Even in the middle of the party assembly hall with people wearing fine-tailored suits and gorgeous dresses, that place was especially letting off a radiance, gathering the attention of the participants.
That was wholly due to the social status of the three men and women facing each other in conversation.
Current Prime Minister, Kouda Jin’ichirou.
The third princess of Asia’s most pro-Japan country, the Phili Kingdom: Leticia・H・Keraaz.
And lastly, Juunishima’s headman’s daughter of the place that was designated as a 「village」 based on its administrative district while having a population of a million, Juunishima Youran.
All of them were important people among important people, and it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine something dreadful happening in the world if a meteorite or the like were to fall here. That was how important these faces were.
The three of them were conversing in Japanese without any interpreter.
「Good gracious, I am relieved that her Highness as well as Director of the New Moon-dono haven’t changed.」
「Good heavens, Jin’ichirou-ojisama, we last met three years ago. Do you not think that saying that there has been no change in a maiden of sixteen after three years is rather awful?」
Leticia said clad in an evening dress, and the kimono-clad Youran sympathized with that.
「Besides, you say that even though Kouda-sama is the one who hasn’t changed; you’ve held long-term political power since we were carrying our backpacks to grade school. Honestly, within me when I think of the prime minister I cannot imagine anyone else but Kouda-sama.」
「I am of the same opinion.」
「Hahhahha, I lived too long and just decided to settle down in the position. It wouldn’t be strange for a punishment to strike me by this point in time.」
「You jest; even though there isn’t the smidgen of an omen.」
「Bamboo tubes don’t fulfill their function until water accumulates.」
「I take it that Oji-sama’s bamboo tubes are functioning as always; no doubt things will be tranquil from here on out.」
「I think so too.」
「Hahhahha, what a day this is; I did not think that two goddesses of luck would show up all at once.」
「Oh, you’re skilled, Oji-sama.」
An almost false, surface-level dialogue. But that was the most important thing in this situation.
Jin’ichirou, Leticia, and Youran.
The open-book friendship displayed between the leaders meant that things were just that secure.
After the party, Youran and Leticia were in the storeroom. A pretty suit room with a nightview on the top floor of the hotel, where the party had begun a moment ago.
In its midst, the two of them were sitting down facing each other.
「Why did you want to speak with me?」
「Oh, do you mean to speak with me in that tone as well?」
「Thou art the one with the strange speech; thou weren’t like that when we last met, right?」
「I acquired it; does it not fit my position quite well?」
「When I first heard it I felt goosebumps all over; it doesn’t fit thou so just quit it.」
「If you stop first then I shall do that very thing.」
「Thou shalt go first.」
「You shall be going first.」
Neither side giving in, it became a battle of obstinance. And just when things seemed to be heading in the opposite direction of the party assembly hall to a stormy situation…
As if they had conspired together, both of them burst out laughing at once.
Evening dress and kimono; the two people who had earlier made a refined atmosphere had shattered said atmosphere at once by their own hand.
「Man, what are we even doing?」
「Ya got that right; it ain’t ev’n like us, furreal.」
「Ahh, I can relax listening to you speak that way.」
「My own long-sleeved kimono・・・seeing that is what helps me relax.」
「Vainly trying to be knowledgeable about the Japanese culture, I see, you false foreigner you.」
「Can’t be ‘elped; we’re Asia’s most pro-Japan country and our official language’s even Japanese anyhoo. ‘Course we’d be knowledgeable ‘bout Japan’s culture, eh?」
「Yes yes. And, what did you invite me here for?」
「Seems like ya sister was found.」
The air immediately grew cold; Youran had not anticipated that she would bring up this topic of all things.
「Dun make such a scary face, eh?」
「How did you know?」
「This’s somethin’ ‘portant that can decide the future o’ my close friend; ‘course I’d be concerned.」
「Should I say thank you?」
「I really dun care. More ‘portantly, your little sis…wha was ‘er name」
Leticia thought a bit.
