「Taiyou-chan! Have you come back to us Taiyou-chan! Do you know who I am！？ One (一) plus (+) one (一) equals (=) a rice paddy field (田んぼ) ！？」
「Shut, up……Don’t shout near my ears……」
「Oh, so you can hear me! Taiyou-chan! My Taiyou-chan！！」
「Speaking like you own me or something……」
Getting up, he held down the back of his head, which was throbbing in pain. His thoughts were all over the place, but he could still tell that there was a noisy fairy squawking near his ears.
「And what even happened to me……」
「Seems ya came to」
He gained full control of his senses upon hearing the unusual Kansai dialect. Getting up with a start and surveying his surroundings, the door opened, and the blonde-haired blue-eyed girl came entering the room along with two guards.
With the same appearance as earlier, she sat in a removed location from where Taiyou had been sleeping, and the two black-clothed guards were waiting behind her with relaxed postures. Despite being in a room, they were still wearing sunglasses and he couldn’t tell where they were looking, so Taiyou felt keen pressure.
「How ya doin’？」
「……Horribly, thanks to you」
He instantly remembered what had happened just prior. As he was arguing back and forth with Youran, he had been hit in the neck by her with a striking hand.
Then he had lost consciousness, waking to find himself here.
He glanced outside the window. It would seem that night had not yet turned to day, as the sky was still dark. But unlike earlier, he had been carried away not to another outside location, but inside.
「Seems like yer gonna be fine. Welp, not like my thin arms could do much inniway」
「For thin arms, you made quite the punch, wouldn’t you say？」
「It’s a maiden’s etiquette」
「In what world is there a maiden who chops a sword hand into someone’s neck」
「In the world of high society」
Leticia said, making a bitter smile unbecoming of her magnificent appearance.
「Humans like me mostly have that sorta thing in them, ya know？ Though we’re also taught to give up whenever we can’t finish a sneak attack in one blow」
「In that sense ancient Japan is logical. Ya know, didn’t women of the past slip daggers between kimono and bosom? Those are used for resistance, and also for suicide when all else fails. Our taijutsu is the same as that」
「Wanna know why I know that much? See, our country――the Phili kingdom is the most pro-Japanese country. They like Japan too much and a mere few have Japanese blood a few generations back. Heck, even my middle name――」
Taiyou was completely silent as he glared at Leticia, strongly insisting implicitly that he did not intend to tag along with her banter.
As if that had transmitted, Leticia deeply sighed, slightly lowering her tone and changing the topic.
「Dun glare at me like that, it was unintentional to hit ya down」
「Why did you do such a thing」
She had finally responded, so Taiyou cut to the chase.
「Cuz we’re best friends」
「Didn’t ya think it weird? That gurl wanted ya to escape and I gladly cooperated. No matter how ya look at it that’s what ‘appened. But if anything I was like『Ya sure？』and confirmed, ya know？」
「Then, what was the reason for accepting that from her at the end?」
「Yer sayin’ dat’s a bad thing？」
「I want to know the reason」
After a brief interval, Leticia answered.
「……Folks like us, see, we hardly ever get to have our free will granted. We get wrapped up in a lotta things more than the average person and our own will is constantly put on the backburner」
「So you’re saying that you’ll grant your wishes when you get tge chance？」
「And I might add that it’s if there’s someone who can grant it」
Leticia’s smile became paler.
「In dat situation, I was probably the only person in the world who’da left ‘er there. Opposite is also true」
「That’s also, because you’re best friends？」
「Alright. Then let me ask one last thing」
「Where was she taken」
Taiyou stared straight at Leticia, asking as if pressing her.
His gaze that was mostly a glare seemed to be saying「You’re best friends so you know right」.
「It should become clear to ya soon」
「And telling me about it would violate your “best friend” code？」
「Till the prerequisites are clear I ain’t gonna tell ya」
「……Is it Aoba」
「I dunno the specifics, but till that ain’t cleared, you movin’ is gonna have the opposite effect」
Losing his words, Taiyou bit his lower lip. Just like Leticia had said, Youran had remained at that place and had Taiyou escape was because they had Aoba, and there was nothing that could be done until that was resolved.
「I’m gonna ask ya summat」
Without hesitation, Leticia began asking Taiyou in a no-nonsense manner.
「What was your joker that girl mentioned」
Taiyou caught his breath. Hera was near him, but he didn’t dare look there.
He simply gazed at Leticia, asking back.
「Why do you ask」
「We needa grasp da situation. Ya din actually think I’d leave the girl there didja?」
「We’re besties, me an’ that girl. If ya had to ask how close, enough to abandon each other when it comes down to it」
「Can’t just leave her like that if she’s my one and only bestie right？」
「She wanted that earlier, so I granted it. Now it’s my turn. Plus she ain’t said dun come for her」
「Anyhoo, I wanna know what the “joker” of yours that she said was」
How should he begin・・・・・・、he hesitated in that regard.
「Could it be some sorta spirit？」
「Huh？ Why do you think that」
Taiyou’s heart skipped a beat.
「At dat time, when she talked ’bout that joker, yer conversation was super weird. Sorta like one or two more people were there……or like ya were talking to someone via phone, that sorta way」
「Ya dun realize it eh, well whatevs. Also」
Is there something else? Taiyou furrowed his brow.
「Right after ya woke up ye was talkin’ to someone weren’t ya. Right before I came into the room. I thought this room could be used fer transmissions so I jammed it but since ye was still talkin’ I thought it was probably some sorta ghost or whatnot」
He couldn’t even make a guttural sound. Once the origin was made that clear, Taiyou could no longer talk it off.
Hera may have the same thinking, or maybe she had read Taiyou’s thoughts. She had first spoken after Leticia had entered the room.
Taiyou let out words of comfort to her.
「You’re not in the wrong. You quieted down when she entered the room. Just means that she was one step ahead this time」
「Plus the situation was just right. If we weren’t in this situation then I doubt she’d a let out such a simple hint」
「Don’t just participate in the conversation like it’s something normal, I might actually think you can see her」
Taiyou smiled bitterly.
「But ain’t she there」
「Yeah, but she isn’t a spirit or whatever, she says she’s a fairy」
「I am a fairyー」
「Which means she can be seen」
「Can I see her too」
As opposed to the taciturn Taiyou, Leticia thrust in with curiosity.
「Taiyou-chan, you do not need to fret, yes？ After all, Youran-chan can・・see her」
Understanding precisely what Hera was saying, Taiyou took a deep breath, facing Leticia once again.
「In order to see her, you have to kiss me」
「Let me add that I’ve already done so with Youran」
Leticia sighed, leaning back further into the chair she was sitting in.