『Are your eyes just bad or are you just that pathetic? 』
“Arrgh! Stop making fun of me!! I’ll kill you, damn it! I swear I’ll kill everyone here!!”
Yoshihisa opened the chest part of his monk clothes and revealed what was inside.
At that, the girls immediately cried out, but it was not because of shame, but because what was underneath the monk’s clothes was not the chest of a man, but a strange, giant face.
It had eyes, a nose, a mouth, but it was not a human’s face, but a beast’s.
It resembled a clearer version of the face that appeared when the mask burned one of the wooden boxes earlier.
“Oh, I get it. You combined it with your shiki! That’s why the presence of the curse littered this whole place!” Tomoe said.
『I figured that might be the case the moment you revealed the curse through your hands…』
Although they knew that the curse was somewhere around here, the presence of the curse covered the whole area, so they didn’t have a precise location.
And because traces of the evil ki were also present within Yoshihisa’s techniques, the location of the curse was inadvertently hidden from their sensitive senses.
『Hey, is it really okay to combine a shiki with that thing?』
“He’s probably prepared some kind of defensive measure, so it should be fine if it’s just a few hours. And besides, the shikis are essentially just terminals for them, anyway.”
『So if there’s a problem, he can just cut the connection anytime, huh. Hmm… 』
The mask seemed thoughtful.
But it was precisely that ever indifferent attitude despite Yoshihisa’s display of the curse that poured even more oil into the flames.
“I see you have no intention on taking me seriously until the end, but that ends now! Be swallowed by the wicked ki and die while────”
Yoshihisa yelled angrily and was about to release the curse, but in that moment, darkness dyed his sight, and he couldn’t see anything.
『…Since the evidence is here now, I have no more business with you.』
As it turns out, that was merely an illusion brought by the mask’s sudden approach.
The darkness that covered his whole vision was so dense he’d mistaken it for the night, and despite his wariness and the distance between them, the mask had appeared right in front of him all too suddenly.
Immediately, Yoshihisa tried to distance himself, but it then occurred to him that he couldn’t move.
He couldn’t move to the left, or to the right, or behind him. He could move his limbs, but he couldn’t move his body.
When a strange feeling assaulted him, he looked down, and there he saw the arms of the black mist penetrating his chest.
It went through his whole body and even through the strange face on his chest.
Unfortunately, because his shiki did not have organs and because he did not feel pain, he did not notice it.
“No! Let go of me! Pull it out!!”
『It would be problematic if we drove you into a corner and you ran away, so I figured you’d take it out on your own if I just provoked you a little. Your immaturity really helped me out. 』
The mask ignored Yoshihisa’s wails, and laughed as he revealed the truth behind his provocations.
Upon realizing that he’d been dancing on the mask’s palms, Yoshihisa wailed even louder, but what affected him the most were the scornful words of the mask that resounded in his ears.
『Now, be gone───Destroy him slowly、
“Eek, uu, waaaaa!?!?”
In a flash, his whole body caught fire.
Although he couldn’t feel any pain, his body was still on fire. The fear he felt from that was immeasurable.
Despite the mask sticking so close to him, the fire did not spread, only slowly creeping up Yoshihisa’s neck as though the flames wanted to choke him. Before long, his shiki’s body collapsed, and incomprehensible voices screamed out from the curse within.
“This guy really talks and acts like a villain, doesn’t he? Ah, Youko, that’s just a human-shaped robot that’s being controlled from afar. I know you can’t see it now because it’s covered in shadows, but you don’t have to worry about the screams.”
Youko flinched when she heard Yoshihisa’s terrified screams, so Tomoe gave her an excuse.
At the same time, though, Tomoe sighed. She was the one who introduced the mask as their ally, so she wished he’d at least consider her position.
Of course, he did seem to be trying to be considerate, given that he’d covered Yoshihisa with himself, so that they didn’t have to watch a human burn up, but…
“You bastard! Damn it, damn it, damn it allllll!!!”
The fire covering his whole body, and his flesh burning up.
The shiki’s body couldn’t feel pain, but watching everything through his eyes made him imagine that pain.
By the time he realized that there was no pain, the fact that he’d humiliated himself so much in front of the mask infuriated him even more.
But the eyes behind the mask no longer held any interest in him.
They were still looking at him, but they were indifferent, as though they were looking at a worthless piece of stone by the road.
No matter how much he wailed, no scorn nor sarcasm left the mask’s lips.
The mask no longer had business with him, but being treated like that just annoyed him more, so he resisted even more recklessly.
Unfortunately, try as he might to flail about, the mask’s hold on him showed no signs of loosening.
He couldn’t even calm himself enough to cast a spell.
But Yoshihisa did have one fearsome weapon left.
