Akiha stood up, trailing her hands along the wall as she started walking.
She did a lap around the pure-white wall that screwed up both spacial and temporal sense.
Taiyou followed her with his eyes, unsure of her intent.
「We can’t……get out of here until I start liking you？」
「Apparently. That’s at least why they locked us in here」
Akiha said with a sigh.
It was the most unpleasant face he had ever seen her make.
「I don’t wanna do that. Being forced to. Cause that’s what it is. Like livestock locked in cage and being forced to mate」
「……You of all people would say that? After you forced Aoba to come to my place?」
「That was different. I did that to help her get refuge, but I didn’t intend for Aoba to get comfy with you」
Taiyou agreed. Akiha did like her, so he had no choice but to admit that they were different circumstances.
He looked around the room as he thought that.
This room was a prison to lock them in, designed to induce them.
Taiyou gradually felt unpleasant as well.
「Yeah, this isn’t good」
He said, standing up straight.
「What do we do？」
「Let’s get out」
「It’s as you say. This isn’t the right way to do things. Even if you were to fall in love with me like this, my heart would never feel right」
「The Akiha that I know is free. It’s fundamentally wrong to force a free-spirited girl like yourself to make a decision while bound like this」
His back to Akiha, he solidified his resolve as he stared at the wall.
「So let’s get out」
「Is that really okay, Taiyou-chan?」
Hera asked him. Her face was a little downcast.
「Are you opposed to it？」
「Nope, I only belong to Taiyou-chan, so I support your decision, but……I just, I just think this isn’t really like you」
「Not like me？」
「Yes indeed. You are a person of『Objective and Method』, but right now you’re valuing the method an awful lot……is that really okay？」
He felt like there was a lot of meaning packed into that word.
Words that came from the fairy he had met before any of his brides.
「I get what you’re saying, but you’re mistaken」
「Yeah, mistaken. It’s not that I’m prizing the method. It’s that the objective changed」
「What do you mean？」
「My first objective was to get Akiha. But now it’s a little different. It’s become “make Akiha mine”」
「Make her yours, you say」
He could sense Akiha from behind. He could sense slight movement.
Taiyou continued. Not to persuade, but to proclaim his resolve.
「If all I had to do was “get” her, then this would be fine. Probably the easiest method. If Youran’s involved……yep, if I were her, I’d slip aphrodisiacs at meal time and force her to be one of us」
「According to Kohaku, that makes all sorts of things go well. But all that is is “getting” her. To elaborate, it could very well become a『consenting body but unyielding heart』kind of thing. But I realized something as we spoke. I like Akiha when she’s free and wild. I want to get all of that……that’s how I feel now」
Taking a breath, he continued.
「If that’s the objective, then this way is wrong」
「So we’re getting outta here」
Taiyou said, directing his consciousness at everyone outside.
「You can hear what I’m saying, right? I’ve made my decision, so open up」
An imperative tone. Taiyou rarely spoke that way, but his brides desired it.
He was counting on that, but got no reaction.
「No dice. Hera, they looking at us over there？」
「……Yes indeed. They’re all in front of the monitor」
「Yeah? Then I guess that’s out」
Taiyou took a deep breath, lightly clenching his fists.
「Hey, what now？」
「If they won’t open it from there, then I gotta pry it open」
「Pry it open? How？」
「Just gotta slug it」
Taiyou said, hitting the wall with all his might.
At 80% power.
But no results.
It felt as if he had only just woken up, his power drained.
He had given up at this point earlier, but not now.
Taiyou unleashed another punch, hitting the same place with the same power.
There was no response, but he kept hitting it.
Hitting it, hitting it, continuously.
He felt as if he were continuously hitting a thick sponge.
「Taiyou-chan! There is blood coming out of your hands！」
「I ain’t dying」
Indifferent to the panicking Hera, Taiyou hit the wall again.
He hit the wall without caring that his blood was painting the once-uniform white.
「Give it another――」
At that moment, he drew back his hand like a bow to launch another strike.
Someone gripped his arm. Akiha had clasped his arm with both hands.
「Give it a rest」
「C’mon, you got blood coming out. Rest a bit and we’ll think of something else」
「……Nah, I think not」
「Once I realize something, there’s no stopping me. I can’t have you trapped in this tiny box」
「It doesn’t matter. I can’t endure it. I can’t bear the thought of you being locked in」
Akiha’s face was full of astonishment. She must have not expected him to say that.
He softly removed her hands, taking a breath, then hit it again.
Hit it, continued hitting it.
The bloodstain on the wall spread, to the point where it was wet and quite literally dripping.
Taiyou’s fist was stained red. He disregarded it and hit the wall.
A change occurred.
He felt it give. The moment he hit the wall, he felt a difference.
Even a wall that absorbed impacts would reach its limit with enough hits.
Taiyou had assumed that. Now with a sense of accomplishment, he gained further determination.
But he had misunderstood.
The anti-Taiyou room Youran had prepared was not so feeble.
It was a thing that simply one-upped Taiyou’s pure power.
He had only felt it give because he had one-upped it in terms of power. He had overcome its limits.
Intent on continuing to hit the wall, Taiyou did not notice.
That the『idol』modification had suddenly increased, and that he had unconsciously exposed wings from his shoulder.
That there was heat in Akiha’s gaze.
His fist had broken through the wall.