Hoshi felt that something was wrong about Senpai's smile.
"I said, this place is so beautiful; it's so appropriate for the beautiful you, Hoshi." Seiji smiled.
"…This doesn't sound like something Senpai would say."
"If it's a joke… No, even if it's a joke, I don't think that Senpai would say something like this," Hoshi stated as he looked into the other person's face. "It feels somewhat disgusting."
Seiji was rendered speechless.
"I was speaking from my heart. It hurts me to hear you say that." He sighed.
"…I apologize, but I really do think that it's quite strange."
"You may think it's strange because you don't understand the real me… actually, I've always been wearing a mask in front of you."
"A mask?" Hoshi blinked when he heard this.
"Yes, I've been wearing a mask in order to suppress my true feelings for you." Seiji clutched his own chest. "But right now, right here, I'm no longer able to bear it anymore. I would like to express my true feelings for you."
He looked into Hoshi's eyes and smiled deeply as if it came from his heart.
"Hoshi, I like you!"
Hoshi instantly widened his eyes to hear this.
Red leaves kept falling, and red flowers were shaking.
Hoshi's reaction to the handsome boy who just confessed wholeheartedly to him was…
Hoshi revealed an expression of disgust!
He backed up many steps, and took two deep breaths before he lifted his hand and pointed at Seiji -
"You're definitely not Senpai!! Who the hell are you!?"
Everything fell silent for a moment.
Seiji's cheeks twitched.
"I am indeed your senpai. How could you—"
"No! You're definitely not! My real senpai would never confess to me like this!!" Hoshi stated adamantly. "Even though you look the same, you're definitely something else entirely! Your fake portrayal of Senpai is so terrible!! It's incredibly disgusting!!!"
Seiji fell silent.
A moment later, he chuckled once more, and had that same devilish smile from earlier.
"I didn't think that you would see through me so easily."
Seiji… no, an existence that was pretending to be Seiji now spoke in a female's voice as she shrugged and extended her palms.
"This was clearly something that you wished for. Why are you resisting so much when you obtained it?"
"Because I know that it's impossible to really happen," Hoshi stated calmly. "Perhaps in my heart… no, perhaps I've always secretly wanted this possibility, but at the same time, I'm very clear that Senpai would never do such a thing. That's because I'm a boy. No matter how much I resemble a girl, I really am a man! Senpai recognizes that I'm a boy, and no matter what my physical appearance and actions are like, he's always treated me as a boy!! He views me as his junior and as his friend, but he'll never treat me as a potential love interest, nor will he ever like me the same way he'll like a girl. In his mind, I'm a man after all!!"
Hoshi didn't speak in a very loud voice. However, his tone seemed unshakable.
The fake Seiji was able to sense this as she squinted her eyes.
"You… feel that this is enough for you?"
This was a rather vague question, but Hoshi understood what she meant.
"I think that this is enough."
"You won't regret it?"
"Why are you so certain?"
Hoshi fell silent for a moment and recalled some words Seiji told him on that day on top of the school building.
"You were my junior to begin with."
"It's excellent that you have the resolution to become stronger."
"Don't make it sound like I'm someone incredible…"
"I'm simply your senpai as well as your friend. That's all there is to it."
That's all there was to it.
"Simply because… I'm his junior," Hoshi spoke resolutely and expressed a deep connection between him and Seiji.
The fake Seiji looked deeply into Hoshi's eyes as if she was seeing through his very soul.
Suddenly, there was a strong gust of wind. The cluster amaryllis flowers started waving, and red leaves flew everywhere.
Hoshi's vision was obscured by all the chaotic redness and he lost sight of the fake Seiji.
At this moment, he felt something touching him on his right shoulder; something hot poured within his body from that location, filling his body with a heated sensation!
Hoshi wanted to shout out loudly, but he was unable to shout. He felt as if he was melting, as his consciousness became hazy and gradually disappeared into the darkness…
Seiji felt as if he heard Hoshi calling out to him.
He stopped cultivating and looked around him.
Seiji was currently practicing [Beginning-level punching techniques] in Reo's soul realm.
When he looked all around him, he couldn't find anything out of place.
"Was it just my imagination?"
Seiji decided to continue cultivating.
He should be able to finish learning [Beginning-level punching techniques] tonight. Originally, he had intended to work on [Beginning-level footwork] next, but judging by the current situation, he decided to instead begin learning [Beginning-level barrier spells] next.
Since he wasn't summoned like last night, all he could do was cultivate.
The next morning.
Shika told Seiji that three small demons had crashed into her barrier set up over their apartment.
Although there were only three and they were small demons immediately exorcised by the barrier spell that didn't cause any harm to them at all, this was still a message of sorts.
Seiji turned on his computer and logged onto the internet. As he expected, he saw a large amount of "posts about demons" in the Channel 22 message forum!
He sent Hisashi a message and learned that many people in the Juumonji Group had been injured. Their main residence was invaded by demons as well. Luckily, the main residence was fine due to the purchased barrier's protection. The Juumonji Group also had news that there were several times more ordinary victims than last night.
When Seiji sent Yukari a message, she replied that she was fine, and even sent an emoticon of beating up on some small monsters… He interpreted it as meaning she met some demons, but was able to protect herself using her ability.
Next, he sent Hoshi a message. However, he didn't receive a reply, so he tried to call Hoshi.
Hoshi's first word was filled with fatigue, just like Yukari's situation from yesterday!
"Hoshi… could it be that you…"
Something flashed in Seiji's eyes when he heard Hoshi admit to this.
"Rest well for now. Call me after you wake up, I'll come meet you."
They ended their conversation there.
Next, Seiji called Natsuya.
"Yet another new situation occurred last night," the student council president told him directly. "Various places lit up with strong spiritual light, and when various factions went to investigate, they discovered that the internal structures of those places became completely different from before. Not only that, the Mana density in these locations are quite high, and various Spiritual Creatures are living there…"
These transformed locations were termed as "Spirit Worlds" by the mystical society.
This phenomenon as a whole became known as "Spirit World Transformation." It was just like the phenomenon of ordinary people Awakening as it shook the entire mystical society… no, it had an even greater impact than that!
While the appearance of Awakened was astonishing, the impact they brought was quite limited—at least for the time being.
However, these Spirit Worlds were different. With high Mana density and an abundance of Spiritual Creatures… they were basically like treasure troves for Spiritual Ability users!
It was just as if numerous treasure troves had fallen out of the sky. What would happen in such a scenario?
Of course people would fight over the treasure.
"Although most factions are only in the first stages of their investigation and there's many problems involved still, the places that have undergone Spirit World Transformations... battles have already begun over who gets to control these 'Spirit World Grounds.'" Natsuya sighed.
Compared to the appearance of these Spirit Worlds, the Awakened became a lot less important, and the night of one hundred demons further decreased in significance… Of course, the Spiritual Ability users wouldn't just let it be, as they didn't want their existence to be exposed to the general public.
Heaven-sent treasure troves… and battling over the Spirit Worlds was probably the main focus for all the major factions now.
The worst possible development would be an all-out conflict!