The morning of the second day. The chirping of birds and the natural refreshing air blowing from outside the window woke up Taiyou in a pleasant manner. The moment he woke up, he expected someone to be sleeping by his side, but there was no one there. That wasn’t a problem in and of itself, but it did feel a tad bit lonely.
「…That’s probably too much to ask for.」
Bitterly laughing at himself for unintentionally hoping for that, Taiyou got up and left the room. Entering the nearby banquet hall, almost everyone had gathered there. Shirokiyami was the only one not there.
「Good morning. You all woke up early, I see.」
「Rising early is a general custom fah the elderly.」
「And my house always had that custom.」
「「「And we regularly do housework.」」」
The female wives answered sequentially, with Pochi being the only one who remained silent. She was hiding behind the table, peeking at what was going on. Grabbing the edge of the table with both hands and showing only half of her face was very much like something a puppy would do. When he was thinking of starting a conversation with her, Kohaku opened her mouth and made a proposal.
「Husband, let’s go on a date.」
「Indeed. We came this far to a tourist attraction, so it wouldn’t beh refined tah constantly shut ourselves in here. Why don’t we go see some scenic beauty or something?」
「Oh, good idea.」
Nodding, Taiyou looked at the other females.
「You guys going too?」
「Yeah, I mean there’s no point being by myself.」
The sister trio and Aoba answered immediately as if they had already come to an agreement.
As before, Pochi said nothing, still watching the proceedings with half of her face peeking out. Kohaku called the daughter-in-law.
「You shall come too, Pochi.」
As if she had been waiting for an invitation, or Kohaku had worded the invitation purposefully like an order, Pochi sprang up and stood up straight, promptly responding. Once that was decided, Kohaku gave a signal and the females began preparations simultaneously. With that being said, it seemed more like they had already discussed this prior to Taiyou waking up, as everyone carried only simple hand luggage and went outside all at once. Hera, who had been by his side since his waking up, approached the remaining Taiyou.
「Pochi-chan was definitely depressed.」
「…Do you think so?」
「Yes indeed; she had the eyes of an abandoned puppy. You do realize this is your fault, right Taiyou?」
「It’s my fault?」
「Yes indeed; you do realize that she became that way because you didn’t kiss her, right Taiyou-chanー?」
Taiyou slightly furrowed his eyebrows in response. Even he thought that might be correct. After all, last night he had sent Pochi out of the room without kissing her. He had gently explained away the situation, sending her back to the females who were waiting for the kiss. So Hera was saying that that was why she was depressed.
「Why didn’t you give her a kiss?」
「I bet Kohaku was the one who wanted to make it happen.」
「That’s spot on, but you still haven’t answered my question, have you Taiyou-chan? Is there some reason why you haven’t? Is it a family motto? Is it about the parent leaving a will? Or perhaps it’s a religious principle from a religion?」
「Nothing like that.」
「Then you gotta do it manー, move it move it go go! Besides, if you don’t give her a kiss then I can’t chat with Pochi-chan.」
「You will at some point.」
As if saying that the conversation was over, Taiyou gave an ambiguous answer and went outside. The females were all gathered around the car. This was not the wagon that they had used last night, but rather, a proper minivan that had carried them here. Shirokiyami, who had been absent earlier, was also there. She had been sitting on the roof for an unspecified amount of time. The sight of an attractive goth loli on a family car minivan was so irregular that Taiyou was still a bit perplexed, despite this being his second time seeing it. He approached the car and inquired, looking up at her.
「What exactly are you doing?」
「I got on…the, car. It’s okay…I’ll disappear so that…no one, sees.」
Taiyou nodded, leaving her be. This was because he thought it was for the best. Her riding in the car versus her riding on the roof. The latter sounded more exciting. It sort of reminded him of a young child excitedly riding in the passenger seat for the first time.
「Alright, let us be off. Everyone get in.」
The females nodded in response, filing into the car one after another. Kohaku, seated in the passenger seat leaned out the window and spoke.
「Ya gotta push it, Husband. Slowly.」
「Alright, sure――I can’t do something like that!」
Taiyou cut in after he had pushed the car of seven riding females, his sleeves rolled up.
「No, I think you just did?」
「You went a little far with the joke.」
Aoba was exasperated and Hera was cackling.
「You never fail tah amaze, Husband. I expected you tah comment on it but I never thought that you’d actually have the capability level tah move it. You never fail tah amaze, Husband.」
「Don’t say that twice, and while we’re at it, don’t say that like some sort of big brother. And “capability level”, what even is “capability level”?」
「That was 15 kilometers…per, hour.」
Shirokiyami quietly conveyed from the roof. Her manner of speaking was the same as usual, but it had a tone of declaration to it.
