The wagon that Anna, Pochi, and the driver were riding in stopped at a place with no people in sight.
With her eyelids closed, Anna was crossing her arms, her narrow fingers beating out a nervous rhythm.「Umm…」
Pochi timidly spoke to her. As before, her hands were tied behind her back and she couldn’t move decently, but with the gag being released, she was in a condition to converse.
Anna asked her back in a somewhat soft manner.
「What is it?」
「Are you really going to take me with you?」
「Were you expecting me to say “This was actually a practical joke” or something? Then you’d better toss those wishes. In just a little bit an arranged transportation will arrive. It’s only a leap to the island with that.」
「We’re going to, fly?」
「Yeah, a helicopter’s coming.」
「Helicopter; with the power of its engine, the rotary wing, known as the main rotor, in the top part of the airframe releases lifting power to fly and is one variety of aircraft.」
「You say some odd things. So have you ridden one before?」
「I have not; because I was always inside the mansion with Master.」
「I see; then have you also never seen the ocean?」
「Ocean. In areas on the earth other than land, filled with saltwater.」
「Yeah, that’s it.」
「I have not.」
「Then have some expectations; we’re going to an island, so as you look around you mid-trip you should see the ocean all around.」
「Is it really that big?」
「Check with your own eyes.」
Pochi was silent when she said that, but her eyes were glowing with expectation.
Anna suddenly thought of her as pitiable. The girl who said that she had always been locked up in a mansion, having not even seen the ocean. If she were to take her to the island, she would of course become even more of a caged bird.
From cage to cage; no, the girl who would go to prison.
Thinking of that, she felt sympathy well up.
However, that was but an instant. Anna thrust that away deep within her chest.
「I wanted to see it with Master…」
「Don’t be so repetitive; if you want to meet them that much, all you need to do is invite them once we’ve reached the island.」
「So…I can’t return to where Master is any longer?」
「Yeah, no longer.」
She looked at Pochi with ruthless eyes.
As if proclaiming it…as if thrusting the cruel life that she would be living from now on before her.
「If anything, these are the times when places to return to are running out.」
She tilted her head, puzzled. She plainly didn’t seem to understand what she meant.
「That boy has too many people to protect. You saw, right? What it was like earlier. That boy tried to protect those five girls.」
「You know, humans become more and more helpless as the things that they protect grow more and more. The luggage that you can carry with both of your hands has a limit; even if you rely on the help of others, five people should just about be the limit.」
Anna laughed coldly.
「I wouldn’t even mind betting on it: the boy won’t come. His face had the resolution to not come. If he does chase after us by any chance I’ll have him get a Baseball Bat Spank or a Thai Kick.」
「Baseball Bat Spank? Thai Kick?」
「They’re staples of punishment games.」
「Oh, is that so…」
Pochi became despondent. Anna felt sympathy again looking at that face.
She wasn’t sure why, but whenever she relaxed her guard, she felt favorable toward her. Whether it was because they were blood relatives, or if it was because of something else, Anna just felt like she wanted to side with her.
Even if she felt that way, she couldn’t actually side with her.
Anna secretively regained her focus. She told herself to prioritize following her mission and taking this girl back with her.
Pochi unintentionally stared through the windshield. Before she could examine what exactly Pochi had found, Anna heard a voice at its wit’s end.
It was the voice of the subordinate driver who had been silently sitting down until now.
Anna’s expression immediately changed.
From that of a mother cat protecting her child under the winter sky, to that of a female tiger hunting its prey.
He probably wouldn’t have found them without Hera’s guidance. That was just how far of a place where the wagon was stopped.
「You return to where everyone is, just in case something happens.」
A sidelong glance at Hera not teleport, but fly away, Taiyou glared at Anna from the windshield.
The connected gazes scattered sparks.
The next moment, once it was intuitive that words no longer had any meaning…
「Run him over.」
He could hear voices transmitting clearly through the glass, which were of Anna and her subordinate.
Right after, the wagon suddenly took off, charging at Taiyou.
Just as commanded, with enough force to kill Taiyou.
