「Really, well, Hera…」
Taiyou walked along the hallway Hera was guiding him. He called the fairy back as if he had suddenly remembered something. Hera turned around to him, and while flying asked him.
「What is it?」
「You can talk in front of people now.」
「What? Is that okay now?」
「Yeah. It’s true you can’t be seen or touched by anyone other than us, but people who can sense you can still sense you not matter what. Just like what happened.」
「You mean Yami-chan.」
「…you have to call her something different when she has that mask on.」
「I know, desu. I’ll call her Mask, desu.」
He wondered about that name, but the girl herself asked to be called Mask the Third, so, whatever.
「There are people that can sense we’re looking at you. Honestly, even if you don’t talk, when you’re near us we can’t stop from looking over at you.」
「I guess it’s a curse to be this beautiful, desu.」
Hera put her hand on her cheek and rubbed it approvingly. Taiyou ignored her.
「I’m telling you that you don’t have to shut up. I can fool people by saying I’m talking on my cell phone or something, but you can’t fool someone that knows what’s happening.」
「I understand, desu.」
「That’s why you can talk in front of people normally now. I can’t respond to you though.」
「Okay, desu! Thank you, desu. To be honest, it was hard being silent, desu.」
He nodded, and made a strained smile at her. He thought it must have been stressful for him to make her be silent to protect a positive, carefree girl like her.
The rule at first was that he was the only one that could see her, but now the amount of people that could see her and converse with her had increased.
Kotone and sisters, Kohaku, Aoba, Pochi, Youran, and Leticia.
Since it increased this much, he might as well just let her do as she wanted.(Either way, people that can’t see, just can’t.)
After thinking that, he continued being shown around the ship by Hera.
After walking a bit, she showed him a room where two black-dressed guards were standing.
「This is the room, desu.」
He nodded as a response to Hera, who had now begun to talk freely, and walked in the room slowly.
At first the two soldiers were crouched but still looked like a strict guard, making it seem like they could suddenly prepare to defend the place at the drop of the hat.
However, even though the black soldiers put off that air, as soon as they say Taiyou, they looked shaken. Their strong poses crumbled, they stepped back, and put on a forlorn face.
「Is Saegusa Tsukumo inside?」
「He’s waiting patiently!」
When Taiyou asked, the soldiers hastily made an attempt to answer correctly. Their voices seemed to crack, and Taiyou confusedly thought, What happened to them?
「Leticia asked me to come here, can I go inside?」
「Please, go in!」
The men opened the door, faster than necessary, and stood stock still in a salute as Taiyou passed.
He entered the next room with Hera, and the door began to shut.
「That guy’s scary! I never thought that we’d see that motorbike demon come here!」
「Hey, stupid! He’s going to hear us!」
The two whispering guards met eyes as they quickly shut the door completely.
Taiyou didn’t know why the two guards looked so fearful, but he didn’t have time to ponder it for long.
Hera called his name while she pulled on his sleeve. He forgot his thoughts and looked around the room, saw some furnishings, and the man inside.
The room was an ordinary guest room. There were two single beds against the wall, with a low table and sofa in the middle of the room. Also, it seemed that there was a bathroom attached across from the table. It wasn’t elaborate, but it was a bright room that was well-cleaned.
Except for the two soldiers outside and their strict demeanor, it seemed just a regular room.
There was a man and woman standing inside. On one side was the unchanged, youthful Saegusa Tsukumo, but his appearance was completely different; he had a deep seriousness to his face. On the other side was the noticeably younger, short, yet clothes-stretching busty girl, who Taiyou never met before.
Who is this, Taiyou seemed to ask with his gaze, as Tsukumo first started to speak.
「This is Haku, my sister.」
「Nice to meet you.」
The curvaceous girl, introduced as Haku, bowed with a quick nod of the head.
Tsukumo’s completely changed demeanor and Haku’s subtle malicious look were unexpected expressions and tones of voice for Taiyou.
Taiyou was a bit lost at this atmosphere that was different from his expectations. Hera yanked at Taiyou’s sleeve and pointed at the sofa, so Taiyou snapped out of the apprehension and sat.
The low table sat between them and the seated Tsukumo and Haku.
「Why are you here? Where’s the queen? And Shingetsu Juunishima…where is she?」
「Why did you come here? Where’s Shingetsu Juunishima and the queen?」
Haku questioned them aggressively.
「I was told by them to come here, this time, and they left everything to me.」
Haku’s eyes seemed to ask why.
It’s obvious, Taiyou thought, I was told to, so I came here, but it he didn’t completely understand why he was put in charge of negotiations.
「What are those two thinking? Perhaps they’re planning on running away from their responsibility?」
Haku mumbled to herself while the crease between her eyebrows deepened.
「I don’t think that’s why.」
「How could you know?」
Taiyou thought out piece by piece and answered. The correction of “Idol” began, and though he had many thoughts, none seemed totally provable.
「Anyway, you two have been left to me.」
「…looks like the tables are turned.」
Tsukumo opened his mouth with a sigh.
「Well, maybe not. I was able to capture your girl, but someone else got her before I could use her. Nothing compared to you showing up here after confirming that she was out of my hands.」
Taiyou said nothing. He didn’t have to acknowledge that he had knew because of his joker card, Hera.
「So, you haven’t come here to talk about that.」
「I see. Let’s talk candidly. I want Chan Sha, Chiyo, Miyako and the rest of those six women back.」
Taiyou nodded with the request he had expected.
「I’ll hear whatever conditions you have, I’m prepared to do anything.」
「Wait, did he just say anything?」
Hera unawaredly reacted to the statement, while Taiyou asked Tsukumo again.
Tsukumo parroted Taiyou’s words. While Tsukumo had a straight face and calm demeanor, Haku’s face beside him seemed to be strained.
In this release of hostages, Tsukumo had said 「Anything.」
Situations without worries are harder to resolve than one that have them.
He asked just to make sure. Tsukumo answered Taiyou without any change in his face or voice.
「Right now…I’m set to be a maniac for mother and daughter mixes.」
Taiyou frowned a bit.
It was a thing Taiyou had heard many times, however, this time it was in ernest and emotional.
After Tsukumo said this, his expression descended into a weird silence.
「Since you’re set to be like that, you don’t have the choice to abandon those women to me. Whatever happens…I’ll have to give them back sometime. That’s my duty.」
「So you’re ready to make a deal!?」
「Do you think you can give them all at once?」
「That’s impossible. I don’t have any fighting power left now. There are some soldiers here, but only that. I wouldn’t be able to defeat you if I had to fight all of you at once.」
Because he said only, he knew that he understood Tsukumo’s fighting power. Because Tsukumo had shown his power enough for Taiyou to say 「only」, that meant he completely understood Tsukumo’s strongest fighting power.
That why he told Tsukumo that he was willing to make a deal.
「You can’t call for reinforcements?」
「I can see that even if I did, they would be denied.」
「So that’s why you’ll make a deal, because you have no other choice?」
Haku shouted this out.
「If that’s the case, there’s no way he could present a danger to you, brother!」
Tsukumo remained calm while his sister Haku was in minor hysterics.
Hera turned her head as Taiyou whispered this.
Taiyou didn’t answer, but looked at Tsukumo.
After that, Haku breathed out and flexed. She probably felt as if she was a prisoner to whatever decision Taiyou made.
「I’ll give you those women back.」
Taiyou gave an immediate answer.
Tsukumo stared in bewilderment. It was the first time in that room that his poker face had broken.