I arrived in town. I had sweated quite a bit from running. As I entered, the air conditioning was working well, making it cool… or rather, it might even be a bit chilly.
Well, I had been sweating, so this temperature is just right.
I was grateful that I had asked the old lady for directions to the town hall.
“Excuse me, is the mayor here?”
“Well, what is your business?”
“I’d like to ask about the town’s folklore.”
“Ah, I see. He certainly knows a lot about it. Please wait a moment.”
The middle-aged male staff member went into a room in the back. After a few minutes, he returned.
“I have obtained permission for you. However, please be aware that the mayor is quite temperamental, so please be understanding.”
I was guided into a room where photos of past mayors were displayed. There was also a luxurious-looking desk and sofa. And there sat the grumpy old man in all his temperamental glory.
“So, you’re the young person who wants to know about the town’s folklore? But to divulge the folklore of this town so easily to an outsider…”
“Rather than folklore, I want to know how to deal with the ‘Yumekui.’ Ah, here’s a steamed bun.”
“Hmph, it’s a pain to be tempted with something like this.”
He said that while placing the steamed bun next to him.
“Now then, regarding the ‘Yumekui’…”
He got straight to the point, which was helpful. I didn’t really want to hear lectures and complaints.
“It’s an entity that has existed for over five hundred years, and no one in this town believes in it anymore. There are exceptions, though… This yokai takes the form of an elephant and infiltrates people, putting a heavy burden on their minds.”
“What’s the method to deal with it?”
“Sealing it with Onmyodo is the safest option.”
“I can’t use that. Are there any other methods?”
“Hmm, this is quite a difficult method, but…”
“Don’t worry about it, please tell me.”
“Hmm, the ‘Yumekui’ contaminates people’s minds. But if you can freely manipulate your own dreams, you might be able to defeat it… “
“Dreams, you say…”
“Experiences in dreams don’t have a one-to-one reflection in reality. However, if you experience nightmares repeatedly, it will have a significant impact on your mind. The deceased ones ended up like vegetative humans.”
“Indeed, dreams do have some influence on reality…”
When I had the dream of being stabbed by Gindou Kohaku before, I instinctively touched my stomach when I woke up. Well, it seems that dreams are indeed the only solution, as the old lady said…
“But the same applies to yokai. If dreams that are incredibly close to reality can have a significant impact on the human mind, it wouldn’t be surprising if yokai’s minds are also affected.”
“That’s as far as my knowledge goes.”
“How can I manipulate dreams, then?”
“That… I can’t explain it well.”
“…You need intense, clear, and vivid imagery.”
“There’s someone who can explain it in more detail than I can. It would be best to ask the onmyoji who resides in this town.”
“What!? Is there one!?”
Oi, if that’s the case, couldn’t they just seal the yokai and solve everything? Well, it’s not certain yet that the yokai are involved in the bad ending, but having an onmyoji would be a great help.
“However, that onmyoji is quite difficult to deal with.”
Seems like there are quite a few difficult people in this town.
“I’ll make a contact for you. And it would be easier to talk with him if you bring miso-stewed mackerel as a gift.”
“Yes, thank you.”
“It’s unusual these days for someone to come and inquire about such an old folklore. Even the residents of this town have no interest whatsoever…”
“I’m just curious. Thank you very much.”
“Take this with you as well.”
“It’s a gem that reacts when wicked beings approach.”
“That’s right. Take it with you. It’s better to be cautious when dealing with folklore and such.”
It looks like an ordinary marble at first glance. But I’ll accept whatever I’m given. This person is kind.
Afterwards, I was given the address of the descendant of the onmyoji and returned to monitoring the girls’ high school for the time being. It was already three o’clock.
I need to go back to her… I’ll visit the onmyoji tomorrow morning. Today, I’ll try to establish a relationship through monitoring. As I stepped out of the town hall…
“Oya, it seems you heard from the mayor.”
“Hohoho, next is the onmyoji, huh?”
“Yes, if I go, it will be tomorrow.”
“Hohoho, do your best.”
The old lady walked away without another word.
At that moment, in my haste, I didn’t realize something. Why did she know that I was going to meet the onmyoji?
It was 2:50 in the afternoon. Despite being slightly out of breath, I began my surveillance from inside the car.
“Has anything changed?”
“No, everything seems peaceful.”
“Did you find something?”
“There’s something that caught my attention.”
“Oh, really? What is it?”
“There’s a yokai called ‘Yumekui.’ I’m not sure if it’s related to anything, though.”
“A yokai… I’ve never seen one, but there’s no confirmation that they don’t exist.”
“If there are fortune tellers in this world, it’s not strange for yokai to exist.”
In this world, supernatural beings like yokai do exist, even though they didn’t appear much in the “Story.”
“However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that yokai are involved.”
“Yes, that’s why it’s crucial to secure the guardian spirit position this time.”
“?? Well, don’t overdo it.”
After a few minutes, the high school girls started coming out of the school and heading home. Among them was Kataumi Aoi, walking alone.
To put it mildly, she was a loner.
However, despite her tough appearance, she had a rather cute side. For example, her favorite things were Cinderella, stuffed animals, and sweets. Her hobbies included walking, running, exercising, and cooking.
Surprisingly, she wanted friends and was conscious of being too harsh towards others. She also worried about her heterochromia.
She disliked ghosts and felt lonely being alone. There were some similarities between her and Kikawa Moegi, but Kataumi Aoi was extremely bad at expressing her emotions.
I would have to tail her from now on. However, I couldn’t maintain the guardian spirit position while inside the car, so I had to go alone.
“In that case, I’ll get out and follow her on foot. If anything happens, please come and pick me up.”
