He had felt that hostility before.
A hostility so familiar that it almost had the comfort of home.
That’s why his reaction was slow…slow by a hundredth of a second.
And in that hundredth of a second… he made a fatal mistake.
Hearing that tone he remembered, he felt a piercing strike to his head.
The next moment, his consciousness had fallen into the shadows.
The moment his consciousness returned, Taiyou quickly opened his eyes.
What had just happened he remembered, Shirokiyami had attacked him from behind, and so he looked around.
Even so, he was more surprised.
It was a hard place to comprehend.
First, nothing was there.
Linoleum floor, stucco walls, and a soft LED light.
No furniture or items, no windows or doors, just a room
「Wait a second…why is there no door?」
「I’m the one that wants to ask that question.」
He was surprised and turned to the voice.
Akiha was sitting against the wall, cross-legged, looking at him.
In that moment, Taiyou was a little relieved.
She had sat cross-legged on top of the fence above the roof often.
That posture, in a strange place like this had some familiarity to it, so he relaxed a bit.
「You’re here too?」
「I woke up before you, so I was counting out my multiples to keep me busy.」
「Are you Indian all of a sudden?」
「I was thinking of counting the wrinkles in the ceiling, but since the ceiling is so plainly clean it would be impossible.」
「Why are you trying to count that? I mean, this room, it makes your eyes hurt…you can’t even really sense distance.」
「One side is 10 meters each…I counted.」
Taiyou drew his eyebrows together and looked around the room again.
Just as Akiha said, if you looked closely, each side was about 10 meters, and it was in a square. He saw she didn’t have anything with her so she probably paced the room out, but he thought it was about how much she had calculated.
「Really…nothing here, huh.」
Taiyou stood next to the wall and knocked on it with the second knuckle of his middle finger.
There was a sharp sound, but no response.
It almost sounded like he was knocking on cotton…something like that.
He bent down and got into position.
He made a fist and delivered a swift hook with about half his power.
That fist was enough to break concrete with a thickness of a meter, but this wall absorbed it, and nothing happened.
It was astonishing…a wall with no reaction.
「What is this? A dream?」
「Yeah. Nothing here…in this room. It’s unrealistic.」
Akiha stood up and walked over to Taiyou.
She stood before him.
She threw a peace sign which she then stuck in his nostrils and dragged his nose up.
It was something celebrities and people with “strange interests” did…with things like a nose hook.
Taiyou knocked Akiha’s hand away and put his hand over his nose while tearing up a bit.
「Whhnnt arnn youn doinnng?」
「Ah hah hah! Did it hurt?」
「Yeah! Usually you always squeeze someone’s cheek!」
「Either way it hurts.」
Akiha laughed to herself.
She knocked the wall here and there as she walked around the room.
With a little dance, a skip, she circled the room.
「You…are sure enjoying this.」
「Yeah, it’s fun. Why don’t you have some fun?」
「I’m not going to. This is trouble.」
「It’s definitely abnormal, so why not have fun?」
Taiyou wondered what he should do.
This room seemed unnatural, in addition to Akiha seeming so happy about it, and it was one reason why Taiyou was so confused.
「Hey, can I check?」
「We both were on top of a building right up to now, right?」
「I don’t know what happened right up to now, because my watch and phone, and anything I could check what now is has been taken from me.」
Akiha was smiling as she said this, as she indirectly answered Taiyou’s question.
They had been on the building together…in other words, this was an extension from when Aoba had been arguing with her.
It wasn’t a dream.
「If so, then why are you so happy all of a sudden?」
「Well, being in such an interesting place like this…is it wrong to have fun?」
「More fun than being with Aoba?」
「No…but if this is something that Aoba plotted then I understand.」
What does that mean? Taiyou indicated with a sideward tilt of the neck.
「Aoba said it…『Thank you for bringing me to where Taiyou is』…it’s the same right? Then and now.」
「Me and you…shut in the same way that Aoba was with me?」
「With Shirokiyami…no, this place,…if someone were to prepare it, then Youran would be included too, right? But it also seems like Kohaku.」
「Your wives are really crazy girls.」
「One of your friends is among them, right?」
「Ahah hah hah, I know…I know that the most.」
Akiha put her arms behind her back and leaned against the wall.
She continued smiling…happily…with a smile on her face that simply showed pure glee.
「Aoba’s a weird girl, I know that the best. She’s a weirdo that just tries to act normal.」
「…don’t think she’s some cute wolf in sheep’s clothing.」
Taiyou gave up and sat cross-legged against the wall.
He put his elbows on his knees and his hands on his head.
Across from him, Akiha sat.
「You shouldn’t let your guard down.」
「Then, both of us.」
「What do Aoba and the others plan to do with us?」
「Maybe they’re going to make us fight out a battle royale. The one that wins gets to leave, maybe something like that. Oh, I got it!」
Akiha clapped her hands together and smiling, looked at him mischievously.
「Maybe the winner gets to be Aoba’s lover…that’s it!」
「Then you won’t win, if it comes to that.」
「You never know. I’m willing to do anything if it’s for Aoba.」
「Then you won’t win, if it comes to that.」
He just said the same thing over.
That was his true feelings.
He would use any means for those he loved, so there was no way that Akiha could win.
「Whoa…you sound tough.」
「So why do you like Aoba so much anyway?」
「It’s kind of an uncomfortable story, but…you want to hear it?」
「I don’t think the reason why you like someone would be an uncomfortable story, but, okay.」
「What, even with a stalker?」
「Yeah, stalkers make people uncomfortable.」
Akiha interrupted and then laughed to herself.
Her laughing was cute, Taiyou thought, and then asked.
「Then let me hear it, the weird stalker story.」
「Okay, well it was when I was ten…」
Akiha, with a smile, and without holding back, told Taiyou the story of how they met.