Youran took a deep breath, calming herself down. And with the usual attitude, she inquired from Michiyo.
「Where is he?」
『He is in the multi-tenant building two kilometers ahead northeast from where Milady is.』
「Multi-tenant building? Why there?」
『From what we investigated, that seems to be Tsubaki-sama’s possession.』
「So that’s how it is.」
Hearing that name, Youran quickly became satisfied.
There was a faction within Juunishima that backed Adano Pochi against Youran. Juunishima Tsubaki was one of the people in the center of that, as well as the master of Saekusa Tsukumo who had assaulted Taiyou on the ship.
The image of a woman with rich heavy makeup floated in her head.
Youran had taken on the name of『Director of the New Moon』and had the number one spot in terms of inheritance rights, but on the other hand, Tsubaki held quite a bit of authority with enough power to resist.
In order to further increase that power, she would do things like try to chase Youran out or harass her with trivial things.
She already knew this time that the one who attacked Taiyou aboard the ferry was the protégé Saekusa Tsukumo, so she understood that Tsubaki was heavily involved. So she was able to immediately grasp why the disappeared Taiyou was in Tsubaki’s personal building.
Thinking briefly, Youran spoke in a low voice.
「You are familiar with my location, are you not?」
「Then inform me about the route to get there. Just send it to my device.」
She said hanging up, and then after a brief wait, mail from Michiyo arrived. Opening it, there were images and writing that minutely noted the way to the destination.
「Fast as ever, I see.」
Youran muttered, returning to her informal way of speaking. There was probably a favorable nuance toward her retainer elsewhere.
Removing her eyes from the cell, she surveyed her surroundings once. This was the back of the hospital building with no one else in sight. She had been waiting since earlier, but as usual・・・・she couldn’t detect Hera anywhere.
Having received the additional information about Taiyou being in Tsubaki’s building, she thought that something might be happening.
Then as there was no point in remaining, Youran made her way out of the hospital.
Driving the information of the mail into her head, she headed out to the destination. She wasn’t familiar with the land around these parts, but it seemed like everything would go well thanks to Michiyo’s informative mail.
And as she was heading to her destination, the phone rang once again.
Wondering what it was this time, she stopped and looked at the screen. Doing so, there was a familiar number there that wasn’t registered.
She hesitated about whether to answer, but those who knew this number were quite few, so Youran decided to go ahead and answer.
All of a sudden, a high-volume yelling voice from the receiver shot her eardrum. It was the kind of voice that made her instinctively separate herself from the phone and cover her ears.
It was a voice and manner of speaking that she was used to. It had to be Leticia E Keraaz, who was supposed to have returned to her lodging place soon after parting ways.
As she was wondering what in the world this was about, her friend asked again in a loud voice that could be heard even without being next to the receiver.
『Where are ya?』
「Hey! You’re too loud. What’s up all of a sudden? I’m going to sleep soon, okay?」
Leticia repeated the same phrase.
『I’m in yer room right now.』
『I had stuff to ask ya ‘bout tomorrow and then when I came ya weren’t there. Where ya loitering around?』
「Y-You’re in my room right now?」
「And my body double?」
『The lass is at the seat of honor. She was making an irritated face after all.』
「We have the same faces. She’s my body double after all.」
Hearing her burst out snickering, Youran inclined her head at what she meant by「Hah」.
『More ‘portantly, I didn’ ask earlier, but where are ya?』
Realizing that if she was already in the room there would be no more point in bluffing, Youran decided to admit it.
「Some minor business.」
『What, ya going on a date?』
「No! Anyway, what do you want?」
She wasn’t going on a date, but it was true that she was going to meet with a man. And if that area was pecked at then things would become abnormally complicated with their conversation, so Youran attempted to avoid that by steering the conversation to Leticia’s business with her.
『It’s about tomorrow’s plan. Ya were going to come with me to go to various facilities and give ‘em our condolences, right? I came to discuss that with ya.』
『What’s up with that tone. You haven’t heard?』
「……Yeah, cause I left all the scheduling to Michiyo.」
Youran frowned. She had indeed left the scheduling to Michiyo and had heard nothing at all.
She had heard that the schedule tuning was finished, but if she knew that then she would have desisted form doing this.
Leticia was visiting Japan as a state guest, and any schedule that involved accompanying her was to be prioritized.
Michiyo had said that it would be alright.
「Twenty-four hours at most……」
『Haah? Ya say somethin’?』
Youran shook her head. It seemed like her muttering had transmitted to the other side via the electromagnetic waves.
「……Seems like I’ll return by tomorrow, but if by any chance I’m not there, go ahead and attend with the body double. That should be fine.」
『Your head messed up?』
「Eh? What do you mean?」
Youran was taken aback. It was a last resort, but there shouldn’t have been a reason to have her be spoken about so disparagingly.
『No way this lass could substitute for ya.』
「Why not? Up until now she’s always――」
『This lass doesn’t have the aura.』
Youran smiled wryly, wondering what she was getting on about.
『Ya might wanna get to know yerself a bit more. It’s all well and good if ya do things across the tv screen or wave yer hands from far away, but the thing tomorrow is a bit stretchin’ it for an actor. When giving condolences, you’ll be doing things like takin’ people’s hands and saying a thing or two.』
「That’s true, but……is it really that bad?」
『’Course it is. Your brain tissue lower than miso soup?』
Having said that strongly, Leticia let a small sigh escape.
『So ya can’t come back right now.』
She asked to clarify.
Youran felt a slight pang of guilt in response to her close friend’s softened attitude.
「Yeah, sorry. I don’t know if I’ll make it in time for tomorrow morning. But I’ll try my best to make it in time――」
『Don’t make promises that ya can’t keep.』
Leticia bluntly cut her off.
『I get it. At worst I’ll just say that you had a sudden illness.』
『S’fine. More importantly, ya’d best prepare yerself, cause I’m gonna ask ya a lotta questions.』
Saying those last words, Leticia ended the call.
Remembering the word “aura” that she had used, Youran giggled, but that smile soon disappeared.
「Michiyo……What are you doing?」
She felt slight dissatisfaction with her retainer about the schedule.
Until now throughout all that had happened, she had trusted Michiyo and entrusted her with all the responsibility. But she didn’t so much as even tell her about the plans with the state guest.
The one to ultimately decided on that was herself, but she couldn’t even make judgements if there wasn’t any materials to judge.
At the very least, she would likely have drawn back tonight if she had known.
But there was no point in saying that by this time.
Youran organized the objective and the circumstances in her head.
The plan was for tomorrow morning, which meant…
「Hurry up and go, and hurry up and come back is all I need to do.」
She thought, once again walking in the direction of the destination building.
She walked comparatively faster than before the phone call. That was natural, as there were not at most 24 hours but rather only a few hours.
She advanced through the night streets along the route stored in her head.
Before long, she reached the place of destination that Michiyo notified her about.
The six floor multi-tenant building on the outskirts of town had its lights on.
Looking up at it, she did not immediately enter, instead taking out her compact mirror for some reason.
Using it, she checked her appearance. After confirming that there was nothing off about her reflection in the mirror, she took a deep breath and stepped into the building.
And the minute she went through the entrance, the shutters behind her fell with a crash.