Chapter 12, Part 2 (With Illustration)

 The number of monster foxes that attacked the convoy was well over 30.
Nearly half of them were monsters of the medium Youkai class.
At least ten soldiers, even if fully armed, would be needed to even contend with these monsters.
When the number exceeded ten, it was beyond the capacity of the guards of the trading company.


 ”This is ridiculous!? Why is this happening so close to the capital…!?”


 Tachibana Hibiki, the leader of the Tachibana Trading Company, who was riding in one of the wagons, was astonished, but he gave instructions to the convoy beside the officials.
He shouted frantically with spit flying in the air, trying to get the wagons and servants away as much as possible.




 His wife, who is the descendant of Nanban descent (southern barbarian/Europeans who came to visit Japan around the 16th to 17th century) and used to be the store's representative because of her beauty, calls her husband from inside the wagon with a voice trembling with anxiety.


 ”Don't worry! The capital is just around the corner.
Help will come soon…!”


 It was a natural thought.
After all, normally it would be unthinkable to leave the convoy of a big trading company carrying the goods ordered by the Imperial Court right under the nose of the capital to be attacked.
Yes, normally.


 But since the Imperial Court strengthened the security of Inner Palace and Inner Capital, it means that the security of the other places was relatively relaxed.
Also, the Tachibana Trading Company had a much better security than those other trading companies.
Because of that, the imperial court were thought that they could defend themselves, so they were less conscious of them.


 Thus, the help would normally have come only after everything was too late.
Yes, originally.


 But now, with a shock like an earthquake, Youkai's screams are heard from a little far away.


 ”H-Huh…!? What's happening?”

 ”A-A reinforcement! There is an exorcist slaughtering foxes one after another!”


 A shadowy figure replies to Hibiki's question.
As soon as he understands the meaning of the response, a smile of relief appears on his face.


 ”Father (Otou-sama)…?”

 ”Kayo!? Stay inside with your mother.
Don't worry, help is on the way!”


 Hibiki turns around at the sound of an anxious voice behind him and reassures her.
The frightened blonde girl in her mother's arms nods in reply to her father's words.


 But it is still too early to be optimistic.
The next moment, the horse of the wagon they were riding in is beheaded.
There were two horses pulling the carriage, but both of their heads flew in the air…





 As soon as the speed was increased, the horse which lost its head hit another wagon with a great force, and the pulled wagon itself overturned.
Hibiki quickly pulls his wife and child into his arms, and his wife also shields herself to protect her daughter.
And then….


F-Father? Mother (Okaa-sama)?”


 The girl, who had been momentarily knocked unconscious by the violent impact, woke up and the first thing she saw was the faces of her parents.
It seems that she was thrown out as soon as the wagon overturned and was protected by her parents.


are you okay?”


 With a look of anguish on her face, the mother worried about her daughter's injury.
Her right leg was injured so badly that it was visible even through her kimono.


 ”Ggh, my leg…
Damn it!”


 Hibiki swears and endures the pain.
He, too, had both of his legs pinned under by the luggage that had been thrown out of the wagon.
With proper treatment, he would probably recover…
but there is no time for that now anyway.


K-Kayo, are you okay!? Are you hurt!?”


 Kayo shakes her head in affirmation at the sound of her father's voice asking in pain.
The girl tries to lift the heavy baggage with her small hands to help her father.
Of course, the luggage does not move an inch.


 Kayo looks around frantically.
Around her, the battle between Youkai, the guards, and the trading compay employees is still going on.
Although they might win in the end because of the reinforcements, it was doubtful that they would make it in time before they were killed.


 ”Kayo, hide in the wagon, in the luggage! Stay in there until help arrives…!”


 Her mother's voice was frantic, but the girl understood what she meant and now shook her head.


 ”N-No! Don't wanna…! I want to be with mother and father…!”

 ”Don't be selfish! Listen to your parents…!!”


 The father, with tears in his eyes, rebukes his daughter for disobeying her mother's orders.
Kayo's shoulders tremble at the sharp words of her father, who is usually described as being too fond of his daughter and spoiling her too much.


