The truck began entering an area where people were relatively scarce.
The interval between street light and street light became longer, and even the road’s pavement began becoming dubious.
It wasn’t even good enough of a ride to call it that, and yet the vibrations got worse and the people riding in it were all affected.
Youran and Aoba sitting next to her frowned each time the car body leaped, but Tsukumo and company didn’t have much of a reaction, perhaps quite used to this.
「I will make sure to get preparations ready, Big Brother」
「I leave it to you. Ohh and also, prepare a personal missile」
「Personal missile? That one with the guidance equipment attached?」
「Not the Guerilla or anti-group ones, the personal missile that’s aimed at the lot who’ve quit being human」
「What are you saying Big Brother, what do you plan to do with such an expensive thing?」
「Fire at him」
「It is not like you are using it for interior design, I understand that. What I am asking is wht that is necessary」
「I’ve been saying it constantly since earlier, that I’ve become interested in what kind of man the boy named Natsuno Taiyou is whom New Moon-sama has taken a liking to. It’s clear that things like bullets or rockets won’t work, but I was thinking that if not that then what about personal missiles」
「Only for that reason, you say?」
Tsukumo said, looking at Youran in a slightly removed location and grinning.
「These are goods powerful enough to force that 『Shirokiyami』to earnestly deal with them, so I wonder how that boy would fare」
「No matter how you look at it, this is overkill」
Haku sighed with an exasperated face.
「There is going to be a large deficit」
「How haaard you have it, Haku-chan」
「I have already given up, I decided to think of everything that happens until this affair is dealt with as something that『can’t be helped』」
「Reeeally, you have it reeeally difficult」
「Haku likes the spicy stuff, so she iz already full」
「What are you implying」
While Tsukumo and company were exchanging a carefree conversation, Youran and Aoba were chatting facing each other.
「You are……that Juunishima-san」
「Uhh？ You know about me？」
「Yeah, I heard about you from Kohaku-san」
「Kohaku-san eh, is she well?」
「Yeah, too energetic if anything. Especially when she has strange conversations with Natsuno-kun」
「It was the same when I last met her」
Youran sat with her knees together, shoulders taut. Every time the car body leaped, her slender twintails also leaped at the same time.
Unlike Aoba, who was scared……fearful, even after the ropes binding her hands had been undone, Youran, despite being in the midst of the enemy camp, showed no sign of caring.
「She seems to like that sort of thing, so I would often notice her going on and on happily about incomprehensible things. Like what she’s talking about, how the conversation got there, you just can’t understand it at all, right」
「Yeah, when you realize. You feel like “Huh, did I miss something?”」
「Right? She as well as you are the type of people who like to play dodgeball with words, not catchball. And I’m just not good with that」
「You’re not good with that？」
Aoba asked back gazing in amazement.
About to speak, she looked in Tsukumo’s direction. He just so happened to also be looking that way, and their eyes met so she averted them.
「It’s a little different from that sort of thing」
「Huhhh……is that right」
Aoba didn’t quite get it, but she left it at that.
She stared at Youran.
「What’s wrong? You’re staring at me」
「Umm……I have something that I’d like to ask」
「Oh, just call me Youran, or New Moon」
「Now that you mention it, what do you mean by New Moon? I thought I heard that your name was Juunishima Youran」
「If you Google it you’ll see it on Wiki……but we don’t have our smartphones with us so I guess it’s impossible. Hmm, explaining these details will take a while, you know」
「No, it’s fine. This island was long ago called New Moon Island」
「New Moon Island？」
「Yes, New Moon Island. Long ago to the point where it’s up there with fairy tales, legends, and the like. This island apparently had a day once a month of high tide, and whenever that day came the entire island would sink」
「Eh? This entire island, no way――」
「Well it’s a fairy tale, so the world view is erratic」
「Mhm. And that day in which the island was submerged was the same day of the month as the new moon, so this island was called New Moon Island. Don’t ask if it became that way with the full moon, because I don’t know either」
「As a relic of that fairy tale, the distinguished people of this island have been carrying the title of Director of the New Moon. Many years, or rather generationally. So I’m the one who inherited it」
Aoba made an expression that reflected her not quite getting it. Seeing that reaction, she thought to end the story there.
If she continued talking she would also have to explain the derivation of「Juunishima」. Putting aside the interested parties, she couldn’t purposely tell those without interest, so Youran thought to change topics.
「Come to think of it, you had something you wanted to ask me?」
「Ah, yes. Umm……」
Despite being the one to bring up that topic in the first place, Aoba faltered. She was fidgeting, as if she were finding something difficult to say.
A little while later, Aoba boldly broke the ice.
「Have they been pulled already?」
Youran’s face stared blankly, as if to ask “What are you saying out of the blue?”
「What are you talking about？」
「Uhh, umm……you know……」
「H-Have they already been……pulled by Taiyou？」
The subject finally came out, and Youran undersrand what she was talking about.
She understand when she had heard “who”. She didn’t need to be told “what”.
She took her twintails into her hands.
They were two twintails tied from her temporal region, rustling.
And then she looked at Aoba. She saw the straight ponytail tied from the upper part of the back of her head.
「Is your hair also pulled regularly？」
Aoba shook her head.
「Not even once」
「Really? But that’s a ponytail. Ah, so that means you don’t always have that hairstyle？」
「No, I’m normally like this」
「You normally have that hairstyle, and yet he doesn’t pull it?」
「……You are his bride, right」
Aoba was so surprised that she widened her eyes, soon after timidly nodding.
「I’m going to ask straight away, are you close?」
「Can you tell me」
Youran pressed her with a much too earnest face. Slightly overwhelmed, Aoba nodded a bit bashfully.
「Ah, but not that close, umm――」
「That guy……I guess he dislikes me after all」
「See, he just pulls my twintails. Every time we meet, aaalways. That was definitely malicious」
「Is that……actually malicious」
「But that’s gotta be it, you’re his bride, and you’re close enough to be favored. But despite having an easy-to-pull ponytail out all the time, you haven’t had it pulled even once. Right」
「Then him pulling mine is because he’s just doing it to spite me right」
「Hmm, I don’t know about that」
「It’s plain and simple. Ahhh gosh! I shouldn’t have covered for him」
「What is it」
「No, Juunishima-san, it’s just that you don’t seem to be regretting it」
「Well of course, after all I decided that I’d do it. I can’t regret that. I don’t regret it, it just irritates me」
「If you got into the same situation again, what would Juunishima-san do?」
「Like earlier? I’d protect him, of course」
「……Even if you think that Natsuno-kun is spiteful・・・・・・・・, from now on?」
「That is that, and this is this」
「Honestly! Pulling a girl’s hair just to be mean, what a jerk！」
Watching the indignant Youran, Aoba wondered……if that really was the case.
「I think, rather than being a jerk, he was messing with you」
「Eh？ You also one of those dodgeball folks？」
「Ah, not that……」
Do you really not know？ Aoba was surprised by the clever-looking girl’s reaction.
「That jerk, next time we meet I’m just gonna let it down」
「You’re seriously going to do that？」
「Of course I am! Cause I know it’s done out of spite! I’m gonna make sure it never gets pulled again」
「……I think, that you look better keeping the twintails」
Aoba thought a bit・・・・then said that to her.