After sending Hanabusa-san and Saori-chan home, I rushed to the shadows of the hedge on the deserted street inside and opened the "room".
I called Claudia's name as soon as I entered the room, but there was no answer.
The "Confinement King's bedroom" was empty.
Well, I was the one who was late, even though I had ordered her to come to the "Confinement King's bedroom" immediately after school.
And it would be a bit too arrogant to blame them for not being there after I was late for more than two hours.
「Are they in the dining room?」
If Claudia's not in the "Confinement King's bedroom", that's the only place she'd be.
Unlike the Favorite Princess and the Semi-Favorite Princess, she doesn't have her own room.
And as a matter of course, after moving to the dining room, I see Claudia and Shibata-san. In addition, they were chatting with Tashiro-san, Shima-san, and the maids.
When the maids saw me, they straightened their backs and bent down.
「「「「Welcome back! Confinement King-sama, thanks to you, I am serving you in a healthy mood today!」」」」
「Ah, uh... yes, I'm back」
I still can't get used to this exaggerated greeting. Of course, I don't force the maids to do so.
Still, it's a surreal sight.
A three-tiered cake stand is filled with sweets on the table, and tea is steaming in a stylish tea cup.
But, only for three people.
Claudia is sitting naked on the floor. In front of her is a steel pet jug.
Perhaps Tashiro-san and Shima-san had gotten used to it by now. However, Shibata-san had an indescribable look because it was her first time.
Well, not that the maids are bullying Claudia.
But, Masaki-chan has laid down strict rules for treating domestic animals, and they are treating Claudia according to the rules.
（Still, Claudia should be promoted at some point, though...）
Anyway, today was not the day to treat Tashiro-san...
「What's the matter today?」
When I asked them, Shima-san looked away from me awkwardly.
「...I was thinking of taking a swim in the pool」
「 That's right. After all, Shima has gotten fat!」
「Ui-chan!? Why are you saying that!?」
「Well, there's no need to hide anything between Confinement King and us! There is nothing to be ashamed of. Besides, it's good that you've gained two kilos due to a lack of exercise since you retired from club activities! Big is good!」
「Stop... If you said it again, I'm going to hate Ui-chan!」
Shima-san's shoulders slumped as she looked at Tashiro-san, smiling at her with an eagle's smile.
「You're a tsundere, aren't you?」
「Stop using words you just learned. You're using it wrong」
Shima-san's cheeks puffed out with a boo, and I couldn't help but giggle.
「Really, both of you are the same as ever」
I think it's going to be really hard thinking that we will live together after we go to university.
And, of course, Shima-san is the one who will feel hard.
「So... this is your first time here, right, Shibata-san?」
She replies, but she is clearly wary of me.
That's natural. She must not yet know who I am and what kind of state she is in.
She is in a [Submissive] state, where she is forced to obey me even though she doesn't want to.
（But I can't leave her alone too long... [Submissive] status might lead to a downgrade...）
To be honest, I have neither a grudge against her nor the type of girl I like, so I have been reluctant to hold her.
She is very comfortable to hold, though.
As I looked at her with such thoughts in my mind, she looked away from me uncomfortably.
「I can't believe you're trying to poison even Tashiro-san and Shima-san..」
As she said this, Tashiro-san immediately said to her.
「That's a misunderstanding, vice-chairman! I don't know about Shima, but Confinement King and I are deeply in love!」
「H-Hey, me too!」
Shima-san probably said so on the spur of the moment, but the maids immediately made an "Oh!".
「What do you mean by "me", Shima?」
Tashiro-san asked with a grin, and Shima-san's mouth moved around as if searching for words.
「I, I mean... Geezzz! Ui-chan, I hate you!」
「I see. You love him, huh? Shima」
「I don't know! I really don't know! Idiot! Idiot!」
The maids standing around the table all look happy.
Yeah. I know the feeling. I feel like I saw something good.
And amid such a warm atmosphere...
「Um... Fumio, can I talk to you? I have something to tell you..」
Claudia, who was sitting on the floor, raised her hand.
Oh, no. I almost forgot the main topic.
I glance toward Shima-san. Depending on the contents, I might blame Shiratori-san.
（Well, Shima-san would be... don't mind it...）
「Okay, Claudia, let's hear it」
「Well... um, I talked to Hanabusa-chan during lunch break, like you said..」
* * *
According to Claudia's report, Hanabusa-san was not practicing in her uniform because her practice shirt was taken away from her.
She said she was doing so to show her determination not to be defeated by the person who cut up her uniform.
And she suspects Mimura Doremi, a second-year student, to be the one who cut up her uniform.
（If that is the case, it means that Monkey has nothing to do with her, and Sankon is rather on Hanabusa-san's side...）
This is a completely different situation from what I have assumed so far.
But it fits.
I have been in contact with Hanabusa-san on my way to and from school for the past few days, and it seems to align with her personality.
（Is Shiratori-san thinking too much? I don't know. Or was she intentionally trying to distract the third-year students? Or was she trying to make me look at the first-year students?）
『I hope I don't disappoint you too much』
Her words are going through my mind.
I know that she is very smart. But that doesn't mean she is omniscient and omnipotent. There will be mistakes and misunderstandings.
But there are things like her support for Monkey and the contact with Sankon that I saw today.
Her behavior is too suspicious to be dismissed as a mere mistake.
（Or... maybe it's more my mistake...）
I had assumed in my mind that what Shiratori-san said was the truth.
It had never occurred to me to even use the <Eyes of Truth> on her.
（In any case, I can't find the answer. So, maybe I'll have to ask her directly）
I will use the <Eye of Truth> without hesitation this time. But I need to be careful. In case of emergency, I take the maids as guards.
Still, Shiratori-san is not against me, nor is she a person the enemy cares about.
If anything, she is on my side, but I felt I might even be damaged if I tried to touch her.
Because of this, I didn't bother to corrupt her. However, I wouldn't forgive her if she tried to harm my girls or me.
「Shima-san, is Shiratori-san home today?」
Shima-san tilts her head with a puzzled look on her face.
「Hmm? Didn't you have an appointment? She said she had a date with you tonight, Kijima. She said she would meet you at Suematsu Park at 8:00 p.m」