In the living room, Akiha was gazing intensely at the wall.
“What’s the matter?”
Kotone asked as she emerged from the kitchen to place a cup of freshly brewed tea on the table.
“I can sense my master from Kohaku-san’s room.”
Sakura gave a quizzical glance on the other side.
“You must mean Ruri-chan.”
“Ah, and so that’s what you’re calling her now.”
“Yeah, because I’ve learned a lot from her. And just between you and me…”
Akiha said in a lowered voice.
“When I call her ‘Master’, it’s sort of difficult to tell, but her mood improves and she teaches me all sorts of things.”
“Was she always that simplistic?”
“But then she becomes quite harsh with her training, so it has its merits and demerits.”
However, Akiha’s tone made it fairly clear that she didn’t see any demerits; only merits.
“All things considered, Ruri-chan is amazing. Earlier when I went to her room to deliver her tea, she was there, so I wonder when in the world she could have made her way into Kohaku-san’s room?”
“Couldn’t it just be that she teleported?”
“Mm, well I don’t think…”
Kotone was about ready to deny it, but…
“That’s…not the case, right?”
She looked at Akiha, unsure.
“I dunno. But Master is totally capable of it.”
“Taiyou will probably be able to do the same with some sort of skill.”
“Seems that way. A new ability with those wings of light or something.”
“That’s just crazy.”
“Ah man, now I gotta catch up to both of them.”
“I bet that you can do it, Akiha-san.”
Seeing the chat come to a lull, Sakura coughed quietly.
“So about that building…”
“I mean the new house. You know.”
“See, he’s assigned the project to me. So I wanted to hear what you all think.”
Sakura said as she stared at Kotone.
“Where might your sisters be?”
“They’ve gone out shopping, but I think you can leave this to me.”
“So I take it to mean that you have all discussed this already?”
“No, it’s not that. It’s just that I’m connected with Suzu-chan and Kaza-chan.”
“Yes, via telepathy. Anything I hear or see can be directly transmitted to Suzu-chan and Kaza-chan.”
“Oh, is that how it is? That’s quite different compared to a while ago.”
“A while ago?”
Akiha cocked her head.
“Yes. I met them before I even met him. I believe it was slightly before summer of this year, yes?”
“So at that time—-”
“Uhh, we could sort of get each other’s feelings.”
Kotone promptly answered, recalling what had happened back then.
“When we were little, we were able to communicate in our heads, but it became harder and harder as we got older…By the time we met Taiyou, we were barely able to even share our emotions.”
“But you’re speaking just fine right now. Heck, if anything you’ve surpassed your younger selves.”
Kotone answered promptly, nodding vigorously.
Her wide smile was brilliant, even to Akiha and Sakura, members of the same sex.
“It’s thanks to Taiyou-san. He acknowledged us and loved us, so I was able to not only regain, but also surpass my initial relationship with Suzu-chan and Kaza-chan.”
“Loved you, eh? Ooo, well ain’t you a lucky girl, heheh!”
Akiha commented in a half-teasing tone.
“It’s true, though.”
Kotone affirmed without batting an eye.
“Well, she said that pretty confidently.”
“And I feel like there’s still something else between the three of us.”
“I’m not sure what it is, I just feel like there’s something extra. Uhh, right now we’re sharing our eyes and ears, right? It’s not easy to tell, but it feels as if our eyes aren’t just on our face, but also at the top of our heads, behind our heads, etc.”
“The way Taiyou put it was that it’s like having six fingers except you can’t move all of ’em.”
“Ah, that does sound easier to understand. Great job, Taiyou-san. Yes, it’s essentially like we’re sharing three organ systems and using them all simultaneously. But I still feel like there’s something else. Like there’s another door out there that I can almost open.”
“It sounds like the sensation of nearly grasping something.”
“I want to grasp hold of whatever that is and have Taiyou rejoice even more.”
“It’s so that you can please him?”
Akiha looked a bit surprised.
“Yeah, because Taiyou said he liked that part of us.”
“Okay, I get it.”
“…Those who maintain the status quo, and those who advance.”
Sakura suddenly murmured with deep meaning.
“The heck you talking about?”
“You see, the women around him tend to be one of these two varieties. I just thought that right now. You four, as well as Tengai Ruri. The five of you together would be the progress squad. The other ones would be the status quo squad.”
“No way, I’ve hardly done anything to be referred to as progressive.”
“Yeah, yeah! That just sounds like nonsense anyhow.”
“Are you sure about that?”
Akiha’s mouth twisted into a grin.
“All the women here can easily be categorized as one thing, right?”
“One thing, you say?”
“Yep. Whether we love him or not. That’s it. He said so himself.”
“Is that so?”
“If that’s the case…”
Sakura sighed, then spoke with deep meaning.
“Things are going to be rather troublesome.”