It was night at Taiyou Castle in the quiet living room.
Taiyou was there by himself, silently levelling up.
It was the way to rack up exp to the next level, which he had found out from Hera ahead of time, and it was a repetitious operation of putting colorful marbles into a music box then taking them out again.
Take one, put it in, take it out.
Take one, put it in, take it out.
Take one, put it in, take it out.
Taiyou was doing that grind by himself.
All of a sudden, he heard a voice on the other side.
The sofa facing him on the other side of a table. Shirokiyami had appeared in the area where there was “definitely” no one.
Her long white hair and vague red eyes as well as her unique respiration hadn’t changed, but she somehow seemed even “darker” than before.
Perhaps because summer was over and the nights of fall where getting colder day by day, her lace dress had become long-sleeved as well, covering much more of her skin than before.
It was a black dress that she had worn because of her being self-conscious about her “whiteness”, so Taiyou took that aspect to feel like she had become even darker.
「Ya can’t just appear like that, c’mon. My fragile heart was seriously about to burst」
「I was always……he…re」
Taiyou promptly asserted.
Shirokiyami’s vague eyes were clear for once as she gazed at Taiyou with a faint trace of surprise.
「But I erased my……appearance and…presence」
「But I didn’t smell you until just recently」
Not bothering to stop his hands taking marbles in and out, Taiyou looked around Taiyou Castle.
「There’s a certain smell affixed to this house of everyone- that is to say, the smell of my four wives, who live together with me. Your scent wasn’t among them until just now」
She tried sniffing her sleeves.
It was like that of a puppy, and it was very cute.
「No, you don’t smell. If anything I’d say you have a good scent. No, I just meant that that scent wasn’t there until earlier」
「You don’t get it? It’s like if I were to put meat on the grill but suddenly smelled someone starting to eat crepe from the neighboring table」
「Then bread or something like that」
Shirokiyami suddenly pulled at her chin slightly.
It was a cute mannerism. While he was thinking that, Taiyou realized something.
At first he had thought that she was wearing fall clothing, which was why the clothing was covering more of her skin, but that didn’t seem to be all there was to it.
He thought to check that with her.
「It’s small today, eh?」
Taiyou said bluntly.
Unlike Youran, she wasn’t well suited for wordplay, so he asked her straightforwardly.
Usually, it was the sort of topic that was taboo amongst females, but he was sure that Shirokiyami wouldn’t mind.
There wasn’t any particular reason for it, but he nevertheless felt that.
At length, she answered without changing her expression in the slightest.
「Mhm. Today……it is…small」
「As I thought. I’ve always felt odd about how your chest would get bigger or smaller」
「Mhm……it changes every…day」
「What is this, a food special！?」
Taiyou gave an enormous quip.
Even then, his hands had not stopped.
「So how are you doing that？」
「Yes. I was told long ago by someone……that I ought to…be able to transform…to the…third…stage」
「Umm, I’d really like to know the identity of this “someone” that you frequently discuss！」
(Although it’s probably some no-good person like Kohaku or Hera), he added in his head.
「Well……they are a student…at the academy」
「They’re repeating a year……so they are still…first year」
「And they’re the same grade as me！? They’re not seriously one of my classmates, right！」
Taiyou was of the opinion that he should never involve himself with that sort of person.
「Thanks to that person……I was able to complete my…third transformation」
「……Rather than thinking negatively about this, she instead seems to think of it quite positively」
While recalling her appearance when she had a big chest, he mumbled about things like that.
While having that sort of converstion with Shirokiyami, he continued to move his hands.
While sitting on the other side, Shirokiyami continued to gaze at him with vague eyes.
If it was a bit earlier he would have tried to play dumb, but she could already see Hera, so Taiyou didn’t think there was any further meaning in hiding it.
「Just like this, taking one, putting it in, taking it out. Taking one, putting it in, taking it out」
「I thought you’d say that！ You’ve been thoroughly influenced, haven’t you！」
Taiyou continued, saying “No, not that”.
「I just gather experience points by repeating processes like this. And when I’ve accumulated enough, I level up」
「And then I get stronger. I don’t look any different appearance-wise, but I get stronger in many ways」
Taiyou gave a broad smile.
「To get the kind of strength that you called “insane”, see」
「So you were……constantly…doing that？」
She gave a slight incline of the head.
She was so cute that he wanted to swoop down on her.
「Once you’ve done that……I will…cut you down」
「……Guess you’d better deal with it until I get stronger」
She had read his thoughts, even going so far as to give him a warning.
Nevertheless, Taiyou did not give in.
He wouldn’t have Shirokiyami be any other way.
The partner that he liked the most out of all the women he had met thus far; the kind of partner that he loved enough to be yearning for her.
Strongest in the world, and the girl he wouldn’t be able to get his hands on until he was to defeat her.
The last boss.
She was that kind of existence to Taiyou.
He wanted her to be te one who transcended all until he surpassed her.
（Actually, I might just……want her to always stay above me）
Taiyou had fallen in love with her; had even confessed his feelings.
If the conditions that she had brought out had not been「Do what you want after you defeat me」, he would have doubtless wanted her to be just that- above him his whole life.
That was why he didn’t feel bad or let down over what happened just now. Actually――
Shirokiyami repeated the same words.
It felt like there was some meaning mixed in those words, but Taiyou wasn’t sure what it was.
After a bit, she repeated the same question.
「So you……were always…doing that？」
「No, this one’s for raising my level to 16. I have to do different things every time. The only thing that’s the same is that I have to repeat processes」
「Like digging a hole and filling it up, opening a window then closing it, hugging a princess then stopping hugging the princess. Lots of stuff」
「You are a…suspicious person」
「Heck, I was closely watched by the patrol officers」
「Even though……you could just…kill」
「Why would I kill them!? The patrol officers are just faithful to their work, you know？」
「You’re telling me to repent and commit seppuku!?」
Taiyou burst in.
And like that, he enjoyed his exchanges with her.
Suddenly, he realized something.
Realizing that, Taiyou was surprised and perplexed.
Earlier she was a small oddity amidst a large existence, but now that had completely vanished.
「That is because I……erased…it」
To Taiyou, who had secretly been enjoying everything, it was a bit of a shock.