Black Demon King
522 Love Confession (1)
Freeing herself from Fiona’s embrace, Lily spoke as she slanted herself over the table.
“Kurono, tell me you’re lying…”
Her gaze fluttered wide, while her round, jade eyes swayed.
“I’m not lying. It’s the truth.”
I’ve betrayed her.
When I saw her desperate, yet shocked expression, such was my thought.
Am I being conceited?
After all, my confession of sin proved that I’d done more than just sparing my enemy. It was betrayal in the truest of sense.
Even so, I’d been trying to look good in front of Lily. At the beginning, I merely didn’t want to burden her. But soon, the thought of disappointing her began to feel unbearable.
It was to be expected, for Lily was the first friend I’d ever made in this world. When I fell into the woods, she came to my aid. Afterwards, we didn’t only live together, but she also took care of me. Later, we became comrades in arms. Without Lily, God knows what’d happen to me.
Hence why, I didn’t want to disappoint her—I want to look cool in front of her.
By that, I meant using common sense, being sensible, staying calm, and avoiding making mistakes in judgment. I thought I was good enough. At the very least, Lily should’ve believed in me—in my justice. After all, wasn’t that why she decided to stick with me?
…But as of the present, I had no ‘justice’ to speak of.
“I won’t ask for forgiveness. Curse me all you want. I’m aware of what I’ve done.”
“You’re lying, no way…”
I was speechless.
Lily gaped, letting out such meaningless mutterings. No words could describe how excruciating that sight was.
It’s okay, Lily. You don’t have to believe in me anymore. Condemn me. Say that everything’s my fault. Insult me. Say that I’m the worst.
Please, as long as you don’t suffer like that.
“Aah, why, why… why are you still alive—!?”
At that moment, there was a flickering light—
—a flickering, red light.
“—Star Sword: Antares!”
When my vision returned, Lily was already in front of me.
The young girl was clad in the brilliance of the Oracle Field. In her right hand, was the deadly photon sword that was Force Edge, which could easily cut through the strongest steel.
In an instant, she’d transformed into her true form. The Star Sword, “Antares”, in her right hand told of her killing intent.
As she shone above the table, she swung her crimson light blade—
—However, it wasn’t directed at me, but Sariel.
“…Stop it, Lily.”
I stopped the crimson blade at the last minute. Using my bare hands, I managed to halt the sword’s descent to Sariel’s head. At that point, the two were only separated by a distance of several dozen centimeters.
With “Over-Accel”, the surprise attack of tremendous speed didn’t go unnoticed by me. With “Overgear”, I was able to stop the scorching blade despite being unarmed. It was a powerful technique that made use of two blessings in succession.
Even so, it was a close call. If I was even a fraction of a second too late, Sariel would be split in half.
In spite of that, the target of the attack—Sariel—sat unflinchingly. It was as if she knew I was going to protect her.
“Why did you stop me, Kurono!?”
“Please, pull back your sword, Lily!”
“If I can’t kill Kurono, I’ll just kill this woman instead! If left alive, she’ll only make you suffer, Kurono!”
I wanted to keep Sariel alive—such was my intention. In that hut, I didn’t know how many times I denied her pleas to die.
…Lily, you’re mistaken.
The reason I was unable to end Sariel wasn’t because I didn’t want to dirty my hands.
Even if such was the case, as if I’d let Lily take over the dirty role! I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself!
…Is it because I reflexively thought that?
Through telepathy, Lily might’ve understood my feelings to some extent. Hence, she drew her sword.
“But… so why? Kurono, this is…”
As she stood still on the table, the crimson blade dissipated.
Has her murderous intent dissipated?
For the time being, none of that could be felt, but there was no guarantee it wouldn’t happen again.
Even if I didn’t have telepathy, it was apparent from her expression that Lily was distraught. I had never seen her like that before—Lily’s expression wavered with tremendous anxiety.
“There was no other way. At that time, Sariel was on the verge of death, but with the power of the apostles, she’d recover overnight. Upon regaining Shirasaki’s memory, I could no longer detect any hostility from Sariel. However, if she’s still under the command of the White God, there’s no saying she wouldn’t attempt to kill me again—even if it’s against her will.”
I could’ve just glossed over it. How easy would that be? I felt like if it was the current Lily, even if it was a blatant lie, she’d still believe me.
“I’m aware that I should’ve killed her. After all, the 7th Apostle, Sariel, was an enemy to us all. I knew that, but I still wanted her to live… I desperately thought so…”
The reason why I was so honest… Was it to make everything easier? Maybe, I just wanted to apologize.
Surely, the guilt of lying, concealing the crime, and deceiving Lily from now on would prove to be unbearable for me.
“But this woman is no longer the Shirasaki Yuriko that Kurono knew! Her current personality is the result of ‘Angel Ring’! She’s a different person entirely! Despite being a human, she can’t relate to the feelings of others! She’s just a puppet, and yet…”
“I know, I know that much…”
“—Then why!? Why are the memories you have with this now-puppet more important than myself!?”
Oh, I see.
Is that so?
Despite being aware that Shirasaki lost her ego a long time ago, I still helped Sariel. Was it to simply cling to the memories of the past?
“I’m truly sorry, Lily… Apparently, I wasn’t strong enough to discard all of my past…”
“No, no, you aren’t in the wrong, Kurono, you aren’t—…”
Lily was downcast. At the corners of her eyes, large droplet of tears trickled.
“It’s alright, Lily. I’m to blame.”
“No, it’s fine, it isn’t Kurono’s fault…”
Lily took a step forward on the table.
“Like I said, it was all a lie, right?”
