The loud ringing in his chest that had continued slowly receded like the tide.
With quizzical eyes, he looked at the attractive girl to his side who was linking arms with him.
Akiha’s face stiffened. For an instant, her face looked like someone he didn’t know.
「Trying to induce me to say something？」
「No, I just really know that face of yours」
「Or rather, mouth. You’d know if you looked at your face in a mirror」
Akiha was silent.
Listening to their conversation, Taiyou remembered a certain phrase.
「When you turn 40, you must take responsibility about your face, was it」
「Welp, basically that」
Youran nodded. That was the exchange they had had at one point.
Youran had always been self-conscious about her expressions. That was precisely why she understood so well.
「That right, yeah, guess I should have realized it when I was meeting with a girl similar to me」
「A bit different. I just don’t like you」
「Could I ask the reason？」
Along with a “shh” pose as she put her index finger over her mouth, she made a mischievous smile.
The tension from earlier was gone. She seemed to have gone back to her usual self.
（Usual self, eh）
Taiyou wondered just how much he really knew about her.
「See ya later then」
Akiha said, motioning to leave, but she seemed to suddenly remember something, speaking to Taiyou with her back to him.
「Keep what happened a secret from Aoba, kay」
「Does it have something to do with her？」
「Wouldn’t she feel sad if she knew that her friend didn’t like her husband？」
Leaving a reply that hardly seemed like an answer, this time Akiha actually left.
As Taiyou was staring at her leaving, Youran spoke to him.
「Is it really okay? Not chasing after her」
「She came close to you despite disliking you, so there has to be some sort of objective」
「I get that but……」
Taiyou thought for a bit.
「Nah it’s fine」
Just as Youran had said, he also thought something was up. Youran’s thought patterns matched his, always thinking there must be an objective to any sort of method.
That was why although he did think that was the case, on the other hand, he thought it best to not pursue it.
That was what he thought, but Youran seemed to be different.
She looked at the one-winged fairy who had been constantly floating by Taiyou’s side.
「Then how about you follow her for a bit. And if anything comes up let us know」
Utterly the opposite of the hesitating Taiyou, Hera chased after Akiha after giving a salute.
「You didn’t have to have her do that」
「I did, at least for my sake」
「Hey, is it alright if I ask you something？」
「If anything……If anything, I want to know your objective」
Taiyou got straight to the point.
He wasn’t able to ask earlier, but he wanted to know the objective of her coming to Oriyakata Academy and trying to make him the student council president.
He thought it best to ask her in a straight manner, as she didn’t like playing around.
「Oh? Did I not tell you」
He had anticipated her dodging the question, but she unexpectedly answered nonchalantly.
「You didn’t. I’ve only heard your objective」
「That right, sorry about that――wait, that can’t be right」
Youran glared at Taiyou.
「I did try to tell you. You were the one who went off somewhere before I could」
「……Oh yeah huh」
「Welp, I don’t really care either way」
She said, and her face returned to its usual exasperated expression.
Taiyou gazed at her, waiting for her explanation.
All of a sudden, her words refrained in his head.
――Isn’t that a waste？ Only I need know about your strong points.
Her words could be taken in a favorble light.
Linking it with her objective, he waited for her explanation in full expectation.
「It’s to prepare the environment……for Letii」
What came out of her mouth was an unexpected name.
Leticia H Keraz. The third princess of the Phili kingdom as well as the name of her best friend.
At the same time, she was a girl with a relation to Taiyou that also wasn’t shallow.
Feeling shocked in more than one way, Taiyou asked her what she meant.
「Yep, after all, she has a body that can’t separate from you, remember」
「Uhh, maybe you could rephrase that」
Taiyou frowned. It was precisely at that moment that two rather serious girls passing by on their way home had looked at Taiyou like he was something dirty, perhaps overhearing them.
Meanwhile, Youran looked at Taiyou with an exasperated expression.
「But that’s just how it is right」
「No, what I mean is there’s an issue with how you phrased it……」
Sighing, he regained his composure and asked.
「Does it really have to be me？ What about someone else？」
Youran became further exasperated.
「Letii is still a princess, you understand? A princess. Princes might be different, but princesses can’t just keep moving on from guy to guy. If a prince were to change partners repeatedly it wouldn’t give him much of a negative image, but if a princess were caught doing that she’d be down for the count on the first strike」
「……Well of course」
Taiyou nodded. He had no choice but to agree with that.
「So she can’t be anywhere other than by your side. Plus the servants started talking about the third princess’s seal being broken」
「Seal……well I guess that’s not a bad way to phrase it」
Taiyou gave a strained laugh.
「So that’s why she’s moving to this town」
Youran nodded, making a face as if asking “Do you finally get it?”
「So I’ve come for said preliminary arrangements. I’ve come to help make the kind of environment for Letii in case something happens to her. I’m sure they’ll make their own preparations to make life easier for her, but as I’m Japanese, there are things I can do better」
「I see……Yeah, that all checks out」
「Then I can take that as you accepting the position, right? The student council president thing」
「If that’s how it is」
Taiyou nodded, complying. He couldn’t deny a request for Leticia’s sake.
「If anything, I’m going to be using you」
「For the sake of your brides？」
「For the sake of my brides」
They gazed at each other like that for a bit.
At length, Taiyou broke the ice.
「But that was unexpected」
「Unexpected？ What was」
「Or maybe I should say that it should have been obvious」
「Seriously, what do you mean？」
「I was just thinking that you really are close with her」
「……Just can’t get away from her」
She said with a pouting face, pursing her lips. It was the kind of reaction that even an elementary schooler could tell wasn’t from the heart.
「But she is your best friend right？」
「……It’s not like those two facts conflict with each other」
Inseparable to a fault, but best friends. Those two elements certainly didn’t contradict each other. Although there really was no contradiction.
（She’s an obstinate one all right）
The two of them began walking side-by-side.
Suddenly, Taiyou remembered something.
It was something concerning Leticia, so he thought to ask her best friend while she was still with him.
「Hey, how much do you know about Leticia？」
「Alright, so I’ll ask you something」
「I just said I know nothing, dude」
In contrast to the display of stubborness that even a three year old could discern, Taiyou pointed to the road reflector in front of him.
「There’s a mirror there, so look at your face」
「So, about the thing I want to ask――She doesn’t like me either, right」
「……Why would you think that？」
Youran became even more flustered.
「Your skill――『idol』, you do realize that it’s counting four, right? Leticia’s the fourth. That’s what your『brides』are added to right――Heck, even now it’s counted」
「Kotone, Suzune, Kazane, Kohaku-san, Aoba」
Not answering her question directly, he instead read off the names of his brides.
He counted as far as that. Taiyou drew a line between the third and fourth.
「They’re clearly different from that of Leticia. And besides」
「To borrow your words……Becoming my brides and not liking me don’t conflict each other, right?」
When he asked, Youran completely shut up.
After a long silence…
「Why did you pick up on that」
She quietly and implicitly admitted it.