Return of the Starfish
I visited Kongming’s house.
This was the third time, which meant that it could be the last.
Jeanne seemed very excited when Hijikata Toshizou pointed this out.
“That means this Konmi or whatever that man from China’s name is, will finally join us.”
As for Toshizou,
“Well, yes. If things go according to the story.”
However, I did not have high hopes.
It was very possible that it would be four visits if not five.
He had said it himself, he did not want to go out into the world.
When I pointed this out, Toshizou replied,
“But, Liu Bei was able to persuade him and made him join his army.”
“Aye, he did. But I’m not Liu Bei.”
“I think you are more charismatic.”
He said. But I wasn’t so full of myself to agree.
And in this world, Kongming had just abandoned Demon King Decarbia.
I doubted he was in any rush to serve a different Demon King.
And I was right.
When we reached the house, the monk was cleaning like always.
When I talked to him, he looked at us sadly and said,
“My master is currently very ill.”
And he lowered his face.
“He was just fine the last time! What illness is it!”
Jeanne shouted. But I told her to be quiet.
“I hope he gets well soon. Please tell him that Demon King Ashta was concerned about his health.”
And then we left.
“You don’t seem too disappointed.”
“As I said earlier, I don’t mind if I have to come four or five times. I will wait until Kongming feels differently.”
“So until then, you will have to rule both Decarbia and Ashtaroth castle.”
“To be precise, there is also Eligos castle as well.”
“Three. You know what they say, too much wine and women is not a good thing.”
I was thankful enough for the expert advice, but women and castles were not the same. And so I ignored him and continued to walk in the forest.
It would only be a few more minutes until we were out of the forest.
—Just as we were nearly out, I heard the sound of an explosion from deep within the forest.
All three of us stopped and prepared to fight. We turned in the direction of the noise.
And then, I saw that smoke was rising from within the forest.
“…It’s close to Kongming’s house.”
“No one else lives within this forest. And so we should assume that he was attacked.”
“But, why? While he seemed to have an awful personality, trying to kill him seems a little excessive.”
“It’s just as Fuma Kotaro said. Decarbia had held a grudge against him ever since he left. And he’s attacked him a number of times.”
“So, you think he attacked again?”
“It is quite likely.”
“Then we must go and help him.”
“Of course. I won’t abandon someone that I talked to three times.”
And so we turned on our heels and ran back the way that we came. On the way, I whispered something into Jeanne’s ear and had her move on her own. I had a plan. She readily obeyed.
Toshizou and I reached the house a few minutes later. It had turned into a battlefield.