“Princess? No, the possession is gone, so Shiro? Are you okay? Can you get up!?”



 I shook the little body in my arms, and the child in my arms responded to my shaking by opening her eyes and regaining consciousness.
Her eyes were blue.




 At that point, I was sure which one the girl in front of me was.


 The mechanisms of possession and the art of splitting souls were not explained in detail in the original story, and even in this life it is not something that a mere farmer or servant can know, so I don't know for sure…
perhaps she used up all her power in that last feat, and the curse was broken.


san? I'm glad you're…

 ”How can you say that with such a tired tone? Worry about yourself first.
…But, yeah, I'm fine.
Thanks to you.
Are you okay?”


 As if tired after realizing my presence, Shiro's expression of relief is indeed relieved, and I also relax my tense expression to reassure her.
At least her life seemed to be safe.


 ”Ugh, ggh!? My whole body…

 ”Your muscles hurt.
It seems Princess made you work hard again.
Even though it's someone else's body.
I wish she'd take better care of it.”


 I reply with a wry smile to Shiro who frowns and complains about her body.
Nevertheless, it was my fault that Gorilla-sama overworked Shiro's body.
In that sense, I am just as guilty.
But to begin with, since our statuses are different, I can't say anything even if I go back to the house.


 ”You're reckless, too.
Didn't you ever think it was dangerous to lend your body to Princess?”

But she's very kind.”


 To my point, Shiro answered with a cheerful smile.
Gorilla-sama is kind? Well, she may be more gentle than the original…
but I don't think she's not ruthless or compassionate, do you?


 ”Besides, I was worried about Tomobe-san…”

 ”Thanks for your help.
I'm sorry.”


 I really am.
Whatever her actual age may be, this fox is a child mentally.
So, it is the most shameful thing to make such a child do such a reckless thing.


 ”Please don't be so…anxious.
I'm glad you're worried too.
So, it's mutual, isn't it?”


you're right.
It's mutual.”


 I laugh at Shiro's wry smile.
My feelings are also her feelings.
We can't keep talking if we keep apologizing to each other.
It's about time to end the conversation here.


 ”You may be uncomfortable, but you can't move, can you? Let me carry you.”


 With that, I carry the white fox in my arms, who can't move because of her sore muscles.
Shiro doesn't say a word and clutches my clothes with her little hands so she doesn't fall off.
Good girl.


 ”Well, we'd better get together—Huh!?”


 I was about to return to Hayama and the others with Shiro in my arms, but at that very moment, the earth suddenly shook.
Was it an earthquake? Or was it a collapse? I hold the frightened Shiro in my arms and look around me, alert to the sudden change.
I sharpen my senses.
the next moment, I sense the source of this tremor.
…Huh, what's this!?


 ”Hey, seriously!? Are you kidding me!?”


 I shouted, looking up.
At about the same time, I saw a rock on the ceiling where I was.
The bedrock of the ceiling where I was collapsed, and countless rocks came down on me…


* * *




 Kochou shouts in a voice that almost sounds like a shriek.
She had been careless.


 Thinking that everything was over, she was at her weakest.
When he, the personification of her beloved, rushed to the half-youkai, mild jealousy sprouted in her heart, but she was convinced that it was typical of the boy.
Besides, since his feelings toward the half-youkai were not colored in the same way as hers, she left it alone.


 However, a disastrous situation was happening right before her eyes.
Suddenly, the bedrock directly above him crumbled and collapsed.
Countless large boulders were pouring down toward him.
And none of the people present had the means to respond.


 ”Tomobe……!!!? I’ll come to rescue…”


 A moment later, his figure holding a girl in his arms was about to disappear in a cloud of dust and rocks.


 ”Madam Adviser, please wait!! That…!!”



 But Hayama's words make Kochou stop in her tracks.
She stops and stares at it with her mouth open.


 It is indeed a tornado.


 A small tornado was chipping away and piercing through layers and layers of solid bedrock.
In addition, it engulfed and buried youkai along the way.
The shattered bedrock was further shattered by the tornado, and the youkai caught in it were also ground into the meat by the raging winds and gravel, and soon turned to dust.


 ”What in the world is this…!?”

 ”No way, another monster…!?”


 Hayama and Shirowakamaru were stunned to see the tornado that had burst into the cave.
They were alarmed by the presence of a new enemy.


 ”No, it's not.
This is…!”


 Kochou, who was the first to notice it, exclaimed with a startled expression.
After a moment, Hayama and the others also noticed the presence in the center of the tornado.


