“Oho, quite the interesting combination.”
Kohaku said when she came back from the roof. In the living room, Sakura and the three girls were facing each other, drinking tea as they chatted. It was a mellowed-down atmosphere, like that of good friends.
“Ah. Welcome back, Kohaku-san.”
Kotone said, and Suzune got up, heading to the open-type kitchen. They could see her pouring a cup for Kohaku. Kohaku sat facing Sakura, then spoke.
“What were ye talking about?”
“A bit about Unchanging.”
“Oh come on, Sakura-san.”
Kazane made a slightly pouty face. The so-called “Unchanging” keyword was the reason why Sakura had tried to kidnap the three sisters way back when. The three sisters pouted at her using that as a joke, and Kohaku giggled.
“What a fine topic. No matter what age women be, they must always act their part as women.”
“If that’s the case, then you’ve been a woman for a while now. In such a short time, I almost couldn’t recognize you there.”
“Aye, I be in the midst of love.”
“Not drowning in love?”
“That be only the difference between winning and losing. I be tagging along with Danna-sama, so I have no intention of losing, lassy.”
“But they do also say that whoever falls in love is the loser. Since you’ve lost by that logic anyway, why not profit further and drown?”
“…Indeed, albeit recently, I have come to understand that philosophy.”
“It truly does seem that humans cannot understand until they get in such situations.”
“Well, ye seem to have quite the grasp on all of this…”
“Overly-theoretical, I am.”
Kohaku and Sakura were engaged in a conversation that no one else really got. Suzune inquired after she had returned from the kitchen to place Kohaku’s teacup down.
“Umm, what exactly are you talking about?”
“Ah, it probably sounds like gibberish to ye lasses. See, we know a woman who once said, ‘I don’t lose, because I am amidst love’.”
“‘Nor do I win, for I am drowning in love.’”
Sakura continued after Kohaku. It felt like they were reading the top part of a verse together with a bottom part. Even after hearing all that, the three sisters were still perplexed.
“Well, let us not dwell on other women. More importantly, what errand have ye come for today?”
“There’s something a bit serious I must discuss. Are Natsuno-sama and New Moon-sama here?”
“Youran be further up, but Danna-sama be currently busy, and I know not whether he will be returning even tonight.”
“I’ll go call Youran, then.”
Kotone said, and the three sisters exited the living room together. After seeing them off, Kohaku asked Sakura.
“I noticed that ye started to refer to Danna-sama with ‘sama’.”
“He is New Moon-sama’s spouse after all.”
“Then, might I take it as meaning that ye no longer oppose him?”
Unlike when she was merely bantering, Kohaku cut right to the chase, the polar opposite of roundabout, playful words. Sakura replied with a serious face.
“For the meantime.”
“The meantime, eh…”
“But I hear that Pochi was attacked.”
“And I heard that it was a simple misunderstanding.”
“The evidence be far too obvious. Youran thought the same, which be why she took ye out of the equation, but there also exists the possibility that ye knew she would do that and used it to yer advantage.”
“That’s very true.”
Kohaku and Sakura stared at each other, eyes locked, not saying a word, as if an underwater fight were unfolding.
“Eh, not that I care.”
“Are you sure? I know that I’m one to say this, but in the end, nothing was proven, right?”
“Even if ye had plotted something, that in itself was fine. Actually, I might prefer it that way.”
“Why is that?”
Kohaku purred with laughter. The loli baba made a smile unique to those who have experienced life to the fullest, full of pleasure. She spoke as she smiled.
“I will not tell ye.”
“How cruel of you.”
The door to the entryway opened, and Youran came entering in. Having been notified of Sakura’s arrival, she had brought her hair down into New Moon Director mode.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.”
“Don’t mind it.”
Sakura stood up, gracefully giving a respectful bow. It was a cold, formal gesture. Youran sat on the sofa, motioning for Sakura to sit down as well.
“You may sit.”
“Thank you very much.”
“And shall I take me leave?
“Actually, it would be preferable if you could remain here…”
“I apologize for intruding at such a late time. I believed it good to directly report here, so I came unannounced.”
“What do you seek? State your purpose.”
“Tsubaki-sama has escaped from her house confinement.”
Youran’s eyebrows twitched upward. Kohaku also stopped smiling, replaced by a serious look on her face. Juunishima Tsubaki. A relative of Youran’s, as well as one of her political opponents.
“What is the meaning of this? I recall there being a strict order to confine her to scrupulous house arrest.”
“Yes, she seemed to have outside connections. All of those keeping surveillance have been done in…We’ve been outdone.”
“Saekusa? Or perhaps it was Anna?”
Youran said. She had first thought of Tsubaki’s two subordinates.
“I do not know. I know where both of them are, but they have no alibi.”
“Youran, does that bring bad tidings?”
“…Tsubaki harbors a grudge against me.”
“Aye, even I can see that much.”
“That woman is a snake. Once she begrudges someone, she never lets go.”
“That sounds mighty troublesome.”
Kohaku rested her shoulder on the sofa behind her.
“That is all that I have to report. I hope that it was of use.”
“Okay, thank you.”
After Sakura walked out, Kotone, Suzune, Kazane, and Aoba came into the living room.
“Haaah, well that’s a drag.”
“Then it’d be a good idea for Youran-chan to stick around with Natsuno-kun for a bit.”
“Indeed. Though I know not when he intends to return, it should be safe for ye to remain by Danna-sama’s side.”
“But if I do that-”
Youran was about to finish, then shut her mouth. The three of them were looking at her with argumentative eyes. After thinking a bit, she opened her mouth.
The moment she was about to nod, the door opened with a click.
Thank u always for ur great work…