Chapter 50 – Cleaning up
Behind Ichisato’s slumped body, Tsuyoshi and Momi were talking.
“Hey, where did you get the information about the Yōkai appearance?”
The voice of the Emergency Yōkai Countermeasures Section was shared through the speaker function.
Momi regained confidence that his senses were correct after all, and at the same time he questioned his best friend’s unusual misconception.
In the first place, he had guessed that he was very sure from the devilish manner in which he had visited him in the middle of the night.
He did not have time to ask him about why he was so certain about it as he was in a hurry to get into the Tonobe family’s car.
“Hijiri said he had a bad feeling.”
“…… you woke me up just because of that, ……? I have work first thing tomorrow morning.”
“No, Hijiri has a stronger sense of spirituality than I do. The amulet I gave him back then is ……”
Tsuyoshi cut off his words there and went back to meditating.
Through the summoning team, a lone rat-type Spirit received instructions.
The rat, which had been waiting in front of Miyano’s hospital room, opened the sliding door with a strength that belied its small frame and slipped inside.
There were no signs of Yōkai inside, and his mother-in-law is sleeping peacefully.
There have been no Yōkai that have visited this room.
If a murderer-type Yōkai had attacked, the whole room would have been stained with bright red blood.
A peaceful hospital room where nothing is happening.
But if that is so, something strange is at play.
“The curtains are cut.”
A hazy scene transmitted from the rat.
It was a small cut that an ordinary summoning art user would not notice, but Tsuyoshi did not miss the sharp severed edges.
“Explain, what’s going on.”
He told the others that they were going to confirm that there were no Yōkai, just in case, and then they went their separate ways.
After getting permission from the hospital stuff on the night shift, they snuck into Miyano’s hospital room.
“Holy shit, it was here.”
The moment they entered the hospital room, a faint smell of rottenness assaulted their nostrils.
It was much fainter than when he was in front of the actual entity, but this sensation, which was fresh in a bad way, let him know that a Yōkai had been here not that long ago.
“Looks like it’s been exterminated.”
“What, did you conceal a repelling formation, somewhere in here?”
It is the only possible reason why the patient in the hospital room was safe while there was a lingering scent of Yōkai.
The only remaining possibilities are the unlikely ones, such as the one where Onmyoji accidentally rushed into the room.
“No, just a protective amulet.”
“That’s not something that would defeat a Yōkai, is it?”
Standing next to Tsuyoshi, Momi saw the severed amulets scattered on the bed.
It was the same cut surface as the one on the curtain.
It could no longer be used as an amulet. In other words, something other than the amulet made by Tsuyoshi had exterminated the Yōkai.
There is only one thing that comes to mind.
“I’ll pretend that …… I had prepared a repelling formation.”
“You’ve just convinced yourself and I don’t even know what’s going on. …… I get it. I’m sure the Yōkai has been exterminated, so I’m going to leave it at that. You’ll have to give me a full explanation later.”
This report is summarized as indicated below, based on the field investigations and testimonies of the two individuals.
- The cause was the Onmyoji in charge who did not have enough range to disperse the negative energy.
- The trigger is unknown. A Threat Level 3 Yōkai appeared in the sky over the hospital.
- The first target was a patient in the nearest hospital room.
- The Kyobe family had set up a formation for their relative, and the Yōkai was exterminated.
- Victim 0, Witness 1.
- The hospital management and the Onmyoji in charge will be instructed by the Onmyoji Agency at a later date.
With the testimony of the Tonobe family, the investigation of this case ended up being a rather simple one.
The appearance of low-grade Yōkai in hospitals is not uncommon in the first place.
The number of Yōkai outbreaks has been increasing in recent years, and the hospital was therefore unwilling to spend resources on a case that did not cause any damage at all.
Apart from Miyano’s mental health concerns, only one other person was affected by this incident.
He was the only one who was branded with the dishonor of being a mediocre Onmyoji who had his wards easily broken by a Yōkai with a Threat Level of 3.
