Taiyou looked up at the night sky once he entered the garden, arms folded. The moon was hung high in the sky as if it were a plate decorated with the stars of the entire sky, and these two contrasts weren’t usually a visible sight from the city.
「There are a lot of stars, but the moon is the same as ever, I guess.」
As he muttered to no one in particular, he felt Shirokiyami stand next to him. It wasn’t just her manner of speaking derived from her unique way of breathing; he had just recently sort of begun to recognize her presence. Taiyou, who was in love with her, thought very positively of that.
「People long ago…looked at the moon that never changed even when they were on a trip…they were reminded of their, home town.」
「Yeah, there was that sort of haiku or poem, huh.」
「Yes, that much…doesn’t change, after all.」
「I see. By the way, aren’t you going to enter the hot spring?」
Taiyou listened carefully as he asked Shirokiyami. From the other side of the building, behind the detached area that had an open-bath family-oriented stall, he could hear high-pitched voices. Just earlier, the girls that had returned via the trailer had dubbed this as welcoming party and invited Pochi into the hot spring. The voices that he was hearing right now were the females entering the bath. Speaking of which, Taiyou was also invited, but he refused. Furthermore, he had left the building, trying to…avoid any potential disaster. Incidentally, Shirokiyami was also invited to come along, so he had really thought that she would enter the hot spring with them.
「According, to…Sun Tzu.」
Taiyou had a puzzled look on his face, questioning what she had suddenly started saying. A fastball thrown into the day after tomorrow. She would from time-to-time have this habit of refusing to follow up in the catch-ball of conversation.
「What do you mean?」
He somehow picked up that ball, attempting to throw it back.
「Those who fighteth virtuously, are those who winneth against easy opponents.」
「Sorry, can you say that in a more easy-to-understand manner? I mean, you’re saying it in a really fluent way so I’m sure that those are some really important words to you.」
「We, don’t…fight losing battles.」
「I’m starting to get this less and less.」
「If you become an adult…will you, understand?」
「So is this a question?」
「Or maybe…soon, after this.」
「What are you, a commercial!」
A good-tempo back-and-forth conversation unfolded, but it ended with him still confused.
「In any, case.」
「So, are you really going to go for…the Mother-Daughter Bowl?」
「Not a chance.」
In response to the new topic that she brought up, Taiyou laughed in a strained manner and shook his head.
「Kohaku-san’s just saying that on her own, okay? I don’t have that sort of intention. And besides, Kohaku-san is just saying that as a joke, I’m telling you.」
「I know someone…who is, like, that person.」
「Saying that they’re nothing…people who add more, than they need, to.」
That seemed to be yet another ball that went into the day after tomorrow, but this time it shifted to a Guin curveball with the likes of a magic ball. Unlike earlier, he got the gist of what Shirokiyami was trying to say.
「…You’re saying that Kohaku-san is like that, aren’t you?」
「That’s…how the, phrase went.」
The phrase. Taiyou pondered those words in his head. The phrase that Kohaku often put to her mouth like a catchphrase. A phrase that every time it was uttered, he secretly felt that it was too much.
――I offer everything to you.
Almost as if she were swearing an oath, she let that phrase out of her mouth at every opportunity. As if reexamining something within herself, she would turn to Taiyou and continue saying it.
「That phrase, huh…」
「That person is, serious…I, think. She intends to…strip herself of her daughter and, offer her to you.」
「No way, that has to just be a play-on-words. Cause Kohaku-san usually does that sort of conversational exchange.」
「But…power dwells, in her words. Just like how you say…that you’ll defeat, me.」
「Yep, I’ll definitely defeat you.」
Saying that, Taiyou took a step back into a fighting pose. Deciding that it was best not to dig too deep into Kohaku’s affairs, he attempted to change the conversation.
「I’ve become a bit stronger, so can I come at you right now?」
But Shirokiyami didn’t play along. She wasn’t even paying attention to Taiyou, silently gazing up at the sky.
Being ignored annoyed him so he thought to still rush at her…but he decided to stop. Looking at her from the side gazing at the moon, she was acting obscure as usual, and there didn’t seem to be any way to get ahold of her.
Taiyou felt that her face was pretty. Her face-in-profile would be in the “best three” among the girls that he loved. If it meant wrecking that face and that atmosphere, then he didn’t want to forcibly challenge her.
Taiyou was fascinated by the view of her sidelong face for a short while.
