This volume contains two stories. In the first, Natsume finds himself forced to help a former classmate of his, Shibata. Shibata is in love with a girl he thinks might be a yokai, and he wants Natsume to confirm that she isn't. In the second story, Natori is hired to find and free a harvest god so that a pestilence god can't take over and make the crops in the area fail for the next 10 years. If he can't manage that, then he's supposed to exorcise the pestilence god. Meanwhile, yokai have convinced Natsume is pretend to be the harvest god until they can find and free the real one.
The story with Shibata was so-so – very similar to a lot of previous stories in this series, with a tragic love between a human and a yokai. However, I always enjoy getting little glimpses of Natsume's past, so it was nice to hear a bit more about him from someone who knew him before he went to live with the Fujiwaras. Even if that person was basically blackmailing him.
My favorite detail from that story: Natsume getting birthday cake for Mr. Fujiwara. I seriously love the Fujiwaras. They're just perfect.
The second story was, visually, one of my favorites from the anime, and I enjoyed it in the manga as well. The character designs for the harvest and pestilence gods were so pretty. I suppose the story wasn't really anything special, but it was still fun seeing Natori again. Unlike Matoba, Natori is willing to meet Natsume halfway. In this volume he takes a huge risk, trusting that in the end Natsume will arrive at a solution that will work for everybody. A nice quote from Natsume: “Once the fever's gone down, I should go visit Mr. Natori. We still have our philosophical differences, but...but it also felt like we could complement each other because of those differences.”
As always, this is a lovely series, and I look forward to reading more of it. It has such a gentle and peaceful feel to it.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)