Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 4-13: Feelings
“Whoa, what is this…?!”
Uta reflexively shouted.
The large, lukewarm clump beat rhythmically, pulsing in his hand.
He was about to reflexively throw it away when he recalled a memory.
(Huh? This is…?)
—Return my heart.
(This is the thing Housou-san had buried inside me before…!)
It was a bit confusing, but it appeared that the words “heart,” “soul,” and “spirit” meant the same thing to the god.
Gods experienced neither life nor death, so to them, the heart was nothing more than a symbolic organ that symbolized both the actual heart and the soul of the being.
“Housou-san, you can’t easily give away something so important!”
Uta was about to throw the heart before, but he instead put it inside his coat pocket.
Now that he had found what he was looking for, he needed to leave this place as soon as possible because right now, Uta was like a cat burglar sneaking into someone else’s house.
He turned on his heel and attempted to slip through the gap in the boulder he used to enter.
But, at this moment, the pale hand of a woman was sliding inside through that gap.
A silent scream escaped his mouth.
“Who is trying to steal from me?!”
Uta began to tremble.
Izanami, the owner of the shrine, had returned.
Moreover, she was coming through the entrance, blocking off his escape.
(Wait a moment! Wasn’t this story supposed to be a modern fantasy?!!!)
This resembled the opening scene to a horror story, so much so that Uta fell to the floor.
“I-I-I-I-I’m sorry! But, can you let me take this, Housou-san’s soul, back with me?!”
The pale hand scratched the inner side of the boulder with her nails.
The two appeared to be having a conversation, but there didn’t seem to be any room for negotiation.
“Thief! You will leave your soul here too!”
“I can’t do that!”
Housou-san should have been on lookout, so what was he doing?!
“If you’re looking for him, he got drunk on some alcohol and fell asleep.”
It was at this moment, Uta learned for the first time that you can never rely on a drunkard.
At times like this, he had to rely on…
“Haraedo?! Haraedo, where are you?! Save me!”
He instinctively raised his voice, but while this would have worked back home with the household shrine inside, he wasn’t sure if his voice could reach the god from all the way down in the realm of the dead.
While all this was happening, the upper half of the long-haired woman entered through the gap.
“I had thought you were just loud and annoying, but you’re a living human, aren’t you?!”
She was quickly at Uta’s throat the next moment.
He expected that he would lose his life here.
The boulder behind the goddess made a loud sound as it moved.
“Uta! Hurry! This way!”
The one who moved the boulder and entered was one who shouldn’t be here — Haraedo-no-kami.
When Izanami reached her hand out to Uta, Haraedo grabbed her lower half and pulled her away.
She bared her fangs in response.
“What god are you?!”
“I’m a god of exorcism. A worthless being born when your husband purified himself.”
Haraedo gave a quick shrug and casually opened his hands.
“But even I have my pride as a guardian deity! I have to protect my precious devotee!”
The god fixed his hold on Uta’s wrist.
“That’s why we gotta go, Uta…!”
Dragged by the hand by Haraedo, Uta was pulled out of the cave.
He couldn’t spot Housou-no-kami anywhere.
Izanami chased after them with disheveled hair.
“Return the soul you stole!”
“But I have to return it!”
Uta turned around to face her.
“Ignore her. Hurry up! Move those legs!”
Haraedo rushed him.
After that, Uta backtracked with Haraedo-no-kami through the path he had taken with Housou-no-kami.
“Listen, Uta, Izanami cannot leave the realm of the dead! Once we escape here, we can get away from her!”
Uta was still concerned about Housou-no-kami, but his escape from here took precedence.
The god’s heart inside his pocket pulsated, making its presence known.
(If I have this with me, I’m sure I’ll meet Housou-san again, right…?)
Uta prayed and continued to run.
Afterward, the two saw a light and rejoiced when they had reached aboveground.
“Huff, huff, huff…!”
Their breathing was labored, their lungs on fire.
Uta was unsteady on his feet and collapsed on the ground, but Haraedo caught Uta in his arms.
“Uta…! We should be safe here…”
When Uta’s breathing calmed down, his chest was filled with the fresh scent of the forest.
They were surrounded by mountains.
“Haraedo… I…made it back…”
“Yeah… That’s great…”
“Thank you for coming to save me…”
Inside those warm arms, he cried tears of relief.
“Of course I’ll come save you.”
“No matter with whom you cheat, you’re my precious devotee.”
Uta looked up at the god from inside his arms.
It appeared that Haraedo was aware that there was something between him and Housou-no-kami.
While he hesitated on how to respond, his chin was grabbed and a kiss was forcibly planted on him.
“I love you. All of you. More than anyone else…”
Uta’s chest felt warm and fuzzy.
There was also naturally a sense of guilt, but he also wanted to say these words.
“I also like you, Haraedo.”
He extended his back and returned the kiss.
After that, he said again to reaffirm.
“I like you, Haraedo… No, I also love you.”
They locked eyes and smiled. His chest felt so light.
It was wonderful to feel this way toward someone.
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