One of the most prominent temples in Japan, located in the vast Nara Park.
Though perhaps for the Japanese, it would be more apt to say that it’s the place where the ‘Daibutsu’ could be found.
It is said that the people that visit the temple are first overwhelmed by the size before gasping at its majesty. Even those who have already seen pictures cannot escape, and when they proceed to the Daibutsu-den and look up at the statues of buddha, they cannot help but feel a deep sense of emotion. Already, this temple has become one of the places that any tourist in Japan ought to visit. Really, even the Japanese themselves.
“Ugh, I feel sick…” Shinichi said.
Yet while Shinichi’s feelings in that regard were stronger than others, Shinichi could not even get past the main southern gate.
He was crouched by the side of the main gate, so as to not get in the way of the other tourists.
“Nakamura, you okay?” Frire asked.
Already everyone but them, including the teacher leading the group, has made their way into the Todaiji temple.
Frire, who stayed behind to accompany him, rubbed him on the back encouragingly.
Youko let out a cry of concern. She had long gotten off her master and was looking up at him with a complicated expression.
She knew this would happen, but after hearing his intention and his other purpose, there was nothing she could do to stop him.
“Should I get you water? Maybe some medicine?” Frire asked.
〈A drop in body temperature and a disturbed pulse has been detected, but the cause remains unknown.〉
“Don’t worry, I know why. It’s a constitution thing. Medicine won’t help. I expected this, but I didn’t think it would be this bad. My head is spinning.”
As the world seemed to spin, he looked past the main southern gate to glare at the Todaiji Temple, but he immediately looked away.
He couldn’t even look at the statue of the guardians without hurting.
“Looks like a place that has been receiving the feelings of people for over a thousand years isn’t just for show.”
Did it accumulate that much power because of that sort of history? Or was it always this kind of place?
Regardless, his evil god attribute was a poor match with it.
So much so that it was painful just being near the gate.
“What are you mumbling there? …At this rate, it would be better to just go back to the bus. If it’s painful to walk, then you need to lie down somewhere…”
“Ha ha, lie down? If it’s with you, I’d be fine even if it’s for a whole night.”
Well, he was at least well enough to make jokes like that.
But then again, that might just be him putting on an act.
“What are you even saying? I’ll nurse you if that’s enough to get you back up on your feet, but wouldn’t it be better to call a professional?”
〈Unfortunately, jokes of that sort are ineffective. There is a lack of relevant knowledge and experience that you might be… willing to provide? 〉
Apparently, Frire was completely innocent and his words failed to come across.
Shirayuki’s remarks gave Shinichi a new headache aside from his constitution.
The fact that she disclosed sensitive information so nonchalantly and even recommended him to take action made it worse.
But of course, the person in question had no idea what they were talking about.
“I don’t really get it, but if you can’t move, I can carry you.”
“…It’s fine. I’ll recover if I just leave this place. Oh, but if you can find someone who’s also in a bad state like me, can you gather them?”
Shinichi projected a map of Nara Park and pointed to the closest resting area from the main southern gate.
“I don’t know if they’re students or teachers, but there should be three others that’s acting similar to me. I’m sure the
He looked somewhat weak, perhaps because of his poor health, but when he asked that with a one-handed praying gesture, Frire raised her brows and looked reluctant, as though he were up to something again.
“Just to be sure, you’re not planning on hurting them, right?”
“As long as they don’t attack.”
“So you’re saying there’s a chance? Do I need to do anything?”
“It would be great if you could just ignore the matter… It’s an Earth problem.”
Frire sighed again, but it was hard for her to make a move when he put it that way.
Shinichi wryly smiled, seemingly feeling ‘bad’, but Frire understood and nodded.
“I’ll take you there first. You really are fine, right?”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine as long as I get away from here.”
“…If something happens, be sure to contact me immediately. I can’t really trust your ‘fine’ when it comes to yourself.”
“…I get that a lot.”
“Figures,” she muttered.
Frire confirmed the same thing over and over, but Shinichi just kept nodding, so she shook her head and moved.
In the end, she decided to tell Youko to call her if something happened.
“I’m not trusted here, am I?”
“You’re just too negligent and sloppy when it comes to your own well-being, Master.”
As Frire ran off, Youko responded as though not trusting him in regards to his own well-being was a matter of fact.
Shinichi seemed shock, but she immediately responded when he turned to her.
“Anyone involved with you would know.”
“Well, if you’re saying it, then that probably is the case. Tomoe, you’re there, right? No one’s here anymore.”
But Shinichi seemed uninterested and just turned his voice to an unexpected direction.
Then, a girl suddenly appeared, holding a talisman with displeasure written all over her face.
Tomoe was hidden by a jutsu of invisibility.
“If you were expecting me, then you should have something sooner!”
As she approached with a look of frustration, she threw several talismans at him.
