It was not that Tomoe did not trust Mikoto, but Kamunagi was an important spiritual katana.
Even without any bias whatsoever, it ranked high up among the spiritual weapons of the same class that the clan possessed.
So she could not help but suspect for a moment that this clan master might do something to it.
This place was also sentimentally hostile, so she didn’t want to leave her best weapon to someone.
But the damage that Mikoto mentioned was indeed something to be concerned about.
The katana appeared unharmed at a glance, but she wasn’t sure if that was the case for the more minute details.
It concerned a field that wasn’t her specialty, and she knew that the issue wasn’t something that she could easily handle.
It concerned spiritual power and a power that could destroy evil gods, so there was indeed a need to carefully investigate it.
The demon sword might have looked like a joke in the way it was so easily disintegrated by Masquerade, but it actually had a much longer history than Kamunagi, so one couldn’t say for sure that Kamunagi hadn’t been harmed in their clashes.
And to ascertain that, there was indeed no one more appropriate than this woman before her.
At the very least, Tomoe didn’t know of a better exorcist.
Unsure what to do, she turned to the Mask, who quietly nodded and extended his arms toward her.
Tomoe made a blank face for a moment, but she immediately understood and nodded.
“Okay! Please take care of it!”
Then without any hesitation, summoned Kamunagi and handed it to the Mask.
After that she left for the hallway with the three girls.
When the old people saw that, they let out a breath of surprise and admiration.
But it was so minute a detail that only the Mask was able to notice it.
In fact, he too was a little surprised and was frozen for a while with the katana in his hand.
“Ku, ahahaha! You really are amazing… Hey, can you guys give me back my foster too!?”
What was it that Ryou found so funnY?
Regardless, Ryou patted the Mask on the shoulder, then ran off to follow after Tomoe.
The smile on him was frivolous, but the will behind his eyes was sincere, so the Mask quietly nodded.
Ryou was tacitly telling him that he would go in his place.
However, the face behind the mask was actually sullen.
『I don’t know if they’re too sharp or too trusting.』
“Fufun, weren’t you the one who told us to use you?”
The Mask hadn’t intended for that to be heard, but Tomoe heard it and told him that from the sliding door with a smug look.
This was indeed an effective way to
However, as though she had been waiting for that moment of carelessness, she suddenly reminded him.
“Don’t bully grandma and grandpa too much, okay?”
『…I will handle the matter carefully.』
“You’re such an honest guy.”
When Tomoe saw him pouting in his usual manner, she giggled and walked away with the three girls with nimble steps without a care in the world.
“What a surprise. To think that girl would hand over Kamunagi so casually… She likes you a lot, doesn’t she?”
Mikoto teased when she sensed that they were far enough, but the Mask neither responded to her nor turned to her. He merely looked around him before saying…
『…Leave now, and I will excuse your tompeepery
That was a voice with no warmth, one completely void of his earlier attitude with Tomoe, and the arrogant words it wove completely destroyed the atmosphere from earlier.
A noise echoed through the hall, and several auras vanished.
『…About 30%. The remaining 70% are either fools or too curious for their own good. Since you want to be a cat so badly… Very well, I did say that I would not spare those that remained, did I not?』
Those words were spoken flatly, but they carried with them a disquieting aura, so the old man spoke in protest, but it was already too late.
The Mask drew Kamunagi, and with a stroke, cut through the air.
For a moment, those aged eyes that could see too much seemed to perceive a jet-black color staining the hall.
Sweat slid down their cheeks. When the katana returned to its sheathe, a bursting sound resounded.
Even without trying to, they could tell that the shikis of those peeping have been completely wiped out.
“…May I inquire as to exactly what it is that you’ve done?”
Whether it was the old man or Mikoto, who remained silent despite her smile, they could tell that he had no merely destroyed the shikis.
『I cut their eyes… The exorcists and those around them won’t be able to see for awhile.』
“Does that… Include their Spirit Sight too?”
『If they rest quietly, it will take them 3 months at most to recover.』
In other words, they wouldn’t be able to see normally or spiritually for that period of time.
But this was a much greater problem for them than it would be for a normal people. It was akin to a craftsman losing their arm.
A fish that has forgotten how to swim. Though it was only for a period of time, to lose their greatest strength and characteristic was no different from death.
“What’s terrifying is that I don’t think you’re bluffing at all.”
The pressure and presence he exuded suggested that he was more than capable of that.
Above all, he wasn’t laughing, and neither was he brimming with sad*stic pleasure.
He was a machine that simply explained what he’d done without emotion.
He was so full of emotions until just awhile ago, but now, not a hint of those remained.
“But with this, I’m sure they will understand just how foolish it was to lay a hand on you. Of course, your disciples, Tomoe-chan and Ryou-kun too…”
But Mikoto was sure that he intended for that.
He destroyed a demon sword, competed with their clan master as a joke, then causally wielded this sort of ‘power’.
Only those with a death wish or fools would dare lay a hand on people under the protection of an existence such as he.
It was unfortunate that there might be more of the latter in the case of the clan, but even then, only the most extreme would persist in acting now.
“You have sheathed your spear twice at their pleas, and in doing so, made it seem that they are able to advise you. That’s another layer of protection, is it not? Though from the way you spoke, I presume that’s also how you normal interact.”
The Mask made it look as though Ryou and Tomoe could stop him when things turned for the worst, but what the old man really liked was the friendly atmosphere between the Mask and the two.
But of course, he was currently sweating because of what the Mask had done just now.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you. We’ve been trying so hard for a long time now, but we couldn’t protect them because special treatment from the clan master would just have the opposite effect.”
As Mikoto said that, she too bowed her head in gratitude with a smile.
But the warmth behind the Mask’s gaze and voice simply vanished.
『Lock them up and hid them,
Foreign words were woven, and for a moment, the two elderly were confused, but before they could process what was happening, they were already inside a cage.
The world suddenly changed, and a space of complete darkness surrounded them.
Whether they looked up above, or to their sides, or behind them, everything was black. Even the tatami mats below had been dyed in darkness.
It was as though they’d been trapped inside a giant black box.
They retained their color, but even here, they could tell how abnormal the presence of the humanoid black mist was.
Their position and distance had not changed. No external light entered, nay, they could not even sense any light, but they could feel the presence of the people, and they could tell that the position of the students in the next room had not changed.
If so, then the space must not have been completely isolated.
As they quickly realized that amidst their confusion, a monotonous voice that emanated great pressure spoke.
『You worked hard, huh… What a great thing it must be then… To speak gently to children exposed to malice.』
───Is that how you easily bought their trust?
The Mask seemed to be saying as he glared apathetically at Mikoto.