A new generation, and Neo Humans… just how did these terms come about into existence? Did Yui know some top-secret information, or was she perhaps even a member of the Soul World faction?
She remained silent and didn't answer his questions on that topic. Seiji could understand.
Just telling him what she did might have been quite risky for her. It meant that she wasn't able to tell him anything more.
What if she truly was a member of the Soul World faction?
'Let's deal with it when the time comes after I learn the truth about the Midnight Spell and the Soul World faction's goals,' Seiji thought to himself. And no matter what, Yui was his family.
By the way, a term like "Neo Humans…" Should he play around with a Gundam now?
'I really have played around in one! More than once, even! Well, even if it was only in the soul realm,' Seiji commented in his mind.
Seiji went to the student council president's residence to practice cultivation. When he met the president there, Seiji thought that he should mention something to her.
"Natsuya, there's something I'd like to discuss with you."
"Discuss… discuss what?" Natsuya was acting somewhat unnaturally.
This was mystifying to Seiji.
"Your expression is a little strange. What's the matter?"
"N-nothing." Natsuya averted her gaze as her face flushed slightly red. "I'm just… feeling slightly uncomfortable."
After all, she couldn't tell him that she was currently feeling awkward due to the discussion she'd had last night with his younger sister about potentially getting married to him.
Natsuya was quite worried that Hana would tell Seiji about the contents of their discussion regarding harems… but it seemed that she hadn't, which helped Natsuya to calm down.
"If you're feeling uncomfortable, make sure to rest. You've been working too hard," Seiji said out of concern.
"Yeah… I will." Natsuya nodded with her red face. "What would you like to discuss with me?"
"It's about Shinobu Miaki… Akatsuki Mitarai's human puppet," Seiji told her. "I would like to be able to obtain her as one of the victory conditions in our duel."
Natsuya was incredibly astonished to hear this, and it showed on her face.
"Why do you want her?"
"It's like this. Actually…" Seiji gave her an explanation of how Shinobu was actually a newly-born demon.
Something flashed in Natsuya's eyes after she finished listening to Seiji's explanation.
"Yomi… is able to perceive demons to such an extent, and is even able to steal away a soul…"
"Have you figured out just which spirit she could be?"
"No… I have no idea." Natsuya shook her head slightly. "Can you contact her right now?"
Seiji tried mentally calling out to her.
"She's not responding… she's probably sleeping again."
"Marking a target to be able to steal away the target's soul in their soul realm is an incredibly powerful spell. It's considered a top-level soul magic spell," Natsuya told him seriously. "If this spell was used on a human… you can imagine just how fearsome it is."
Seiji rubbed his chin in contemplation. "Although I don't know much about magic compared to you, I realized it as well. She's actually really powerful."
Apart from being able to steal souls, Yomi was even capable of figuring out an Awakened's mystical connection, or sending someone down to hell to save a fallen and return safely… she was definitely an incredible existence!
"Yomi," a name which meant the netherworld, was an incredibly fitting name for her.
The person who gave her this name seemed most likely to have been Seimei Kamijou.
She mentioned how she used to be similar to Shinobu Miaki long, long ago in the past at first. Although Seiji was unsure exactly what she meant, he figured that it meant that they were both demons since Shinobu was also a demon.
When Yomi was still a demon freely roaming around on the land, she was quite likely to have been an incredibly powerful demon on the same level as the famous three most powerful evil demons like Great Tengu, Shutendoji, and Tamamo no Mae. Someone who had a good enough relationship with her to give her a name… or in other words, someone who was able to suppress her power. The only person that Seiji could think of in Sakura Island's history was Seimei Kamijou, his ancestor.
Seiji felt that his inference about Yomi being one of Seimei Kamijou's Spirit-branded Retainers in the past was highly likely to be correct.
However, she always answered ambiguously about her identity.
This might be because she wanted to intentionally act mysterious to make people wonder about her. It also might be because… well, no idea, actually.
"If at all possible, I'd like to know as well. But, she keeps saying she wants to maintain a sense of mystery about her." Seiji extended his palms. "So, that's just how it is."
