The Black Demon King 496
Chapter 25: Days of Lies
Passionate Night at the Valentinus Festival (1-2)

“Ah, Priest Kuroe!”

“Hey, Priest Kuroe, come have a drink with us!”

“Look at that, Yuuri is here as well!”

“Let me carry you for a bit~!”

“Don’t swarm on her, you lot! Move away!”

The familiar members of the vigilante group found me and flocked around me, saying that I wouldn’t allow them to be engrossed in gloomy worries on such a happy festival day. All of them had red faces. They were already drunk.

“Come on, c’mere just for a lil’ bit~!”

“The steak here is amazing!”

Everybody was laughing and making merry with the simple-mindedness of a child.

The way they treat Sariel still worries me, but I no longer feel like refusing them or being averse towards them for being Sinclairians. At the very least, if we get suddenly attacked by goblins, I know for certain that they’ll rush in to protect their village without hesitation, so I guess I’m on good terms with them.

“Then, just a little–”

Before I knew it, I was naturally thrown into the vortex of the festival as another member of the village.

Personally, I don’t think it tastes so good, but those other guys were gulping down on that cheap ale while wolfing on medium-rare steaks and laughing out loud at their own absurd jokes. It was a not-so-elegant way to have fun, and at times I’d find myself saying “Hey, stop chugging down on ale, you’re gonna pass out!” and “What the hell are you doing, you idiot!?” while trying to prevent the drunken blabbering between these brutes from turning into fisticuffs.

Still, spending time in this festival with these moronic vigilantes and the villagers with whom I’ve already become well acquainted is so much fun that it makes us all forget about our worries and anxieties about the future, at least for a while.

“Hehehe, look at our priest here. He’s been drinking so much and yet he’s still steady as a rock.”

“It’s not that I’m sober, Ryan. You’re the one who’s already totally wasted.”

“Shaddup, I can still go on! I’m a man that can still put up a fight!”

Ryan’s red face showed that he was one step away from being dead drunk.

After drinking and chatting with a lot of people for a while, I finally settled down at the usual bar with Ryan for a couple of drinks. Ryan was sitting to my right while Sariel sat to my left. Of course, just like me, Sariel just kept on drinking all while her face remained pale and expressionless. Alcohol simply doesn’t affect our enhanced bodies.

“Oooh, Yuuri is drinking too?”

“Don’t push yourself too hard.”

Even though I knew I had nothing to worry about, I gave her a soft warning. There was nothing stopping her from drinking the whole barrel all by herself, after all.

And so Sariel took the ale mug in front of her and took a sip into her small mouth as if she were drinking water.

“Ah, you’re so cute, Yuuri~”

Ryan’s face was a complete mess as he said that.

I think it’s better not to say something like that in front of a conscious girl. You’ll be sorely disillusioned, Ryan… Such a terribly inconsequential worry suddenly came to my mind.

“Look at that, Yuuri, he said you’re cute. Aren’t you glad?”

“Words like ‘cute’ and similar are but one of many kinds of flattery. I find them to lack any particular meaning.”

“Whoa, she’s so cute.”

“Her being so collected makes her look even cuter than usual~”

No, she’s not “cute”, now matter how you look at her. Though I suppose there’s no denying that she does “look” cute.

“Ah, dammit, she’s so cute! I would’ve made a move on her already if only I hadn’t gotten hitched already…”

Upon hearing that, I turned to look at Ryan’s profile as he chugged down his ale in big gulps as if he was shooting a beer commercial, and a big question suddenly arose.

“…Huh? I thought you were single?”

“What? You’re married? I didn’t know!”

We were all suprised about not having heard anything about that, but if you think about it, Ryan was already 20 years old. By this world’s standards, it wouldn’t be strange if he was already married, and in fact, to already have children of his own, just like Ted, who was about the same age as him.

“No way, who’s the lucky lady?”

“See over there? There she is–”

With an unconcerned expression on his face, he used his thumb to point at a plain-looking waiter girl that looked like a library committee member, full with braided hair and glasses, running around a bar that was well over its capacity.

