It starts with a wish.
At the start of the chapter Himari thinks about what it would be like if Aoi wasn’t the Nue and bound to the house. They would go to school together and happily enjoy life outside of Momochi house.
Even as she wishes this there is a little niggling whisper that asks if it can really happen.
Back to the present Mr. Nanamori tells Himari that Aoi is dead. He’s talking but the reader doesn’t get to see his words. She wonders if wishful thinking can really overcome the obstacle she’s facing concerning Aoi and his fading humanity.
Himari is suddenly separated from Mr. Nanamori and drawn to a place within the spiritual where she’s reunited with Ise. Akane appears in demon mode and tries to attack Himari but Ise fends her off. Ise can take care of her easily but Himari stops him.
Demon-Akane is agitated, saying “disappear” over and over. She says she sent her the note so Himari wouldn’t tell and that Aoi was supposed to be a secret. Demon-Akane tells Himari to stop saying “Aoi” but before she attacks a voice yells out, “don’t eat her!”
It’s Akane in human form! The Demon Akane drifts over to where the human Akane is and they are side by side. They’re twins!
The scene flashes back to Mr. Nanamori telling Himari how Akane was supposed to have a twin but it disappeared during the pregnancy. They were going to name the other twin “Aoi” (Akane means red and Aoi means blue if those were the characters the parents were going to use).
The ayakashi “Aoi” tells Akane she has to devour Himari even though Akane is assured by Himari’s words that everything will be fine. “Aoi” is unconvinced and reveals that Ise was the beautiful young man that came to the Nanamori house to exterminate the ayakashi living there.
Ise confirms this but says he was ordered by Aoi not to touch his “sister.” Turns out “Aoi” was a weak ayakashi drawn to Aoi but unable to do anything to him because of his strong powers. She hid in Aoi’s stepmom’s womb out of fear, attached herself to his baby sister and now they’re fused together, essentially Akane’s shadow.
Now that he knows the truth, Ise is says he has to get rid of “Aoi” or else she might try to devour someone else. Himari is not too keen on the idea and tries to suggest taking “Aoi” to Momochi house like they did with the fox spirits but is shot down since “Aoi” is too weak and will disappear if separated.
Before Ise can do anything, Akane steps in front of “Aoi” saying she won’t let him hurt “Aoi.” Akane remembers how she first met “Aoi” and how even though her parents would get sad about the missing “someone” it turns out they’d been together the whole time.
She calls “Aoi” her sister and that she cares about her. If she’s bad then Akane will stop her every time so don’t take her away!
When Himari asks Akane if she’s afraid of ayakashi, Akane replies why would she be afraid because “Aoi” is her family.
“Aoi” is moved by Akane’s love for her and even though she knows that Aoi should be the one who’s a part of the family, she’s sorry and wants to be with Akane.
Himari tells them that she and Ise will stop “Aoi” if she gets out of hand again and how she wants to believe humans and ayakashi can live together. Her wish is that they can become a family and is sure Aoi feels the same way.
Back at Momochi house, the Nue and Kasha watch it all, with Kasha bored at the conclusion. Kasha says he wants to see the Nue lose control and before he can stop him, Kasha transports himself to the realm Himari and the others are at.
The Nue rushes to other realm where Kasha starts taunting Himari about how useless she is as Aoi still hasn’t transformed back.
Himari remains undaunted and refuses to be bothered by Kasha’s words. He tells her that evil spirits love corruption, ogres suffering, and what demons love is chaos. The Nue is about to threaten Kasha not to lay a hand on Himari when Kasha interrupts him, saying he remembers the terms of their bet and goes after Akane!
“Aoi” puts herself in front of Akane and Kasha kills her. Before disappearing, she tells Akane she’ll always be with her.
Stupid Kasha, ruining everything!! He’s interesting but I still don’t like that guy! It’s so sad, but kinda sweet; before “Aoi” disappears she thinks about how ayakashi exist simply to do as they please- like how she scared Aoi away, how she appeared before Akane and spent time with her, starts developing a feeling she can’t name. Because she’s an ayakashi and because she wants to be with Akane, she’ll do as she pleases and stay with her sister.
Nue is pissed. He starts attacking Kasha much to the creeper’s enjoyment. Kasha taunts the Nue for his weak human bonds and accuses him of pretending to be human. Himari refutes this, saying no matter what Aoi is human and the inhabitants of Momochi house will be his ties.
Done playing, Nue uses his powers to bury Kasha under rubble but the demon picks himself and then disappears, satisfied he managed to rile the Nue up.
Akane comes up to the Nue and asks who he is and where’s “Aoi?” What happens next is like when you give your scared little sister a spray bottle and tell them it’s monster repellent when really it’s just water.
Nue conjures a ball of light that Akane assumes is “Aoi” and tells her he’s taking it back to the ayakashi world with him. Akane is sad she won’t see her sister anymore but Nue reassures her that even though they’re apart their hearts are connected.
Suddenly, Mr. Nanamori comes crashing into the spirit realm. He’s relieved Akane is okay and recognizes Ise. While he’s grateful their lives were saved he begins to plead with Ise not to take Akane away like her sister. Ise tells him he doesn’t need anything from him.
Himari tries to get Nue to go to his dad but Nue refuses.
Akane tells her dad that she knew about her twin sister and Mr. Nanamori tells her they planned to name her Aoi. He wonders why the name lingers in his head when he sees the sunset, a vague reminder his son isn’t completely forgotten.
Ise recalls a young Aoi asking him to run an errand to his house and make sure his family isn’t worried about him. Ise pretty much guessed what the house’s powers did and when he saw Aoi’s parents forgot about their son he told them that he took something from them, that something being their son.