With neither the strength to receive nor dodge, the talismans landed flat on his face, and when they fell, Shinichi picked them up.
“Ha ha, sorry. You’re a great help, really.”
The first talisman had the character for boundary on it, and when he stuck it on himself, he exhaled, as though finally able to relax.
The boundary created by that talisman affected only his body and shielded him from any spiritual interference.
“I figured you might have been affected when I noticed how pure the air was, so I looked for you, only to realize that you didn’t even cross the gate… I feel like such a fool for getting so worked up.”
Tomoe scolded him, but at the same time, she also muttered to herself and did a little self-reflection.
She was so pleased with his gratitude and reliance on her just some minutes ago that she forgot about his constitution.
Though she didn’t know the reason why, she knew that he had a strong inclination toward evil and darkness, and Nara and Kyoto had a lot of places – relatively speaking – with barriers against those still functioning.
Of course, he was still human, so he shouldn’t be repelled by them, but regardless, she should have been able to realize that his constitution would be negatively affected.
“Sorry, I thought I’d be fine if it were just a look.”
Shinichi could tell what she was frustrated about, but he didn’t broach that and instead apologized for his own negligence.
She might have taken that at face value or thought he was taking things likely, but regardless, Tomoe became angry and pointed out.
“How much history do you think this place has? The Daibutsu isn’t just for show, you know! It’s not just a name either. Things that have lasted for a long time have more power, but not only is this a place known throughout Japan, it’s known throughout the whole world! It’s just that amazing!”
“You know, I didn’t really care much for Shinto and Buddhism in the past, but now that I get it, I can’t even enter. What a dumb tale.”
Shinichi mocked himself in self-deprecation. He tried to get a peek at the main southern gate, the Todaiji Temple beyond that, and the objects of worship inside, but he quickly averted his gaze. It was painful even with the talisman protecting him.
Just the act of ‘looking’ had that much influence on
Perhaps she might have seen or felt something from his pitiful face, but she took out a new talisman, and before he could react, she stuck it on him. He didn’t see it, but the character on that talisman read: connect.
“I’ll show you a little, okay, just a little.”
Without waiting for a response and with an atmosphere unwilling to take no, she chanted a short mantra.
“What are you…”
In the next moment, a certain vision filled Shinichi’s mind. He could see Todaiji Temple in front of him as though he were standing right there.
The atmosphere was so solemn it was overwhelming, and he found himself walking in a daze as he proceeded deeper inside.
Before long, he finally saw the Daibutsu statues, something he’d only seen in videos.
A voice of astonishment leaked out of him.
The various ‘sizes’ of the statues engendered an atmosphere filled with grandeur that made a person want to offer their prayers.
“Ha ha, that’s amazing.”
But at the same time, he felt somewhat apologetic because of his ‘body’, and he averted his eyes.
In doing so, however, he happened to catch a boy and a girl looking up at the statues too, and that painted a satisfied smile on his face.
“───In the end, that’s what makes you happy, huh.”
As the connection to Tomoe’s memory cut off, his vision returned to where he really was.
Tomoe’s voice was tinged with both sorrow and astonishment, but he ignored that and just thanked her.
Tomoe took that for an indirect refusal and stripped the talismans off of him, then she turned around saying, “I’m going back… You care too much about your surroundings, and you take me for an idiot too much.”
“Looks like she found out that I’m being considerate. Did I make her angry?”
“I’d say it’s more frustration than anything. It is true that she forgot, after all. But not only did you not find fault with her, you were even considerate. There’s no way she can stand for herself with that. Even if you have your own faults and your reasons, it still doesn’t feel good, right?”
He himself had forgotten to get her help, and he didn’t ask for it because he thought it was convenient. That’s why he didn’t blame her, and in that regard, he was being considerate, but as a result, he ended up treating her like a fool and hurt her pride.
“She’s a smart kid. I thought she was an emotional pseudo tsundere, but it turns out she’s attentive when it comes to things like this. She knows to be considerate by not asking too much too. Definitely the kind of girl I’d like to keep by your side. What do you think?”
“What are you saying now? Well, maybe I should at least do something in place of an apology… It’s somewhat of an outlandish way to thank someone, though…”
She shook her head in dismay, but she suddenly stood up and narrowed her eyes threateningly.
He’d always meant to make them come out when he poisoned them, but after being filled with their kindness and concern, he was now filled with motivation.
But of course, those on the receiving end probably weren’t happy.
“Now then, what’s going to come out? A demon? A snake? Perhaps, a villain? Or a righteous man?”
“It would be easier if an ogre or a naga came out instead, though.”
The two laughed as they talked about how it would be more troubling if a human were to appear. Only their eyes remained serious.
With a gait that one wouldn’t presume from a man struggling so much just a moment ago, Shinichi headed there.