「Did you seriously measure it!?」
「There really isn’t anything impossible for you, is there!」
「Well that was but a joke. I was going tah have you move the car once all seven wives had gathered, Husband.」
Kohaku said moving to the driver’s seat, while Taiyou hopped into the vacant passenger’s seat.
「When that time comes, I’ll do ya one better and carry the whole car.」
Along with one of Taiyou’s feasible jokes, this time around the car moved with the power of its engine.
Shortly after leaving the ryokan, the car climbed up a mountain road. There were twisting roads, some of which even curved one-hundred-eighty degrees, but with Kohaku’s trained driving, it was a very agreeable drive. It was so comfortable that Taiyou, sitting in the seat with the highest chance of death, nonchalantly thought about how interesting Kohaku’s change of personality was as soon as she gripped the handle. There was a gift shop when they had come halfway up the mountain, so they decided to take a break and go inside. With the car stopped in the parking lot, the females got out and entered the shop one-by-one, while Pochi was the only one remaining in the car. Just like how she was in the morning, she was acting like a dog, peeking only half her face out of the window.
Taiyou called out to her, trying to invite her into the shop.
At that moment, Kohaku had suddenly emerged from the shop. It seemed that she had quickly bought a cone of soft serve ice cream, holding it in her tiny hands.
「What’s the matter, Kohaku-san?」
「Ya gotta try a bit of this.」
「Soft serve ice cream? Okay, sure.」
He stooped down to where she was holding it, trying it just a little bit. Perhaps it was the effect of being on a trip, but it had a rich flavor and was pretty tasty.
「How is it?」
「Yeah, it’s tasty. But I sort of get the feeling that the flavor is a bit different from your average soft serve ice cream; sort of like vanilla but not exactly vanilla…」
Kohaku said, grinning. Surveying her reaction as well as…the soft serve ice cream, for just an instant, something horrible ran through his imagination. Though he was pretty sure that they wouldn’t do that sort of thing, he timidly inquired.
「…You didn’t have any weird scheme with this, did you?」
「Ah, I’ve been found out.」
Indifferent to Taiyou’s rough voice, Kohaku ate the soft serve ice cream with a chomp.
「Huhu, I just shared an indirect kiss with Husband.」
「That was your scheme!?」
Not minding his quip, Kohaku, who was now in a good mood from succeeding in an indirect kiss, returned to the inside of the store. After seeing Kohaku go inside, he turned toward Pochi, whose glittering eyes were visible from within the car. He thought to ask her if she had wanted to eat ice cream and was going to offer to buy some, but…
This time the three sisters approached him. Just like Kohaku, they were holding soft serve ice cream. Not one ice cream per each of them, but instead all three of them gripping one ice cream.
「Try this real quick?」
「It’s fine if it’s just a little bit, okay?」
「You guys too? Let me ask just in case, but there’s nothing strange inside the ice cream, right?」
「「「No, just normal cheese soft serve ice cream!」」」
「That’s questionably normal! Oh, so it was cheese flavor…」
No wonder it was rich. While thinking that, he bit on the tip of the cranium-spiraling soft serve ice cream.
「Koto-chan, Kaza-chan, let’s eat over there.」
With satisfied smiling faces, the sister trio went off pitter-pattering to a remote location, licking down the ice cream all at once. The image of them surrounding the soft serve ice cream and dragging their tongues across it was very erotic. Having the feeling that he shouldn’t just stare at them, Taiyou regained his composure and turned back to Pochi. Her eyes were gleaming even more than earlier. Taiyou was pretty sure that she was interested in the soft serve ice cream.
An obstacle got in his way of talking to Pochi for the third time. This time it was Aoba’s voice. He had somewhat predicted this, so he turned around thinking「Yeah yeah」to himself.
「Okay, I’ll eat it so bring it here.」
But contrary to his expectations, Aoba wasn’t holding soft serve ice cream. Actually, she wasn’t holding anything in her hands at all. As Taiyou was perplexed by that, she nervously began to talk.
「Umm…there was limited lip balm…so…」
Looking at it, her lips had become just a bit glossy. She had probably applied it to her lips and came to show Taiyou. It was Taiyou’s misunderstanding; jumping to the wrong conclusion. The misunderstanding picked up speed with the likes of a snowball rolling down a slope.
「So you’ll, eat it?」
Aoba said while red-faced and fidgeting. Of course there were no alternatives that existed within him, so placing his hands on her shoulders, he leaned forward just a tad bit.