Not in an unexpected manner, we were the center of attention. Well, not that I could blame the onlookers, after all, there were two stunning girls sitting side-by-side on a bench within a highly populated mall.
Under normal circumstances, I’d just have basked in the glory of being the center of attentions without needing to do anything, but not today.
I once fought a legion thousands strong, I also ran for twenty days straight non-stop while being chased by a dragon. I once made a bet with Sophie and spent a full month without sleeping on my bed. Yet none of those times did I ever get as tired as I am right now.
“I… Can feel my soul… Leaving me…” I said tiredly while leaning to the side.
“Too many clothes… Too little time…” Mya agreed while leaning towards me.
“Hmm, I wonder if this is enough… Maybe we should go somewhere else…” Mother said in wonder, quickly receiving a panicked reaction from Mya and I.
““NO!”” We shouted together in panic.
“W-Wont your credit-card bust if you buy anymore?” I asked.
“I-I couldn’t possibly accept anymore!” Mya added in despair.
“Hmm… That’s true.” Mother nodded while staring at the two bags of clothes laying besides the bench we were in.
What? Only two bags of clothes you say? That’s not a lot, you say? Need I not remind you that I have access to inventory magic. Something mother knew very well when deciding how much she’d buy. This basically means that these two bags were only what she had bought as a present to Maya, who’d come to us while we were in the middle of shopping.
What I have in my inventory is terrifyingly enough to even fill my wardrobe from scratch.
“Where did you even get this much money?” I asked worried. “This is just like when you bought clothes for Clarie…”
“Well, I’ve always keep some money aside for emergencies like these.” Mother said while looking away. “That, and I know some tricks to getting the clothes cheaper, so it’s not as bad as you might think.”
“If you say so…” I do recall mother talking about having a lot of contacts. What did she work as again?
“Wuuuh… And here I was supposed to save you…” Mya said in a sad tone.
“Yeah… Appearing in front of mom while she’s in a shopping spree isn’t a good idea.” I said while laughing drily. And Clarie, you might think I hadn’t noticed, but I felt your presence close by for a moment before your hasty retreat. Do know I won’t forget this anytime soon.
“Which brings me to the question, who are you again?” Mom asked while looking at Mya curious.
“H-Huhh…” Mya became shocked at her sudden question.
“Mom, meet Mya. She was the one who tamed me before I became a demon lord and was the first hero of that other world.” I said cheerfully while pulling the girl closer to me and presenting her to mother proudly.
“Aaah… I see.” Mother nodded before smiling kindly. “Thank you for taking care of my son… or rather my daughter over there.”
“Wuuuh…” Mya blushed heavily while squirming in my arms, probably wanting to hide herself in embarrassment. She’s not very used at receiving praises and would often avoid prize ceremonies for her deeds because of that. That said, in the eyes of the civilians, she looked more like a selfless person and that made her even more famous.
“And Mom, don’t you know it’s bad manners to drag a girl you don’t even know the name into a shopping spree?” I said in my best scolding tone. “She might get traumatized, you know?”
“I’m… Sorry… But the two of you were so cute together! How could I NOT dress her up?”
“I… I can’t say anything against that.” I tried to protest against her, but was unable to. I mean, dressing others up is so much fun! Even more if they don’t want you to do it I guess at least in this point, I’m similar to mother.
“I-Inari!” Mya said in shock.
“Sorry, but… Not dressing you up is kinda…” I mean, she just looks like someone who’d look so good in so many different things. A kimono or Yukata… Oh, oh! Maid clothes! I one hundred percent have to… Miko! Yes! Very yes!
“Darling, you are drooling.” I heard mother say, snapping me back to reality.
“Sorry.” I said while wiping the drool from my mouth and shaking my head to focus on what’s important. “I’ll leave it to some other day.” We are still exhausted from mother’s spree.
“We are still doing it?” She asked me surprised.
“Still, how did you find us? I mean, it sure looked like you knew where we were.” Mother asked curious. “And I’m pretty sure Ina said that she still didn’t have a cellphone number yet, so she shouldn’t have called you.”
“…Ina sent out a pulse of magic, so I came to check on her, but…” She mulled.
“I see. No wonder I never noticed then.”
“Yeah, annoyingly, some other people also noticed.” I said between my breath. “Anyway, aren’t you a bit too lonely?” I scolded Mya before they caught onto what my words might mean. “You probably called to me right after finishing work, wasn’t it?”
She just looked away guilty.