I got out of the car and started tailing Kataumi Aoi…
She walked alone on her way home. I want to approach her and get to the guardian spirit position.
How should I start a conversation… How can I become friends…
While pondering about such things, a stray dog appeared in front of her. It barked and growled, intimidating her. She took a step back, slightly surprised. At that moment, I saw a vision.
Bite → Contract a disease → Death → Bad ending
In just a second, I saw what was coming. I had to drive away that dog!
I hurriedly stood in front of her, facing the stray dog.
“Are you okay?”
“Eh? ah, ehh?”
“Quickly, run away!”
“…No, it’s just a dog…”
“It might be a dog carrying bacteria.”
“You’re strange. Even though this dog is quite famous around here, it barks to scare people but never does anything.”
“I’m not so sure. Today, it might bite someone.”
“If you keep intimidating the dog like this, it might bite. But for now, this dog is safe. I’ve known it for a long time, and it has an owner who takes good care of it.”
“Are you serious?”
What the heck? Scaring me like that, it’s just a regular dog. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the bad ending. Besides, a bad ending starting from getting bitten by a dog… doesn’t seem likely.
It’s common in any story to have exaggerated scenes. If you describe it as getting bitten by a dog, it would be plain. Phew, I’m glad nothing happened.
Now, there’s a natural flow between her and me… Well, there’s still some awkwardness.
Since I made the first contact, I want to establish some connection with her.
She wants friends, so let’s approach her in a friendly way… Sorry for the choice of words. Let’s get closer. Yeah.
As I was thinking, the dog left.
“If you don’t know that dog, you must not be from around here.”
I feel like she’s glaring at me intensely, but it’s not the case. She has a fierce look, odd eyes, and tends to have a strong attitude. It’s her complex. She’s probably being considerate inside her heart. In a calm atmosphere, she continued the conversation.
“Why did you come here?”
“I’m here for sightseeing.”
“I see. Well, I’ll say thank you in return. Thanks.”
“No, it was a misunderstanding… It’s not necessary to thank me so much.”
“Even so, you tried to protect me.”
“I suppose so. Well, you’re welcome.”
She looked at me with sharp eyes, one of them partially concealed so I couldn’t see both, but she seemed somewhat intrigued by my presence.
“Uhm, is there something wrong?”
“Don’t you find it strange? Aren’t you intimidated?”
“Why would I be?”
“Well, my eyes and all…”
“I’m not intimidated.”
Ah, I see now. She moved to this area during middle school. Her intimidating gaze and odd eye have caused people to be surprised or avoid her both at her previous school and at the current girls’ high school. Perhaps my reaction is refreshing to her.
In the “Story” as well, initially everyone at Mina no Iro High School is surprised, but characters like Gindou Kohaku, Hihara Karen, and Kikawa Moegi of “Masou Shoujo” accept her without any issues and friendships are formed. For her, not being pushed away is likely a source of great joy.
Really, to think that such a cute girl would be avoided. Having an intimidating gaze is not a significant problem. I even find it appealing. Her odd eye is charming as well. I must ensure that she doesn’t experience any unfortunate events. How can I be by her side…
Ah! I’ve come up with a good idea. I’ll ask her to be my tour guide and gather information while protecting her. Since she enjoys it, she has developed a habit of walking and running. Devoting her time after school to exercise was also a part of the “Story.”
It’s better to be together under the guise of being a tour guide than to let her wander around alone. This hobby of hers has continued since she was young. Her parents both work and aren’t around, and she dedicates her afternoons to her hobbies since she doesn’t have much else to do. Through this, her hobbies have become quite polished.
All the “Masou Shoujo” have good athletic abilities, but only Kikawa Moegi was able to keep up with her running. Gindou Kohaku and Hihara Karen couldn’t keep up and ended up clutching their sides and collapsing. She has quite an impressive athletic ability. She should be exercising again today after school. I’ll prevent her from roaming the town too conspicuously.
“Uhm, I don’t know anything about this town, so if you don’t mind, could you guide me around?”
“Oh, I’m not hitting on you, by the way.”
“Well, I didn’t doubt that… but to come so close to me right after meeting…”
“I prioritize forming connections with people, regardless of whether it’s our first meeting or not.”
“……..Hmm, even for a first meeting, it doesn’t matter to you… valuing connections with people, huh?”
“To ask me for help… some people sure are curious…”
Kataumi Aoi sometimes belittles herself. She believes she can’t make friends or that people avoid her because of her own flaws. There are many things I like about her, but I dislike her attitude in moments like these.
“Don’t belittle yourself so much. You’re attractive. Very!! Really!!”
“Oh, I’m not hitting on you, by the way.”
“Well, I didn’t doubt that… Well, fine. I’ll guide you.”
“Should we meet up after I go home and drop off my things?”
“That sounds good.”
“I see… Well, then wait around here while I go home for a bit.”
“No, I’ll come with you.”
“For real? You’re really persistent…”
“Oh, I’m not hitting on you”
“Alright, fine… Hmm… Well, whatever. There’s nothing interesting, though, if you come along.”
“I’ll still come.”
She started walking slowly. I followed her. Now I can be by her side. It might seem strange in terms of the unfolding events. It’s possible she’ll feel uncomfortable, but it’s too late for that now. I’ve been quite forceful up until now anyway. It’s not something to worry about. However, now I’ll know her current address.
Alright, I’ve got her home location!! …I feel like a pervert… No, it’s okay. This will be the last time. I’ve decided that I’m going to keep the mud on until I save those girls!
I’ll be a decent human being after I save Kataumi Aoi! I won’t stalk anyone. I won’t force anyone to kiss, just an ordinary, serious, bystander. In other words, a mob.
I vowed that when I am done saving these girls, I will become a normal person.