「Right right, Shiro, Shiro, ain’t it?」
「It’s Pochi…or not even that; it’s Juunishima Adano. The name decided for her before birth just like mine.」
「Thas’ a shame, having a father who’s obsessed with England. ‘S that some sorta glittering fashionable name nowadays?」
「Don’t say that; thought it may seem otherwise I quite like my name.」
「That right? It’s fine if that’s th’case.」
Leticia said, softly narrowing her eyes.
「An’ where’s dat Shiro?」
「……I don’t know.」
「I’m not lying, I really don’t know.」
「Right, but the face yer makin’ ‘s like ya have everythin’ figured out.」
「I won’t deny that, but I don’t know where she is.」
「Wha, ya get ‘er to go underground?」
「I haven’t done anything.」
Leticia laughed scornfully.
「Yer the same as always. I always hated dat useless aspect of yers. Doin’ everythin’ on yer own, and once ya decided than ya’d dash off without a word to anyone. Ain’t it the same now?」
「That sort of way is better a lot more, when you’re in my position. You’ve got to understand.」
「Most unfortunately! I dun do anythin’ like dat; if my subordinates were to do something good then I’d let ‘em handle it.」
「Your subordinates must have it hard.」
「Contrary, yer subordinates must ‘ave it rough. How many people d’ya think yer causing trouble for?」
「You think so?」
「……You might be right.」
Taking a breath, Youran said nodding.
（You might be right）
Youran repeated the same words in her heart.
That might very well be the case. Whenever something happened, she had a habit of not letting anyone els ehandle it and trying to do something with her power alone. Even for things that should be left to subordinates, she still felt that she should handle.
And she didn’t just feel that way; she had actually set that in motion.
But just like Leticia had said, there must be a lot of people who were inconvenienced as a result.
A certain boy’s face floated in her head.
Just like the name, the type of boy who・・emitted brightness from himself.
Even with the previous affair, she had inconvenienced him. If she had that one time not gone herself, instead sending a trustworthy tight-lipped confidant and had things proceed that way, surely that boy would not have suffered any wounds. Things would have continued more thoroughly and a solution would have been found after a bit of a struggle.
Youran was not so foolish that she couldn’t comprehend that that was unmistakable.
Even so, though she acknowledged the reasoning itself, she couldn’t repudiate the actions themselves.
Because she couldn’t afford to.
「Wazzup with you; suddenly spacing out.」
「Eh? No it’s nothing.」
「That right? Well that’s fine; all I wanted to say was to rely more on those around ya. Even if things ‘ave been peachy so far dun mean that it’ll stay that way for yer whole life.」
「Yeah, then allow me to do so from now on.」
「If you really intended to・・・・・then ya just gotta say that you’ll『positively consider it』.」
Leticia angrily turned her face away. From how long they had been tagging along with each other, she had probably understood that Youran was just glossing over it with her answer.
She had angered her; feeling that, Youran searched for follow-up words.
That was when the sound of a knock was heard on the door.
Knock-knock, knock-knock; four knocks struck rhythmically.
Youran had immediately reverted to her「archaic」self.
「Excuse the disturbance.」
Entering the room and deeply bowing was a woman with a maid outfit in her mid-twenties.
After shooting Leticia a glance, she talked to Youran.
「My master, a report of imminent danger.」
「Let us hear it.」
「Is that really fine?」
「I’m a foreigna’, I dun eat Japanese, kay?」
Leticia attempted humor while insinuating that she wouldn’t repeat it to anyone, and Youran also nodded to that, so the maid began her report.
「A report from the third squadron.」
「About the pursuit; Miki Aoba has been kidnapped by the hands of the Adano sect, the implementation force’s leader being Einsteelpierre・Saekusa Tsukumo. When she was kidnapped, Akita Mio who was accompanying her suffered wounds and is currently receiving treatment in a hospital.」
The desire to ask about the other person came up to her throat, but she resisted it.
「Afterwards, Natsuno Taiyou disappeared, and a search is currently undergoing.」
Youran stood up with a clatter.
Leticia who had been silent knit her brows. The maid was also surprised.
Youran who had stood up abruptly was making a face that they had never seen before.
The waxing moon floating in the summer night sky, the new moon was slowly being eroded by shade (light).