep in mind, right now your overbearing manner is rather… how to say it … like you’re becoming a desperate used car salesman.”
“Ah! Kei, I’ll let a lot of things go, but calling me that is too much!”
“My apologies. It had to be said.”
… Although I thought he was just her yes-man, surprisingly, the guy in the suit seems to have a decent relationship with her.
The colorless woman huffed.
“Hmph. WELL. Either way, here’s my card if you change your mind. Bye bye~!”
She turns to leave, but then looks over her shoulder with a smug smile.
“Mm. It’s an enviable master-familiar relationship.”
Oh. She just disappeared, followed by the suit guy.
Because she went back through the barrier?
And what was that parting shot?
…Can it even be considered a parting shot?
I look down at the card she left in my hand.
Her card says…
I don’t know how to read this kanji. Something Kinjou.
Sorcery Master (Majutsu-shi). Mediator. Headhunter.
What the heck. They’re all so random!
And why ‘Sorcery Master, and in such big letters?! ‘Magic user’(mahou tsukai) would have done just as well, right…? It’s like the arrogance is just oozing off the large words.
Although I thought she was suspicious at first, now I just kind of…
Well, I mean, she seems like the troublesome kind of person you don’t want to deal with because they’re overbearing. It’s kind of like the feeling a chuunibyou patient gives you?
Like… she’s probably harmless, but it would be best not to get involved.
Either way, I put the card in my pocket.
“Supervisor! We need to get going. Gakuto’s at his limit.”
The yankee called over.
“…I see. Manabe-san, it seems we are out of time, but I would like to call you into Unit 2 tomorrow.”
It’s kind of hard to tell, but Supervisor Ooishi seems a little frustrated that the boing-woman cut into the conversation between him and Daiki-san.
Although you guys were all listening really intently too. There was no need to pay attention to me!
Daiki-san politely replies,
“If it’s about Unit 2’s operations, I won’t talk about it, though?”
Un, un! Daiki-san won’t talk about something that would compromise his family! Just look at him, he’s the exact model of an upstanding civil servant!
Supervisor Ooishi looks down and points at the gun in Daiki-san’s shoulder holster.
“That. You need to file a report for the use of those bullets, right?”
Daiki-san… you didn’t think about it at all, did you?
He’s making a face like a kid who just got caught with his hand in the snack cabinet.
L-let’s go home, Daiki-san.
“…Hey, Honoka… what was all that about?”
“Ha… I have a ridiculous master, that’s what that’s all about.”
“I’m sorry! No, I get that, but I don’t know what happened…”
“And THAT’s why you’re ridiculous!”
“Even if you say that, I still don’t understand, though?!”
On the way back, after we left the barrier, the people returned and street noise can be heard.
That doesn’t stop Honoka and me from having a mini panic attack.
“Wait a minute. So what happened, that thing right before the youkai attacked me, where it felt like you couldn’t tell if you blacked out for a couple minutes or whatever; from how those people were acting… was that Kousei-kun?”
What is he talking about?!
Honoka sighed, covering her face.
The three of us, who looked like we were doing some kind of dramatic reenactment while walking down the street, must have been a strange sight, but that’s not important right now!
“You didn’t even realize it, huh? Just simply by screaming ‘Stop!’, you stopped everything within earshot.”
“… What is that. Too vague. Explain please!”
“E-ve-ry-thing! Everything was stopped! Breathing, heartbeats, electricity, everything stopped! If there was a bird it would have stopped flying, but it wouldn’t have fallen, because EVERYTHING was stopped.”
“Huh? Wait, how would-“
“Don’t think too deeply about it. It’s an effect made from imagination. Science only has as much to do with it as you wanted it to at the moment.”
Cop out answer.
“Hang on, hang on, that kind of thing… it’s not like I was trying to do that? No way it would just happen on it’s-“
Honoka turns around and jabs a finger in my chest.
“You. You screamed hoping desperately hoping that kazekama would stop, right? Well, that’s basically a spell, a jutsu. Only, you have no control. Normally, no control means nothing will happen, or it will misfire. But you… somehow YOUR inability to control it means it hit more than the target … haaa… to think that it would happen in front of people…”
“So… this is bad?”
