11. Where is the White Crow?
“We’ve arrived. This is the venue.”
“Hurry up, and let me off…”
That was a terrible experience. It’s not that I’m bad with thrill rides, but clinging to a cat’s unsteady back without any safety belts while soaring above the clouds… That was absolute hell. I couldn’t even bring myself to enjoy the view.
At the end of that hell, the place the black cat brings me to is the [Tsudomu], a place of relaxation for the citizens of Sapporo.
“Why the Tsudomu?”
“The space is sufficiently spacious enough and can be rented out cheaply, or so I’ve been told.”
“Uwa… the world of onmyou practitioners…. has it rough, too.”
The [Tsudomu] is a fairly large dome and is often used to host the city’s events. Spectators will have a clear view and if it’s being rented out, only those involved will be able to enter. No doubt, it might be the perfect place for a match.
“For onmyou practitioners to have matches in a place like this… is something no one would ever imagine.”
I enter the Tsudomu while muttering such a thing. The people of Mizukami Clan whom I’m cooperating with greet me.
“This gentleman, is the aforementioned practitioner…?”
“He seems to have defeated the Hinoyama Clan’s Kien.”
“He’s distorting recognition with that mask? I can’t tell what kind of person he is.”
Various things are being said, but I brush it off with a smile. My smile can’t be seen though.
“A pleasure to meet you. I am the Mizukami Clan family head, Mizukami Tatsumi. As the neko-kami-sama has strictly ordered us not to investigate your background or circumstances, we have no intention of delving into your assault on the Hinoyama Clan. Rather than that, for lending your strength to my family, truly, I thank you.”
A middle aged man with a good build and in a dandy wafuku1 greets me. I go with the flow and shake hands with someone who seems to be the Mizukami Clan head-sama, but now that I’m getting a closer look, I feel a terrible amount of pressure. I feel his presence.
That said, assault? Is he confusing me for someone else? Well, it’s fine.
“Ano, excuse us for the late greeting.”
A pair of miko-san(?) push their way through the reception and appear.
“We shall be fighting alongside one another this time. I am Mizukami Uruka.”
“I am her younger sister, Mizukami Uruna.”
Eeeeeh!!? By Mizukami Clan, they meant the class representative’s family?! Not to mention, to be participating in this match… Mizukami-san is an onmyou practitioner?!?
“Ano, is something the matter?”
“Ah, no, it’s nothing.”
Not good. I shouted out her name on reflex, but Mizukami-san doesn’t know who I am. Although it’s too late now that she’s looking at me with doubt in her eyes, I’ll need to be careful.
With the greeting over, I’m given a brief overview of the match’s details. After the black cat, who is on good terms with the Mizukami Clan, was bullied, someone picked a fight with the Hinoyama Clan and they seem to be faulting the Mizukami Clan for it.
What an utter farce. Even the mysterious attacker was probably set up by them. These sorts of things are pretty common in manga. How horrible.
I wasn’t going to go overboard, but I’ll win even if I have to overdo it a bit.
…Hm? Hold on a sec?
“I just thought about it, but wouldn’t it be fine if black cat takes part?”
I ask the black cat in a whisper.
Currently, the black cat is about as big as a lion. Or rather, he practically is a lion. Even though he looks pretty powerful like this, he looked even more powerful back when he was carrying me.
“Even if I look like this, I’m a fairly well known youkai. My participation would breach the fairness of a match before god.”
To say he’d breach the fairness, is it because he’s too strong? Also, him being injured by a trap, it seems to have happened because those guys at the Hinoyama Clan bullied him. I thought it was because he was ruining the neighborhood fields, but I was completely off.
“That being said, why can’t the Mizukami Clan head participate?”
“Tatsumi suffers from a serious illness, he cannot overexert himself. As for other practitioners, there are none with sufficient strength for this match.”
“And those 2?”
“The Mizukami’s daughters? With Tatsumi presently being unable to fight, those girls are the strongest practitioners of the Mizukami Clan.”
No way, the class representative is such an amazing onmyou master? She had such a side to herself… and, imouto-san is another powerful master?
“I’ll give it my best too.”
“Truly, my apologies. The Mizukami miko, I leave them in your care.”
The time gradually arrives. I confirm the contents of my waist pouch and head towards the arena set up in the center of the dome.
—Diamond of Pride—
“Hinoyama-sama, are you ready?”
“Mitsurugi? I’ve been ready for a long time now. As you can see, I’ve been waiting all this time after all.”
Hinoyama has heard that Kien had been defeated. Despite that, he holds no insecurities towards the match before god. Mitsurugi frowns at that assessment.
The members participating in the match are the present family head, Hinoyama Kou; and two chief onmyou practitioners, Mitsurugi Yuen and Kien Gouki. Even without the family head, Mitsurugi is confident that he and Kien alone won’t lose to most onmyou practitioners. However, against a practitioner that defeated Kien, the match’s conclusion is anyone’s guess.
“Fuu fuu fuu, I’ll have Uruka take in and experience how terrifying I can be.”
Mitsurugi holds his head at his family head’s optimism.
“Kien, I ask that you follow my plan once the match begins.”
“Che, I ain’t convinced, but I can trust your bastard of a plan. I’ll behave.”
A bit of Mitsurugi’s spirit returns to him upon hearing those words and he begins walking to the arena for the match.
—Celestial Diamond Sins Have Assembled—
“By the way, where is the white crow?”
“Eh, was I supposed to bring him?”
“Anyway, I’m off.”
At the entrance opposite of Mitsurugi and his team, the golden shishi see off Yuuki with a ghastly pale face.
T/N: This cat really is just too forgetful. He’s kinda like a child that gets so absorbed in something, he forgets about everything else.