It looks like Aoi has found his way back after forgetting what it is to be human. Himari looks over and sees him transforming back to human. She immediately tries to get to see his dad one more time, even if it’s just a glimpse.
Aoi simply shakes his head and hold Himari close, telling her it’s alright. He doesn’t have to see his dad to accept his past. Though Himari doesn’t seem happy, she accepts his decision as Akane tells her dad even though “Aoi” is gone they’ll always be together because they’re family.
Now that Aoi has found his way home (in a sense) things are returning to normal. Himari is walking home from school with her friends, telling them that things are resolved when they ask about her search for her “friend’s” house. They tell her about a festival tonight and invite her along. She tells them before she goes, she has some things to do first.
Those “things” being preparing a surprise party for Aoi.
Even though he didn’t really go anywhere, he was stuck in that dark room as the Nue so Himari thought it’d be nice to let him have some fun. While Aoi’s taking a “nap” (courtesy of a blow to the head), Himari and the others get to work on setting everything up.
Setting up some sunflowers for decoration, Himari says she’s always wanted to be cheery like one and wonders if her name comes from the Japanese word for sunflowers, himawari (向日葵). While in the store-room with Yukari, she remembers the guardian of the gate told her the “Hi” in her name meant light (光)
Yukari is looking for something to surprise Aoi with, finding some interesting things. He mentions Aoi told him how Himari chose Aoi’s drawer in the Drawers of Thought knowing she could never open hers and find out about her parents. Himari expresses no regret and Yukari starts to tell her about how Aoi found a diary written by her mother.
A few years after Aoi became trapped in Momochi house, he’s spending every waking moment trying to banish all the evil spirits running rampant in the house. He’s getting really burned out, to the point where tells Yukari he wishes he were an ayakashi. It’s life he doesn’t want to live anymore.
One day, Aoi comes across a diary that looked severely damaged. It belonged to Himari’s mother. She didn’t have enough power to become the Omamori-sama but lived in the house. She married a man, had a daughter, and lived a quiet happy life.
Halfway through the diary, black stains spread larger and larger over the pages. Aoi makes out that Himari’s mother was afraid of something just before he gets to pages that had rotted away. Yukari rescues him just as something bad bursts out of the pages. Then the spirits of Himari’s parents come out.
What little power they had left, they used it to put a message in the diary. Yukari explains that Momochi descendants who aren’t powerful enough to become the Nue’s vessel eventually fall prey to the impurities of the house. This is what happened to Himari’s parents.
Himari’s mother says that the Momochi name was too much of burden but despite her short life, she was happy. She asks that whoever is getting this message, whether her daughter or someone else, they hope their daughter will come and bring stability to the house and that they love her.
The spark that had left Aoi’s eyes comes back as he resolves to live on so when the couple’s child comes back, she can live safely.
It explains why, when Himari fell ill in volume 1 after an ayakashi attacked her, a distraught Aoi said there was no reason to keep living if anything happened to her.
Himari is happy and comforted by Yukari and Aoi’s words. She’s happy that her mother’s last words, the feelings in them, became a source of hope for Aoi and connected to Himari. She starts crying a little, thinking how Aoi should have told her sooner, and thinks about how much she loves him. Yukari hugs her and thanks her for bringing Aoi back.
Himari finally goes to wake up Aoi and everyone surprises him with the party. There’s dancing, an attempt to sing the Momochi rejection song (see volume 6), an oshiruko (red-bean soup with bits of rice cake in it) fountain, and then we get to Himari’s surprise.
She found fireworks in the store-room! But when she tries to light them, nothing. Since they’re ayakashi fireworks, Aoi turns into the Nue and uses fox fire to light them. And away they go!
Dragons of light appear when the fireworks go off and Aoi says they were yokai fireworks rather than regular fireworks. He’s in the process of thanking Himari for the party when she interrupts him. She’s amazed the Momochi residents are riding the light dragons but Aoi isn’t so surprised since they’re ayakashi fireworks.
Himari grabs his hand and leads him to the biggest firework. It’s already been lit and before it goes off, Himari grabs Aoi and they hop on.
On the light dragon, the two head out where Himari shows him the lights of the town Aoi is protecting and thanks him. Down below, Hayato hears the fireworks, but an old man tells him it’s probably thunder. He also tells him that long ago, the sound was attributed to ayakashi playing with fireworks.
Yukari and Ise watch Himari and Aoi above and relax, since it seems Aoi is still withing Momochi house’s boundaries. Yukari says that one day Himari may be the one to lead Aoi back to the human realm. He notes that the kanji for himawari can be read as aoi (this one: 葵) or “mallow that faces the sun” (向= toward, 日= sun, and 葵= mallow).
Aoi suddenly tells Himari the meaning of her name. “A light of great distance” (I don’t the kanji for that, sorry). Her parents wrote that they hope her light can extend great distances. Aoi finally told her about her parents and Himari thinks that her parents feelings became a bond that reached her.
Aoi tells her he’s been protecting the light Himari’s name is based on and that she in turn has been protecting him. He kisses her forehead and thanks her. Himari protests that she hasn’t done anything and I would disagree. She kept him human. To be specific, she kept Aoi from sinking into darkness, from not caring about anything, from becoming an ayakashi that can’t tell the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong.
Be moment of truth here. Aoi finally admits that he loves Himari!! With a kiss and everything!!
I feel like this was a real long one. I’m glad everything worked out okay and Aoi finally admits he loves Himari!! Yaay, no holding back! So, what’s gonna happen with these two love-birds? Find out in volume 10!