Taiyou and Anna sat facing each other in a cafe.
It had become completely dark outside. This was one of those typical winter nights where the day ended early.
Feeling a bit excited, but keeping a calm demeanor, Taiyou opened his mouth.
“Long time no see…I guess?”
“Well, it’s not like we’re even close enough to greet each other with open arms, but who cares.”
“Then, long time no see.”
Taiyou grinned, repeating the same phrase.
He had originally met Anna as her enemy, but now there was absolutely no reason for it.
So Taiyou decided to treat her as he would anyone else.
“What you saw earlier…”
“You know, that mannerism…I’d like you to forget it if you can.”
“You talking about the way she was acting?”
“Hm, what to do…”
Anna had a mischievous smile on her face, almost like a child who found a toy.
“Welp, sure, not like I care. Plus that girl’s gotta preserve her image for Juuni Island.”
“No, I don’t really care about that part. She’d probably figure something out on her own, no matter how silly she may have appeared.”
“Hah? Then why do you want me to shut my trap?”
“Because that side of her is just for me to see.”
Taiyou said with a face that was the definition of serious as he stared at Anna.
“It would be a waste to share such a cute aspect like that with other people. It’s all for me, and not for anyone else.”
Anna gaped. She couldn’t believe that was the only reason.
“You’re saying…she’s your girl? Just a mere girl?”
“Wow, you’re much scarier than what I heard.”
“Not at all. I’m just a mere high school student with a little confidence in my physical strength.”
“Pssh, yeah, because ‘mere’ high school students ALL act like you.”
Anna had an exasperated look on her face.
“Well whatever. If that’s your reasoning then I definitely won’t be telling anyone about it. I sure as heck don’t want to die a stupid death by getting kicked by a horse or whatever.”
“I appreciate it.”
Taiyou said, bringing the warm coffee to his mouth.
This coffee should be the same brand he always drank, but for some reason it tasted bland.
He wanted to drink the coffee that the triplets always made for him, but he had to restrain himself for now.
“So anyhow, why are you here? Did you have something to take care of in Oretate Town?”
“Well I’d be lying if I said I didn’t.”
Anna smiled bitterly in self-derision.
“Came to meet you, as a matter of fact.”
“Yeah. Wanted to ask you about Adano.”
Adano, Juunishima Adano.
One of the daughters of Juunishima with the same father as Youran and Sakura.
Her mother didn’t want her to get caught up in the family feuds, so she hid herself in pregnancy and gave birth to her at a tourist attraction, raising her in silence.
Because she had lived in isolation for many years, Pochi was currently learning about common sense under the tutelage of a home instructor, searching for a way to properly return to society.
“And what do you want with Pochi?”
Taiyou asked cautiously.
He remembered that Anna had led a group dedicated to abducting Adano.
“Don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not going to try anything this time. Nor is there any need for that. I’m just concerned.”
“I want to know how she’s doing right now. Is she okay?”
“Yeah, she’s doing fine. You didn’t know?”
“Ever since Tsubaki-sama lost her position, her faction has been in the dark. We can’t ask anyone, nor will they tell us anything.”
“So you asked me, I see.”
“Exactly. Now, depending on the circumstances you might not have been the right one to ask, but after seeing how you’ve been treating Shingetsu-sama, I figured it was okay. I was amazed to discover how little you care about Juunishima.”
“Yeah, cause I don’t.”
Taiyou nodded, finally understanding Anna’s situation. The Tsubaki faction was probably seen as a wet dog or a blemish to the family. It made sense that she didn’t have anyone she could ask.
“Hold on a moment.”
Taiyou said, taking out his phone for a call.
The person in question picked up the phone quite quickly. It was a beautiful, transparent voice, but also clearly one that was trembling year in and year out.
It was Youran’s shadow, Shingetsu’s shadow—-Juurokuya.
“Hello, you good right now?”
“So I wanted to ask you about Pochi…”
He preambled before asking her various questions.
In order to make sure Anna heard all this, he repeated what Juurokuya told him out loud in confirmation.
‘I-I-It’s probably rude of me to ask this, but d-d-did someone ask you to do this?’
“—-Yeah, I bet you can tell from the way I’m talking, huh.”
“But yeah, you’re right…Juurokuya, how far are you willing to go to obey me?”
‘I-I-If it doesn’t bring harm to Shingetsu-sama, then anything.’
“Okay. So you know Anna, right?”
“She might contact you sometime asking about Pochi, so don’t feel the need to hide anything, okay?”
She said in an energetic voice on the other side, which sounded almost like she was saluting him.
When Taiyou looked at Anna, she appeared to be surprised.
He decided to leave her like that for now as he continued speaking to Juurokuya.
“Alright, good girl. One more thing.”
‘W-W-What might that be!?’
“Youran’s ran off somewhere. Find her and be with her.”
“I’ll come to visit both of you later. So make sure to have a location down.”
He could hear surprise and a bit of delight come from her end.
Then after he hung up, he looked back at Anna, who seemed just as astonished as Juurokuya.