While he was enjoying Aoba’s cute reaction, he heard a threatening voice raised at him again.
Voices clearly shouting in his direction. When he looked up, it was those three thug-looking guys again.
Their three hairstyles from right to left were punch-perm, angle-shaved, and shaved head in a strange variation.
Their shirts were opened wide to reveal their chests, and the shaved-head guy had a colorful face tattooed into his chest.
(…a rabbit that awakes to a wave of murderous intent?)
Taiyou looked at them in puzzlement, as a bunch of non-existent cliches were spoken at him.
After examining these guys, there was no doubt that one had a tattoos but they weren’t dragons or demons, but just a white rabbit.
Even though the scene was one of them having a tattoo, it was impossible to wonder why the hell he had gotten a rabbit.
「What are ya lookin’ at?! Huh?!」
「You messin’ with us?」
「You guys are the ones that called me out…」
Taiyou couldn’t help laughing at the overly-typical threatening words of these generic thugs.
He fell silent and let them keep talking.
「You got some guts talkin’ to us like that!」
「You two gettin’ all kissykissykissykissykissykissykissy on our turf!」
「…this is Kabuki-cho, right?」
Aoba, who was in his arms, asked them in a confused tone.
Taiyou smiled. In many ways it was a name that most wouldn’t mention, but because we’ve already referenced Ryu ga Gotoku once, it was an obvious reference even if Aoba didn’t get it.
(I wonder if Kohaku is okay…)
He suddenly remembered Kohaku, and looked up in the sky with nostalgia.
He had been away from her for days, and if he didn’t count the day he was unconscious, it was more like one day even though it felt like two months had passed.
It took him back thinking about their conversations, and how much he missed her.
That’s what he thought about.
「You a-hole! Where are you lookin’?!」
「Are you ignorin’ us?!」
They kept blustering at him, as the rabbit shaved-head guy grabbed Taiyou by the collar.
Aoba squealed at the sudden violence, while the tourists surrounding them suddenly gathering decided to back away.
Taihou just looked at his enemy.
The people symbolic of violence that occured in this country, those who show off who they are without any hesitation, working even though the government attempts to ignore their existence.
The men, symbolic of violence. A few months ago, like Aoba, he would have been shaking at them silently, scared.
「Sorry, I didn’t mean to ignore you. I was just thinking of my wife.」
「Thinkin’ of your wife?!」
「Thinkin’? Ain’t that girl your wife?」
「She is, but I have three others that aren’t here. I was thinking about one of them.」
The thugs opened their angry eyes wide at what Taiyou said.
A blue vein expanded on one of their foreheads, pulsing so strongly that it seemed the blood vessel might burst.
Taiyou held the girl shaking from the threatening looks of the thugs on his left side, while stepping out on his right to defend her.
In one motion, he then gave Aoba a light peck on the lips.
She was surprised, as the thugs silently looked at Taiyou’s move.
Taiyou then turned to face them, with glaring eyes and a icy demeanor.
「My girl is scared, so I’m afraid you’ll have to excuse us.」
「After all you’ve shown off…ain’t no way we’re lettin’ you go!」
The angle-shaved guy took out a weapon. It shined, a dark gray blade…it was a curved flip-out knife.
He heard a scream, probably from one of the rubberneckers standing around them.
The angle-shaved one pulled back the knife and then stabbed it out at Taiyou.
Taiyou calmly watched it stab out and then grabbed the wrist of the arm with the knife.
Then, he squeezed it with all his might.
The angle-shaved guy screamed and dropped the knife.
He drew the thug in by his wrist, and then delivered a side-kick to the thug’s stomach.
The thug bent in two and was blown away by the kick.
The angle-shaved thug landed and got back up, and returned limping.
The shaved-head and punch-perm thugs made eye contact, and they all three attacked him at once.
When the three attacked, Taiyou handled them all while holding Aoba.
He knocked down another knife, hit with a body blow, and grabbed a kick with his other arm and swung the kicker around to beat the others with.
The three thugs that flew in at him were beaten back in less than 10 seconds.
After they were beaten, Taiyou simply went back to his old stance.
He held Aoba in his left arm, while putting his right side out in case of attack.
The passers-by and their screams transformed into cheers.
The elegant fight of a man holding his girl, a man easily defeating three others, and had easily avoided their attacks.
The scene was one of everyone cheering him on.
And in addition…
Aoba clung to Taiyou again and sunk her face into his chest.
Not because she was scared, but impressed because he had defended her; she clenched on to her with her whole heart and body.
Her affection for him was at the top limit.
While he held on to her, he faced the thugs again.
Satisfaction, and a secondary small feeling of darkness.
In the midst of that and with a feeling of pride, Taiyou had a strong calmness like usual.
「We…we got it! Just let us go!」
The other two were unconscious, but the shaved-head thug earnestly asked for his life.
He could see the man’s open collar and the white rabbit, which was now painted red with his own blood.
Taiyou saw this, and said lightly,
「As soon as I get to this island, everyone’s been messing with me.」
「Just a lot of stuff, really, a lot. So I decided one thing.」
As he said that, he faced the shaved-head thug with an ambiguous smile.
「Not to give mercy to anyone who threatens my wife…」
「No, we were just…」
「You guys had some baaaad timing.」
His cold smile appeared with a thrust of a furious kick.
The shaven-head thugs cries for mercy died in the sound of a body being crushed.
Even after leaving the area, Taiyou still clutched onto Aoba.
「Well, where now? We still have a lot of time, and no one’s contacted us. Ah! Would you like to get some bread or something? They have eat-in bakeries, and you can smell the butter all around here…」
While she cut off his words, she stepped back from his arms and turned to look him straight in the eyes.
What does this look mean? He wondered.
She looked like should could be either laughing or crying.
She also looked like she was also angry or scared.
How should he be looking back at her? At least he knew it was an expression he’d never seen.
「What is it?」
「Natsuno-kun, you really were cool back there.」
「Really? Well, I guess I was, fighting and winning, it all seemed pretty cool like some protagonist in some kind of manga volume. If I had a weapon, I bet it would have been even cooler, huh?」
The praises Taiyou sang of himself weren’t real or anything, though.
「Yeah, it is cool.」
Aoba calmly smiled, while Taiyou joked around about Aoba taking his coolness so seriously.
He jokingly asked himself, “Why so serious?”
Then he remembered that she didn’t know any internet slang, so Taiyou felt a little embarrassed about thinking such a thing.
「I really am happy that I came with you. I was thinking that before too.」
She silently squared herself towards him and looked up.
Would she say yes to him? Or no to him?
Both were a possibility.
He let his anger take hold and unleashed violence, and she knew it was his background to do such things.
Either was possible…and he really didn’t want to see either.
That’s why she faced him. Either way, he was going to be strong and respond to her.
「Don’t leave me alone today. No matter how many enemies, no matter how dangerous, I want to be protected by your arms, Natsuno-kun.」
「Oh, yeah…I was expecting to, though…」
She didn’t say yes or no, but pleaded.
Hoped, pleaded, and again, returned to his arms.
Taiyou was happy that she had come from the bottom of his heart.
Inside his arms, the girl looked calmly up at him.
「When we get back…let’s have sex.」
Out of overwhelming affection, the words just spilled out of Taiyou as he wanted to say them.