「B-Brother and sister?」
「Yes, and what of it? Do you intend to say that we don’t resemble each other or something, we are in fact through and through siblings born from the same womb. Although I’ve exceedingly accepted that」
「Y-You’ve accepted it」
「Yes, of course」
「I haven’t though, I can’t accept that the mother daughter bowl shrunk to one set」
「Like I said, just hurry up and reset your personality」
「Resetting my personality isn’t that simple. First it must be done on the sixteenth night when a shadow approaches the new moon――」
「Yeah yeah, thank you for the made-up story」
Haku nonchalantly dealt with her brother. Aoba’s eyes were wide open watching the exchange between the siblings.
Though she was captured, the females who had showed up with Tsukumo were all mother and daughter pairs. Honoka and Chan Suu who had left now were that way too, and she had witnessed that Chie who had contacted them from the tablet also had a mother named Chiyo who had a kunoichi outfit.
So although she had not actually seen them, Aoba anologically reasoned that Haku as well was entered in Tsukumo’s so-called mother daughter bowl.
However, that was not the case. She was Tsukumo’s younger sister.
The young man in his latter twenties, and the high school girl……no, she looked more like a child-faced big-breasted middle school girl.
These two were quite separated in age for siblings.
「In any case big brother, was it alright to only have those two go?」
「Is there a problem？」
Tsukumo returned with a nonchalant face.
「I believe that Natsuno Taiyou is a man who we cannot quite underestimate. At first I thought that he was an ordinary high schooler, but that does not seem to be the case. He has a physique that bullets do not work on and superhuman strength, and there’s also his quick-wittedness. There are probably only a handful of Japanese people who could win against that boy in close combat. Honestly, the load is too much for food scraps to go up against a tardigrade, I think」
「Right, I think so too」
「Then why did you have them go?」
「Because those two succeeded in the previous mission.」
「……What are you talking about？」
「Sure punishment or reward, if they succeed then a reward, if they fail then a punishment, those are the conditions but……I honestly think that they’re cuter when punished rather than rewarded, the mothers included」
「……Are you saying that because you want to tease them in bed, you intentionally sent them somewhere to fail?」
「I see, then I understand. But if by any chance those two get done in by Natsuno Taiyou then what will you do?」
「So you’re worried about them」
「Worried? Yes, I am worried」
Tsukumo’s face had a look of extreme disbelief. He did not think that Haku was truly concerned for their safety, showing on his face.
Aoba was the same, and what she had gathered from knowing their sibling relationship a moment ago, Haku’s personality didn’t convince her that she was the type of girl to think that way.
「They are ingredients that can be eaten raw, and yet you go out of your way to roast them and then cook them too much and burn them. That is what I am worried about」
「Ohh, that kind of worry」
Tsukumo accepted that, whereas Aoba was unable to understand very well.
「It’ll be alright, cause that boy has a poor endgame」
「Is that so？」
「Yeah that’s right, he has power but feels like he doesn’t really understand its use. In addition, he hesitates to attack humans in the flesh. Usually if you had that much power you could surely quickly turn a limited human into a lump of flesh, but that guy doesn’t have it in him. The power that he has and the way he uses it are too unbalanced」
That’s really true, thought Aoba secretly.
Whether one would be convinced with the explanation about Taiyou’s power and utilization or not would depend on knowing about Hera’s existence.
Aoba knew, which was why she was convinced. Tsukumo didn’t know, which was why he had logically judged it as odd.
「Welp, I dunno what would happen if he did have it in him, but even if that were the case――Chan Suu and Honoka would probably both noncommittally do what they could and then turn tail and flee」
「I see, I am satisfied then」
「Later I’d noncommittally bind them up and harass their mothers, that’s all」
「The mothers as well？」
「I’ve set myself to be a man who loves mother daughter bowls, what would I do if I didn’t harass both sets? Because of their own mistakes their mothers are dragged in as well……I shiver just thinking of it」
「……You really are a pervert」
「Is that right？」
「Yes, I am relieved that you are the same as ever……and it seems that we have a call」
A transmission appeared in the tablet, and Haku pressed the receiver button, reporting to Tsukumo.