“Of course it’s bad! See, I’m a six-tailed kitsune. Exorcists would be falling over hand over foot to make me their subordinate, yah?”
Nod nod. That’s true. Any kind of person involved in THIS world would want a near godly youkai as their subordinate.
“That power you showed today, it’s WAY above that! That’s not kotodama (word magic) anymore, that was a subjugation of everything within earshot! Normally one would end up sacrificing his life doing something like that! You just ended up coughing up a little blood… what do you think people will think about something like that!?”
“Don’t call me ‘something like that’! …Eh. Isn’t this… kind of bad?!”
“So you get it, idiot Kousei!”
Owowow, she’s grinding her knuckles (not harshly) into my temples!
“… I don’t really get the details, but that means people might start targeting Kousei-kun? Isn’t there something we can do?”
Ah! Thanks Daiki-san! Even if she wasn’t going at it full strength, my head hurts…
“Hmph. Even if you ask me… what that woman said is unfortunately right. I don’t know what kind of state THIS side of the world is in, not the people who are involved nor the factions that divide this town. I’ve been out of this world for too long. If it comes down to brute force, well, I’ll likely be able to do something about it, but the things on THIS side of the world are often the type to slink around in the shadows, if you know what I mean.”
Honoka releases me and frowns, upset, as she thinks back to what that woman had said.
“There are a lot of organizations and politics involved, you mean?”
“Mn. Given the state of the mundane world, it’s not unlikely that it’s become like that in THIS world.”
Daiki-san heaves a sigh full of frustration.
“Well, just like you, I’ll give my all to protect Kousei. He’s my precious, slightly foolish master who gave me more than you can imagine. I will protect it all properly, both my master and the things he cherishes, because I want to, not just because I’m bound to.”
I’m touched, but…
“…But Honoka, you still have your own circumstances.”
“… I know, but I’ve begun thinking that I will become a little brazen, if it means I can stay here by Kousei and Daiki-san’s side and protect them.”
Daiki-san chuckled a little at Honoka’s words.
“As reassuring as it is, I’m fine. Just protect Kousei-kun. He’s the one who is going to have a bad time, right?”
“Nono, that’s not good at all. Now that you’ve been exposed to it, Daiki-san will be dragged into all sorts of things on THIS side of the world.”
“Huh? Is that how it is?”
Daiki-san’s eyes are like dots.
“…That’s why I’ve been keeping quiet and away from people all this time…”
Ah. When I said that, Daiki-san went slightly pale, and his face is all, ‘oooooh, so that’s how it is.’
“… Sorry, Daiki-san.”
It’s like this for my aunt and Kenji-san, too. Just because I left their household doesn’t mean their connection to the supernatural is cut.
With this kind of thing it’s easy to fall in, but it’s hard to climb out.
Daiki-san suddenly grabbed the gloomy me and messed up my hair violently.
“Haa. What sorry? Isn’t this much better? It’s hard to bear it all alone, right? The more expressive Kousei-kun isn’t too bad. Anyway, I’ll properly have some sempai in this field right at the department, so you don’t need to mind me.”
…Daiki-san is a person that’s too good for mankind.
Ah, no good. I feel like crying.
Luckily we’re close to our house, so…
…Eh. There’s a guy sitting outside our gate?
He’s HUGE- ah.
Daiki-san and Honoka tense when they see him, but I know that giant. He’s the number 1 tallest person I’ve ever seen in both my lives.
“… Eh. Saru-san?”
How did he find me?
His hair is rough, he has a western-type of prominent nose and a bushy beard, and then there’s that height … but he actually is Japanese, apparently.
I’m not sure how, exactly… maa, there are different circumstances for everyone.
As we approach, he lifts his hand with a friendly smile.
“Do you know that man, Kousei-kun?”
I hesitate a little before replying,
“Know him… well, he’s the one who made the paper wards I put up in our house.”
I mean, at this point, what’s the use of keeping these secrets from Daiki-san?
We have already gone past the point of no return.
I’m sorry, Daiki-san. Your life has become something irreparable.
There will not always be a double update of Cursed… Well, whatever. Let’s just run with it.>