「So you are here, then.」
「Just the face I expected.」
「This was the next stage I thought, wasn’t surprised at all.」
Taiyou said this, smiled, and drew back his shoulders.
A huge army by the gates, and Anna who then came out from inside.
That wasn’t all, as next was an even stronger foe.
One could say that this is was the most expected outcome, that Saegusa Tsukumo would appear here with all of his own.
There was no surprise as this was the so-called ‘promise’ that awaited him.
His body, however, was another story.
He had taken more than a scratch from Anna and the others and their fearless attack against him.
The side of his head throbbed and the palm of his right hand pulsated hotly.
It wasn’t a huge amount of damage, but he wasn’t in perfect condition.
On the other hand, Saegusa and his group were all there, opposing him.
Saegusa was at the top with his sister Haku.
The mother/daughter combo of Chan Sha and Chan Su were there, speaking their broken Japanese.
There also were the strange-Japanese-speaking black-clothed mother Chiyo and her archer daughter Chie.
In addition stood Miyako, in a kimono, and her daughter, the beautiful Honoka, who was taller than Taiyou.
Eight people altogether, who had suddenly appeared around Saegusa like a sudden mother/daughter comic troupe.
(Well, time to get ready.)
He put power into his left arm without thinking.
Yesterday (at least in his consciousness) he had fought and defeated the five women starting with Chan Su.
But now Chan Sha and Saegusa were added in the mix.
At full strength he could win; he wouldn’t even lose against all seven.
But, that is obvious…if he could use both arms.
Taiyou wasn’t confident that he could win against all seven with Aoba in one arm in this condition.
He couldn’t lose also.
After this, he had to win strongly with all of his power…he needed to keep winning completely.
That was his goal.
(The way…may involve having to be quite bloody with this group)
Taiyou thought so. If he aimed to scare the group, he would have to visually injure them heavily to scare them away.
Taiyou prepared himself for this.
But, there was something opposing this decision as well.
Aoba was accompanying him on his side. Her ponytailed face looked up at him from under his arm with a worried expression.
「Natsuno-kun, maybe I should leave…」
It was just like her to sense the danger in this situation, as she clung to him and asked for his response.
「No, stay there.」
He interrupted her with a quick response.
「Leave it all to me, just relax.」
「You’re fine. I remembered what Kohaku has promised me.」
Why that name, now? Her eyes widened.
「W, what promise?」
「To not love you all equally, that promise.」
Now Aoba was really surprised. She had a face that said, what is this man in front of me saying?
「Not to love you all equally, and in exchange for each time I’m with you, to love the person I’m with the most. That promise.」
「Now, I love you the most, now, more than Kotone, Suzune, Kazane, more than Kohaku. That’s why I’ll protect you, no matter what happens. So just relax.」
To say that Aoba was surprised was correct, his reasoning made sense in a way that it didn’t make any sense.
「But! Just that is…」
「Well, let me add one thing.」
He closed Aoba’s lips with his index finger.
He smiled, and then said,
「…love always wins in the end.」
For a second, the air around them seemed to stop.
Everyone except Taiyou was lost as to what was going on.
Not just Aoba, but all of the enemies with Saegusa were completely dumbfounded.
The words he spoke were a piercing declaration.
But, even though it was a bit goofy of a line, it went much further than he expected.
After her surprised, her face was covered in a blush, and she seemed almost enraptured.
She said nothing and buried her face in Taiyou’s chest.
As he hugged her into his chest after telling her of his decision, he turned to face Saegusa.
「Some nice words there, bud.」
「I just said the obvious.」
「No Japanese man say that to me!」
Chan Sha said, as Saegusa pursed his tips and turned to her.
It was a line that sounded very foreign.
「Well, either way I’ve kind of determined what type of guy you are from those words.」
「I’m digressing, but I’m the type that『Loves mothers and daughters together.』 I’ve set myself to be like that.」
「What are you trying to say?」
He had heard that line many times. Setting your own personality, words that seemed to resonate with humor.
Tsukumo repeated that question.
What did he mean, as he tilted his head.
「Chan Su, Chiyo and Chie, Miyako and Honoka.」
He called all the women’s names. He only left the foreigner mother’s name out when calling out all the others.
「Strip Chan Sha.」
A sudden order from Saegusa. All of the three mother/daughter pairs looked lost, while Haku quickly walked behind Chan Sha and bound her arms behind her back.
The others hesitated and then helped to restrain Chan Sha.
「What, what you doing? Don’t take off my clothes!」
It was so sudden that Chan Sha looked at Saegusa with a fearful expression.
Ignoring her fear, the women began removing her clothes piece by piece.
「This is the punishment you get for interrupting two men’s conversation.」
「…is this okay, brother? We were told to protect this place.」
「I love mother and daughter combos, so what happens when this happens in front of some beautiful mothers and daughters?」
「You really are a monster.」
Tsukumo said this seriously, but Haku’s tone was completely in jest.
Tsukumo connected eyes with Taiyou.
It was in an instant, but Taiyou now understood everything.
While holding onto Aoba’s shoulder, Taiyou walked her past Saegusa Tsukumo.
「Prepare yourself, Chan Sha, your body is going to be taught never to make a nuisance of yourself again!」
「Brother, what about Chan Su?」
「All of them. Chiyo, Honoka, Chie, Chan Su, everyone strip.」
「Sigh…Well, I’m going to waste my time somewhere else, brother.」
As he heard the intense, desperate sounds behind him begin to rise, Taiyou and Aoba left the room.
「Natsuno-kun, what was that…?」
「Well, it was what it was.」
「Was what it was…what does that mean?」
After they progressed far enough so they couldn’t hear the sounds of the others, Aoba had asked him this with a face full of puzzlement.
Perhaps it was a question about why they both passed by so easily.
Taiyou had only a short conversation with him, so this probably wasn’t what Aoba was really asking, however.
「In a phrase, 『They’re reaping what they sowed.』」
「Um, they were captured by me and I let them go without conditions. That’s what they sowed.」
Is that what happened? Aoba thought.
Seeing Aoba confused like this made Taiyou think of Saegusa.
Somehow, that youthful will to not lose out to another filled his head.
「I have to punish you too sometime.」
「Wha? P…Punish me? What do you mean?」
He pushed Aoba against a wall and put his hand up against the wall in a slight show of dominance.
「It was kind of cool to see two guys understand each other without words, I guess. Explaining everything to you right now would be kind of lame.」
It was like explaining a joke when someone didn’t get the punchline.
As Taiyou said this, Aoba clenched her lips together in a pleading face.