[“Can you please submit a remediation plan for this situation?”]
[“You said when you signed the contract that you could protect the entire hospital, but then this happened.”]
[“We are glad that the damage was minor in the end, but how will you take responsibility for this?”]
“They’re going to surround me with a bunch of people and start nipping and screaming and stuffing me! They know I can’t escape from this matter!”
The man was weeping as he drank his liquor
This man, who is quite proud, is able to at last shed tears with the help of alcohol.
While the common pattern in the world is that taking responsibility = resignation, this is not encouraged in the Onmyoji world.
No matter how many countermeasures are taken, there will always be times when Yōkai appear.
If that is the case, it would be more beneficial for mankind if Onmyoji who have gained experience are allowed to continue their work, learning from the mistakes they have made in the past.
In any age, an occupation that is based on fighting is always in short supply of personnel. The Onmyoji world has long been forgiving of these kinds of failures.
However, there was no difference in the public’s attitude toward those who had failed.
He had been spending his busy days dealing with the Onmyoji Agency, the Kanto Onmyoji Association, the management of the hospital that was his client, and cleaning up his mess.
When he had finally finished his work, someone paid a visit to his house.
“Well, well, you’re just lucky there were no victims. Drink and forget about the painful memories.”
As a senior member of the family that inherited the art of warding, Tonobe came to check on him with a drink in his hand.
Although he had his own circumstances, he also wanted to atone for the false statement he had made.
“It’s funny that it was breached by a Threat Level 3. …… He said it was definitely a 4. …… But then it’s strange that there were no victims. …… What the hell happened anyway?”
“I wonder what happened.”
Tonobu pours sake into Ichisato’s cup with a knowing smile.
What he recalled was the shocking information he had heard from Tsuyoshi.
(Oh boy, I always thought Seibo was out of the ordinary. ……. But I never thought he could defeat a Yōkai at such a young age.)
Tsuyoshi conjectured that the amulet created by Hijiri had defeated a Yōkai whose Threat Level was approximately a 4.
The amulet of protection, which he thought was something like an ordinary air purifier.
However, to think that it could defeat a powerful enemy at the level where multiple Onmyoji would cooperate to defeat it, this is something that even Tonobe could never imagine.
(He’s got an unusually large amount of spiritual power and has already acquired enough knowledge to draw a summoning formation. …… He’s grown up a bit too fast without me noticing it. ……)
Tsuyoshi speculated that the extraordinary spiritual power of the amulet may have enabled the forgotten effects of the protective amulet to be activated. Although there is no certainty as to its authenticity, it is said that there is a record in an old document of the Kyobe family that “the amulet helped in protecting their relatives”.
None of this was confirmed, but for some reason, Tsuyoshi seemed to be quite certain of it.
At least, it was true that the only possibility remaining in the hospital room was the amulet created by Hijiri.
(I wonder what he’s been contemplating lately. I hope he doesn’t do anything rash.)
His best friend often worries alone and makes decisions on his own.
This is not only because of his personality, but also because he was forced to do so after the death of his parents.
However, he is also a man who usually makes some kind of mistake whenever he has to make a difficult decision.
His son also looked like he was in some kind of danger.
Tonobe felt a little regretful, wondering if he should have allowed his daughter Kana to make her debut with him.
“Listen, Tonobe-san. These guys have a whole bunch of people hovering around me and they’re nipping and tucking at me.”
“Yes, yes, I am listening, I am listening.”
“If I repair the wards, I’ll be completely in the red, and there might be dishonorable rumors …… about me too.”
“It’s true that you didn’t have a high enough range ward. Learn from your mistakes and next time don’t just use your senses but calculate the range of the ward properly.
“You are right, but it was terrible, being surrounded by a lot of people.”
“Yes, yes, that must have been tough.”
Tonobe-san was worried about the future of his neighbors as he entertained the drunken man.