「This is Tardigrades……Hello」
『Ummm, it’s over. Captured』
「……You got captured of all things?」
Haku furrowed her eyebrows. It was a sortie with failure in mind, but she expressed her displeasure at this outcome.
However, the outcome become even more of an unexpected outcome.
『Nooo. We captured her, new moon-samaa』
The stupid voices reverbated continuously in the trunk.
The light truck stopped, and Tsukumo and Haku hopped off. Before them were an unhurt Honoka and Chan Suu, as well as the figure of a restrained Youran.
Haku briskly walked over, halting in front of Youran.
「Juunishima New Moon」
「Don’t――ngh！ Please do not refer to me by that name！」
「You are the third person to call me that」
The quarreling conversation between Youran and Haku, to an onlooker……such as Aoba who was captured in the trunk, it was unclear what meaning there was in that, but she could tell clearly that they did not get along.
This was another exchange that Aoba could not understand. Rebuked by Tsukumo, Haku reluctantly stepped back.
She moved aside, replaced by Tsukumo standing before Youran.
「Are you alone, New Moon-sama」
「That boy……where is Natsuno Taiyou？」
「I know not」
「Of course you would, you were with him just a moment ago after all」
「I know not, since I entrusted that boy to Princess Leticia. Though we have had a long relationship, not even I can read her movements」
「I see, as expected」
「What do you mean as expected？」
Haku questioned Tsukumo.
「There isn’t any way to answer if you don’t know. She entrusted him to a trustworthy but unpredictable partner, so no matter how much we ask her she can’t answer. Using us as an example……Haku, it would be like you leaving it all to Honoka and having me escape」
「Talking about mee？」
Honoka was taken aback whereas Haku nodded heavily.
「As expected of New Moon-sama, thinking up to two, no three steps ahead, such marvelous direction」
「But Big Brother, regardless, we have secured New Moon’s person. Let us now take her to where her mother――」
「No, that’ll be postponed」
Haku was taken aback.
「What is the matter Big Brother, you said that once we capture New Moon and send her to her mother you would destroy their pride as women and their personalities, did you not」
「Yeah, that was my original intention. But I’ve changed my mind」
「You have changed your mind……what do you mean？」
Haku was shocked. Tsukumo was staring not at said younger sister, but at Youran, standing firmly.
「Juunishima New Moon Director Youran. Before I had set myself as the current me I was your fan」
「To tell you the truth, there was no need to wrap your okaa-sama in this situation, but I intented to wrap her up in this with sophism, if circumstances permitted it」
「Doubtless, I did feel roundaboutness」
「The aforementioned you appeared before me as your opponent with hardened resolve, choosing the path of being captured yourself. ……All to help that boy escape」
「What of it？」
「What I’m saying is that I’ve become interested in that boy whom you resolved yourself to help escape. Honestly, in this moment, more so than your great self」
Haku was surprised, hearing Tsukumo’s words from the side.
「Is that really it」
「It very much so is, yes? You know, the moment a woman realizes she’s been cheated on, rather than the man she more strongly thinks about exacting revenge upon her female opponent, right?」
「I am a woman of high upbringing, I cannot comprehend such emotions」
「Surely you jest」
「No I do not――」
「You do so」
Tsukumo cut into the middle of Youran’s words.
「After all, you even anticipated me thinking this way when you got captured, right?」
Youran closed her mouth. Twintails wavering in the night wind, her face was like that of an unreadable noh mask.
Tsukumo smiled at said girl abruptly.
「It’s no problem, I’ll go along with it for you. New Moon-sama did after all substitute for him, and it is also a fact that Natsuno Taiyou is that much important of a person to you. It is also factual that I have as a result……gone so far as to develop a strong interest in that boy. So I’ll go along with your intentions.」
Tsukumo said, changing his expression.
A cold-hearted expression unlike him.
「Although I believe that I will be taking the fourth step ahead this time around」