Chapter 53 – Oni Extermination 1
Early in the morning, when the sun had not yet fully emerged, the Kyobe family gathered at the entrance.
“See you later. Please come back before it gets dark.”
With mom seeing us off, we set out early in the morning.
Our destination is a training ground owned by my father’s employer, the Goken family.
I haven’t heard yet what we are going to do there.
For the past two weeks, my father has been leaving the house when the sun rises and then passing out after dinner.
Despite his exhausted face, his eyes were glittering, and his movements were unperturbed, in spite of his tired appearance. This is a symptom of a spiritual exhaustion.
The fact that he comes home tired every day means that he must be doing something out of the ordinary, but I didn’t feel like I could ask him what it was.
All I know is that it must have something to do with what he said on the way home from the school play.
“I am going to, Yuuya is going too.”
“Your father and brother are not going to play. They are going to work. Yuya will stay at home with me.”
Work, is it?
It’s Onmyoji-related, so I guess you could say it’s work. ……
As we left the Kyobe family property with the groggy Yuya’s voice in the background, there was someone waiting for us.
“Are you guys ready? Come on, get in the car.”
“Thanks for coming to help us.”
Momi-san, the head of the Tonobe family, who had seemed to know something about the event on the way home from the school play, was waiting for us with her car.
Momi-san drove us to our destination.
“What did Reika say?”
The driver’s voice echoes through the car as it stops at a red light.
Because of Dad’s tense state, silence had descended throughout the trip to this point.
“She said we should return before it gets dark.”
“…… that’s it?”
The light turned green, and the car started to move again.
Momi-san concentrated on driving and their conversation was cut short.
Since he was trying to change the somber atmosphere, I decided to say something to him.
“Hey Momi-san, what are we going to do at the training ground?”
“What, you’re going to exterminate Oni, aren’t you? Didn’t you go to ……? Don’t tell me, Tsuyoshi, you haven’t explained anything to him!”
“Didn’t you ……?”
No, he didn’t.
I was pushed into it without my permission, prepared for it without my permission, and brought along without my permission.
“So, are you saying that Reika-san sent the two of you out without knowing anything about it? Maybe she thinks it’s Seibo’s work experience or something? She’d be worried if you came home badly hurt.”
“It’s always been dangerous.”
“I can understand you’re tense. But your bad habits are coming out again.”
From the line indicating that they were going to settle the score, I expected them to engage in a fight.
But it seems he is going to do something more dangerous than I expected.
Oni Extermination………….. Oni are real?
My dad, realizing now that he hadn’t explained what we were going to do, told me what the objective of our trip is.
“……I will conduct Coming-of-Age Ceremony……… This is a contract we signed with the Oni Shikigami that has been passed down in our family.”
“This Oni is a hard-headed guy who doesn’t obey the people who are weaker than him. Before making a contract, you have to demonstrate your strength in a fight.”
So, I guess we’re going to head into that battleground now, huh?
It’s more of a contest for power in the animal world than a contract.
“It is not limited just to Oni. Powerful Shikigami will generally test their Lord’s strength. Those who inherit the summoning formation should constantly train themselves while preparing for the upcoming contract.”
I have been taught many things so far, but only little about the art of summoning.
I was told that it is the last thing to be taught because it is the secret art of the Kyobe family, which means that this is a matter that comes before the inheritance of the art.
I didn’t even know there was a Coming-of-Age Ceremony.
As I was interested in this family tradition, a question came to my mind.
While the “Rite of Awakening” is performed immediately after birth, is the “Coming-of-Age Ceremony” performed in one’s thirties? My father’s age is not a perfect one, and in the old days, he would have become an adult in his teens.
This is strange.
“At what age do we do the Coming-of-Age Ceremony?”
“That is …….”
“Whoa, here we are.”
Before my dad could give me an answer, we arrived at our destination.
About an hour’s drive away, lies a land rich in nature.
On the way to our destination, the number of houses became sparse, and the scenery of the orchards cultivated in the mountains increased.
We hardly saw a car pass us, and the road, which was quite respectable in comparison to the conditions, extended all the way to our destination.
In other words, the owner of the five-story building in front of us has enough power to force the local government to grant priority to the development of infrastructure in the countryside.
The Tonobe family’s car was parked in a corner of a large parking lot.
The large parking lot was empty, with only about six private cars and microbuses parked there, presumably belonging to employees.
It was Sunday, so the employees were probably not working. On weekdays, this parking lot is probably full.