Natsuya nodded in understanding.
"Demons and spirits have all sorts of personalities, just like humans. Meeting such a carefree one like her isn't considered strange… But with how powerful she is, the fact that she's always sleeping might actually be her storing energy to use her power. What do you think?"
"I've thought about that possibility as well, and I've also asked her why she sleeps so much. But, her answer was 'because she wants to sleep.'" Seiji sighed.
"Let's change the topic. Tell me more about Shinobu Miaki."
"Shinobu-chan's soul is currently within my body, and she's currently in a greatly weakened state. She's absorbing my Mana to slowly rest and recover… can you detect her?"
Natsuya cast Astral Vision and carefully observed Seiji for quite a while.
"I can see just a few traces. She's barely noticeable, and I wouldn't have been able to detect her if I wasn't especially looking for her."
"That's probably because she's too weak right now."
"Yes, she's incredibly weak. The power level of her existence compared to your bonded spirit is like the difference between an ant and an elephant."
"…You can even notice the difference to such a degree?" Seiji raised his eyebrows in surprise.
"I'm confident in my own judgement."
Natsuya ended her Astral Vision.
"I understand why you want her now. Simply speaking, just like how you took in Shika Kagura as your first girl, now you want to take in a female demon as well." Natsuya had a rather subtle expression.
Seiji was rendered speechless.
He felt like he was unable to counter her statement.
"Pretty much… but I still need to correct something you said. I didn't take Shikchan in. She became my adopted younger sister."
Natsuya stared at his face.
"You're just such a person, aren't you, Seiji."
'A harem story protagonist…' She was now feeling the full extent of just how true this statement describing him was. It gave her complex feelings inside.
Seiji was once again rendered speechless.
He felt like he had heard such things before multiple times.
Both of them fell silent for a moment.
"I shall make obtaining that… Shinobu Miaki's body as one of the conditions of the duel." Natsuya finally retracted her gaze. "The prerequisite, obviously, is that we have to win the duel."
"Of course. We have to win the duel." Seiji nodded. "We're definitely going to win."
Later that night, Seiji took a taxi to a large hotel which was close by to Thunderbolt Literature.
The Eighteenth Annual Newcomer Authors' Award Ceremony was being held at this hotel's banquet room.
Since he was told beforehand that there were no particular formal clothing requirements, he wore his typical casual attire for cold weather, a jacket and long pants.
When he walked into the hotel, a tour group just happened to be undergoing the process for checking in. The female members of the tour group immediately noticed such a handsome young man like him passing by.
Seiji noticed their attention and smiled at them.
This immediately caused a commotion as the women all had sparkles in their eyes as they raised their cell phones in unison to take pictures of Seiji.
Seiji had already gotten used to such behavior from others whenever he went out in public, so he ignored them and walked directly to the hotel's elevator.
Several other people who were waiting for the elevator as well noticed the commotion in the hotel's main hall. They turned around to see an overly handsome smiling young man walking over. They all had the first impression that he must have been some idol or movie star and reflexively tried to recall who he was. However, nobody recognized him.
Seiji waited for the elevator together with these people. He then got on the elevator that arrived and pressed the button for the banquet hall floor.
Nobody pressed any other elevator buttons after him.
The others all looked at Seiji.
Seiji looked at them as well.
"I'm here for the Thunderbolt Literature Newcomer Authors' Award Ceremony. Are all of you here for that as well?" he asked them politely.
The others exchanged awkward glances.
"Yeah, I'm here for that." A young man wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase who seemed like a normal office worker was the first to reply.
"Same for me." A middle-aged man who seemed roughly thirty years old was the next to reply. He had messy curly brown hair, incredibly thick eyeglasses, and was wearing a padded jacket with sweatpants.
"I'm one of the award winners…" a young man who seemed like a college student spoke up. He was wearing a windbreaker and long pants, was rather thin, had short silver hair, and was wearing silver-rimmed eyeglasses. "The Newcomers' Award Ceremony typically has the award winners arrive half an hour first before everyone else. So, all of us here that have arrived at this time just like me, I'd think that you all won awards as well, right?"