Aah, no good. Any more cuteness and I might get a nosebleed.
I used my fingers to close up my nose before any of my blood could start dripping up, I turned back to mother who was now reading something in her cellphone, her expression contorting into one of annoyance.
“Haah, looks like we can’t go on after all.” She sighed annoyed. “A client just sent me a message and need me to go see him.” She looked at the two of us then turning back towards one of the stores. “And we still had so many stores to go thro-”
“You shouldn’t skip on your job.” “I’ll be at Mya’s tonight. Tell father I love him. Bye!” The two of us said before she could change her mind, by then we had already grabbed the two bags of clothes left outside of my inventory and dashed out of there. Well, we were still at a humanable speed, but fast enough so that mother would have no chance of catching up to us.
Yeah, just because I’m an nigh almighty demon lord, it doesn’t mean there aren’t things I’m not afraid of, and if possible, I’d rather try and not get into another spree with mother. Once we had reached the exit, the two of us stopped and looked back to see whether mother was following us before sighing in relief.
“…He… Heheheh.” Mya suddenly started to giggle besides me.
For a moment I couldn’t quite point out the reason behind that, but after a moment of thought, I suddenly understood and couldn’t help but laugh with her as I recalled her time back in the other world, as we escaped from a specially annoying teacher at her academy much like what had just happened right now.
The two of us finally calmed down from our laughs then started wandering off and away from the mall. Somewhere along the way, she stored the bags of clothes in her own inventory.
“So… Are you really coming to my house?” She asked me shyly.
“Hmm.” I nodded back. “I mean, you promised to introduce me to your friends in this world. I need to know with whom my master has been hanging around.” I made a serious expression.
“…S-So you still r-remember that…” She said awkwardly while looking away. I couldn’t help but smile impishly. “I… Uhh… I guess I could let you meet them…” She said while looking away, her guilty expression sparking my foxy side to tease her a bit more.
“Hmm, I see… I can’t wait for that.” I said with a smirk, holding back my desire to pounce on the opportunity immediately. “Anyway, want to take the high road?” I asked her while pointing upwards. She widened her eyes for a moment before nodding.
“Mom, Dad. I’m home.” Mya called out as we entered the medium-sized modern looking house.
“Welcome dear.” A man’s voice echoed from inside. “Your mother is about to leave to the groceries, is there anything you want?”
“Ah, no, not really. Anyway, I’ll be in my room.” She said while motioning for me to follow her, her expression looking like one of someone in a hurry. “Let’s go to…” She started saying to me, but I couldn’t resist smiling at her and walking in.
“Sorry to intrude.” I said loudly, an odd and awkward silence falling on the house at the tone of my voice. Even without looking back, I could imagine Mya’s expression of despair as she understood what I was about to do. “I’m Mya’s friend, hope I’m not being a bother appearing here without warning.”
Now, to count. One… Two… Three…
“Mya’s friend…?” “My daughter’s?” “Who are you and what did you do with big sis?” Three people suddenly appeared from the inner sides of the house, staring at the two of us in complete shock and confusion.
The two older ones were clearly her parents, with the mother clearly showing from where Mya took her good looks from. Her father was a tall, but homely looking man wearing glasses and a checkered shirt, something that didn’t really match Mya’s cold looks. Lastly, there was a boy around ten years old with the same dark black hair and sharp eyes as hers stared at us suspiciously.
“I may be inexperienced, but I promise that I’ll do my best to be a good companion to your daughter.” I said while kneeling on the wooden floor and doing my best impression of a young bride from a certain eastern country.
“I-I-INA!” Mya shouted embarrassed.
“…We thank you for all the support you’ve been giving to our daughter, and happily welcome you to the family.” The mother soon followed.
“Such a lovely lady!” Her father started saying while tears escaped his eyes. “Feel free to call me father.” He said while emotionally slapping my back.
“…So, does this means I get another big sister?” The young boy asked confused.
“Gary!” Oh, so his name’s gary.
“I will do my best to live up to your expectations.” I said politely.
“E-Enough! L-let’s go already.” Mya said while grabbing my hand and trying to drag me away. “We’ll be in my room!” She said to her parents.
“Will she stay for dinner?” Her mother asked us as we reached the stairway. “Also, is there something she doesn’t like? Anything she’d rather have?”
“Yeah, wouldn’t be good to make Mya’s first friend to dislike visiting us.” Her father said.
“Will big sis be alright?” The boy asked. “Does she know how to talk with friends?”
