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“So, is this Black Princess the cause of the leak?”
“Perhaps, but I think it is unlikely. That person is very tolerant, always putting the interests of us youkai before anything else. She wouldn’t be doing such things as spying. Her heart was considerably worried during the ghosts’ appearance, too.”
Ouka went back on her own word, possibly out of the trust she feels for this Black Princess, who is the sovereign of her kind.
It seems that trust runs deep among youkai.
So far, I was convinced about her explanation, but a single word caught my attention.
“Wait a second, what did she do during the ghosts’ appearance? Didn’t she offer her assistance?”
If she’s always putting the interests of youkai before anything else, I would expect her to help during a time of need.
Ouka quietly shakes her head, thinking about my question.
“Actually, it wasn’t just here that the ghosts went rampant.”
“Not just here? Did it happen somewhere else?”
Ouka nodded with a serious look about her face in response to my sudden shock.
“In the past, youkai who suffered atrocities by humans would kill those humans’ families and friends. Such casualties would turn into countless ghosts. Instead of seeing them as ghosts, many youkai saw them as the human beings they once were and, unable to kill them, chose to seal them instead. Many of these seals have broken loose here and there, and so Black Princess, along with other youkai, had to go to several places to take care of the released ghosts. That’s why I have to take care of this place by myself.”
So that’s what happened.
I never imagined that such a thing happened all over Japan.
“That’s why I think that it’s more likely that another youkai has leaked that information to Black Princess”
After listening to that story, I could agree with her explanation with an “I see”.
“So, this is the main question.”
Having said that, Ouka produced a letter from a pocket in her chest.
“This was brought by one of Black Princess’ messengers.”
What is this letter that the messenger brought?
Ouka began to talk about the contents of the letter.
“Here it says to go to the castle and take Yato-sama with me.”
“It also says that you don’t go, those around you will suffer the consequences, Yato-sama…”
When I heard that, I couldn’t help but frown.
Those around me… my family and friends, huh?
I’ve always lived isolated from other humans, as in a different world, but I still want to see them.
Instead of targeting me directly, she would coerce me by threatening others… that’s an effective way to attack me emotionally.
“I don’t know what her true intentions are, but normally a human wouldn’t be summoned to the castle. There’s definitely something fishy here…”
Not knowing what could really happen, Ouka looked at me with anxiety.
Certainly, just as Ouka said, we don’t know what her true motives are.
If all they want is to help Ouka, she can just come and kill me here and be done with it.
Why on earth was she calling me to the castle for?
A youkai who hates humans, going out of her way to call me to her domain… what’s going on?
As I looked down wondering about these things for a short while, Ouka suddenly straightened up.
“I don’t know what will happen to you if we go there, Yato-sama. But if we go, we might be able to learn the truth about the leak. So please. Come with me to the castle. Please!”
Ouka gets on all fours, and bows her head as low as the height of the small round tea table.
If we go, something will happen. That’s obvious.
At the same time, we could get some very valuable information. To get such information, we have no choice but to go to the castle and meet with Black Princess.
I know it looks unreasonable, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
“I will not let anyone hurt those who are important to you, Yato-sama. I’m glad I was able to meet people such as you and Karen-sama. I will do all I can to help you in the castle. Please! I’m begging you!”
Ouka truly wants to be our friend.
We are the first humans she’s ever met.
I wonder if she has something she treasures the most.
Even though I didn’t know all of the facts, seeing Ouka so determined started to cement my feelings about all this.
“Let’s go for now, and think about it later.”
There’s not much point dawdling about it.
After taking such a decision without hesitation, Ouka raises her head and looks at me in the eye.
“Ah… would that be okay?”
“We should be fine as long as we’re not reckless. Besides, it’s going to get very troublesome if we don’t go. We might learn the cause of the leak too, so we have to go.”
Even if it’s a trap, it’ll all work out somehow.
I could run away if the time comes, they can’t just catch me with lackluster tricks.
If there’s a possibility that those close to me will be harmed, then I definitely have to go.
“Let’s go ask this Black Princess and make her spill the beans.”
Even if she doesn’t tell us anything, this is probably the fastest way to do this.
I said it as a joke, but Ouka’s face went completely serious.
“D… don’t get us all killed, please!”
“Oh come on, I wasn’t serious.”
What do you think humans are?
Ouka showed a wry smile as I frowned in regret.
When she saw my deep frown, Ouka chuckled and said: “I’m joking”.
She responded to my joke with a joke of her own.
It seems that I was able to loosen up a little, and Ouka seems she had been able to relax as well.
After laughing for a while, Ouka once again straightened her posture.
“Thank you, Yato-sama.”
This time, Ouka bowed her head slowly and politely.
“Don’t lower your head that much. The feeling is mutual.”
Feeling light and relieved, I drank my cold tea while Ouka bowed her head once again.
I have listened to your resolve. Now, I shall respond to it.
“Speaking of which, where is that castle?”
“It’s far to the east of here.”
If I know where it is, I can move there instantly, so distance is not an issue.
“What is it like?”
“There are many youkai living there, it’s like a metropolis. Though the city is not that big, there are many small villages around it.”
So it’s like the capital of the youkai country, so to speak.
I wonder what kind of place it is.
“The name of the capital is ‘Capital of Fate’.”
“Then let’s go at once to this Capital of Fate.”
After the conversation is over, I finished the rest of my cold tea and got up.
Our destination is the city of the youkai, the Capital of Fate.
“But after meeting Ouka and the others, my impression on youkai has changed a lot”
“What did you think?”
“First of all, I thought that they probably ate either human meat or human souls.”
“There are no youkai who have such food preferences.”
“They wouldn’t speak or communicate.”
“But you can speak with them just fine, right?”
“I also thought they would be scary.”
“What do you mean, ‘scary’?”
“Those were my impressions back then.”
“Those are the two annoying guys behind you.”