Omake Special: How Kouen Learned About Hope's Arachnophobia

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Going back a bit in the previous chapter...

While the twins were preparing the veggie burgers they served everyone...

"Say, just out of curiosity... Does your other boyfriend know about our weakness against those eight-legged freaks?" Faith asked her sister while she watched her cook, feeling bored.

"Kouen? I told you he isn't my boyfriend," Hope reminded her with a small frown of annoyance, sweat-dropping. She didn't need to keep teasing her about it. "Yes, as a matter of fact, he does..." she answered, blushing a little out of embarrassment at the memory.

"Ooh~ I'm sensing there's a story there!" Faith said with a Cheshire cat grin. "Tell me! Tell me!" she insisted, bouncing around her excitedly like a hyperactive toddler.

"No way!" Hope retorted sharply, blushing harder. If she told her that, she'd never live it down!

Meanwhile, on one of the vessels in the Kou Empire's fleet...

"Say, now that the little miss has her sister back, doesn't she have any other weaknesses we can take advantage of?" Gaku Kin mused aloud, wondering what kind of trap they could set for Hope, who was proving to be a shockingly elusive girl.

"I think we would have to find her first," Kokuton pointed out.

"Yeah, it's like she dropped off the face of the earth," Seishuu agreed. "You'd think a set of identical twins with ginger hair would be easier to find..."

"Well, if she wasn't so resourceful, then she wouldn't have survived so many days alone in a dungeon to begin with," En Shou pointed out.

"True..." the others agreed as they all cast a glance at the back of their stoic leader, wondering what he was thinking about the situation. Given their plans for Balbadd, he probably had bigger concerns than finding a missing girl, but the pursuit seemed unusually personal for the general. They didn't realize the prince could hear them.

"Heh." Kouen smirked, gazing out over the ocean as he silently recalled the memory of the occasion he discovered one such weakness.

"TELL ME!!" Faith insisted, shaking her sister by the shoulder until her head wobbled like a bobble head's.

"OKAY! Geez!" Hope snapped, finally giving in to her sister's persistent begging. 'I just know I'm going to regret this, though...' she thought, sweat-dropping, already feeling chagrined.

«« Flashback ««

"Ahh~" Hope sighed, testing the water in the metal tub by sticking one foot in first. Nice and warm. It was pretty thoughtful of the guys to prepare this for her in the privacy of her own tent, seeing as she definitely couldn't bathe herself in the public bath they had set up for the men's use on the other side of the camp. She would probably die of embarrassment if they saw her naked. They had even heated the water for her. Considering they had to draw the water and carry it there themselves by hand, in multiple trips, it must have been a chore. "This was really nice of th—" She froze before she could finish climbing in, stopping short when she realized there was something small and dark hanging from a shiny thread only a few inches in front of her, directly over the tub. "GYAAAAHHH!!!"she screamed, levitating out of the tub like a cat avoiding open water, and shooting straight back out of the tent without thinking, fueled only by fear and frantic thoughts of putting herself as far away from THAT THING as possible.

"GYAH?" Kouen said, stopping as he was passing by Hope's tent just as he heard the terrified shriek from within.

"Shouldn't it be—KYAHHH!?" the men began, startled into an actual cry when the half-naked girl came flying out of the tent backwards, slamming straight into their fearless leader.

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