「……Well you are his『bride』after all」
Youran thought a bit, pursing her lips and speaking. Even from the viewpoint of the same sex――Aoba thought her peevish expression was adorable enough to be just a bit envious.
On the other hand, she didn’t understand what Youran was trying to say.
「W-What do you mean？」
「That guy is spitefully――gleefully pulling my twintails. And you’re his bride, so you cooperate with him. So that he can pull it again when we meet. Isn’t that right」
Aoba became unintentionally exasperated.
「I don’t think that’s, the case……」
「Then, what is it」
Aoba thought about it briefly, then spoke after a moment.
「Juunishima-san wants to deal damage to Natsuno-kun, right? If he wants to do so, then……you’re saying that you want to just stop him from pulling your hair in the first place」
「Yes, to prevent him from his pleasure――that’s my measure to reach my objective of not letting him pull it」
「Then I think this is how it is. Natsuno really wants to pull the twintails in front of him, but maybe if he can’t pull them no matter what, it’ll greatly damage him. Right there yet unpullable. He can see them but can’t touch them. I think that’s where the bulk of the damage is」
Eyes wide open, she slapped her hands togetger.
Aoba was comparatively similar. Youran in her “girly mode” would occasionally change her facial expressions: an even more sentimental girl.
「Oh, that way does seem like it would deal him damage」
「Yeah, that’s what I think. So I’m thinking that it might be better for Juunishima-san to not lose the twintails. Although Juunishima-san will probably have it hard like that」
「I see I see, hmhm」
Clasping her own jaw, Youran repeatedly nodded.
With a content demeanor, it would seem that she would likely be keeping her twintails fastened when next meeting Taiyou. Aoba was secretly relieved.
（I wonder……what this person is……）
Aoba privately tilted her head.
The girl who was almost in front of her was the girl who had been dealing with Tsukumo earlier, in a dignified manner to boot. She was unmistakably the same human, and yet she felt like the opposite in every way, as if she had multiple personalities.
What kind of human might she be……
Aoba had forced her way to this island because she had wanted to meet her.
The public reason was that one of her mothers, Mio, had come from that island and would be coming along to guide Taiyou, so Aoba was coming along as well.
Taiyou was satisfied with that reason, but Kohaku had sent her off with the kind of smile that sees through everything.
Aoba had come along by hearing about Youran from Taiyou.
She had decidedly mixed feelings, but if she were to abbreviate them to the max they would end up being in the “jealousy” category.
She had heard before that Taiyou pulled Youran’s twintails mischievously each time they met, so she had gone to the length of dangling her own ponytail in front of Taiyou, and yet Taiyou hadn’t pulled it. He didn’t even try to.
Just why hadn’t Taiyou pulled them?
She had secretly asked the three Hayakawa sisters, their hair in braids. If they were braids, closely resembling twintails……she had asked them that, but they had answered that they hadn’t had theirs pulled either.
Just what was the issue, why had Taiyou only pulled Youran’s?
Kohaku seemed to understand everything, but she wouldn’t tell her even when asked.
That was why she had forced her way along to the island. Because she had wanted to meet this girl named Juunishima Youran――she was interested in her and Taiyou’s relationship.
Actually meeting her, Aoba understood・・・・・various things.
At the same time, a new question had emerged.
Ultimately, what kind of person was she?
That was a question formed after actually meeting her.
The truck ran a bit more, arriving at a building that seemed to be the destination.
It was a one-story the size of a gym, surrounded by farmland. It was a construction unfamiliar to Aoba, with a garage actually made inside the building.
The truck was parked inside the garage, and after the shutter had lowered, Youran and Aoba were taken along.
The two of them were led into a room in the far back.
「Now then, stay here briefly, New Moon-sama」
Youran nodded, answering in the “New Moon Director” mode instead of what she had used with Aoba.
That was the slightest resistance of revenge.
Youran was intentionally doing that, and Tsukumo also knew that.
The two of them quietly staring at each other, Tsukumo was the first to remove his gaze.
A faint smile on his face, he exited the room, locking the door with a click.
「……There wasn’t even any need to so courteously lock the door」
Aoba stared blankly at Youran. She decided to explain to her.
「I mean look, there isn’t a doorknob or anything attached to this door, right？」
Aoba looked at the door with a start.