“Your family’s fun.” I said amused as she unceremoniously threw me through a door and into a large fluffy bed.
“W-W-Why did you do that?” She asked me embarrassed while locking the door behind her.
“Ara? We are already on that base?” I asked surprised before holding my cheeks embarrassed. “I-I mean… I’m not sure if I’m ready, but if… if you want it…” I stole a peek at her and tried my best to hold back my laughter at her deep red expression that was both a mix of embarrassment and anger. “Okay, okay. I’ll stop.” I said before she started getting any redder. “It’s just that, knowing how you are, I thought that your parents would be glad to know that you have an actual friend.” And that certainly looked to be the case.
“That’s… Huuh…” She became speechless before pouting and plopping on the bed besides me. “Still… You didn’t…” She said angrily.
“Well, yeah. I didn’t need to do it like that, but then, it wouldn’t be me if I did it normally.” I said while letting my head fall upon her lap and popping out my ears and tails. “You know what to do.” I said while twitching my ears.
For a moment she stayed frozen before finally resting her hand on my hair and combing it gently.
A solemn atmosphere quickly fell upon the two of us as she kept on gently combing my hair. It’d probably be strange for someone from outside to see this weird atmosphere, but to me, who’s spent more than a thousand years away from the first real support I had in that world, and for her who had probably expected to never meet me again, this was quite an emotional moment.
Of course, this meant that I couldn’t let it last for too long.
“So… What’s this one’s name?” I asked while pulling the first of the twenty two stuffed dolls that were lined up really neatly on the bed. A small black teddy bear that was using a top-hat and monocle.
“Huh?” She said surprised for a moment. “Oh, that’s Sir Wellington.” She said in a mix of pride and embarrassment.
“What’s his story?” I asked curious.
“He’s… He’s the lord of a small island near the coast of italy.”
“Oooh. So he’s from a mafia?”
“No. He’s an ex cop, actually.” She said, getting a bit more excited.
“Hmm. What about this one?” I asked while picking a largeish yellow cat with a pirate hat.
“That’s Claus. He’s a pirate who sailed the indian seas in search for the chinese treasure fleet.”
“Paula. She’s an astronaut who fights aliens on the moon. She can be a bit hyper-active at times though.”
“He’s unknown. An extremely skilled assassin whose true name and face are unknown.”
“He looks like an ant to me.”
“But his victims never find out. He’s very good at giving me exercise tips.”
“Heeh.” I looked at the cloaked ant in my hands. He does kinda reminds me of Julian, the ranger bee she had made in the other world. “Then… This one?”
For the following moments we just spent with her introducing me to the stuffed animals one after another. Soon she was getting really excited and telling me their entire backstories every time I picked one. Once we ran out of animals from the bed, I lazily used magic to bring the other ones spread around the bedroom to me.
“What about this one?” I asked while holding the last one in my hand.
“That one is Inari! She’s a really powerful demon lord who was once tamed by a hero, but lost her friend to an accident and had to survive on the world on her…” She started saying excitedly, only to freeze as she noticed her words.
I couldn’t help but smile pleased while holding the small fox doll wearing a simple kimono in my hands. What can I say, I think I just found my favorite today!
“Uhh… Tha-that’s…. Uhmmm…” Aaah, her eyes are spinning! Heheh. This is fun. Smiling impishly, I turned the doll towards me and smiled amusedly while casting a bit of magic on it. “You see… I….”
“Hmm… I think I’ll get jealous if you get yourself a new fox to be petting.” I said while mulling. “Though she does have a nice name. Quite like it to be honest.” I added before throwing the doll into the air.
“Ah!” Mya tried jumping up to grab the doll, but since I was still lazily laying on her lap, she couldn’t catch it in time.
Then, while she was still holding her hand up in the air, the piece of my consciousness I transplanted into the doll made a flip in the air and neatly landed into her head like a pro athlete.
“Hmm, I’d give it a seven point three.” I told to the doll, who stood shocked for a moment before swinging her hand at me angrily.
“Huh?” Mya made a silly sound while trying to understand what happened. Doll me jumped down from her head and upon my chest where I started petting it, our tails wagging happily at the pleasure. “How…”
“Possession.” I explained quickly. “I’m not very good at it, so it works best with objects that are close to me.” I explained while doll-me tried to yelp in agreement but failed. “…You shouldn’t have sealed the mouth, though, makes it hard to speak.” We frowned.