Yes, I remember her. She was the first one to run to tend Ryan’s wounds after I knocked him down during our boxing match. I see, so that’s what they’ve been up to…

“Hey, what’s so unexpected about it?”

“A-Ah, it’s not like that, it just caught me by surprise, that’s all…”

I suppose I was very surprised. So much that my face made it evident.

“Well, I think of who I’d want to marry, I imagine someone sexier and more beautiful than her, though–”

“Hey!”

Really, I don’t want to think about such details… Or rather, don’t be saying such things in front of your actual wife.

“When did you get married?”

“Ah, when was it…? I think it’s been about three years now.”

“So it was before you even came here?”

“Hey, why do you care so much?”

To be honest, I’m curious. It’s more than enough to pass the time at the bar.

However, I know I’m practically sober, so I’ll mind my manners. If he doesn’t want to talk about it, I’ll stop asking.

“Well, it’s not a special story or anything. We came to live in this monster-infested place, trying to get far away from Sinclair. I don’t know if it was such a great idea in the end, as we’re still poor, but oh well…”

Certainly, there’s no reason for a legitimate Sinclairian to leave his home country. It would’ve been more understandable if he was of a race represented by a second-class divinity, such as the Barbadians and the Ibhrahimians.

“Sorry, it’s not something I should’ve brought up for small talk.”

“Eh, don’t worry about it. I don’t think about the old days anymore. There was a hero who once said ‘wherever I lay my hat is home’, or something like that. It’s not like I’m unhappy living here.”

After that, Ryan said that after all, here he could drink to his heart’s content, and chugged down the rest of his mug in one gulp.

“I used to be a knight.”

Ryan let out a mutter while staring at his empty mug.

“But they fired me after I punched that shithead of a superior officer right in the face! And I’d do it again. The image of that bastard’s bloodied face, pissing himself as he begged for his life cracks me up every time!”

It’s hard to tell if his superior was that much of a shithead to be beaten to a pulp like that, or if Ryan had overdone it. But, as a friend, I’d like to believe he was right for doing that.

“After that, I kinda lost my way and couldn’t get a job for a while, but then I was picked up by my uncle here… Well, then a lot happened, I got married, and decided to be a part of the development of Pandora.”

After a brief sigh, he turned around and asked for more ale in an overly ridiculous tone of voice.

“So, what about you, priest? Hehe, think you can share a bit of your past with me?”

The grin on his face seemed quite inquisitive.

Well, what should I do? I guess I could talk a bit more about that fake brother-and-sister setting I made up for a while–

“Priest Kuroe!”

At that time, Reki’s loud voice called out to me.

Though it’s a fake name, I’ve gotten used to be called Kuroe by everyone, so I react to that name reflexively as if it was my real name by now.

“What’s wrong, Reki?”

“I-It’s terrible! Ur had some alcohol and collapsed on the spot!”

I was surprised and shocked to hear that.

No, wait, even teenagers know the danger of acute alcohol intoxication. Ursula is still too young. If she isn’t conscious about how harmful it could be for someone as young at her, things could get really dangerous.

“Are you okay, Ursula?”

So Reki took me to the place where Ursula had fallen down.

The place is the central square right in front of the bar. Before I knew it, the curtain of night had already fallen, and a roaring, magnificent bonfire was burning to fight off the surrounding darkness.

I could see men and women dancing around the bonfire while playing music much more boisterously than in the daytime. And Ursula was in the center of such a festival.

“Hmm… Hrrmm, ah…”

With a very peaceful sleeping face, she muttered something in her sleep that almost seemed intentional. She had fallen asleep while holding a big bottle of wine like a pillow, curled up like a cat.

“Reki, did Ursula drink all this wine by herself?”

“No, Ur only had a sip from that glass over there…”

I see, so she should be fine after a while.

If she got drunk and fell asleep as soon as she had a single sip of wine, Ursula would be quite vulnerable to alcohol. I think I’ll ask the granny doctor to take a look at her just in case…

“Let’s take her back to the church and let her rest for now.”

And so I held Ursula –who was sleeping soundly like a peaceful child– in my arms, and hurriedly carried her back to the church.

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