Taiyou and the others were inside of a car.
This was a car with bulletproof specifications that could protect against rocket ammunition「within reason」, and Taiyou and the others were riding in it. Being a car for important people, it was surrounded on all sides by Leticia’s subordinates, under protection.
The motorcade was stopped at the shoulder of the road. The engine was in ignition, so it was able to take off within a moment’s notice.
「But wow……You and Youran really are・・two peas in a pod」
Taiyou was riding with them, looking at Youran’s body double and letting out a voice of admiration.
The girl with the white singlet in front of him resembled Youran so much so that he couldn’t tell the difference even from close quarters. It was enough to where if someone were to say they were twins, he would fully believe it, but if he were asked if he could tell the difference between them there at the same time, Taiyou would probably say that he could.
「A-Are you an acquaintance of New Moon-sama?」
「Well, something like that」
While she did have the same face, her manner of speaking was entirely different.
Perhaps she was nervous, or maybe she was normally this way. At any rate, she was speaking in a way that resembled but couldn’t come close to Youran.
Furthermore, to Taiyou, her difference with Youran did not end there.
（The back……is definitely different）
From his standpoint, that was a definitive difference.
For example, even if she didn’t open her mouth, that straight posture that Youran visibly had……he couldn’t find a trace of the air of that careless appearance she herself had mentioned.
What was in front of him was not an awe-inspiring atmosphere, but a normal girl clad with a normal atmosphere.
「Come to think of it I still haven’t heard. What’s your name?」
「Y-Y-Yes! I-I-I-I am J-J-Juurokuya」
Inclining his head, Taiyou tried converting the kanji inside his head.
「Written as “sixteen night”?」
「And you don’t read it as Izayoi？」
「I-I-I am Juurokuya!」
「Oh, is that right」
He wondered why that was for a moment, but Taiyou gave up on the idea of deeply pursuing that.
Many of the names of this island’s inhabitants were separated from his common sense. This was already evident by looking at the island’s name; surely read as “Sugoroku” but instead called “Juuni”.
In comparison to said Juunishima, writing it as “Izayoi” but having it read as “Juurokuya” would enter the category of being totally understandable.
「So this is your real name?」
「Y-Y-Yes! I received this name from N-N-New Moon-sama herself」
「From her?……Could it be, that one thing where the lord christens the retainer？」
「Y, Yes! I received the name Juurokuya in the sense that I am the『Shadow of the New Moon』」
Taiyou couldn’t quite understand what shadow of the new moon meant, but he did manage to comprehend that it was a name with a proper origin.
That Juurokuya had been leaving her hands on her knees, extremely terrified.
As he was questioning why she was so nervous, she was the one who ended up telling him the reason.
「A-A-A-Are you also a state guest here？」
After looking blankly at her for a moment in response, repeating「State guest？」, he began smiling at her.
「No no, I’m Natsuno Taiyou, a full-fledged Japanese person and a simple high-schooler. I’m a person furthest from the likes of a state guest」
「T-T-Then……are you a friend of the princess’s？」
Leaving aside whether they would be in the friends category, at the very least they were probably more than acquaintances, answered Taiyou……secretly recalling the sensation of her lips.
He had answered without much thought, but Juurokuya was clearly panicking. She exaggeratingly backed off in the fairly expansive car with a “Zuzazaza” sound.
「S-S-Sorry, I-I-I have been so rude」
「Y-Y-Y-Yes, going so far as to talk to an honored friend of the princess」
(Although I was the one who talked to you) thought Taiyou, but he didn’t say it.
Because as soon as she said that Juurokuya lowered her head like that of a small animal, and he felt it was charming and adorable to watch.
「P-P-Please forgive me」
「……Okay, in exchange for my forgiveness please answer one question」
Taiyou said with a grin.
He had after all thought that dealing with this kind of person in this manner would make things progress snoothly. Rather than watering it down with an awe-inspiring “I forgive you”, things would move quicker if he were to ask her to do this and that in exchange for his forgiveness.
And just as he had thought, Juurokuya who had been given an opportunity for recompensation stuck fast to it.
「A-A-A-Anything you ask！」
「You are Youran’s body double, yeah? Can you normally fool anyone with that speech of yours？」
「I-I-I-I can act！」
「Act？ Ahh, acting as in impersonating her」
「Can you show me that？」
Juurokuya said, opening her mouth again after clearing her throat.
「My name is Juunishima New Moon Director Youran. I thank you for saving me」
「Wow, that’s just like her」
Taiyou raised his voice. For a moment, not only Juurokuya’s appearance, but her way of speaking had even become like Youran’s.
She was undoubtedly used often as a substitute for Youran in formal situations. Juurokuya’s manner of speaking was that of Youran’s.
But while he felt she resembled her, Taiyou also thought (She only resembles her though).
Juurokuya’s speech patterns, voice, expressions and the like were perfect, and even if this were an official place exposed to public attention the body double would doubtlessly perform well more than enough.
But, Taiyou knew.
The fact that while speaking in a girly tone, having her twintails fastened, and emitting a cheerful atmosphere, the girl named Youran was always a girl who was upright.
That was something even she herself was not aware of; a habit engraved into her body: the proof that one was of high upbringing.
Right to the core, this was a feature filled to the brim with her identity.
（I want to meet her）
Looking at Juurokuya, Taiyou suddenly thought that.
He wanted to meet Youran. Not with a body double that only resembled her, but with the real girl.
It wasn’t like he would do anything about it. Of course his objective of rescue from here out had still not changed.
But even more than that.
Taiyou just wanted to see her.
Thinking that, he slipped his gaze to the side, looking at Leticia sitting on the opposite end.
Youran’s best friend, the cooperative worker for saving her.
Thinking to go ahead and progress in the conversation, he looked at her. She had been silent ever since they had got in the car together.
The beautiful blonde-haired blue-eyed girl was staring forward.
「So Leticia, what do we do from here out?」
He called out to her, but he got no reply. He tried calling her name once again in case she hadn’t heard, but there wasn’t even the slightest reaction, let alone an answer.
Taiyou suddenly realized that something was up with her.
Leticia was no actually looking forward. Her gaze was certainly aimed straight forward, but it did not seem that she was actually looking at anything.
Her eyes were unfocused, spacing out.
Leaning forward, Taiyou peeked into her face. She wouldn’t react even if he called out to her, so he tried doing things like waving his hands in front of her face or lightly shaking her shoulders, but there was absolutely no answer.
It was like a toy whose battery had run out.
Juurokuya had also realized that. Still speaking like Youran, she likewise peeked into Leticia’s face.
Leticia did not react. Puzzled, Taiyou and Juurokuya looked at each other.
「Have you known her for a while too?」
「Does she ever space out like this?」
「It’s my first time seeing this. Letii is also the type to keep up her surface appearance――twofold, see」
「So you’re saying this wouldn’t happen」
「Right, at least not in front of people」
Juuroku declared, coupled with her speech pattern.
Taiyou felt like this was becoming more and more of a deep enigma.
Suddenly, something came up in his head.
「Don’t tell me……」
While thinking it was ridiculous, the thing floating in his head gradually began to change.
From something unclear to something close to conviction.
Taiyou swallowed his saliva, peering into her face from below.
Strengthening his resolve, he kissed her.