Alas, Tomoe was unrepentant in the face of his accusations. Yet even as they quibbled, Ryou didn’t forget to knock out the black-clothed man that tried to attack him without even turning, then he released spiritual power behind him to take out the next two that approached without even raising his hands.
“Get lost! Can’t you see I’m negotiating for my life right now!?”
After yelling at the black-clothed men as though he couldn’t care less about them, Ryou bowed to Tomoe repeatedly as though he were worshiping her.
He looked kind of pathetic, but everyone else was taken by what he’d done prior.
Michizane already couldn’t close his mouth when he saw that initial lump of spiritual power, while the black-clothed men froze after seeing those last attacks.
“I knew Ryou-sama’s spiritual power was ridiculous, but…”
“That was basically a spirit cannon. As expected of Ryou-sama, I suppose.”
“He’s never been taught, so Ryou-sama can’t be understood with common sense.”
Meanwhile, the three girls behind were drawing cold sweat amidst their admiration.
They knew they were weak, but the two suns standing before them were just too bright.
It felt as though their small bodies would vaporize just by looking at them.
But that was only a given. After all, Tomoe’s spiritual power which was usually kept suppressed were now being released in full force, while Ryou’s spiritual power that discharged on its own was now being honed with purpose.
Anyone who could ‘see’ could faint if they weren’t careful.
But of course…
“───W-Who called me in that weird manner?”
The person in question just broke out in goosebumps when someone suddenly referred to him with a sama.
It was then that he noticed the three girls in the half-destroyed room.
“Hey, aren’t they the people from your club? Why are they here!?”
“Apparently, they’re related to the exorcist clans. They were also the ones who kidnapped us.”
“Yep, but before I could get the details out of them, that young master over there attacked.”
She wanted to say that she didn’t know what was happening either, but before she could, someone interjected.
With how quiet it was, that irritated voice resounded clearly as the young master sprayed out the words from his mouth.
“Hey, you maid servants! You refused to address me with a sama yet you’re calling those fakes with a sama!?”
“That’s about what you’d expect from him.”
“The more he talks, the more he pathetic he appears.”
The way he spoke suggested he was furious, but really, he was just angry that they were treating him differently than they did them.
Of course, Ryou and Tomoe didn’t really care, but the maids acted as though their attitude toward them was a given.
“Well, duh! These two are the last of the Abe and Shinguuji clans!”
“As people who have inherited their noble lineage and possess this much power, it is only right that we address them with a sama!”
“Your family head is still alive too, and there are plenty of other people to replace him if needed, so of course, they’re in a completely different league!”
They didn’t say that just to provoke him. They truly meant it.
But of course…
“…So in the end they too subscribe to the idea of chosen people. It’s a little creepy.”
“Yeah. Even if they’re praising us, it’s a bit…”
This was a subject that held little value to Ryou and Tomoe.
As people who lived in the academy and in society, they leaned more toward the merit system, and it was hard for them to accept the concept of someone being amazing just because of their lineage.
But of course, they knew full well that there was no helping this family in that regard.
“More importantly, you three can’t even do anything about him on your own, so what are you doing provoking him?” Tomoe said.
“…Oh, about that… Can’t you two do something about it?”
“Don’t worry, we’re really good at talking big while hiding behind someone bigger!”
“We have grudges, so we’ll talk smack until he’s dead!”
Tomoe found herself coming down with vertigo.
These girls were just as outrageous usual.
Put nicely, they were glib; put negatively, they were fickle.
But that wasn’t strange given their age.
“You need to choose your friends better,” Ryou said.
“I don’t want to hear that from someone who’s only friend is that little brother!” Tomoe said.
That’s why they fit so well with Tomoe, who was usually emotional but also a deep thinker.
It was because they could compensate for the parts she lacked that their friendship could continue until now.
“H-How dare you people ignore me and chat pleasantly among yourselves!”
“…If that sounded like a pleasant chat to you, then you need to see an ophthalmologist or an otolaryngologist.”
Ryou inadvertently said as though he were genuinely concerned.
That was the last straw; Michizane’s veins snapped.
What was most humiliating to him was not being treated with scorn but with pity. And Ryou’s display of that made him lose whatever rational circuitry he yet retained.
“Y-Young master, you shouldn’t use that here!”
Michizane searched his chest pocket and took out an object that caused everyone around him to panic.
“Shut up! I can’t let this end while they’re looking down at me! I am the successor of the Tsumori House!”
The black-clothed men admonished him, but he pushed them away and smashed that white object into the ground, shattering it like glass.
However, the sound was a bit off, and when the object appeared beneath moonlight, it was finally revealed what it was.
“A piece of bone?”
There was no mistaking it – that texture and shape was definitely that of a bone.
It was hard to say what the original shape of it was since it was immediately shattered, but from a distance, it seemed like the bone of a human hand, the part starting halfway through the arm until the palm.
Fear and chill crawled up Tomoe, and immediately, she stood in front of Ryou and everyone to clap her hands.
At the same time, the men also jumped back Michizane in their arms to escape from the bone fragments.
In the next moment, the broken bones immediately swelled, then exploded, creating more shards, but what was really dangerous what the thing spewed in the process.
A light purple smoke. With everyone here able to see, there was no one here who did not know it was dangerous.
For that was none other than the thing which the exorcist clans referred to as miasma, a kind of gas harmful to all life. Basically, a spiritual poison gas.
If not for Tomoe’s simple exorcism, she would have likely been directly affected.
It was also thanks to her that it did not penetrate the area around the porch where Tomoe and her friends stood.
“What did you─────!?”
Even if they could defend themselves with spiritual power, the thick miasma was harmful to Michizane as well.
That’s why the black-clothed men fled. But was that really all there was to that bone?
It was true that Tomoe’s group couldn’t touch this miasma easily either, but it wasn’t something that would directly threaten them or bind them.
At most, it would obstruct their vision a bit, but that was irrelevant to someone like Tomoe who could sense their presence.
If so, then…
“…That trouble smells danger,” Ryou said.
“What a coincidence, I was thinking the same thing too,” Tomoe said.
The earth shook.
It was a familiar tremor for students like them.
Indeed, it was gentle compared the lightning attack earlier, but it felt heavy as though something gigantic was walking.
Ryou and Tomoe looked up to the sky and let out a dry laugh.
The miasma that spread like an explosion covered the sky for a moment, but the self-cleansing ability of this place gradually diluted it and exposed what was hidden behind.
In the dead of the night, five pairs of suspicious lights glowed, and perhaps because they were rubbing against each other, or because they were laughing, the sound of wooden clogs clattering and lower jaws shaking filled the air.
There, above, stood a drudge of skeleton giants that covered the night sky.
They looked down at them with their dark hollowed eyes amidst laughter as though appraising them.