Taiyou didn’t even dodge; he instead made a sumo-like pose of thrusting his hands out in the direction of the wagon.
Rumbling sounds reverberated, then somehow, the wagon that had started up had come to a full stop.
Pushed by Taiyou, it had stopped.
The tires let out a “kyururu” friction sound, but they couldn’t advance forward even by a millimeter.
「What was that?」
「This can’t be happening…」
Along with a bellow, Taiyou pushed the wagon with all his strength. He pushed this several ton mass wagon along with its tires spinning the opposite way.
Taiyou pushed with all his strength. The wagon was railroad-shoved at once.
Along with the sound of metal being smashed and crushed, the wagon was pushed into a wall.
「Step on it more!」
「I am! With all my might!」
「Ridiculous…this thing has hundreds of horsepower; for a human to…」
Anna muttered, shocked.
Alongside the wall, Taiyou lifted his face, making a broad, savage grin.
「Could I have you get out of the car?」
「…And if I said no?」
「I’ll continue to flatten you.」
Anna only grimaced in response to Taiyou’s threat, but the underling male driver was scared enough to let out a scream. Facing the reality that the wagon at full throttle was instead overcome, a threat no longer sounded like a simple threat.
Seeing Anna unable to make a decision, Taiyou put further power into it. The car began creaking; letting out a grinding sound that was normally impossible.
With Anna’s order, the tires that were letting out a singed smell finally stopped rotating.
Opening the door, Anna got out of the car together with Pochi.
「Hand her over.」
「…Do you really think that things will go your way that easily?」
「What do you mean?」
「I mean that we still have fighting power.」
「What did you just say?」
Surprised, an unusual sound from afar hit his ears.
It was the revolving sound of a rotor; the sound of a helicopter.
While Taiyou was perplexed, the helicopter stopped, and burly men filed out.
Despite their numbers, the inhabitants were already armed and had surrounded Taiyou in an instant.
At Anna’s command, the men assailed Taiyou simultaneously. While Pochi let out her voice, Anna walked her off, going in the direction of the helicopter.
Right now, Taiyou was exceeding the average person at everything.
His superior power of pushing back a wagon at full throttle stood out, but his speed and reaction and his being able to take hits were also stronger than a normal person.
In front of that boy, the armed ten men weren’t even what their numbers suggested. Before Anna bringing along Pochi had even reached the helicopter, everyone had fallen.
「Give her back.」
Wedging himself between Anna and the helicopter and blocking advancement, once again, he one-sidedly thrust his demands at her.
「Do you think I’m going to respond?」
「In that case, I’ll just steal her with force.」
Taiyou gripped his fists, stepping forward. He readied his fist like a bow――aiming at Anna and releasing it.
The strong arm that had forced back the wagon let out a moan――.
In an instant, Pochi let out a loud voice and stepped forward, cutting in between Taiyou and Anna. Panicking at the unexpected event, Taiyou pulled back his fist.
「Pochi? What are you doing?」
「Why are you protecting that person?」
「Because because, this person, is related to me.」
「Ahh, right, Juunishima…」
Juunishima Anna. Understanding that name, Taiyou looked at her. The woman who hadn’t batted even an eye when his fist came for her was making an anguished, chewed up face in response to the fact that she had been covered.
「All right, I won’t do anything.」
「――! Thank you.」
Taking back Pochi who had just said her thanks from Anna, he tore off the rope that had been binding her arms. As if the straw rope were an embroidery thread.
While doing that, he spoke to Anna.
「I’ve won, yeah? I’m taking Pochi back with me.」
「Yeah, I lost for misjudging you.」
「Don’t look down on me; I have this much power.」
「No, that’s not what I mean.」
Anna laughed coldly.
「I mean you chasing us here; see, I didn’t actually think that you’d come after us. Is it alright if I ask you why you came after us? Just earlier you were making a face of resignation…no, the face of a man coming to a clean decision.」
「There’s a saying that goes like this.」
Saying that, Taiyou threw out his chest as a feeling of pride welled up from the bottom of his chest.
「In the shadow of a successful man is a good woman.」
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