「What are you trying to say?!」
Youran scowled. He could tell by just looking at it meant 「What the hell are you saying to me?」
But Taiyou already knew, she wasn’t going to just take his comment at face value.
Youran was the type that was good at hiding how she really felt.
「You’re good at hiding yourself when you’re 『Shingatsu no Kami』. It’s your on-mode, if you have an on or off mode, when you have business to attend to.」
「So, just like now, you can hide what you’re feeling in your Twin-tail Mode, but maybe that’s only you putting on a show by trying to look stubborn.」
「What does that mean, I’m not just acting stubbo…」
He put his face to hers and gave her a quick-touching kiss.
Perhaps she let down her guard because she thought there would be no more kissing, but she allowed her defenseless lips be taken, and her angry face suddenly flushed red.
「…okay! I won’t refuse what you’re saying anymore!」
「Yeah, good girl.」
「…do you have any idea what you’ve just done?」
A moment for a breath, followed by a relaxed Youran starting at him.
「It’s a type of brainwashing. You do the same thing over and over until you get what you want, and then when you finally break the other person, you compliment them…it’s basically brainwashing.」
「Yeah, now that you say it, it definitely seems so. Hmph, brainwashing.」
「It’s how the yakuza get girls to do what they want.」
「Yakuza? That’s old school.」
「Let me just say…it’s a warning about Letty, but, you better not think you can do that kind of stuff with me, okay?」
She scowled at him again, her eyes tight.
「Brainwashing suddenly loses its effect. In a day…or a moment.」
「Yeah…I’ve heard of people suddenly realizing and regretting what happened until then.」
「If you brainwash me, and I realize that you did it.」
She cleared her throat to prepare for what she was about to say.
「I’m going to blow myself up and take you with me.」
「Why blow up? You really love talking about that.」
「Of course, I’m not going to just die. I’m going to take the person out that attacked me.」
「No, no, no, no…you have to at least multiply your revenge.」
As he said this, he could feel a cold sweat run down his back.
He thought that continuing to kiss her would be a good technique, but now he realized that doing any more might prove to be dangerous.
Youran was the type to run from one extreme to another, as was the the Juunishima family, so if Taiyou was even a little late to save her she would have bitten off her tongue and killed herself.
Since it really was a brainwashing technique, he realized what he had done.
She really would kill herself just to take him out.
A girl where you realized that was possible.
Taiyou thought he should back off.
He stretched out his hands, and grabbed the end of her twin tails.
He didn’t yank them, but lightly pulled, twitch twitch, twitch twitch.
She looked back at him with a poutful expression.
He face looked angry as usual, but this time she didn’t resist.
「Like I was saying, you like this right?」
「–I said, you really do like having this done to you.」
She shut her lips like a clam again. There was the threat that if she didn’t answer well he would force a kiss on her again.
It was a unthought out reaction to his threatening kiss.
He thought it was cute, and he kept pulling her ponytails in little yanks.
「I’m not a horse, okay?」
「What? What do you mean?」
「You acting like this is a bit and reins?」
「I know reins, but what do you mean, ‘a bit’?」
「They’re things you put on a horse, bridles go on a metal piece in the mouth called a bit. A person experienced in horses can talk to a horse through them, it’s said.」
「Oh, is that what you meant.」
After understanding what she was saying he once again lightly grabbed her ponytails with his thumb and pointer finger and pulled lightly.
They silently sat their, avoiding looking at each other.
No words, no eye contact.
The only things connecting them – fingers and hair.
A slight movement, a jarring motion.
Maybe she can feel this…Taiyou was expecting.
「I guess you can’t….」
When Taiyou said this, he felt nothing back from the twin-tailed girl.
「I told you, I’m not a horse!」
「I know that. But I was wondering if I could really talk to you like through a bit and reins.」
「Like a horse? You mean the tools made and improved over thousands of years?」
「Yeah, I guess.」
「I heard they work well with horses. Horses are sensitive to them. It’s a world that only someone experienced in them would know.」
「Yeah, I guess.」
「Maybe you could do that with Aoba Miki? She has a ponytail.」
「You’re just playing with me now.」
She laughed about it, but was half ordering in the jest as well. Youran then turned her head away with a 「hmph!」
It was strange, but she didn’t tell him to do any more.
While Taiyou held on to her twin tails, he looked out the window of the nurse’s room.
Flowing white clouds, flying sparrows.
The sounds of lunch break far away.
After watching it for a while, he thought about waking up Leticia finally.
(What the hell is he thinking.)
Huh, Taiyou thought.
Something had flowed directly into his mind.
He turned to Youran, puzzled, and as her back was still to him, he grabbed her two ponytails with one hand and began winding her hair up in his finger.
What was that…Taiyou wondered.
(Messing around, even though I thought it was mean, what is all this.)
Again, the same words reverberated inside his mind.
No, these words were a bit different.
You could change the thoughts in your own mind, but those were in the mind, these seemed to be emotions flowing directly into the heard.
These must have been Youran’s emotions.
Taiyou was shocked, puzzled, and tried to understand what was happening.
Maybe, these are the emotions she has, Taiyou thought.
While he held the twin tails, is fingers squeezed them a bit tighter.
(Do you not like this?)
He could feel a small emotion of confusion from the hair.
Taiyou had made no mistake, the reason being is that he wasn’t just messing with her hair any longer.
I guess this is really happening, Taiyou realized again.
Another indirect expression.
And a connection from the bottom of his heart to the heart of this stubborn girl.
(Does she not like this?)
(She doesn’t dislike it…she finds it quite pleasing.)
His question was answered.
Youran again, he thought.
(I’m happy if she likes it.)
(She doesn’t think she likes it.)
(How would she come to like it?)
(I wonder if I could ever like it.)
(I haven’t liked it until now.)
(Well, then how about from now?)
(Yeah, from now.)
A bridle and bit. Thin twin-tails.
A light conversation that seemed like a dream.
He thought he was connected to her.
That he was talking to her.
That’s why he waited for a response.
She had a stubborn heart, but now it was a bit more obedient.
He kept waiting for the answer.
Suddenly, a voice emerged.
The twintails fell from his hand, and spread out in a cascade.
The twintails not connected, the bridle unbound.
The few strands of hair left in his fingers, he let go.
Beautiful black hair covering her body.
Youran, with her back turned.
He gulped strongly and waited for what was next.