This one was kinda quick, more like a filler volume with an introduction to a new plot coming up.
This volume starts with Himari waking up thinking last night’s confession and kiss with Aoi was a dream. Aoi comes into her room like nothing happened, but then gets a little embarrassed for barging in. It wasn’t a dream!
Himari feels a little shy but tells herself to just act normal. Kinda hard to do when Yukari tells her he’s going to train her hard since she’s bride of Momochi house.
Everyone’s in a uproar over the two’s relationship confirming a fear of Himari’s that living together would be awkward if their feelings turned mutual. She decides to worry about that later and prepares to explore Momochi house!
Seeing all her equiment (she looks like she going on a rescue mission), Aoi decides to accompany her in the house. They find different rooms, creatures, even a way to make shaved ice! It’s a cute little outing.
As they relax with their treat, Aoi tells her he could take her to a sunflower field in the spirit realm since it’s her summer break.
It sounds nice but Himari says she wants to explore the house and uncover a way for Aoi to go outside. Without Aoi distracting her, Himari tries to think of where she could start searching that Aoi may have missed. She finds a wardrobe with many kimonos where she finds an ayakashi.
The female ayakashi tells Himari she can’t display all her clothing because the Nue has been sealing rooms and hasn’t been keeping up increasing the number of rooms in the house.
She tells Himari Momochi house is always expanding and that the house is alive. Himari asks if there was a Nue before Aoi which the ayakashi says there wasn’t one for a while before Aoi. Because of that, the bad things stored in the house and the house trying to prevent them from leaving leaves its purifying powers weak. Before all that evil and negativity are released into the human realm, the house “lure in the next Omamori-sama.”
To do that, it will manipulate the bonds between people, paths, and even send out letters. Himari’s pretty sure the will she got was left to her by her parents but I wonder….
The ayakashi abruptly changes the subject back to her kimono collection. She offers Himari a gift and tell her to choose between a large chest and a small one. Thinking a test of greed, Himari chooses the small one.
The ayakashi then tries to suck Himari into the large box anyway, but she rescued by someone. The ayakashi, or “hand of kimono” steals clothes by taking the girl who’s wearing them. The mysterious someone then traps hand of kimono into her own box!
Turns out the mystery guy is the guardian of the gate who tells Himari he came because the light from the winter cherry lantern is upsetting his stomach. Since he tried to devour Himari’s name, she’s not exactly sympathetic.
She asks if he should be leaving his gate and he just pulls it out of his shirt like it no big deal. He explains how he can “create the concept of a gate” and really, the gate he pulled out is just for show.
He also says Momochi house works on the same concept, a “gate” between the human and spirit realms. The guardian reveals that knew several previous Nue who protected the house.
Wanting to know of any clues, Himari asks the guardian if he knows what happened to the previous Nue. The guardian proposes a deal: if Himari grants his “wish” he’ll answer her question. Thinking it’s his upset stomach, Himari offers him a digestive (lol!).
The guardian wants the rest of her name. He wants the karma attached to the Momochi name. Confused, Himari tells him she doesn’t get what he’s saying. Turns out the guardian’s “proposal” is an actual proposal; he wants to marry her to get the Momochi name.
There’s no way Himari will marry him just for that and as she tells him so, Aoi shows up!
He asks the guardian his intentions to which he replies that he’s there to take Himari. Aoi’s pretty shocked that the guardian wants to marry Himari but she’s adamant no such thing will happen.
Before she can tell the guardian to get out, he interrupts by saying if marries Himari and takes her last name he’ll also take Aoi’s place as the Omamori-sama.
Aoi’s dubious but the guardian explains that house was originally protected by the Momochis and once Aoi, someone who doesn’t bear the name, was chosen the principle began to collapse. He tries to persuade Aoi but Aoi refuses to give up his position as Nue or let him have Himari.
Not too surprised, the guardian suddenly traps Himari in a sphere ayakashi called “iro oni dama” or “color demon sphere” and challenges Aoi to a game of color tag (iro oni also means “color tag” according to the translation notes).
