「What’s the meaning of this?」
The words that came straight out of her mouth displayed her state of mind as it was.
She didn’t think that she would hear that voice of all things here, and she could hear an extremely calm voice.
Serious, but not cornered. At the very least, this was not the voice of a retainer who grasped the current situation of one’s master being captured by one’s enemy.
That was the kind of voice she had heard from Tsukumo’s smartphone.
Various thoughts recurred in her head, and Youran once again responded.
「Do you understand the situation that I am in?」
『Of course I do. I’m viewing your situation over there via video after all.』
「You seem rather composed despite that.」
「Well yeah, that’s cause she’s doing this of her free will.」
「What do you mean?」
「I like that version of New Moon-sama as well; she’s strongly high-minded and refined. She feels like the heroine of the era――the century.」
「I thought I told you I wasn’t into that sort of thing.」
「But I like that kind of thing; so much so that I want to reset myself as soon as possible.」
She roughened her voice, but there was no response from the smartphone speakers. She could hear the faintest respiration, but nothing more.
She called her name once again, but expectedly, there was no answer.
Youran understood that attempting to press questions wouldn’t make her respond. Changing her target, she turned to Tsukumo and asked him.
「What are your objectives? I cannot comprehend why Juunishima Tsubaki has resorted to these violent actions at this point in time.」
「I hear that it’s exactly because it’s this point in time. Doesn’t New Moon-sama actually also comprehend the situation?」
「I understand the part about Adano’s whereabouts being found, but I cannot comprehend why I need to be captured now.」
「New Moon-sama is unexpectedly pure.」
「What are you getting at?」
Youran furrowed her brow, somewhat feeling she was being made fun of.
「At this rate, the next Juunishima head is decidedly New Moon-sama. You do after all hold the name『Director of the New Moon』, and most importantly, your popularity among the island’s citizens is exceptional. Even if Tsubaki-sama and Adano-sama paired together, that rank would not sway. You’re thinking that, right New Moon-sama? That is correct.」
「Quit the roundabout manner of speaking.」
「We’d like to have New Moon-sama say with her mouth that she’ll yield the inheritance rights to Adano-sama.」
「You’re telling me to yield in favor of a more virtuous successor?」
「Can’t tell if those words are suitable for――Nah, it’s New Moon-sama so I guess they are. Yeah, that’s right.」
Tsukumo nodded, and Youran figured that if that were the case then she was satisfied with the answer.
It was true that Tsubaki grasped a certain degree of authority in Juunishima, but no matter how she used that power, the chances of her ascending to the head were equal to 0.
That was simply related to her lineage.
The causes of power struggles were generally classified into two categories. And in Juunishima, the modern anachronism of the name「Director of the New Moon」being used was more important than justification.
In this case, the ones who could be the next Juunishima head were only Youran and Adano Pochi, born from the current head’s legal wife. Those who were not of the main line such as Tsubaki or Sakura, Anna, etc, could not get the chance unless Youran or Adano were to disappear.
That was why Tsubaki tried to support Adano. The problem there was that Youran already had her position solidified as the inheritor of the title of Director of the New Moon.
If Adano had perhaps been on Juunishima and grew up just like Youran, things may have been different, but even if she revealed herself by this point in time, that rank would not waver.
And if someone were to want to erase Youran, it wasn’t that simple.
Tsubaki’s objective was to have the discovered Adano inherit the headship, and no matter the procedure, people would appear who associated Adano’s return with Youran’s disappearance.
Youran had the support of island citizens numbering over a million; the majority. Even if an agenda were to be pushed within Juunishima, the island residents would not be satisfied with that.
It was to be expected that chaos would continue for a long period of time.
In the worst-case scenario, the now-gone Youran would be idolized/deified, remaining deep-rooted within the hearts of people.
The charisma gained from reaching an entirely new stage would be too much to even mention in all of history.
Youran understood that, and believed that Tsubaki also understood that.
So despite being a political opponent, Youran had in a sense believed completely in her safety.
Youran had believed that in fact if anything had happened to her then Tsubaki would assure her safety with all her effort.