“…Inari doll… is now also Inari…” Huuh…
“Mya?” I called out to her, only to freeze as I recognized the look on her eyes as she stared at both me and doll me. “…Uh oh…”
“SO CUTEEEE!” She shouted while tightly hugging the both of me. Very tightly.
“Air… Lacking… breathing… Hard… Still worth it…” I wheezed, doll me trying to get away from getting crushed between the two large bodies.
“S-Sorry.” She said after some minutes of me trying to squirm away from the ex-hero’s clutches.
And before anyone asks, transforming into my smaller fox form backfired. Badly. While still transformed, the two of us sat on top of her bed while she kneeled guiltly on the carpet of her room. I still didn’t miss how she’d peek at me occasionally.
“Geez, you should be more wary of your strength, you know?” I said angrily. “And you really need to work on your self restraint, you know?”
“It’s what… the fourth time you almost smother me to death?”
“Yeah, six… Wait, sixth?” I asked confused.
“There was that one time… You were… Sleeping…”
“No wonder I didn’t recall it then.” I said a bit worried. She just lowered her head a bit more. Geez, living with this girl is dangerous for my health. On more ways than others.
“Say, how long does it last?” She asked me in a low voice.
“Hmm?” I looked to the side and my eyes met with doll-me’s eyes. “Well, this is not really my forte, but I should be able to keep it working as long as I’m still within a few hundred meters from it.”
“And… You can see everything she sees?” She asked curious.
“Yeah. it’s kinda like a second body. Though it does feel a bit different since it’s not organic.” I explained. “Well, it’s not like I can cast magic through it nor does it hold even a fraction of my power, and since I can only use it on very specific objects, it’s mostly a party gimmick than anything.” That and any more than two bodies and it starts to get difficult to move around.
“Then, you can’t just leave this one here, can you?” She asked disappointed.
“Yeah, I can’t really do that.” I said awkwardly. “Though, why would you want to keep her if you can just call me over?” I asked teasingly.
“No! Both Inaris are good!” She said with a strange fierceness, causing us to lean back in surprise. “Doll Inari is cute in its own way.” She declared while suddenly grabbing doll me and snuggling up to her.
Ughh… This is complicated. For some reason I’m really jealous of doll me right now. While I scowled at the stuffed fox who was smiling happily in her embrace.
Hah! Take that real me!
“Mou!” I shouted angrily while pouncing at her and forcing her to hold the two me’s in her arms. “Only I can get petting from Mya!” I complained to the doll, who seemed to try to stick her tongue out at me. Oh, you little…
As real me started to try and teach a lesson to doll me, but the little bastard was better than what I gave her credit for. And the fact that she was a bit bigger than fox me meant that she had the longer range.
“Hehe.” Mya giggled amused as the two of me fought ceaselessly around her. “…So, are you staying for dinner?” She suddenly asked.
“Hmm? Probably… if it isn’t a bother.” I said while pouncing the doll, who managed to escape by swerving to the side at the last moment.
“Is that so.” Mya said relieved before asking in an even fainter voice. “Hmm… A-Are you going to spend the night here too?”
“That… Wasn’t the plan.” I said while stopping the chase for a moment. “I was thinking of probably visiting the chef from your restaurant this night.”
“…Huh?” She tilted her head confused.
“Well, you see. I kinda decided to open up my own sushi restaurant.” I explained, doll-me nodding to my side. “But I have no idea how to sushi, nor how to restaurant. So I’d just go and read his mind to get to know that.” I stated my plan cheerfully before taking the chance to pounce at the stuffed me again.
“I see.” Mya nodded before suddenly grabbing the two of us and bringing us to her lap. “Then I better fill my dose of Inarium before you go.”
Ugh… Have to teach doll-me a lesson! Must not… Succumb to petting… But…. It feels so good…
Before I knew it, I and Me had been completely subjugated by the petting, and only managed to free ourselves when her brother came to knock on the door some time later.
(AN: Hooray! Another chapter down! Next is IO, following that i’m split between MMG and an unreleased story.)
(AN2: Kinda planned on Inari start her invasion of the chef’s house this chapter, but ended up filling this chapter with other stuff, so, expect medium scale Inari Shenanigans next chapter? Whenever that comes out?)
(AN3: That’s like, the next level of chasing her own tail.)
(AN4: Just because I feel mean, I probably won’t upload Idol this weekend. I mean, you already got a chapter on a friday, so it’s good, right?*Proceeds to wear Torch and Pitchfork protection Hoodie +3*)