「Come to think of it, why did Aoba-chan come along?」
「Everyone at the other place said this, you know? They said that they wanted to travel with Aoba-chan.」
「I see, so you were with everyone earlier.」
Aoba gave a faraway look as if thinking of something faraway.
「Well there’s…no particular reason.」
Hera made a shocked face.
「But but, Kohaku-tan was grinning, you know?」
「Kohaku-san was? Hoh, did she say something else?」
She had looked melancholic just earlier, but now Aoba was just a bit disordered. The young girl with rich life experience; the Natsuno household’s leader. Her perception was recognized by everyone, therefore・・・Aoba had no choice but to be interested in what she had said.
「Well let’s see…」
While crossing her arms, the buoyant Hera put a finger against her cheek, making a pensive expression.
「She said――that “Youth’s a good thing”. Is Aoba-chan enjoying her youth?」
Aoba groaned; Kohaku’s words were quite roundabout, but the words that she had directed toward the person in question were enough to be carved straight into her chest.
「What is it?」
「Don’t say that to Natsuno-kun.」
「I’m begging you!」
Aoba clasped her hands together and lowered her head. To the side, Taiyou was still concentrating on levelling up without taking notice of their conversation.
Hera also stared at him.
「But I can’t hide anything from Taiyou-chan. If I’m asked then I have no choice but to answer.」
「I understand that, but I don’t want Hera-chan to initiate it.」
「……Understood, in that case I can do that.」
Hera thought a bit, then smiled in her usual carefree manner.
Sensing bloodlust, Taiyou immediately twisted his body. Right afterward, Hera’s body shot past the area where his crotch had been like a bullet.
「The hell are you doing!」
As expected, Taiyou protested; it was perfectly reasonable to protest when someone attempted to target the crotch area whilst someone is concentrating.
「Because if I don’t do this then Taiyou-chan won’t come backー」
「I will! If you just talk to me like a normal person I’ll return!」
「Huhー, but you do realize that you didn’t return?」
Hera drooped with a sour face. Taiyou raised a further objection to her pretext.
「And you aim for the crotch area every single time; at least aim for the solar plexus or something.」
「If you’d come to your sense that way, I would…」
She seemed to mutter something at the end, but it didn’t reach Taiyou’s ears. He assumed she was making some sort of complaint and let it go through one ear and out the other.
「In any case, what is it?」
「Ah yes, we should be reaching the destination very soon.」
He lifted his head and looked in the direction of the ocean; upon doing so, just like Hera had said, he saw land and a facility that seemed to be a port.
「The recent announcement said that there are thirty minutes remaining.」
「Thirty minutes huh, and how’s that levelling up?」
「Is that right.」
Hearing that it would take time, Taiyou completely gave up and put the smartphone away in his pocket. Initially, levels wouldn’t raise quickly, but levelling up was exactly the process of getting those points, so the boy who had experienced many a game levelling to max wasn’t particularly surprised.
「Now then, guess I’ll return to where Aoba and the rest are.」
Saying to no one in particular, he motioned to return to the guest cabin.
That was when one man spoke to him. He sported a casual outfit consisting of a jacket with rolled up sleeves and plain jeans. He seemed to be in his mid-twenties and had deeply chiseled features on his face, so that outfit was made to fit him very well.
Taiyou gave a vague response to this man who he did not know.
「My name is Saekusa Tsukumo, nice to meetcha.」
「Oh, and I’m Natsuno Taiyou.」
He introduced himself while shaking the hand that was held out in a friendly manner. He honestly couldn’t read the other person’s intentions, but since he was approached, Taiyou didn’t think it would be right to ignore him.
Mid-handshake, he shot a glance at Hera. He was urging her to keep the promise of not talking to him in front of other people.
Hera saluted him, and Taiyou returned his attention to Tsukumo. Their hands were still connected.
「Taiyou-kun, is it? You have some really nice hands, dude.」
His shoulders shivered, and he had pulled his hand back without realizing it.
“Don’t tell me”, he thought to himself as bad premonitions circled through the back of his head.