Since the ayakashi is keeping Himari because it likes her color, the two of them have to find a color the ayakashi wants even more before it completely absorbs Himari.
The begins as the two set off to find the right color. Touching the wrong color releases evil entities and Aoi gets unlucky on his first try. The guardian closed the door so the shikigami can’t come help and Aoi can’t transform into the Nue. The guardian easily dispatches some entities while taunting Aoi. But Aoi manages to hold his own without turning in the Nue as the game continues.
Eventually, the guardian gets tired of the tedium and summons all the kimonos from the wardrobe to the “iro oni dama.” Thankfully, it doesn’t work and Aoi still has a chance. He starts to attack the guardian of the gate and manages to snag him.
He figures out the guardian is a shuten douji, a handsome boy who was turned into a demon for breaking countless women’s hearts. He was cleansed of evil later on and became an ayakashi.
Aoi shoves him at the ayakashi and it accepts, liking “iro otoko” or “amorous men” instead (translation note states that the “iro” for color is changed to “iro” or “amorous”). The gurdian is effectively trapped and Himari released.
Aoi won the game but the guardian breaks out along with the other ayakashi that were absorbed by the sphere. Himari demands he let them go since Aoi won but also wants to know about the former Nue real quick. Aoi gently nudges her aside and he and the guardian battle it out.
They seem to be enjoying themselves until the guardian appears by Himari and gives her a kiss on the cheek. Aoi is not amused. He transforms into the Nue and gets rid of the ayakashi with one move.
Despite the trouble he’s caused, Himari begs Nue not to seal the guardian since he did save her from hand of kimono and has answers to her questions. The Nue says her defense of the guardian only makes him want to “eliminate him” but the guardian is not so easily caught.
Nue realizes the guardian’s just baiting him. He manages to catch the guardian and reluctantly makes him his shikigami. Since he lost the game of color tag the guardian cannot turn down the contract and accepts.
The Nue jams his fingers in the guardian’s mouth and threatens to rip out his tongue and work him to death (pretty brutal). So the Nue binds Hakka, the shuten douji to him as a shikigami, complete with a complimentary tattoo.
Hakka says he won’t give up and now that he’s a shikigami, he can target the Nue up close. Himari tries to use this opportunity to get answers about the previous Nue when Aoi uses his command over him to push him back. He also commands Hakka not to say unneeded things and sends him up into the ceiling.
Himari notices Aoi wearing the Nue’s clothes and asks him why, since he’s usually naked after transforming back. Aoi uses his power to changes back to his usual clothes. Himari thinks about how less distinct Aoi and the Nue are becoming. She’s a little bummed that a chance was missed her Aoi to be free even though she absolutely did NOT want to marry the guardian.
Jealous, Aoi asks if they got married she wouldn’t at other men in that way and kisses her where Hakka did. Hakka’s still there, flustering Himari and causing Aoi to send him a level up from the ceiling (is he putting him on the roof? How many upper levels are there??).
Aoi says that he is the Omamori-sama of Momochi house and he won’t let anyone take his place. Even if Himari falls in love with someone else.
Next page shows a creepy part of the house and Hakka somewhere in the ceiling wondering how long the current Nue will hold up.
Something starts saying “unnecessary” over and over again. As a bound door opens up and a creature with long black hair comes out, Hakka simply says “look what happened. It seems it’s coming.” The creature, with cat-like ears, breaks the binding rope and says that “a Nue impostor is unnecessary.”
Oooh, creepy!! I love how this manga can be funny, cute, and creepy. I love the mix! There’s a bonus story about Ise, which leads up to how he became a shikigami.
Looks like I can pre-order volume 11. The summary on VIZ website says:
Himari hasn’t been feeling well since she started having dark, vivid dreams. Then, from the depths of the house, another nue appears who claims Aoi is an impostor.
OMG! I need it! I need it!! Ugh, March 6, less than a month away. 😦 Oh well. I think the impostor thing is that Aoi’s not a Momochi but I mean, come on, the house was desperate and Aoi’s pretty powerful. Who’s this other Nue I wonder and why were they sealed away? Guess I’ll find out soon enough!