In the park, Taiyou was sprawled on the ground facing up, forming the kanji 大.
Red blood was dripping from his shoulders.
Upon close inspection, his shirt that was drenched with fresh blood was cut up, so it wasn’t difficult to imagine that his skin underneath was cut in the same way.
Hera was watching over him from the side worriedly.
「Taiyou-chan, is everything alright？」
「Are you sure？」
「……If anything, are your wings alright? It doesn’t seem like they’ve healed since then」
Still facing up, he asked Hera, his eyes only aimed at Hera.
It was a question completely unrelated to this battle (challenge).
Momentarily taken aback, Hera quickly answered.
「This is of no importance. I will not die. More importantly――」
「Then it’s the same for me. I won’t die」
「That’s completely different!?」
「The same, it’s the same」
Taiyou pulled himself up, looking at Shirokiyami in the distance.
She was silently standing, holding her sheathed sword near her groin area.
There didn’t seem to be any killing intent, but even while she was spacing out, she was emitting a mysterious presence like that of an elaborately-made sculpture.
The girl named Shirokiyami was there with her overpowering existence.
「I’m super frustrated」
「It’s best that you……don’t care about…losing」
「Not that. I’m not frustrated that I lost」
「Well, there’s this vivid blood coming out of me」
Taiyou pointed out his shoulders that were still releasing blood, then continued.
「The wound itself isn’t all that deep. When I was cut, I was prepared to even have my whole arm chopped off. That was just how much of a big pinch――decisive moment it was」
「Not even Hera could rescue me in time. Since you sent me flying with all your might」
「It was a king-size home run that surpassed Tsugaiyamaaa」
「And yet, that was it. Even though I was slammed into the wall, I don’t feel any worse than if someone flicked my forehead」
「My arm’s still attached to my body because you held back, didn’t you」
Shirokiyami slightly nodded, making a face as if to ask “And what’s wrong with that?”.
「It wouldn’t be doing you any favors……to cut off…your arm」
「And you’re not wrong, but I’m not talking about that」
「Remember, I was saying I’m frustrated. I thought I had gotten to a good point, but in the end you held back on me. I feel like I’ve climbed a large portion of a mountain, only to look up and not be able to even see the top. Or like the clouds parted ways, only to reveal how much further away the sky is」
「I still have a ways to go for you to hold back, and that’s what frustrates me. It would be better if you [couldn’t hold back because I was so strong]」
「Like the Young Boy Teacher, riiight」
He ignored Hera, who was trying to make a joke commentary.
The joke wasn’t out-of-place, but right now it was time to be serious.
「So it would be better mentally for me if my arm were actually chopped off」
「I don’t……really…get it」
「My objective is to defeat you, so it just means that while you’re still holding back, I’m still not good enough to defeat you」
After tilting her head and thinking a bit…
「So it’s fine to……dissect you…right now？」
「Don’t say dissect! That’s just frightening！」
「It’s fine……I won’t…let you feel pain」
「I mean that even if I resist, I’m instantly taken down! There’s a difference in our abilities, right? Ugh, I’m saying that’s what is hurting me！」
Shirokiyami said mixed with a sigh.
(It’s not that difficult. The difficult one is you.) thought Taiyou.
He stood up, looking at his shoulders.
Whenever you check a place that gets hurt, for example, when you’ve stumbled into a manhole wearing shoes, your toes really hurt, but you’re scared to check inside your shoes.
Repressing those feelings, he checked the wound opening.
The blood hadn’t stopped, but as he had also said to Shirokiyami, the wound was shallow for the amount of blood coming out.
He had determined that there at least was no need to stitch it.
「……I really wanna win against you」
「Would it be better to…hold back？」
「If you’d become mine that way」
「Is that…fine? You are not……frustrated about…that？」
「Objective and method」
He answered with his catchphrase; his favorite motto.
「Getting you in my possession is the objective, so if I can accomplish that, then it’s no big deal if I win against you while you’re holding back」
「As I thought……boys are…difficult」
「That is because this is Taiyou-chan」
「Don’t talk about me like I’m some rare animal」
After lightly retorting to Hera, he picked up his chin, thinking a bit.
A certain thought had ran by his head, so he asked Shirokiyami about it.
「Hey, in order to make you mine……I had to defeat you, right」
「Alright. Then, how about living in my place？」
Shirokiyami was surprised. Her face showed that she could not understand his question at all.
「So what I’m asking is: What should I do in order to have you live in my place, the building that everyone calls Taiyou Castle? I won’t do anything, nor do you have to. You would just――yeah, like an apartment or lodging- What should I do to make this place that sort of residence for you? What should I do for you？」
「I would have it no less from my Taiyou-chan. You thought this up, hmm?」
「Well, you might say that……」
Taiyou was about to speak, then stopped.
He invited Shirokiyami to Taiyou Castle.
There was no lascivious meaning in it――he wasn’t aiming for that sort of thing at all.
What he was aiming for were basically two things.
First, he had sworn that he would make Shirokiyami his――the seventh bride.
He would level up to the max, and he wanted to win against Shirokiyami and get hold of her, even if he had to borrow the various skills and the power of the previous six brides.
To further add to it, his end objective was not to get ahold of her.
It was concerning the wives who were not here.
Just like how Youran, who had been newly added to the team, was enjoying her time with people like Kotone and her sisters and Kohaku, he also wanted Shirokiyami to get along with the girls up till now in that way.
In order to fulfill that, he essentially wanted to have her quickly begin living with them; get used to them.
And one more.
This one was a simple idea. He was thinking if they lived in the same house, there might be a lapse in her security.
If it were a night or early-morning attack, if he could sneak-attack her unawares, the probability of defeating her might rise.
That was what he was thinking.
It was an idea true to Taiyou, who stopped at nothing for his objectives.
That’s why he threw the question out there, waiting for Shirokiyami’s response.
While waiting in expectation for what kind of answer she’d give.
He tried predicting her response from his memories with her.
As to whether he could land a single hit on her.
If maybe Taiyou, who was letting her live there, could bribe her with money.
While thinking about various things, he waited for her to answer.
「Then……if there are no…surprise attacks」
「My……con…ditions. If you do not……attack me when I am…in my room」
「……You saw through me？」
「I had a……bad…feeling」
Shirokiyami nodded quietly.
Taiyou wondered what kind of bad feeling that was as he smiled wryly.
It was the same at the living terrace earlier. She had seen through Taiyou’s thoughts as if reading his mind.
It was painful that she had given conditions one step ahead to where he could no longer attack her at night or early morning, but if he threw away one objective then he could fulfill the other.
From Taiyou’s standpoint, there was no reason to refuse.
「Alright. Please come live with us」
「So Hera, can you go tell everyone that?」
「Rajuuu. Kohaku-tan will be suuuper happyyy」
「So I’ll be going home now, but what’ll you do？」
「I’ll take my luggage……tomo…rrow」
「That right? Then see ya tomorrow」
He said, parting ways with Shirokiyami. He turned on his heels and headed home.
When he thought about her living with him starting tomorrow, he could naturally feel his steps becoming lighter.
He was so excited, so excited that he couldn’t help even skipping, and was questioned by police along the way for that strange behavior.
The white girl stared at him while standing in the park.
Her vacant expression was still there, but the base of her mouth had slightly pointed up.