Terrified, Michizane couldn’t even put down his hands.
His sword had been vaporized with a sound like that of water dropping on a hot water plate.
Yet no one screamed, no one said anything to stop the Mask.
Even though it looked as though he was about to devour Michizane.
“You can do that?”
“Ah, so that’s what he meant by hint!”
Only the two disciples were filled with shock at the impossibility of the ‘answer’ and how precisely he’d read the future.
Certainly, the demonic blades shooting at him and dispersing were definitely a hint of sort, but who could possibly imagine that he would be able to vaporize the entire sword?
Even if they could guess the intention of the arm that erased the sword, the way he achieved everything was simply too hard to predict even for them, who were used to his antics.
『Let’s shake hands!』
The mask suddenly reached out his hand with a purposefully bright voice and offered a handshake.
Everyone was gobsmacked, even Michizane, but the Mask didn’t care about any of that and just firmly held Michizane’s hand.
In the next moment.
He screamed so loudly that if not for the barrier, all of Kyoto would have heard his squeals.
It was as though the very nerves within his body were being burned.
His consciousness tried to leave, but the unceasing waves of pain kept bringing it back and kept him awake.
Unable to run, all Michizane could was to scream.
“GOAAAAaaa… Ah, eh? aaa…. Haa Haa Haa, Aa…”
So great was the pain that he was willing to cut his right arm just to relieve him of it, but then the pain suddenly stopped.
Michizane gasped for air, wondering what had happened, but when he looked at his hand, he saw that the last trace of the evil sword had also vanished.
Yes, the handle in his hand had been
“It’s one thing to erode the remaining evil with your own evil, but… A handshake? Really?” Tomoe said.
“Ahaha, yeah, that definitely passes for comedy,” Ryou said.
Tomoe and Ryou canceled their technique upon seeing that, but the expression that could be seen on them was that of disappointment and a wry smile.
The history of exorcising evil has been accumulated over the many years.
Yet a situation that could not be resolved with the power inherited from her mother was resolved in such a comical manner, the absurdity of which left her trembling, unsure whether to be angry or sad.
In choosing such a method, Ryou was reminded once again how terrible the personality of the Mask was, leaving him with a smile that repeatedly twitched.
“Ah, gah… Ku, You… How dare, you…”
Perhaps Michizane could still imagine the pain even after collapsing to the ground, or perhaps in a twist of irony, the loss of the demon sword, which had been protecting him, had actually caused a rebound, but regardless, he looked up hatefully at the Mask.
Alas, only a faint smile surfaced on the evil face beneath that mask.
『And now, for the punishment. I admit that my disciples have their shortcomings in dealing with this situation; however, there’s no denying that you are ultimately culpable for this mess.』
The Mask tapped him on the shoulder, and a dangerous glint appeared on his eyes──
『Let’s give him a little scare, shall we?』
──Then he released the divine ki that has been completely suppressed until now.
Michizane glared as he wondered what was happening. The sight before him hadn’t changed, and yet the space seemed to distort, and it felt as though his footing was unsteady.
“What’s, happening… Eek!?”
A faceless demonic face. A hazy body of endless darkness.
His instincts and his spiritual sense blared inside him──This was not something that humans should be looking at.
So he averted his gaze as they demanded, but for some reason, the endless darkness was there too.
Impossible, he thought, so he moved with his head to pull away his eyes, but the Mask would not leave his sight.
“W-Why? …Damn it! Disappear! Get away!”
Countless masks appeared before him, Behind which were eyes that shone in dark-red.
When he looked at them, they looked back – those eyes that belonged
They beckoned at him with a laugh, ‘come,’ and then laughed even more. and then laughed even more. and then laughed even more. and then laughed even more.
“Stop it! Don’t look at me! Don’t!!”
Wherever he turned, wherever he moved, the eyes looked at him.
The white of the mask and the depth of the black filled his sight, and so did the dark-red stars, beneath which were crescent moon smiles that laughed in concert as though to lure him into the abyss..
Then an arm stretched out from all of the darkness───Come.
From the perspective of those
It was a scream unlike that of extreme pain. It came from his soul and wore down his consciousness.
And when his eyes turned white, and he fainted, he fell limply to the ground.
All of the black-clothed men simultaneously ran for him, while the Mask simply went back to where Tomoe was as though he’d lost interest.
Though his two disciples weren’t sure exactly what he’d done, from the way they were holding their heads as though suffering from a headache, it appeared that they at least knew he’d done something.
The three girls behind also noticed and were hugging each other and trembling.
Tomoe could notice that even without looking, but she just wryly smiled and welcomed the Mask amidst her sighs.
“Haa, there are a few things I’d like to say, but… You alright?”
『Yes. I just completely removed the part that needed to be removed. As for the punishment, I just gave him a nightmare that would haunt him for the next three days. He’ll be fine once he wakes up on the fourth day.』
As for what kind of trauma he might have developed by then, that wasn’t the Mask’s problem.
Or at least, that seemed to be what his evil ‘ku ku ku’ implied.
But Tomoe’s head just kept aching. Because, as was usual when it came to matters involving himself, he misunderstood.
“Really, the stupid one here is me since I bothered to ask despite knowing what sort of guy you are,” Tomoe said.
The Mask tilted his head inquisitively, but when he saw the blue veins on Tomoe’s forehead despite her smile, he flinched.
“I’m asking if you’re alright! There’s no way you haven’t exhausted yourself the slightest after that!?”
Tomoe’s expression and voice suddenly transformed to that of an angry yell, causing the Mask’s eyes to swim.
What the Mask had accomplished was not that different from the Pentagram of Oppositions that Tomoe used.
In her case, she was relying on the same kind of power to invert the elements and weaken the target, but in the Mask’s case, he used the overwhelming difference in power to erase the target.
It’s similar to that time when the Mask likened a curse hitting him to that of a water gun hitting a flood.
When the same kind of existences fought each other, and there was an overwhelming difference in strength, the weaker side would simply lose.
From the way the demon sword was vaporized, it was evident just how big the gap in their strength was, but since he neither devoured nor reflected but erased, there was bound to be some exhaustion.
At the very least, that’s what Tomoe believed, and she wasn’t wrong.
『It’s true I’d exhausted myself a little, but it’s nothing much, reall…』
“You really didn’t hurt yourself, right? I know it’s impossible for you to show me, so… At the ver least, let me touch you!”
Tomoe found it hard to trust him in this regard without confirming for herself, so she groped him all over, taking special care to focus on the chest and the palm that swallowed the sword.
The Mask was shocked by her actions, but he decided to let her do as she pleased if this was enough to calm her down.
However, the onlookers were a bit noisy. The eyes of the three girls had turned into dots, while Ryou had a huge grin on his face.
The girls were one thing, but the Mask wanted nothing more but to punch Ryou in that instant.
“Oh, my, Tomoe-chan, to think you’d be so daring in front of so many people.”
──the voice of a young woman suddenly resounded, and everyone under the Mask stiffened.
When they all turned to the direction of that voice and saw the person, one name was uttered.