The Black Demon King 497
Chapter 25: Days of Lies
Passionate Night at the Valentinus Festival (2-2)
“You see, Reki, that’s the real me. A priest is supposed to help and guide people, but I’m the complete opposite of that. I’m a berserker who kills his enemies without hesitation. The moment I step out of this village, I’ll go back to fighting.”
“Then Reki will fight too! She’ll fight together with Priest Kuroe! Please, Priest Kuroe, Reki will become stronger…!!”
“Children don’t belong in the battlefield.”
I can’t get them involved in my fight. That’s probably a better way to put it. It’s the same as when I turned away Erina’s confession.
Just like when those goblins attacked, both Reki and Ursula need to be able to fight to protect themselves. There’s nothing wrong in becoming strong for that purpose.
But I’m sure my next battle will be just around the corner the moment I leave this village. The eagerness of going off to battle to destroy an enemy is something I definitely do not want these girls to pick up from me. I can’t let Reki follow a path that can get her killed, like that young boy, Elio.
“This is a nice village, Reki. It’s a good place for you and your sister to live in.”
If things were different and this village were under attack, I would have taken them with me out to battle out of irresponsible sympathy without really thinking about it too much, but that’s not the situation we’re in.
They could live as nuns in this 202nd colony, and even if the next local priest ends up sending them away somewhere else, they’ll have the strength to fend for themselves virtually anywhere. As long as they don’t get involved in the war, I believe they should be okay.
“So please, Reki. Forget about me and try to enjoy a peaceful life here.”
Then it dawned on me.
Their peace could end up being destroyed by none other than me.
The Crusaders lost the Galahad War. If Spada moves to release Daedalus as their next move, I will definitely participate in that battle. In other words, I could end up attacking this very colony in the future.
So I wasn’t just being irresponsible. I felt ridiculously hypocritical for the words that were coming out of my mouth.
And yet, just as I pray for these girls to live in peace, my hatred for the Crusaders is nowhere remotely near disappearing. Even after living in a village of Sinclairians for some time, I knew that the blackened emotions that swirled deep inside my heart hadn’t diminished in the slightest.
I can’t stop fighting. Not yet.
“U-Uhhh… b-but… but… Reki is…”
Reki’s reddened eyes finally give up, and big tears appear out of them. Just as her glowing droplets of sorrow were about to fall upon her cheeks, I heard a sound.
It was the rattling sound of bushes being shaken.
No words were returned. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t feel any presence around us..
My eyes darted to the source of the noise, the garden inside a private property. The rattling had come from a hedge of plants that remains lush with green leaves even in the cold winter.
The rattling goes on. It wasn’t just my imagination, then.
Rather than someone, could it be more precise to say that there’s something there’
Just a few days ago, we were attacked by goblins, and before that there were man-eating Armored Bears rampaging right outside of this village. All sorts of new monsters have been recently attacking this area.
And what kind of monster will appear in the forest where the environment has changed completely now that both Lily and the Fountain of Light have disappeared from it? I had no way to know.
For all I know, a monster that specializes in hiding its presence could be lurking around us, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce…
“Reki, stick close to me.”
I forcibly embraced the teary-eyed Reki, who was already sitting right next to me.
“Waaaaaaahhhhh! P-Priest Kuronooooo!?”
Reki doesn’t have any weapons on her. I can’t let her fight barehanded.
For the time being, I should be able to deal with most monsters with Black Magic alone, and even if our stalker ended up being a Rank 4 monster, I should be able to hold him off long enough until we can get our hands on some weapons.
So I held her body tightly close to me with my left arm so that I could run while carrying her at a moment’s notice, while raising my right hand in preparation for a Full Burst.
One after another, black bullets begin to form around my arm as if they were boiling up, and a sharp warhead is aimed at the source of the sound, which is still going on.
Then, a moment of silence. A sharp sense of tension surrounds us like a thick mist, instantly dispelling the sadness that had been making way into our peaceful moment.
Then the silence was broken.
As if it had finally made up its mind, the mysterious being hidden in the bush makes a loud noise as it comes out of the bush.
“Bullet Arts – Full Bu…”
The mysterious being finally came out, letting out a sullen cry. It was a cat. A run-of-the-mill, completely normal cat.
And not just any cat. I’ve seen this little guy before.
“Huh? You… Are you…? No way…”
This cat is really plump. It’s too round for a stray cat, and had a brazen attitude, as if he wasn’t ashamed in the slightest for being like that.
He was without a doubt the chubby cat that once lived in the Adventurer’s Guild, back when this place was still Ils Village. I clearly remember seeing Lily running to play and talk with him.
I see… so this little guy is still alive!.
“P-Pffff, kuh… hahahahahaha!”
I can’t stop laughing. Why did I let myself become so tense? After all, I didn’t feel any presence, so whatever was in that bush had no hostility towards me, or at least not hostile enough for me to notice it in the first place.
And I thought this chubby cat was some powerful monster that specialized in hiding its presence. I almost shot him, too..
