Hiyori Higashina (東那 ひより, Higashina Hiyori) is an elite exorcist of the Tsuzura Temple, as well as a former classmate and companion of Kanaka Kagami during her time on the academy of exorcists. She formed a temporary contract with the tsugumomo katana Naotsugu back when she was an apprentice, and the two have still remained as partners since then.
Hiyori is a young adult woman with a short curly hair. Her outfit consists of the standard uniform of exorcists consisting of black trousers with a white shitagi, and she carries her tsugumomo katana with her at all times.
An exorcist as confident as experience, Hiyori is a high-class exorcist that displays an air of assurance and maturity. During the time when Kanaka had just arrived to the Tsuzura Temple, Hiyori had an intense dislike for her due to her status as an outsider and being frequently supported by the head priest Ouna Oriobana. Back then, she was both jealous and arrogant, regularly bullying her along with her friends. After the conflict with the Kazenbou and Kanaka's substantial change in personality following the event, Hiyori came to respect and befriend Kanaka, to the point that she still reminisces about her even to this day. She was one of the targets of Kanaka's "skinship", claiming that she can't even tell how many times she has her way with her. While she has changed and matured a lot over the years from her previously childish attitude, Hiyori's personality has always been fierce and that of a natural leader with high initiative.
She is part of the Pro-Tsukumogami faction of the Tsuzura Temple that views Tsugumomo as partners, meaning that she believes that exorcists and tsukumogami should be treated as equals. While her relationship with her own partner has not been shown, the fact that she supports the idea of tsugumomo being treated with respect and that she's had him for a long time now suggest that the two are close and with a great respect for the other. She is seemingly good friends with Suzuri Sumeragi, as the two have been part of the same team of Exorcists since their days as recruits and are still often seen together at present.
HistoryHiyori was accepted as a cadet on Tsuzura Temple since early childhood, training and studying on the academy to become an Exorcist with diligence and passion. Being highly talented, she was part of the elite students that displayed the best grades and performance along with Kuzusumi Kusumi, Abataya Aruko and Sumire Suzutani. When Kanaka Kaitani arrived to the temple under the recommendation of the head priest Oriobana Ouna, she was initially hostile and harsh with her, deeming her an outsider and frequently bullying her for the special attention she received from Ouna despite her extremely poor performance. When Kanaka was selected as one of the five students considered skilled enough to take their next step and receiving a tsugumomo, she locked her up on a room convinced that she had somehow cheated to get the approval, since Kanaka's performance was beyond poor.
After some time, she along with other four members of the elite students were given the final exam of promotion to Exorcists, where they would be sent on their own to deal with a minor aberration. The mission consisted of defeating a number of beasts infected with a high concentration of Curse in Y prefecture, and they were sent with teachers to observe their results and performance during the test. On the exam, Hiyori took a leading role on the group and swiftly dealt with most of the lesser creatures of the area. However, the group was eventually confronted by a Kazenbou, a high-level aberration that had been hiding in the mountains escaping from Exorcists for quite some time. Hiyori attempted to defeat the powerful creature, almost managing to deliver a mortal blow, but her efforts proved insufficient and was almost killed before being saved by one of her teachers. When even their teachers were defeated by the Kazenbou, he was about to kill the group when Kanaka blocked his attack with a Shield Weave and showed her first sign of emotion upon experiencing a life-threatening battle, single-handedly defeating the Kazenbou on her own. Unable to accept Kanaka's superiority, upon returning to the temple she challenged her to a duel were she was easily defeated, and was surprised by the drastic change in Kanaka's personality.
For a couple of years, Hiyori and the others formed a team to deal with aberrations, but they reached a point where they were largelly unable to keep up with Kanaka's abilities, who were way ahead of her teammates. When a position to become Kamioka's Exorcist showed up, Kanaka left Tsuzura Temple to appoint for the role while Hiyori stayed as an exorcist under Ouna's command.
Following the conflict with Mayoiga and the assassination of Kukuri-Hime-no-Kami at the hands of the possessed Kanaka Kagami, the Enslave Tsukumogami faction led by Masuji Madarai took advantage of the chaotic situation and the absence of the head priest Ouhi Oriobana to seize control of the temple and establish a tsukumogami enslaving regime. As a result of the movement Hiyori, along with the other members of the Pro Tsukumogami faction, was apprehended and imprisoned. After the revolt put in place by the combined effort of Kazuya Kagami, Oriobana and the flute tsugumomo Kyouka, she was released from her confinement and confronted Madarai along with the other members of her faction, pushing him to set to place the Nine Masters Tournament to settle the inner disputes on Tsuzura Temple.
Later when Kazuya was taking a bath she and Suzuri entered to share the bath with him as they were curious to meet Kanaka's son, as well as checking if he inherited the same "habits" from her mother.
During the Nine Masters Tournament, Hiyori participated as one of the challengers from the Pro Tsukumogami Faction and was set to duel Ayumi Ayukawa on the fourth match. Aware that Madarai's exorcists were using Puppet Bands to forcefully utilize the abilities of concealed tsukumogamis, she attempted to finish the match in a single frontal strike but was caught by a combined ability of Ayukawa's wrapping cloth tsukumogami and a paintbrush tsugumomo from Mayoiga. Trapped inside the wrapping cloth, she wandered on an illusory world created with paintbrush tsugumomo's ability and passed out due to oxyhen deficiency due to compression inside the dome, losing the match as a result.
AbilitiesHiyori is a highly talented and skilled Exorcist that has managed to reach the rank of Eight Sigil, the highest on Tsuzura Temple, and is considered one of the three strongest exorcists in the temple along with Shishizaki and Suzutani. While during her time forming a team with Kanaka her ability and performance was largely overshadowed by her teammate, Hiyori was considered at the top of the elite even from a young age and was one of the selected five apprentices that were considered skilled enough to receive a Tsugumomo partner. Beyond her own fighting ability, Hiyori proves to be an efficient and competent leader that was capable of remaining calm even on very dangerous situations and give orders to her allies over how to proceed in combat.
In battle, she wields the Tsugumomo katana Naotsugu with great proficiency. Her strikes are precise and deadly, quickly delivering defining blows at a blinding speed. Her katana has the ability to extend its blade, increasing the range and power of her attacks.