“Hey, you! Go already! You still want to call yourself the greatest curse of our family with this sorry performance!? You can’t even kill a single person, you’re utterly useless! Anyone’s fine, just kill someone!!”
Like the howls of a beast, an unsettling sound that didn’t resemble a living creature’s resounded.
It was curious if it was because the curse heard the scorn of its master or if it was because its master tried to forcefully use it, but the evil ki shot out from Yoshihisa’s shiki to fly high up into the sky and from a lump of evil ki.
When Yoshihisa heard the sound of a tongue clicking, his whole face beamed.
“Do it! Kill!!”
This battle was completely their loss.
Even he had no choice but to accept that.
But that was precisely why he wanted to get back at the enemies just a little. Even if it was just a little, he wanted to make this ever composed specter cry.
Dyed in anger and humiliation, such thoughts dominated Yoshihisa’s heart.
The curse with a strange face formed the face of a beast through the dense smoke and laughed.
As disgusting as it was, it resembled a human expression, and that made it even more repulsive.
Upon seeing that hideous face, the girl with the least resistance cried out, and no one would blame her for doing so, but that action decided the target of the curse.
“Youko, get down!!”
Realizing the crisis at hand, Tomoe took out several charms and stood in the way of the evil ki’s beast face.
For a moment, she wondered if her spells would be able to block the evil ki, but there was no one else who could help, so she had to do it.
She resolved herself to pour all of her knowledge and spiritual power into her next attack.
But in the next moment, a foolish voice resounded.
In front of her, an arm clad in an even deeper darkness punched the curse beast.
For some reason, that punch landed right into the smoke-form lump of evil ki, and slammed the curse beast into the ground.
Moreover, that was properly a bare-handed punch, but only someone who knew that could be shocked by the mask’s action.
Unlike Tomoe’s shock, Yoshihisa just spun and then rolled on the floor laughing.
“…Ha, ha… Hya ha ha ha ha!!! You touched it! It’s over for you! You’ve been cursed! Trying to make the curse disappear with a punch… How stupid can you be? Hyahahaha!!”
Despite being covered in flames, a grating, loud laughter erupted from Yoshihisa.
The beast that had been punched turned into a dark blue smoke and wrapped itself around the black arm, then it took on the shape of a wolf and opened its large jaw to bite at the mask.
Fangs bigger than the real thing aimed straight for the mask.
“R-Run!” Youko said.
“W-What are you dazing off for!?’
But despite the voices crying from behind, without any hesitation, the mask extended his other arm into jaws of the curse.
“Ha ha ha, ha— Eek!?” Yoshihisa said.
“…The heck? And here I was seriously worried too. What a waste of my concern…” Tomoe said.
The mask did not even punch with his other arm, he literally just put it inside the mouth of the curse.
And yet that was all it took to make the fake beast disperse.
The sharp fangs couldn’t even leave a single wound on the black mist, and neither could the curse even touch the black mist’s legs.
『Sorry to rain on your parade, but unfortunately, my constitution prevents curses from working on me. Such concepts won’t reach me no matter what you do. 』
“W-W-W-What the heck is that? I’ve never heard of such a thing!”
『Just a little divine secret of the world that you know nothing about. It’s the same reason why a water gun can’t push back a flood.』
As the mask slipped out a chuckle, he lambasted Yoshihisa’s last act of resistance.
He even made it clear that any thoughts of victory on his part were nothing more than a misunderstanding.
In the face of the mask’s mocking voice, and the crescent moon smile under it, Yoshihisa’s pride was torn into shreds.
『─────And that’s why the curse will automatically be returned to you.』
Trying to push back a flood with a water gun was a futile effort.
Any such attempt would simply backfire due to the difference in the amount of water.
Anyone knew as much, but the two practitioners froze.
Because the mask’s words were happening right before their eyes.
“Wh… What, the, heck, is happening!?”
And the burning shiki started to rot.
It rotted even faster than it burned, and before long, a repulsive smell filled the air as the shiki decayed.
Defenses have been put in place, so Yoshihisa’s main body wouldn’t be affected, and he didn’t feel any pain too, but the mental damage from that sight was even worse than watching his own body burn.
Especially, since this was a curse that they themselves had a prepared.
『How did that saying go again? Curses, like chickens, come home to roost? In that saying, both sides are affected, but in my case, I’m completely unaffected. You seem to have prepared for the rebound, but unfortunately, the concept here is different.』
After all, even if they’d prepared for the rebound, in the end, they’d prepared it with the presumption that they would be dealing with a
Not only would it serve no purpose, it would have no effect whatsoever.
『So, tell me. How does it feel to watch yourself rot from your own curse?』
“Ku, ah, ahhh!!”
“Maybe I should’ve given him his last rites after all.”
As Yoshihisa cried out from humiliation and frustration, Tomoe looked at him with pity.