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Yeesh, THAT was a chore.
Vengeful spirits, hm? I think I've seen enough unusual sights for the day. Now that I've worked up a sweat though, I could really use a nice long soak in the bath.
Taking a bath right after a fight? You really don't let anything get to you...
Oh, I thought you people were always doing this sort of thing?
Sorry for making you fight with us so soon, Letty. We haven't even met since the snow incident.
So, you were late because you got to sleep late last year?
That's right. Thanks to that, I seem to have made Cirno and the others wait.
It's been a while, Cirno. I'm glad to see you're doing well. It looks like you've been treasuring your friends too, as you promised.
Yup, and I even made more of them when you were gone. Um this is Wriggle, and this is Mystia, and this is Chen and um...
Nice to meet you, Letty.
I found a frigid looking fellow and tried a bite~!♪
I know how you feel, Cirno. I'm bad with numbers too...
Silly Chen, you can just eyeball them!
...Do you really run a business like that?
At Mystia's place, you just put everything on your tab~.
Oh, I know that! That's how you can eat for free, right?
...Good grief, it must be hard for Daiyousei to put up with all this.
It's fine with me. Cirno's my friend, after all. Plus, even if something bad happens, Nazrin's there to help us.
...It's kind of a pain to be relied on like that, you know.
I'm glad we could meet again like this, but I'm afraid there's no time to celebrate. A large number of vengeful spirits are showing up, something that would never happen in ordinary cicumstances.
...True enough. I understand just how dangerous they can be.
What makes a vengeful spirit different from an ordinary ghost anyway?
Well, for starters, they're beings of pure resentment that haven't crossed the Sanzu river. They're dangerous critters that possess both humans and youkai, dyeing their victims in their resentment.
So what exactly happens if you get possessed?
For humans, they'd create conflict and ultimately destroy the community.
Even for youkai, it can be a grave matter. By destroying one's mental equilibrium with their resentment, they change the reason for one's existence. It would be no exaggeration to say that this is death itself for a youkai.
Woah, this is huge deal!
So if we leave this alone, it could be dangerous to everyone, both humans and youkai?
The real question is why they're showing up in my backyard.
Oh yeah, Yukari, you were saying something about the geyser earlier?
Yes, the spirits appeared at the same time as the spray of water. In other words, the origin of this matter most likely lies in the existence of the geyser.
Are you saying that-
So you think the vengeful spirits are coming from the Underworld.
Precisely. There are many such spirits sealed away there. If the geyser is creating a channel to the Underworld, that would explain how they're showing up in such large numbers.
Of course, that still leaves the question of why they're showing up now. I don't want to believe that the Underworld youkai are sending them intentionally, but...
It could be. I mean, we DO know a youkai who can control those spirits after all.
Yeah, some Underworld youkai called Orin. She works for the Palace of Earth Spirits. She's like the ruler's right hand woman, or something.
Still, this is unnatural. What could the Underworld possibly have to gain from this? If they cause any harm on the surface, that would simply invite harsh retribution upon them.
...Kaguya has a point. It's too early to assume this was intentional.
Yeah, it could be either an accident or just bad luck.
It may seem foolish, but that is the most natural way to approach this.
Of course, there's always the possibility that they're staging an invasion of the hated surface.
...Hmm, I don't think we'll figure it out no matter much we think about it.
Exactly, standing around speculating is a waste of time. We should just march into the Underworld and tie up the first suspicious person we find.
I agree with Remilia. For now, I'm heading out to investigate.
The surface youkai can't go into the Underworld, right? So you all can stay up here and keep an eye on the gey-
...No, I've already reached my own conclusion. I'll be accompanying you to the Underworld. And I ask the other youkai to lend their assistance as well.
Huh? You want OUR help?!
Wait, you want us to go with you?! But wouldn't that break the agreement?
Taking into account the seriousness of this incident, we can properly consider this a state of emergency. Furthermore, given our lack of information, we need to be prepared for any possible eventuality.
...That may be so, but for you to ask everyone to go must mean you're wary of the situation. Do you truly think the Underworld youkai could be staging an invasion?
I would need to connect many different dots before I confirm or deny that possibility. That, and if this does involve the youkai of the Palace of Earth Spirits, then I'd like to judge the situation up close.
...Well, if the youkai sage says so, then we don't mind lending our power, but...
Will you be blessing us with your presence too, Lady Kanako? Lady Suwako?
(Hey Kanako, do you think this might have something do to with that girl?)
(...I doubt it. It hasn't been that long since we met with Utsuho. It should still be quite some time until she's fully surrendered her mind and body, and fused with the god.)
(Right, there's no way she'd start showing powers this ear-)
Is something wrong? You're having a private conversation...
Pay it no mind. We were merely discussing the incident.
We're worried about the surface. This incident really needs to get resolved.
Meanwhile, the other youkai are all agreeing to go.
We'd love to come, but shouldn't we let Yuuka know first?
Yeah, but where'd she get off to...?
Oh, but I'm right here.
Where have you been until now, Lady Yuuka?
I was drinking tea in the shrine, while watching how you fight. More importantly, to think the surface youkai are now conspiring to march into the Underworld.
Setting foot in the place that you yourselves sealed off... How scandalous.
...You're a surface youkai too, aren't you? Are you going to be helping out? If you leave this alone, you'll suffer just as much as anyone else.
I think I'll pass. This is the job of the youkai sage.
That's odd, you're not interested? Picking a fight with the Underworld sounds pretty fun to me.
The gulf between the surface and the Underworld is deeper than you realize, Remilia. Wouldn't it be better to leave this matter to the parties that planted those seeds?
It doesn't matter what you say, I can't exactly leave this incident alone. So as soon as we're done preparing, then let's just leave already.
Right, let me just tie Shiro to one of those pillars.
Oh, you're not taking the kedama with you?
After a dream like that? No way. It can watch the house while we're gone. Hey, could you make sure it doesn't run away or something?
Of course not. Staying here would just bore me, so I'm going home.
Well then, let's head out, everyone!