 An obese middle-aged man was spinning at a high speed with his arms raised vertically and his legs overlapping each other.
It looked like a giant spinning top.
He kept spinning, his flabby body shaking vigorously, and sweating.
All three of them recognized the man as he continued to spin, crushing and pulverizing the objects around him as if sucking them in.
He was Uemon, the head of the Kizuki family's hidden group.
Uemon was spinning around, shaking his flabby body.




 The three of them could only watch Uemon's landing without a word.


 Uemon landed in a sweat, and as he wiped the sweat off his face with a hand towel, his eyes met those of Kochou.
For a moment there was silence…


 ”Ohhh!! Adviser, you are safe….”

 ”Uemon! Get out of the way!!”



 He screamed like a miserable pig.


 Uemon's expression transforms into a grin of relief upon realizing that his mother is unharmed.
However, he is promptly shoved aside by her and the others who have regained their composure.
They hastily sprint past the overweight man, causing him to tumble onto his butt.
They then make their way toward the individual who has fallen into a crevice formed by the crumbled rocks.


 ”Tomobe! Are you okay!?”

 ”M-madam advisor? …Somehow.
But I don't think I can move.”


 Tomobe, who had been dumbfounded by Kochou's call and unable to grasp the situation, came back to himself.


 He is bruised in various places, but he is still conscious.


 ”…! Shiro, are you okay!?”

 ”Huh? Y-Yes! I'm fine!”


 Tomobe then confirmed Shiro's safety who was standing nearby.
The reply came back immediately, and the servant was relieved.


 Shiro was covered with dust and dirt, but she was in good physical condition.
Even though it was only a few more seconds, Tomobe finally realized that if the head of the hidden group in front of him had arrived later, they would have been in danger.


 ”…We are saved thanks to you, Lord Uemon.
Thank you very much.”

 ”Hmph, don't be so presumptuous, servant.
I have no intention of helping you.”


 Uemon shows a cold attitude as if he had noticed his presence first, and turns to Kochou as if the battered servant had never existed.


There is a danger of collapse.
I think it's best to evacuate for now.”

 ”Yes, I think so.
…But Uemon, we need to talk later.
Can you give us some time?”

 ”Of course.
There seems to be a lot to discuss.”


 He glares at the people around him as he says this.


 As Kochou wonders what to say to him later, she senses a new presence.
It was not youkai energy, but spiritual energy.
In other words, exorcists.


 ”…Oh, goodness, did you just show up here after all this time…? Wouldn't it be too late to come here after all is said and done, Lord Miyataka?”


 Kochou thinks more fully and boasts.

 She smiles coldly.
Faked it.
To take his credit.


 ”Well, well, well…
I came here to save you, Adviser, but perhaps it's none of my business…?”


 The answer came from a hole Uemon had created in the ceiling.
Then, a moment later, a hideous mud monster appeared.


 Presumably, the creature altered its form to reach the basement, contorting its head into the guise of a grinning elderly gentleman while elongating its limbs into centipede-like appendages.
It nimbly traversed the walls, casually playing with a crushed giant spider or kappa that it likely caught on the way down.


 Then, with a lofty grin, the seasoned exorcists from Miyataka ventured deep into the cave's innermost section, following one of the numerous appendages of the mud doll monster – the fake god known as the Ningyojin.
Once he arrived, he looked at his surroundings and declared so.


 ”Oh, well, I'm surprised.
Just when I thought you'd been kidnapped, here you are.
Surely you weren't taken prisoner to come to their hideout?”


 ”Hmm, I wonder? At least, it is certain that you were too slow and they couldn't wait for it and devoured them, I guess?”


 The old exorcist takes one look at the piles of dead youkai scattered around the cave and chuckles, and Kochou giggles too, covering her mouth with the cuff of her white kimono.


 ”Are you all right, Madam Adviser!!?”


 Then, a familiar exorcist shouts to Kochou, leaping down from the rock wall.
It was Kizuki Ayaka who was descending the rock face, carrying a bow on her back and kicking up the rock face.
Behind him, following Ayaka, is a man with red hair, who is probably Kizuki Touya.


 ”Madam Adviser, I'm glad to hear that you are safe and sound.
…Huh, Hayama!!?”


 She bowed to Kochou and was glad that she was safe, but when she saw the boy beside her, she was astonished.

 Ayaka Kizuki's eyes widened and she rushed to him as if she had seen something unbelievable.

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