「Don’t be so cautious, don’t be; I’m not homo, and I’ll also add that I’m not bi either. I’m the kind of guy who’s established himself to be into the mother-daughter bowl right now, so having those sorts of feelings for you is impossible; relax.」
「By the way, you familiar with the mother-daughter bowl? Written as mother and daughter, it’s the mother-daughter bowl. It means to sexually eat the mother and daughter at the same time, but this is really something amazing. Mutual love is all well and good, but having them tell you after half-forcing consensus 『Didn’t you say that you wouldn’t lay your hands on my daughter?』 is rather quaint, see.」
「Uhh, what exactly are you trying to say?」
「So I’ve set myself to be like that as of late, and it’s not just that chicken and egg that you see all the time, but also the parent-child bowl made from salmon and salmon eggs that I’m hooked on. Oh right, did you know? Where this ship is headed, on the outskirts of the port town there’s a soba shop with a parent-child bowl soba on the menu; that’s also pretty good. And the shop is run by mother and daughter, so it’s not just a shop that you can enjoy with the tongue but it’s also a shop that you can enjoy with the eyes and heart; it’s amazing, yo.」
「I, is that so?」
Clamorous alarm bells were ringing inside Taiyou’s head, bringing it to his attention that this was bad, that this man in front of him was no good.
A genuine pervert.
He had for a while been encountering strange people quite frequently, but the majority of them were rational, reasonable humans who he could converse with.
But this man before him was different: the type of human that reason would not work on.
「Umm, I’ve got to――」
「Oh, wait wait.」
When he tried to escape, Tsukumo went round and cut in.
「The conversation isn’t over yet man; from here on I’ll be discussing the essence of the spectacular mother-daughter bowl.」
「Sorry, but I――」
He swallowed the words “I have company”. Remembering that Mio and Aoba were mother and daughter, he had decided it was best not to mention it.
「We’ll be arriving soon, so I have preparations and such.」
「Do you hate the mother-daughter bowl or something? Males too?」
「No, like I was saying」
「I get it; if you’re saying that much then I’m willing to make a compromise. But at the very least, do me a favor and tell me one thing.」
「And what’s that?」
As long as he was standing in the way, Taiyou thought to quickly hear what he had to say then quickly make an escape.
But, he soon realized that that was a mistake.
「Did ya know that most of the chicken meat used for eating purposes is of the male variety?」
「Just like humans, chickens are divided into male and female; so far so good, but the females are set aside to lay eggs, and they only become food once they can lay no more eggs, but by that time they’ve packed on quite a few years and the quality of their meat hardens, so they’re not fresh meat but are made into processed meat. We good so far?」
「So if that’s the case, then of course the fresh meat is of the male persuasion all the time. Do you understand what this means? You get it already, right?」
「No I don’t.」
Taiyou was at a complete loss as to what he was trying to say.
「What an idiot! I gave hints along the way and you still don’t understand? It can’t be helped; I’ll teach ya from A to Z. So this is how it is: As long as the majority of fresh meat is male, the typical parent-child bowl isn’t mother and daughter, but is actually father and daughter!」
Tsukumo insisted, thrusting a fist up into the air.
「……Yes, I understand.」
Not wanting to be involved any longer than this, Taiyou irresponsibly parried his responses and then tried to escape from that spot.
But Tsukumo once again went around and blocked him.
「Well wait, we’re not finished talking.」
「No, I really have something to take care of.」
「I gotcha; it was my bad for being roundabout. I shouldn’t discuss the parent-child bowl of food, but properly discuss the mother-daughter bowl, yeah? I thought that it would be good as a starting point, but it seems that I really should have spoken to you about it directly.」
「No, I seriously――」
Taiyou couldn’t break away from Tsukumo, who followed him around. In his head he recalled a game scene where he selected the「Run」command only to be cut off again and again.
He secretly sighed, ready to give up.
He was a dangerous person, but so far there was no real damage done. At this rate he would have to noncommittally listen and then once the ship arrived he would meet up with Aoba and the rest, making haste to force their way out for an escape.
They were on the ship, which was on the ocean, and right now nothing could be done, so he thought that was his best option.
He thought, and then the next moment…
Breaking the promise, Hera approached him.