“Buh, ahahahaha! What an ugly cat!”
Reki points at the cat and begins to laugh as well. It was a hearty burst of laughter; after all, it all had felt like some comedy sketch. We were getting ourselves ready to fight, and suddenly our enemy turned out to be nothing but a peaceful chubby cat.
Then, Reki and I laughed like idiots. The chubby cat looked at us with his deeply condescending eyes, and then walked away into the darkness the moment it lost interest in us. Despite its plump physique, he walked away gracefully.
“…Hey, Priest Kuroe. Let’s go back home.”
My left arm is no longer wrapped around her body, but Reki’s still clinging tightly to my chest, and her words had a strange hint of satisfaction.
Thank you, chubby cat. I feel I’ll be able to sleep quite pleasantly tonight thanks to you.
“Priest Kuroe… Reki has another favor…”
“What is it?”
“Let’s sleep together!”
The tremendous cuteness of her request caused my mouth to break into a smile without asking my brain for permission first.
At any rate, even if she hadn’t asked me that question, the bed that Reki always uses was already full since Ursula was sharing it with Sariel tonight, so Reki and I would’ve ended up using my bed either way.
Still, it seems that I won’t have to worry about having to sleep on the floor tonight, since Reki herself asked me to sleep with her. I’m truly thankful for that.
As I said that, I stroked Reki’s hair as if she were a cute puppy, and a dazzling smile appeared on her face.
It looks like I may even have a nice dream tonight and all.
“W-Whoa… Ah… Now what…?”
The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes in the morning was Priest Kuroe’s sleeping face right in front of my own.
I’m in my nightclothes, Priest Kuroe is in his nightclothes too, and we had slept in the same bed. Judging from our posture from what little the blankets showed, I’d fallen asleep while in close contact with his body, as if I had been hugging him all the time. And it also seems I’ve been using his strong arm as a pillow.
“P-Priest Kuroe and I… did n-naughty things…”
I’ve gone and did something unthinkable. Too unthinkable for me to able to even properly recognize the implications and consequences of what I’ve done.
A sudden urge to jump out of this bed and run around screaming rises to my head, but my heart wants me to stay in this fascinatingly warm space, and I find myself unable to say no to that. My body doesn’t even twitch in the slightest. I don’t want to get out of this bed. I just want to stay here, hugging Priest Kuroe for a little while longer.
My focus shifts to Priest Kuroe’s face. It’s my first time seeing such a peaceful expression on his sleeping face. There’s a defenseless cuteness to his breathing, but at the same time, he feels like a dragon sleeping in the depths of his cave as it protects its treasure. In fact, I’m sure that if a goblin were to attack the village at this very moment, Priest Kuroe would spring to his feet and immediately run to fight it off.
But there are no “ifs” here. Though there are no monsters attacking right now, we’re still in an emergency.
For some reason, Ur’s plot to “tie Priest Kuroe up” ended up being carried out, but with our roles reversed.
I remember last night very well. Though I did drink some alcohol, my memories are perfectly intact. So I certainly remember that I went to bed with Priest Kuroe of my own accord.
From the moment Priest Kuroe agreed to my invitation to sleep together, my chest was pounding noisily, and my head was sent floating lightly over the clouds.
The moment we got in bed, I couldn’t control myself any longer and hugged Priest Kuroe tightly. And he kindly hugged me back.
I had never felt this happy before, and in the dreamy state of my mind I could almost swear I told him “Kiss me”.
But last night, the dream was real. Priest Kuroe really did kiss me. He gently placed his lips on my right cheek.
What is this? What is this feeling of embarrassment that makes me want to hide my head behind my arms now that morning has come?
But no matter how worried I am, there’s no going back from what I’ve done!
Because what we did last night was exactly like the “naughty things” that Ur described.
We went to bed together, we hugged, and then he kissed me. And before I realized, it’s morning already. Everything had been exactly as Ur said.
“Now Priest Kuroe has to marry Reki, doesn’t he…”
That’s right… Now that we’ve done naughty things, Priest Kuroe is supposed to take responsibility and marry me.
Sister Yuuri and I will be married to Priest Kuroe, leaving Ur behind.
“Ha, ahaha… hah… hah…”
That’ll do, too. After we’re married, no matter what happens next, everything will be alright.
As if a fire ignited in the depths of my fire, it started beating faster all over again, and I start to move. I squirm around and slip out of Priest Kuroe’s embrace.
He hasn’t awoken yet. I slowly approach his soundly asleep face. Real close.
My shivering lips approached his own, which were pursed gallantly. They’re so close I can almost feel them with my own… and then…
“What do you think you’re doing, Reki?”
The door had been thrown open. And I heard a voice.
Someone had appeared, and I didn’t need to wonder who it was.
My face was raised as if it had been slapped from below, and my eyes met the familiar figure of my sister standing by the room’s entrance. But her face was something I had never seen before. It was twisted with hatred and ready to put a deadly curse on someone. And then she said: