Chapter of the week: 4/4
After we got a minor interruption, Ouka and I continued our stroll in the main street.
“Be careful next time.”
“Yes. I apologize.”
Ouka replied to my warning while hanging down her head. The reason behind this warning was due to what happened in the next store we visited, a clothing shop. It was the first time for Ouka to see the clothes exhibited in the store beside the traditional ones and she told me that she had been interested in them from the day she saw Karen and my clothes. The problem happened when I wasn’t looking at her. A poltergeist phenomenon happened inside the shop. Since Ouka is a Youkai, everything she lifts, including clothes, looks like it’s floating and thus, whenever she carried a piece of clothes, everyone around her starts fussing about a ghost wandering inside the shop. Once I realized what she was doing, I immediately dragged her out of the shop and escaped.
“Well, it’s also my fault for looking away. Next time let’s ask Karen to come with you so you can try on the clothes.”
“Is that fine?”
“You never know until you ask her.”
I’m pretty sure that Karen will accept her request without hesitation. She is fond of making others wear the clothes she likes, after all. Ouka and I continued visiting all the shops in our way until we arrived at the next one we came for.
“Is that the shop you wanted to go to?”
I asked her while pointing at the shop and got an affirmative reply back. It was a general store that had tableware, accessories, convenient goods and much more other stuff. It looked like a place that has a lot of items to attract Ouka’s attention. We entered the shop.
“There are many things which I have never seen.”
“Yeah, it’s a general store after all.”
Ouka started looking around the store with a deeply intrigued expression. There was a variety of types of items which confused her at first. As I fixed my gaze on Ouka while enjoying the cool air inside the store, I noticed that she suddenly stopped walking after finding an interesting item. She remained standing in her place and looking at it.
“What is so interesting in a ball-point pen?”
I stood next to her and asked.
“Well, I always use a brush to write, so I was curious on how this pen is used.”
“Want to try it?”
“Um, can I?”
“This store allows trying pens.”
As I guessed that a typical explanation would be insufficient, I took the pen and randomly tried it on an empty page. Ouka let out an impressed voice while watching me using the ball-point pen until I handed it to her.
“Try using by yourself.”
“No, um, I can’t do that.”
“Don’t worry, nobody is watching us now.”
Luckily the store didn’t have any customers while the employee was sitting near the entrance door, far from us. I handed the pen to Ouka half forcibly and watched her trying to use it with a slightly nervous attitude.
“T-This is… !!”
The moment she drew a single line with the pen, she looked as if she got struck by lightning.
“This is so easy!”
Well, I’m sure that it’s easier to use than a writing brush at least. I kept watching Ouka moving the pen with a cheerful smile on her face. She didn’t stop moving it and drawing in the testing space. She must be having fun using a pen for the first time in her life. I’m glad that she is enjoying herself.
Come to think of it, the ink of my pen is about to run out.
Recalling that I need to buy a new ink pen, I left Ouka alone, judging that she will be alright and went to search for it. There is no one around, so it should be fine.
Let’s hurry up.
I hurriedly took the ink pen and bought it in the register then went back to Ouka. On my back to the place where I left her, my legs naturally stopped moving.
I did it…
In front of me was Ouka who still engrossed in the joy of using the ballpoint pen and a woman employee who was watching the pen floating in the air in mute amazement.
“T-The pen is…”
There was another one!
The woman uttered in a trembling voice as her face was gradually turning pale. At this rate, she will end up screaming at any moment. Ouka didn’t even realize that she is being observed and continued moving the pen.
I called her using telepathy because, surely, there was no way that I’d call her directly. When my voice reached her, she turned to look at me after uttering my name and then, noticed the woman who was watching her for a while now. She instantly stopped moving the pen and hastily tried to make an excuse to the person who can’t even see her. The pen in her hand started to shake left and right as she flustered. At that moment…
“The pen is moving on its own!!!”
A screaming voice resounded inside the entire store. Even if it were not very loud, it was still enough to reach everyone inside the store.
“Um, I’m sorry, please calm down…”
“I-It’s coming for me!!”
Ouka approached the employee woman to calm her down, but that only made the situation worse. The woman would only see the pen approaching her on its own.
“Um, it’s fine, there nothing to worry…”
“Don’t get any close!!”
The situation kept on tumbling to the worse each time Ouka tried to approach the woman while panicking. She needs to calm down first and put down the pen. I told her to do what I say and we escaped from the store like we did in every other one we visited. I erased the memories of the employee just in case so they wouldn’t spread any rumors about psychic phenomenons.
“Don’t let it get you. It’s normal to make the same mistake.”
After leaving the general store, Ouka let out a heavy sigh while we were walking as she felt guilty for making the same mistake again. I did my best to cheer her up again, but she didn’t seem to be getting over it this time.
“I failed a second time and troubled you, Yato-sama. At this rate, I’m losing the confidence that I can serve you in the future.”
“You don’t need confidence to serve me. And besides, it’s my fault this time for leaving you alone. Stop blaming yourself.”
It was really my fault for leaving her alone that time. She is not to be blamed for what happened. I contemplated a way to cheer her up for a while and ended up with a good idea.
“Right, I have something for you.”
I took out a pen that I bought in the shop and handed it to her.
“Yato-sama, is that…”
“I got it for you because you looked like you wanted to have one.”
I’ve used her assistance a few times already and I’m sure that I will have her help me out in the future, so this is more like a prior payment for her. Ouka froze in her place and gazed at the pen, not believing her eyes.
“I-Is it fine?”
“Yeah, I bought it for you, after all.”
If she doesn’t receive it from me, I would have to throw it somewhere in my room. Ouka shifted her gaze from me to the pen repeatedly before she reached her hand to it reluctantly and tried to take it from me. The moment she was about to touch it, I drew back my hand.
“I will give it to you once we’re done for today. We don’t want to make the same mistake a third time.”
I told her with a grin and put back the pen in the pocket. Ouka looked disappointed and muttered my name in a low voice.
“I feel like you are teasing me.”
“At least you’re not feeling down anymore.”
I made her agree with me by answering her with a gentle smile. She didn’t look very satisfied, but at least she became more cheerful than before. My idea worked like a charm.
“It feels quite strange…”
After a while of silence, Ouka who was puffing her cheeks suddenly changed her expression to look somewhat serious.
“What is it?”
“It feels a little strange for me, a Youkai who used to not get involved with humans, to walk by your side right now.”
I remember Meru telling me something about Youkai getting assaulted by humans in the past, and because of that, Youkai decided to never show up in front of humans again, yet right now, Ouka and I are naturally walking together. It does feel somewhat strange, now that I think about it.
“I have always been wishing for Youkai to adapt into the human society and before I realized it, I have found myself already making the first step towards that future. Although, I’m still causing troubles to everyone who can’t see me.”
Ouka laughed bitterly as she talked. For her, walking in the town with me like this was unimaginable for her in the past. She turned to me with her eyes casted downwards.
“Thank you very much, Yato-sama.”
She then expressed her gratitude with a broad smile on her face. All that I did was to act normal towards her, so it feels strange to get thanked for doing that.
“I did nothing worth mentioning you know.”
“For me, you did many things that are worth my gratitude.”
Is that so…
Well, I will let her think about it as she wants. I looked around the place looking for another shop we can enter, but then…
“What is that?”
I noticed something strange. Ouka asked me what was wrong, but I didn’t answer her and kept staring at that something.
Is that a raccoon dog?
A little brown and black ball of fur was observing its surroundings from the corner of the street.
What is a raccoon dog doing here…?
As I kept staring at the raccoon dog quietly, Ouka who finally noticed it expressed her thoughts.
“That’s a Youkai. He is still a child.”
I stared at the raccoon dog even more and noticed that he wasn’t normal. Every person who passes near him can’t see him. Apparently, it was really a Youkai.
“What is a Youkai doing in such a place?”
“It’s most likely lost. I think there are a few transport spaces in this area.”
Something like that existed in this place?
“Rather, I never knew that a Youkai could be this close to humans.”
“We don’t usually show up in front of humans. The transport spaces are used only to move from place to place, so it’s rare for a Youkai to stop in the middle of its way inside them.”
So it’s just a coincidence that this child Youkai ended up here. In that case, we will have to send it back to where it came. As I pondered on what to do next, I noticed that Ouka was acting in weird.
“This is bad.”
“What is it?”
“If this Youkai is a child, then its parent should be should be close. If that parent doesn’t hold a good impression on humans—-”
— MY CHILD —
A loud screaming voice interrupted Ouka’s speech. I turned to the direction of the voice and saw a giant raccoon dog standing there. He did look like a raccoon dog indeed, but his size was obviously huge. I could immediately tell that it was a Youkai.
“… If the parent doesn’t have a good impression on humans?”
“… It will attack them.”
Both Ouka and I watched the giant raccoon dog without speaking another word.
“Ouka, I will leave convincing the parent to you while I go get the child.”
After receiving my order, Ouka rushed towards the giant Youkai. It looks like we still need to wait a long time for the day when Youkais and Humans will be able to coexist. I revealed a bitter smile as I hurried to the child raccoon dog. After that, the parent Youkai confused me to someone who is trying to steal its child, but we were able to send the both of them back to where they came after a little bit of action.
“There are different types of Youkai other than raccoon dogs, right?”
“Then what about Rokurokubi or Ittanmomen?”
“No, but some of them are headless knights and snake women who turn everyone who looks at them to stones.”
“I… don’t think those are Youkais…”
Next Update: Monday, August 06, 2018
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