Feeling a little nervous, I followed the adults inside.
Looking around the entrance, the first thing I noticed was the unique sense of freshness typical of a newly built building.
Similar to the exterior of the building, the interior was simple and formal, with a rustic appearance.
“Good morning! Please fill out the form.”
The woman at the reception desk greeted us with a cheerful welcome so early in the morning.
My father and the rest of us greeted her in a friendly manner as we received forms.
Taking a peek at the documents, we learn that we are supposed to fill out an application for admission to the training area and a responsibility waiver form.
This is the kind of form you fill out before doing something dangerous, like bungee jumping.
It’s a natural process considering what we are about to do, but I wonder if I should get used to filling out such forms.
“Okay, I have confirmed it. Please be careful when using this facility… Good luck.”
I guess she knows what my dad is going to do now, so she sent him off with her personal encouragement.
After completing the formalities, I thought we were going to continue on to the training grounds, but it seemed there were still other locations where we needed to drop by.
We returned to Momi-san’s car and drove up the mountain road.
As the density of the trees increased, the signs of people began to disappear, and we saw fewer and fewer man-made objects.
This building, like one of the Abe’s houses, is also simple and solid, …… and although it is as large as the Abe’s house, it is not as glamorous as the Abe’s house. In addition, there is no Japanese garden.
The building next to it is an old dojo-like building, which shows the character of the head of this family.
“You have come, Tsuyoshi-san! We’ve been waiting for you!”
An old man emerged with a loud voice from a magnificent building that appeared to be a dojo.
He was dressed in a dark blue kendo suit and held a sword sheathed in his right hand. His skinny head reflected the morning sun, making his chiseled face look even more grave.
Although he looks like he is already retired, his body radiates vitality, and even from this distance, one can tell that he is still quite active.
“Yes, we have prepared the battlefield, thanks to you. All with the cooperation of Goken-sama.”
“All right, concentrate on the battle at hand. I only wanted to send encouragement to my friend who is going to engage in a decisive battle. I’m sure you’ve been thinking about it a lot and have grown stiff. Relax your shoulders!”
I saw something unusual.
My dad, who has a default Buddha face, looks embarrassed.
His shoulders were slapped, and he is …… someone who is not good at this kind of thing.
“You’ll be the observer this time as well. Needless to say, you must not miscalculate the timing.”
“It’s been a while, since he seems to be serious; I will keep an eye on him until the time comes.”
Momi-san seems to know the old man as well.
Listening to the conversation up to this point, I can guess who this old man is.
He must be my father’s former boss, the previous head of the Goken family, and an ultimate warrior who fights on the front lines even though he has given up his position as the head of the family, Goken Enbu-sama.
“Oh, is this the child you are so proud of? I see. …… I see that it is not an exaggeration. I’ll give him a lesson next time. Bring him to me when you have time.”
“Nice to meet you, I’m Kyobe Hijiri. I look forward to having the pleasure of speaking with you.”
Oh, hell, no.
I won’t get along with this person.
I don’t like the way he pushes matters that he wants to talk about.
He is reliable as a boss who leads his subordinates, but I would prefer not to have a personal relationship with him.
It would definitely be way tougher if I say I wanted to practice martial arts, so instead of doing that, I’m going to continue to practice Onmyojutsu…….
“Yes, sir. I will bring him back when he is more composed.”
Of course – how could anyone refuse an offer from his or her boss?
I was unexpectedly made to feel comfortable at my father’s workplace. Normally, the chairman of the company would not pay attention to the son of one of his employees.
If a job ad says, “A homelike workplace,” most people would think it is a black company. If you factor in the possibility of death, my father’s workplace could definitely be considered as a black company.
But it seems they pay well, and if you can build trust with them as a comrade-in-arms, maybe it’s not so bad after all.
“Forget about anything else that’s not about your battle. Go on a rampage.”
After finishing what he had to say, Goken-sama returned to the building.
He was like a raging storm, wasn’t he?
I didn’t even have a proper conversation with him, but his words and actions themselves showed his character.
While the head of the Abe family had an intimidating aura of standing above others, Goken-sama had the aura of a strong man who has fought many battles in his life pushing forward, bringing those around him along with him.
Either way, I, an ordinary person, felt myself shrinking just by being around them.
This seemed to be the end of the formalities and greetings.
Finally, it was time for the decisive battle, and my father strode forward with a determined look on his face.