What looked like a door had nothing resembling so much as a handle from the interior. Other than a small window near the bottom, there was not a single place attached for grabbing.
「I wonder how they usually open this」
「You don’t need to open it. It’s just like a penitentiary, made to not be opened from the inside」
「Like a penitentiary？」
「Right, don’t you see the small window below the door? That’s for eating and the like, deposit and withdrawal. This room was made to confine people」
「Welp, that’s obvious though. If we were instead put into a regular room I’d actually consider it a trap. Cause that his objective is to keep me ・・・captured until that guy comes. So in that sense this isn’t a torture room but a confinement room」
「Th-That makes sense」
「Now, I wonder how we’ll be able to escape」
「Eh, we’re escaping？！」
Probably quite surprised, Aoba unconsciously raised her voice, opening her eyes wide to the point where the eyelids seemed like they might tear.
She had been listening to the exchange between Youran and Tsukumo, so she hadn’t so much as thought that she’d suddenly say something like this. That was what her expression and reaction basically said.
「Well of course」
「B-But……then why did you remain and get caught by that Saekusa person?」
「Objective and method」
Youran said with an earnest face.
「My objective was to buy time for that guy and Leti to escape. So this just happened to be the method to achieve that. And this has been fairly successful for vying for time, wouldn’t you say?」
「So far it’s gone well with staying over there and getting captured, but there just isn’t any reason to stay here, for me. Besides, even at this time Tsubaki’s faction is chasing Kohaku-san and the others. If I don’t go back then I won’t be able to issue any orders. If Michiyo hadn’t betrayed me then I probably could have made some decisions on the spot」
While saying that, Youran walked around the room. In the dull room, she was doing things like touching and tapping the walls.
「If I don’t go back right now the situation can’t be helped. Leti might do something about it, but this country probably won’t be able to freely move」
While explaining to Aoba, she continued thinking about ways to escape.
She glanced at Aoba.
Just thinking of escape, Aoba would unmistakably become a hindrance.
According to Youran’s info, Miki Aoba was born in a unique household, which gave her a unique thought process, but power-wise she was a girl with nothing of special mention.
Even amongst those also under Taiyou, for inhuman traits Hera went without saying, Kohaku had intellect that made her someone good for accompaniment, and the three sisters even had some sort of telepathy that could be used as a trump card when it came down to it. Adano could even be useful in the worst case as a human pillar.
However, only this Aoba was a girl who could not become any means of escape for this objective.
She had actually been looking at her to figure out what to do with her.
「If it’s me you’re worrying about, please don’t, if you can escape by yourself then please do」
「What are you saying？」
The so-called hindrance of a girl had said something unexpected.
At first her heart had skipped a beat thinking her thoughts had been read, but Youran decided then to ask back without showing a shred of trembling.
「Right now, I feel like I understand the reason why Taiyou-kun pulls Juunishima-san’s twintails」
「You resemble each other, Natsuno-kun and Juunishima-san. Especially when you say “objective and method” as a catchphrase. So I think that’s probanly the foundation of why Taiyou wants to pull your twintails」
「Sorry, could you explain in a way that’s easier to understand?」
「I won’t be telling you that」
「Anyhow, that’s how I figured it out. If I were to think from Natsuno-kun’s viewpoint, Juunishima-san would think I was a hindrance to escaping」
「So you’re telling me to leave you because he’d say that?」
「That I do not know, whatever Natsuno-kun would do. What I do know is only that Natsuno-kun would fret over this. Whether to take me with him, or to not go」
「And then I tried thinking from Natsuno-kun’s viewpoint about……objective and method」
「Yes, earlier……what Juunishima-san said. In order to rescue Kohaku and the others, that we should get out of here as soon as possible. If we have that as our objective, I really think that Juunishima-san should go ahead alone」
Youran stared at Aoba.
For no particular reason, she recalled when she had first met Michiyo.
She had thought Michiyo to be a trusted retainer, someone who she didn’t mind entrusting with the authority of the Juunishima chief of a million.
「Yeah, I get what you’re trying to say」
Youran nodded, and even in that moment, Aoba’s expression did not falter.
That’s why she made a decision.
「Let’s escape together」
While being born as someone with authority, Juunishima Youran had another treacherous face.
Together with logical, she could also be obstinate.
That was the girl named Juunishima Youran.
「That there girl’s a fool」
Leticia said above the sea.