While the black mist and the female students were surrounded by the monk’s devils, a third party was observing them through the narrowed eyes of a small creature.
“Master, what is that?”
That creature watched them from a distance of over 5 kilometers from the cover and height of the many trees.
“Even with my eyes, that black mist becomes blurrier the more I look at it.”
Despite the creature’s abnormally exceptional sight, it couldn’t see through the black mist.
The more it looked, the deeper the darkness seemed to be.
“Honestly, it gives me the creeps, ah, yes.”
Apparently, the creature with a male voice was speaking through an earpiece installed on its head, and was having a conversation with someone.
It spoke in perfect Japanese without relying on any translation device.
“I know it’s hard to believe, but they look just like the oni spoken of in fiction.”
From the sound of it, it could also see the devil faces, but such spiritual constructs couldn’t possibly reflect on any observation equipment. As such, the person on the other end of the line was skeptical of the creature’s report.
“Thank you, Master, but yes, I can’t figure out what that thing is even with your device.”
The creature sounded happy at first, but the latter half of its dialogue was full of disappointment.
It could perceive the black mist, but it had no idea what it was.
It was only a few minutes ago that the creature had noticed these mysterious unidentified things.
From the moment the students were kicked around by the devil faces and the volunteer army to the moment they were saved by the mysterious white mask, the creature had been watching from among the trees, reporting every detail.
It was a terrifying feat given the distance, but he could indeed see everything.
Moreover, he could even hear what they were saying with his peculiar ears.
“Yes… Yes… But!”
The creature was surprised because the person on the other end of the line was telling him the exact opposite of what he’s been ordered to earlier.
“We’ve yet to find our top priority, and yet you want me to observe the mask? …Yes, I understand. If that’s what you’ve decided, then that’s what I’ll do.”
But if his master was giving him the order despite knowing that, then there was no reason for him to refuse.
He couldn’t see his master, but he nodded as he accepted his new orders.
With his new mission decided, the creature judged that he needed to be closer to his target, and so, leaped from the trees.
With a speed that was literally too fast for eyes, the creature would likely not need even a minute to close in on his new target.
But despite that frightening speed, he had still left behind a shadow, a shadow that just happened to resemble a four-tailed fox.
『There’s 15 of them. How many are you sure you can take on?』
Tomoe had her back against the mask when she was asked that question.
“Sorry, but I think three is about my limit,” Tomoe said apologetically, an unusual display for her.
The shikionis made small jumps as they surrounded them.
They looked like humans, so their actions appeared even stranger.
Regardless, Tomoe felt the number she’d given was the most she believed she could see and attack.
『Hmm, in that case, I’ll leave six to you— They’re coming.』
“Huh!? You’re kidding!”
Tomoe didn’t expect to be given twice her estimated limit, but she didn’t even have the opportunity to scream.
Just as the mask said, the shikionis sprung off their limbs and simultaneously attacked.
Tomoe instantaneously took out three charms in each hand, but she was only able to see three or four shikionis.
There was no way she could hit six like that.
『You’re using the wrong eyes.』
When the mask said that, she spontaneously threw her six charms.
They shot out as fast as bullets, and plastered themselves onto the shikionis, then in the next moment, blew up and scattered in every direction.
As it turns out, relying on her spiritual sense was a lot more precise than she’d thought.
“Alright! I did… it?”
For a moment, she’d made a fist and raised it up in glee, but that quickly turned into disappointment as her shoulders dropped.
She was completely focused onto her senses, so she knew what was happening behind her.
“I know you saved me and all, but what is that?” Tomoe said.
To Youko, who couldn’t see the shikionis, it just looked as though the giant, black snake was twisting around, but in truth, it had
Tomoe was elated to have defeated more shikionis than she could see, but when she saw the mask so easily destroy 1.5x as many shikionis as her, she couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. Of course, she expected that much from the mask, but she just couldn’t help herself.
『Apparently, it’s called Jormungand.』
“It has a name!? And isn’t it too small to be called that!?” Tomoe said.
Jormungand was the name of a mythical snake so big it was even bigger than the world. Compared to that, the mask’s black snake was clearly lacking.
The mask actually nodded to that, but it was hard for others to discern his movements, so they just thought he’d gone quiet.
“Tomoe, you can see them too? Those things…”
“Huh? Ah, yeah. I’ll explain later, so just don’t move for now.”
Youko had asked her best friend that question after considering the timing, but Tomoe shot her down because she couldn’t afford to spare her attention right now.
After all, the person responsible for the shikionis had appeared.
“Tch, so those useless bums couldn’t even tire you out, huh.”
Yoshihisa didn’t hold back the slightest in showing his displeasure at the volunteer army’s crushing defeat.
He had summoned 15 shikionis, and yet not even a single one of them was able to inflict damage.
『Those are big words for someone who was trying to profit while others fought. Foolish too. You would’ve been much better off if you just kept hiding.』
The mask said as he stood between the girl and Yoshihisa.
He had been paying attention to this man too, but he wasn’t doing anything, so he’d left him be, but now that the volunteer army has lost, he’s finally shown himself.
“Hah! Say whatever you want! But even if you can defeat those, the victory of the Ootsu family is already assured! Sorry to rain on your parade, but this battle was decided before it even began!”
『Indeed, the side I allied myself with would naturally be the winner. 』
The mask said that so casually and matter-of-factly, without the slightest hint of arrogance, that for a moment everyone blanked out.
“U-Umm…” Youko said.
“…I’m not throwing a tsukkomi here,” Tomoe said.
Youko didn’t know how to respond, while Tomoe just didn’t want to.
In the former’s case, she truly was just confused, but in the latter’s case, it was because the mask was likely correct.
“…Ha, ha ha, when you take overconfidence to that level, it’s actually admirable! But no matter how strong you are, specter, it’s already over for this land!”
Yoshihisa too was dumbfounded because of the mask’s unexpected response, but he recovered and exaggeratedly claimed their victory with a sardonic laughter.
“The special charm our Ootsu family prepared has already been delivered. I can activate them myself, but given time, they will also activate on their own. When that happens, a terrifying curse will spread through this land, contaminating everything in its malice! Since you seem able to command a considerable amount of spiritual power, I’m sure it needn’t be said what will happen then, right?”
Yoshihisa laughed happily and hideously.
It was the kind of laughter that was too great to be kept in, the gloating laughter of a man so sure of his victory.
Which is why, he couldn’t help but be confused when he found that his audience was completely apathetic.
“…W-What is with that look!? Don’t you understand what I’m saying!? I’m telling you that no matter what you do, this island is going to be turned into hell!”
He tried to explain himself, but his audience remained dead.
No, in fact, it was worse, because the mask and the girl actually silently looked at each other and laughed.
『Ku, ku ku ku ku.』
“Ha ha, ha ha ha ha….”
The mask’s was more scornful than laughter, but the girl’s was clearly sarcastic laughter.
Unfortunately for Yoshihisa, his confidence only served to make the situation funnier to the two.