Taiyou and Aoba had been “kicked out” from the Miyagi household.
It seemed that Aoba hadn’t seen it from where she was standing, but before closing the door, Atsuko had stuck out her tongue and pulled down her eyelid, so Taiyou understood that even though he had been kicked out, it was a joke to some extent.
So he didn’t overthink it, tagging along with Aoba on the way home.
Aoba’s expressions didn’t seem to be brightening up.
She wasn’t drooping down exhaustingly, but was exuding a gloomy atmosphere.
There was no way that he could simply go from being asked to stay the night to being chased out.
Taiyou was considering what exactly he should do.
「Ta-ta-tadaaa, ‘tis me, coming forth」
Hera warped in front of them out of nowhere.
Taiyou welcomed her, celebrating her nice timing, as the fairy’s dictionary didn’t have the definition of “read the atmosphere” in it.
「Huh? Why are you guys outside? Were you not going to spend the night at Aoba-chan’s place?」
It seemed that the fairy really couldn’t read the atmosphere.
「More importantly, what about you? Weren’t you supposed to be at the house?」
「I was not at the house actuallyyy. I was just eating food outside with everyone」
「Yes indeed. Kohaku-tan suggested that we eat out」
「Is that right? That’s rare」
「Kohaku-tan suggested that because Taiyou-chan was not at the house, there was no need to make anything, seee」
Nodding, Taiyou was satisfied.
He didn’t have any particular problem with that. Actually, he kinda wanted her to do that more often.
Kohaku had a bad habit. Whenever she proposed they go out somewhere, they had to choose between “rare” and “interesting” out of the various places.
If they went there, they could experience various things. The young/old girl who had lived out close to ninety years of her life was making various choices so as to give her family a lot of experience.
「And is Youran with them as well?」
「Yes indeed. Yuri-tan is with them as well」
Recently she had become another one of Taiyou’s brides, and he was able to see similar tendencies from Youran as a fellow family member. Just like Kohaku, she would propose rare things, trying to take everyone along.
Even more so in her case, unlike Kohaku who had completely entered teaching mode, about ten percent of her reasoning for doing this was for bragging rights.
He could faintly feel her thinking “How is it? It’s great, right?”.
However, that was really only a bit――Percentage-wise it was only ten percent, so there was no issue.
Rather, seeing her boast to Taiyou was like that of a cat showing its catch to its master, enough to make him feel it was cute.
「Which means that everyone is still out, right?」
「Yes indeed. They might be returning a home a little late, which is why I came to tell Taiyou-chan. You can contact her not via house, but via cell and the like」
「Okay, then I guess I’ll meet up with them there. I have time after all」
「You had better not」
Hera immediately answered.
He looked at her, his face spelling out “Why’s that?”.
「That is what Kohaku-tan wanted to say」
「Wanted to say？」
「Yes indeed. If by any chance Taiyou-chan were to display interest in where they were, I was to say precisely this:『Aye, there be times when fellow brides must fight』、apparently」
Hera imitated Kohaku’s way of speaking.
「What kind of time could that be?」
Taiyou smiled wryly.
「But alright, I gotcha. Then could you tell Kohaku-san and the others that I’ll be heading back for today? They can do whatever they want though」
「Wait a sec」
Unlike earlier, Hera had made to fly away. Taiyou suddenly remembered something, calling her back.
「What is it？」
「Can’t you also warp over there when you’re flying？」
「The possibilities between Taiyou-chan and I are infinite, yesss」
「Ya really like saying good lines, don’tcha」
Taiyou gave a wry smile.
Hera had tried to gloss it over with one of her typical lines, so Taiyou decided to not pursue it any further.
He watched as she flew off into the night sky.
And then he looked at Aoba, who had not said a single word from when Hera had arrived to when she had left.
Her becoming further depressed……was not what had happened, but he also couldn’t see her cheering up.
She was still drifting languidly in the middle of a pond.
（Wonder what I should do about this）
For the time being, he thought to ask her straightforwardly to break through the front wall.
「Umm, Aoba, you really don’t――」
「I know. My mothers are always like that after all」
「They’re not angry at all, and they don’t even care. If anything, they might actually be saying they want to have Mother-sama make us something delicious again and have us all eat together. At least, that’s what I think」
There wasn’t even any need to explain about their intentions until the last minute- that was how close they were.
「Yeah. The closest person to Mother……would probably be Kohaku-san, I think? With how she gets along with people, and her atmosphere and whatnot」
「I feel like Nazuna-san is also close to Kohaku-san, in the sense that she has ulterior motives hidden within」
「Mama, huh……I dunno. I also feel like she’s just as she appears」
「I think by the point that you, their daughter is that vague about it, something’s up」
The two of them walked alongside each other in the residential area.
In direct proportion to their lively conversation, their pace was also becoming lighter.
「By the way, are Mio-san’s wounds alright？」
Taiyou suddenly remembered it.
Mio, who had accompanied them to Juunishima the other time, had swiftly covered for Aoba, suffering wounds, withdrawing.
As to what happened afterward, he wasn’t sure. The specifics had never been made clear, though he had heard she was fine.
So he was concerned about that, checking with Aoba.
「Yeah, I made sure to confirm Mother-sama’s status. She’s the kind of person to put on airs and not say what the case actually is, so I cheated a bit and got information」
Aoba parroted back.
He had wanted to ask her just what that was, but she didn’t seem to want to talk――tell him.
It was enough for Taiyou to know that at the very least she was fine. No point forcibly asking.
「Come to think of it……when I came to know you, it was already past Mother’s Day, wasn’t it」
「When’s Mio-san’s birthday？」
「Oh, well that’s soon. I’m glad it hasn’t passed. If I’d passed that one up, I’d have to do something for Christmas, which is a tricky subject」
「What do you mean do something……」
Aoba’s face showed that she vaguely understood, but still wanted to confirm.
「Let’s celebrate her birthday together. Also as thanks」
「Thanks for her protecting you aboard that ship」
「That’s……but she would have anyway」
「Yeah, of course」
太Taiyou said, cutting through Aoba as he stood still, speaking to her as he peered straight into her eyes.
「But right now, you’re my wife. I want to give her thanks for protecting my wife」
Aoba’s face burst red.
And she spoke with a smile.
「I think Mother-sama will get angry, but don’t mind that, okay?」
「I’m prepared for her to make unpleasant faces」
「It’d be great if that were all……」
「Just what is Mio-san like for her daughter to say such things……」
「I mean, she’s Mother-sama after all」
A smile broke out of Aoba’s mouth as she said that.
It was the first natural, cheerful smile he had seen since they had left the Miyagi residence.
It was a different……vector from the smile she would make as a member of the Taiyou Natsuno household, but nevertheless, a smile that wouldn’t lose to it either.
Taiyou decided once he had seen that.
「Go back to your house」
He said as he put his hands on her shoulders, spinning her back to the path they had traversed.
「Spend time with your mothers today. And tomorrow you’d better not come back here and go to school from there, alright?」
「See ya at school tomorrow」
He pushed Aoba’s back, sending her away.
Aoba slightly hesitated, but at last nodded, walking off to the Miyagi residence……her own house.
After seeing her off, Taiyou turned on his heels, starting to walk.
There was probably no one at Taiyou Castle, but it was going to be a bright day.