Chapter 78: Flowers, Girls, and the Guardian Shield (6)
Xu Shenxing and Sakurakouji Asahi were walking on the path leading to White Bell Shrine.
Sakurakouji Asahi walked ahead to lead the way. She looked back at Xu Shenxing several times and tried to say something, but finally gave up.
Looking at Sakurakouji Asahi, Xu Shenxing sighed, then asked her in a cheerful tone, “Do you have anything you want to say to me?”
“Well… I remember you telling Mr Xu Feng that you would sneak into the school…”
“That’s what I’m doing. Aren’t we sneaking in without being detected?”
“No, no, no, that’s not the case,” Sakurakouji Asahi retorted with an air of resignation, “The students’ bodyguards had found you at the first moment you sneaked near the school. Then when you beat down all the bodyguards, the school security guards noticed the commotion and went to investigate it. After that, you simply knocked down all the guards, then climbed over the wall to enter the school!”
“As long as the students and the teachers don’t find us, it’s a success! There is no difference between ‘sneak into the school without being seen’ and ‘beat all the people who saw us down, then sneak into the school without being seen’!”
“I have said that you can’t call this ‘stealth’!”
“Don’t worry. I’ve ordered the spirit ghosts to erase their memories (physical means). After they wake up, they won’t remember anything!”
“That’s not the point!… Well, but I appreciate that you let me see the true meaning of ‘wrestle♂'.”
“Well, it seems that I have to reflect on how I sneaked in.”
They quarreled all the way till the White Bell Shrine.
Although it was a shrine, because Sakurakouji Asahi and the god she served lived here, regardless of the ropes, the bells, a money box, and a little shrine, the house was full of the breath of life – Xu Shenxing even saw a pair of girl’s underwear on the chair.
“What are you looking at?” The girl blushed. She hurriedly put the underwear away, which was obviously too baggy for her.
“Inochi Sama… Nah, why do you always put your clothes here and there?!”
Sakurakouji Asahi complained as she tidied up the room. She tried to pretend that she didn’t care about this, but her expression was clearly upset.
Xu Shenxing didn’t know how to comfort her. He sighed helplessly.
He turned around in a circle as he looked at the room. Maybe because there was dust everywhere on the mountain, Sakurakouji had only left the shrine for a week, but the house had accumulated a lot of dust. There were no traces that the dust having been touched by a human, which meant that no one had come here in the last week.
“Asahi, you deliberately did not put away the household items of the previous god… Is that because you hope that she will come back again?”
Sakurakouji froze. Her thin shoulders trembled slightly.
It seemed that he guessed correctly. Unfortunately, what she wished was impossible.
Due to eating the hell-like fried rice the spirit ghosts made, Xu Shenxing had suffered a severe mental shock and received the memories Yakumo Inochi left for Sakurakouji Asahi after that.
Therefore, he understood that Yakumo Inochi wasn’t missing, but had vanished. She had returned her life to Tsukiyomi-no-mikoto in exchange for a huge amount of god power. Then, she strengthened the seal of the dried up well and the seal in Sakurakouji’s body, in order to let her live a normal life. And at the end of her life, she made a wish that her successor would help Sakurakouji Asahi live in peace and find happiness.
She was like Sakurakouji Asahi’s natural mother.
“If you think you can’t accept the fact that the she has gone, it’s okay to keep those things.” Finally, Xu Shenxing decided to hide the truth from Sakurakouji Asahi. “I don’t have a high demand for daily living conditions.”
Generally speaking, he could survive by simply feeding on salt and water.
“No. I’m fine,” The girl shook her head and forced herself to smile. “I know I can’t keep going on like this,” she said, and tidied up the room again.
But this time, as she cleaned the room, she also told Xu Shenxing what had happened in the room, as if she was showing him her most precious of treasures.
“This sweep net was made by Inochi Sama when she and I went to catch stag beetles, but the sweep net was so ugly because she was poor at manual work. I even fell out with her due to this. However, in the early morning of the second day, Inochi Saama brought me a stag beetle. She didn’t sleep all night, just to help me catch that beetle…”
“This cheap little bracelet with a cross was bought in town by Inochi Sama. At that time, I had just seen a horror movie and was too scared to sleep… She told me that it was a treasure blessed by the god of the Plain of High Heaven, and that as long as I held it, I should not worry any more. I was so silly to believe her words and always wore it, until my 12th birthday when Inochi Sama drank too much and told me the truth.”
“This fishing rod… Once upon a time, Inochi Sama wanted to eat Ise lobster. She noisily asked for it. However, the shrine is too far away from town and the shrine’s budget is also in short supply, therefore, I had to go to the seaside to try fishing. Although I didn’t catch any lobsters, but I accidentally caught a bream. Inochi Sama was also very happy to see that.”
“This doll was a reward. At that time, the town at the foot of the mountain was going to move, so they held their last temple fair. Inochi Sama and I went to play a shooting game, but I missed all the targets which I shot at. After that, Inochi Sama secretly helped me knock down this doll. I felt sorry for the stall holder of the shooting game, but at that time, I was really very happy.”
“This is a bottle of Japanese Sake. When the Kanishino Girl’s High School had just been built, the Okura Syndicate agreed that I could go to the school for free. Therefore, Inochi Sama used the money she saved as my tuition to buy it. She said that she would store it up until I get married…”
The girl clenched her lips and tried to keep the tears in her eyes from falling out.
“I think you should cry it out. It will at least let you feel better.”
Xu Shenxing sat beside the girl and quietly listened to her telling him about every precious moment she spent with the vanished god. He saw the the girl’s eyes gradually become moist, and heard her voice become more and more sorrowful. He coudln’t think of any way to comfort her. What he could do was to advise her to cry it out.
“Inochi Sama once said… The place where a miko  can cry is only in the toilet or in the arms of her god.”
Sakurakouji Asahi said softly.
Xu Shenxing sighed again. He pulled the girl into his arms. “That’s all right. I’m a god too…”
“Don’t I have to endure it? Is that all right?”
“Well, of course you can.”
“Wu wu wu… Arrrrghhhh—–“
The girl cried and shed bitter tears in Xu Shenxing’s arms. Her tears wet his clothes, but he didn’t feel any discomfort. He just constantly stroked the girl’s head.
“Inochi Sama, why did you leave me alone? I miss you so much!”
As if she was going to vent all the worry and sadness in her heart, Sakurakouji Asahi cried the whole morning.
 wrestle: She meant the “wrestling♂” movie of Billy Herrington.
 miko: In Shinto, a miko is a shrine maiden or a supplementary priestess. I will change all occurrences of “witch” to “miko” from now on.