“Looks like the next wave is here… I think you just brought out more of them,” Ryou said.
“The only thing they have going for them is their numbers anyway, so if anything, you should say that I lured them successfully,” Tomoe said.
Ryou and Tomoe casually quibbled, but they did not forget to consider their response.
But while Tomoe was considering whether to set a trap again or try to forcefully break through with her shikis, Ryou stepped on the staircase and looked up toward the upper floor.
“Now that I think about it, it’s the same whether it’s up or down or sideways.”
Ryou didn’t respond to Tomoe’s inquiry and instead raised his hands up above his head.
Then without any hesitation, as though to say that this way was fastest, he released his vast reserves of spiritual power upward.
“…Uh, actually, I was the one who came up with that idea.”
Tomoe watched in astonishment as the light of spiritual power filled the upper floor.
To them, who could see, the sight of that was no different from covering and petrifying their sight with spiritual power.
By the time the enemy could see the light coming from below their feet, it was already too late.
The flash filled their sight, and in the next moment, a vast amount of spiritual power formed a whirlpool and directly interfered with the spiritual bodies.
Normally, raw spiritual power would have little to no effect on skilled exorcists, but pure, powerful, and large amounts of spiritual energy were by themselves a powerful weapon.
Before a whirlpool of such, the enemy was nothing but a school of poor little fish.
“Got ’em, alright!”
“…Alright, I think like he’s been rubbing off on both of us.”
Ryou was unfazed despite releasing so much spiritual power, while Tomoe’s head began to ache at the thought that Shinichi might be rubbing off on the both of them.
Although there was no need to hold back since the enemy were also trained exorcists, this way of using spiritual power was just too unorthodox.
Ryou hadn’t been trained in the orthodox methods in the first place, and it was Tomoe who taught him this method. All he really did was change the direction.
But regardless, it was exactly this sort of creativity that resembled Shinichi.
“Well, we did manage to sweep them away, so that’s good.”
When Tomoe expanded her senses and probed upward, she found that the enemies were terribly few in number. Ryou’s enormous power had hit them directly, cutting off a large amount of spiritual power all at once.
Most of them had fainted, and even those that managed to hold on were so disoriented they could not stand.
“Let’s hurry up and go to the third floor. There’s no telling what will happen if we’re late.”
Ryou didn’t know how much damage he’d caused, but there was a more pressing matter.
A matter that roused Tomoe from her impending headache.
“I know. But you need to let me take care of the third floor! If we just keep relying on that one trick of yours, Shinichi really will increase our workload!”
After saying that, she quickly went up the third floor.
She created a lot of puppets via the Ootsu-style Shikioni Technique and quickly conquered the third floor through
Five exorcists versus an army of more than 50 indoor shikionis.
In the face of a number so great it could fill the halls and the rooms, no resistance was enough.
Indeed, there was power in numbers.
After all the ruckus they’ve caused, it was a given that the enemy would be waiting for them at the fourth floor,
But because Tomoe sensed them first, she was able to blind them with her talisman, allowing her and Ryou to take them by surprise and deal with them quickly.
With the president’s office at the fifth floor suddenly becoming inaccessible and communication with their allies cut, the remaining enemy were thrown into disarray.
By this point, they had no resistance left to offer.
Morale was just that important.
Though traps and shikis have been been prepared in case of an emergency, Tomoe easily saw through the traps, while Ryou made short work of the shikis.
Such securities were only really meant for cautions’ sake or to prevent information from leaking, but it was still remarkable that just two people were able to take them all down in 10 minutes.
The mask that had been watching the entire time sighed.
He was reading the documents he got from the safe while sitting on the sofa in the president’s office and keeping an eye on the situation. When he “looked” carefully, he could see that they weren’t tired. At most, their physical and spiritual strength were depleted by 20%. However, given the difference in strength and tactics, it was hard to judge whether that figure was big or small.
Were the woman in kimono, the princess of the Katsuragi, awake, he would most likely have criticized her for her men’s inadequacy.
Though that served to dispel his disciples’ lack of confidence, it was still a disappointing result given that the Katsuragi have managed to get this far only with brute force.
He also felt somewhat jealous that his disciples could just force their way through like this.
The Katsuragi family likely found this whole thing outrageous considering that they were attacking and taking advantage of them without remorse, but then again, they were a selfish house that pursued only their own interest regardless of the consequences to others.
As far as the mask was concerned, it was over for them the moment they were found out by him.
Of course, they had their excuses. The exorcist clans were close, so while they might have power struggles, it was rare for them to actually fight in combat.
That’s why they weren’t used to fighting their own kind, and there was also the difference in physical ability due to the basic training provided by the academy.
There was also the difference in talent, creativity, and resolve.
Moreover, Ryou and Tomoe also had a master who would drill a ton of combat experience directly into their body.
Given all that, it wasn’t strange that the declining Katsuragi family would prove no match.
Unfortunately, thanks to that, Tomoe and Ryou might very well lose their common sense.
“They’re turning out pretty well as your students, aren’t they, Master? Especially the part where they’re trying to destroy the dungeon rather than conquer it!”
『…Zip it. 』
Youko was hidden behind his ears, and she told him that.
He was just barely able to respond.
Though flexible thinking seemed like good growth, he found it hard to be satisfied and felt like he was teaching them something evil.
He frowned, but of course, no one could see that.
“Alright! I’m first! —Woah, what is this pitch black thing!?” Ryou said.
“Ryou, wait a sec— Huh? Shin— I mean, Masquerade?”
Ryou and Tomoe kicked the door open, but what got their attention wasn’t the people lying on the floor unconscious but the human-shaped black mist.
One strange characteristic of the mask was that its recognition interference ability grew weaker upon attacking and could not be restored unless reequipped.
That’s why they were immediately able to notice him. However, they neither found that strange nor imagined that he would be here by the goal waiting for them.
‘That’s a demerit,’ the mask thought as he stood up and spoke.
『…To the roof.』
Ryou and Tomoe looked at each other in confusion, and the mask happily and gently pointed out.
『As a reward for getting here ahead of schedule, we will continue with your morning training and do 30% more work than usual.』
As a crescent moon smiled under the mask floating in the black mist, Ryou and Tomoe became speechless.
Or perhaps, that was merely them failing to process it, for in the next moment—
They paled and screamed.
A training session with his mask equipped and with 30% more work.
The memory of that early morn flashed through their minds, and their legs gave way, sweat pouring. They commended themselves for not wetting themselves, but really, that was a pitiful attempt at fleeing reality.
『Okay, let’s go. 』
“W-Wait! At least, let us rest!” Tomoe said.
“Please! Give us time to prepare ourselves!” Ryou said.
Alas, their pleas fell on deaf ears, and the mask grabbed them by the scruff of their neck, dragging them without mercy toward the roof while humming a solemn song.
A song about a calf on a rocking carriage about to be sold.
“○na○na!?” Tomoe and Ryou exclaimed.
The mask was impressed that they could pick up on that reference.
“Are we calves!?” “Are you selling us off!?” Ryou and Tomoe cried.
But their cries did nothing more than deepen the smile on the mask as he dragged them to the