「I see; it definitely seems like there’s no other option.」
「Sharp as usual, New Moon-sama. Your comprehension will save time.」
「But I have no intention of doing that.」
「So you have no intention of surrendering your authority?」
「I cannot entrust the lives of a million villagers with someone who has no readiness.」
「The one with the real power would be Tsubaki-sama.」
「Even if she’s a puppet, if she had the resolve then the worst situation could be avoided. If that’s not there then it’s out of the question.」
「Tsubaki-sama might very well have the resolve, right?」
「Juunishima Tsubaki is a vulgar person with no self-awareness. She’s like a variety of the evil spirits of rivers and mountains, obsessed with greed for hollow authority of the bottom. She has no such thing as resolve.」
「Evil spirits and mountains? You’re evaluating her pretty high.」
「It would do you well to take out a dictionary.」
Tsukumo stared in puzzlement. Youran ignored him, carrying on the conversation.
「Anyhow, I have no intention of yielding this seat to Adano. No matter what is done to me.」
「Well, that was also to be expected. So we made preparations.」
「Tsubaki said that we have a specialist in brainwashing. That we’d take a long time in units of years as we fixed New Moon-sama’s way of thinking.」
Youran’s face stiffened. She felt the most threatened in this very moment of this day.
「That’s how it would be between New Moon-sama and Adano-sama・・・・There is groundwork; groundwork for the people around to be convinced, and all that would be left would be to have New Moon-sama say it directly from her mouth. Tsubaki-sama said that there are people prepared who can accomplish that.」
「……No matter what you do to me, I will not change my views.」
She tried saying firmly, but Youran was panicked internally.
Brainwashing pros. Those words gave her a big impact.
Youran thought of herself as the one who she distrusted the most in this world. Ever-changing, and a hopeless human who accepted too easily the influences of those around her.
If it was torture then she could endure it; feelings of revolt would be born within her.
But what Tsukumo said――The brainwashing pros that Tsubaki had prepared were probably not that.
Using various outlets: occasionally coercion, occasionally placation, they would probably try to begin to change Youran’s way of thinking.
She had knowledge of those said methods, and she had absolutely no confidence that she could endure them.
Suddenly, Michiyo’s voice came out from the smartphone speakers. She had totally forgotten, but it seemed that the call had continued on throughout.
『It would be best for you to surrender. This is not the sort of situation that you can make do of with obstinance.』
Youran became further cornered.
Michiyo was her right hand. Youran had entrusted her with trust as well as indirect authority with small and large things alike.
There was the working squadron under Youran’s direct control, but in general, she sent them orders via Michiyo.
The fact that Michiyo had come to the other side also meant that there would be no people to the rescue.
Negative factors continuously piled up.
There was only one bright light left for her.
Because she valued justification, Tsubaki had chosen a drwan-out war. She had chosen to take time and reform Youran’s thoughts.
In other words, danger was not imminent.
（If I can at least hold out here……）
She thought, thinking to initially surrender, but…
「Huh? A catch, eh.」
Tsukumo said, operating the smartphone giving off electric sounds. He put the receiver straight to his ear.
「Chan Suu, eh? How’s the course of events?」
Youran cautioned herself when she heard “course of events”. She braced herself for something still progressing outside of her knowledge.
「You got them, eh? Good job. Now listen, you need to treat ‘em carefully; carefully.」
Emphasizing his words, Tsukumo ended the call.
Could Adano have been caught? Youran thought that, but―ー
「Seems that they’ve received New Moon-sama’s Okaa-sama.」
「My subordinates, Chan Suu and Chan Shaa are escorting her, and you’ll be taken along later as well, New Moon sama. And then…guhuhuhu.」
Tsukumo made a bizarre laugh. Hearing that, Youran felt chills race up her spine.
She wasn’t sure why, but it was really disgusting.
「Guhuhu, gonna have some mother-daughter bowl, mother-daughter bowl.」
「T-That’s an act…That’s just a character that you’ve set yourself as.」
Youran was violently disturbed.
「That’s right. I’ve set myself to be a person who loves the mother-daughter bowl. And during that time period, it’s the best thing to me in my value system.」
「We’re going to slowly change New Moon-sama’s way of thinking. Just like the Chan mother and daughter.」
He made a repulsive smile at her.
Youran completely felt her face become pale.