 ”Your father and mother will be fine.
You just think about protecting yourself! Now, hurry up…”

 ”What's so hurry?”


 They gasp at the sound of the woman's cold voice that follows Hibiki's words.
When Kayo turns her gaze in the direction of the voice, she sees a woman with silver hair and blue eyes, who is wearing a kimono and is covered with the blood of numerous people.
Her face was distorted in a brutal way, her head had ears reminiscent of a fox, and four tails peeked out from behind her…
she was clearly not human.




 As soon as Kayo saw it, she fell to the ground from fear.
Her face turned blue at the overwhelming presence of death, which was more than a girl could handle, and her teeth clattered.
Her muscles were so tense with fear that she was becoming weak, but she couldn't care less about that.


 (It's no use…
T-This is………)


 Her young mind wondered desperately what to do, but she soon became convinced that it was pointless.
She knew in her childish mind that no matter what she did, she would not be able to save herself.


 ”K-Kayo! Run away…


 Hibiki tried to tell his daughter to run away but then his left ear was cut off with a swipe of the fox's tail.
At such sight, his daughter and wife screamed.


 ”Shut up! Be quiet for a minute you, monkey! Well, a family of a merchant who leads such a large army must have good bloodlines.
At least better than eating those town people.”


 Even if these family members have no supernatural powers and cannot consciously use their spiritual powers, their blood is mixed among the upper class.
The quality of the flesh and blood, including the latent ones, is of a high quality.
And if the goods in the back of the wagon are also attractive, this raid was a natural choice in a sense.


 ”Alright, let's have some.
I would have liked to eat more slowly, but it can't be helped.
It's hard fighting it with what we have now.
Let's just take whatever comes our way, shall we?”


 As for the monster fox herself, to be precise, before she split, she would have preferred to cut open their skulls while they were still alive and scoop up their brains and eat them little by little.
It was a very enjoyable and pleasurable way to eat for her while looking at their face contorted with despair, fear, and pain as their body trembled…
unless, of course, a woman like a lump of spiritual power fell from the sky.
The best thing to do is to just enjoy the feast and leave while her three minions stall for time.




 ”Shall I start with the little girl who seems to be running away?”


 The fox woman with a cruel, ruthless, and brutal smile transforms her figure into a gigantic monster fox.
Her cold, rat-like gaze pierces through the girl.
Then she opens her huge mouth.


 Meanwhile, the little girl says, “It's no use,” and closes her tear-stained eyes as quickly as she can.
She puts her hand on her head and tries to bear the pain that is coming right now.




 The moment she was prepared for never came.
And then the girl slowly, frightenedly opened her eyelids to the question that came to her mind…
and caught sight of someone's back.


 ”D*mn, this guy, my handle's bent in one shot…
Is my spear really better than my previous lowly one…?”


 The figure standing in front of the monster took a glance through the mask at the bent handle of the spear, which had been twisted by a blow from the fangs of the monster fox, and uttered a dismayed voice….

 Tachibana Kayo's dark lines in the game.


 ・”Right now I'm just a signboard girl…
but someday I'll show them that I'll take back the trading company from them.
No matter what it takes…”


 ・”I've had my share of mud and water.
I have endured humiliation.
I've accepted disgrace.
I did it to save my father's business…”


 ・”I will never forget.
I will never forget the honor they have dishonored me with and I will avenge it twice as much…!”


 ・”Are you an exorcist? Hehehe, then I'll give you a service.
In exchange…
you kill as many monsters as you can, okay?”


 ・”Men and youkai are no different.
They're just beasts living on instinct.
It's kind of creepy when they kill each other, isn't it?”


 ・”Oh, you're asking for a date? Haha, I'm kidding.
I can't go out with you tonight anyway because I've been summoned by the old scum of the trading company…”


 ・”No matter how much fate may play with my body, no matter how much my body may be defiled, I'll never lose my pride.
I can't abandon that for the sake of my parents.”


 Note: that the pictures of her standing when she says these words may appear to have the highlight turned off, her eyes in shadow, or she may be looking away.

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