If he were to take a picture and submit it for a contest, it would undoubtedly have the title of「Heaps of Corpses All Around」. That kind of scenery unfolded before Taiyou’s eyes when he returned to the room. The three sisters along with Kohaku, as well as Aoba. They had come out of the bath in their yukatas with a tinge of cherry blossom adorning their skin, but some of them were hanging their heads with their hands and knees pressed against the floor with the shape of the “orz” emoticon, while others were leaning against the wall with the air of a burnt-out boxer.
These were clear signs of some form of severe psychological damage, not to be taken lightly.
Aoba replied, dejectedly hanging her head. There was no power in her words.
「To think they would be that big…」
「They were way bigger than when clothed…」
「That’s just…that’s just cheating…」
「Kotone? Suzune? Kazane?」
「You girls are still fine jya, I’m just…I’m just…」
「Even you, Kohaku-san? What in the world happened?」
「I get you, Kohaku-san! I’m of the same opinion!」
「You understand me, Kazane!」
The two small-framed individuals who had been fighting for first place tightly embraced each other inside the house. The atmosphere was just like those typical 8 a.m. public management broadcasts. Taiyou tilted his head some more after seeing that sight. Fidgeting in depressed and excited manners, those girls were clearly not their normal selves. He surveyed the inside of the room to figure out what the cause was.
「Ohh, it’s you, Pochi, what exactly――」
Unlike the brides, Pochi’s voice coming from behind him was the same tone as before. Thinking he could find out something from her, Taiyou turned around, but what appeared before him stole his gaze.
Taiyou muttered for some reason. In a moment, the room was filled with even deeper feelings of resentment. When wearing a yukata, Pochi boasted a volume that was vastly larger than when wearing her regular clothing. Taiyou looked at that, and looked at the girls. ‘I see’…he began to say but immediately swallowed his words.
「And I thought that we’d be fine in this area.」
「No Aoba, you’re pretty fine too, you know?」
「I don’t need your obvious counseling!」
Aoba screamed in a hysterical voice that felt quite exaggerated.
「You’re going over the top…」
And although he said that, Taiyou secretly felt that he somewhat understood. After comparing the girls, he attempted to say the results in his head.
Aoba: Mediocre breasts.
Kotone, Suzune, and Kazane: Meager breasts.
Kohaku――Flat as a wall.
And Pochi’s huge breasts dwarfed all of their sizes put together.
（Priceless big breasts…）
Saying that to himself looking at each of their chests in turn, Taiyou was reminded of a commercial rhythm that he had often seen a while back. But since putting that into words would result in something catastrophic, he resisted the urge. He also resisted the urge to praise Pochi’s rack. Glancing at his unnecessary conflict, the girls began to band together.
「This is no good, I gotta start drinking milk from tomorrow onward!」
「I’ll also prepare small fish, Aoba-san!」
「We’ll also do our best!」
「I’ll think up a get-big meal menu with my utmost effort, okay!」
The sisters encouraging each other and Aoba. Kohaku who was ridiculing herself to the side.
「I envy these youngsters, with nothing on their minds but their futures and hopes.」
「Those were fine words, but is this really the place to use them!?」
Pochi was trembling. Her face showed that she understood that she had caused her mother-master and the others to become this way. But, she had not done one thing wrong. At least that’s what Taiyou thought.
「No, it’s not your fault. If anything, it’s their own self-destruction.」
「Yes…because they challenged her, even though it was already clear…self, destruction.」
Emerging suddenly by Taiyou’s side, Shirokiyami gave a supplemental explanation. It seemed that she hadn’t really taken any damage.
「When did you get back. …Wait, so this is what you meant when you said you wouldn’t fight?」
「Grasping your capabilities is…important, impor, tant.」
She said nonchalantly.
「Oh, you should also enter the hot spring, Taiyou-san.」
「The hot water was amazing.」
「Yes, the hot water was…」
Somewhat depressed, the three sisters referred Taiyou to the hot spring. Taiyou did just that. There was no point being here, so he took a towel and yukata from them and headed to the hot spring. He undressed in the changing room and entered. That was a spectacular open-air bath. Possibly designed with families in mind, that separate, private place had a bath that could fit everyone with room to spare. Just standing at the entrance was enough to rub against his nasal cavity with the smell of sulfur, and top of that, for some reason there was a large volume of apples lightly floating on the hot water.
「Perhaps it’s a form of medicinal water?」
He wasn’t sure what their intention was, but at the very least thought that it brought about some sort of atmosphere.
「Well, first I’d better wash my body――」
「Please let me do it.」
「Yeah, go ahead and――like hell I’d say that!」
Instinctively responding, he turned around. Pochi was there. Having undressed at some point, she was standing there without a single thread covering her naked body.
「Wait, why exactly are you completely naked?」
「Umm…because Master said to do so.」