Two steps, three steps—it wasn’t a very wide table. Then, her path ended.
Even so, Lily still took the fourth step without any hesitation, and naturally fell towards me. It was as if she fully believed that I—who was in front of her—would catch her.
In fact, when Lily leaped into my chest, I held her in my arms. As usual, her angelic body felt peculiar in a sense that the weight didn’t match its appearance.
…Petite, delicate, and soft.
At the same time, I felt a certain presence in my arms.
“It was—! It was all a lie—! For Kurono is kind… You’re just trying to shoulder the blame for Sariel!”
Lily looked up at me with tearful eyes. The girl who flinched in my chest desperately reached for me.
Her warm, bloodied, yet pure white palm wrapped around my cheek.
“No, it’s the truth. I’m not lying. Everything’s my fault.”
“It’s okay, you don’t have to lie to me. After all, I’m a fairy, so I know the truth, I can simply gaze into your heart—”
—Lily’s face was approaching as if we were about to kiss.
But our lips never collided.
Instead, she pressed her forehead against mine. The distance made it easier to do telepathy.
At such a close proximity, it’d be easy for someone with telepathic ability like Lily to read mind. Hidden in my heart—the most recent memory information.
Therefore, even if I tried to conceal it, I couldn’t.
The 24th of the Dark Moon, the Holy Night. Inside Lily’s hut, driven by insanity and pleasure, I embraced the bloody Sariel.
—That’s the only thing you shouldn’t…
…You shouldn’t see it.
Even if I was able to confess my sins, to let her watch as it unfolded…
At this moment, my heart was filled with an overwhelming sense of reluctance.
Of course, because that night, I’d activated the Fourth Blessing—Over-ecstasy, and ravaged the limbless Sariel akin to an enraged beast. For Lily to witness it, it’d be akin to standing there as it progressed—that was what it meant to be able to read my memory—
Even if it was for a fleeting moment, she’d definitely seen it.
As if I had gone crazy, I screamed at the top of my lungs, but that wasn’t the end of it.
I heard Lily’s somewhat forlorn and hollow voice.
…That was when I realized it—I had pushed Lily away.
Even if I regretted it, the die had been cast. As if she’d forgotten how to fly, she fell on her back. A dull sound resounded.
She didn’t even try to cancel her fall. Instead, she fell flat on her back, hitting her head hard. She didn’t budge—as if she’d passed out.
What have I done?
I extended my hand towards Lily.
Certainly, she was protected by the Oracle Field, making her impervious to physical shocks such as falling, but that didn’t make the problem disappear. The act of pushing Lily away in and on itself was a sin.
Like ink dissolving into water, a sense of guilt engulfed my heart. Without even thinking, I blurted an apology.
However, my mouth wouldn’t budge.
I’m sorry, forgive me—…
I should extend a sincere apology. Furthermore, I should also ask, “Are you alright? Are you okay?” I should take care of her fallen body and help her stand. But when I tried to reach for her, to lift her up—I found myself unable to do that.
I couldn’t touch Lily.
I had to keep her away.
Thus, I realized it—I was pushing her away. I couldn’t help but do so, since she could read my mind.
I couldn’t bear the thought of her seeing the memories of that time.
At the very least, Lily alone mustn’t see it…
Lily uttered my name.
I wondered what she’d think of me, who heartlessly shoved her away. Not only that, I didn’t even try to help her up, opting to just stand there in silence.
Her long, disheveled platinum hair scattered beautifully and tragically across the floor. With her eyes wide open, her jade eyes wavered as she showed a stunned expression. Even though her Kurono usually wouldn’t do such a terrible thing…
What would she think of me?
When she fell, even though she was physically unharmed, what of her heart…? What of her sanity…?
She caught a glimpse of the memories from that night, and was pushed away. The [Kurono] she believed in had pushed her away—
“—Kurono, it hurts, a-aah…”
Undoubtedly, Lily had arrived at the truth. I wasn’t a noble character that fairies would like. Even among the lustful humans, I was by far the most wretched.
It was the second time I’ve made her cry. She cried so sharply, to the point she couldn’t even form any words.
Softly, as if she’d suddenly regained her ability to fly, Lily floated up. Before I could comprehend what was happening, Lily bolted out of the room. She covered her face as she cried.
She no longer ran towards me. Instead, she went in the opposite direction. Lily had chosen to escape from this place on her own.
Before I could say anything to stop her, Lily fled the scene. Looking at her momentum, she might’ve already jumped out of the front door and disappeared into the darkness of the night.
I had to look for her.
But when I thought so—
“—Please wait, Kurono.”
“Don’t stop me, Fiona! Lily is—”
“—Once you managed to catch up to her, what then?”
Her ruthless, heartless words didn’t leave any room for objection.
If I managed to catch up with Lily, what then? What’d I say to her?
There was nothing I could say to her.
Fiona quietly stood up from her seat and proceeded to approach the listless me.
“It’s alright. Despite her appearance, Lily is capable enough to fend for herself.”
“—That’s not the problem! We can’t possibly leave her like this!?”
“Neither Kurono nor I—nor anyone else—have the correct thing to say to Lily right now. Whether or not to forgive you… It’s something that she has to decide for herself.”
Fiona certainly had a point.
However, when I saw Lily acting like that, how could I possibly leave her be? Despite the feeling of rejection, I was still genuinely worried towards her.
“Still, I’d like to—”
“Then, I’m sorry to say this. Kurono, you don’t have the right to console Lily.”
“I know that. I know that everything’s my fault.”
“No, you’re mistaken.”
What, is there more?
Before I knew it, Fiona had arrived in front of me. At the sight of her, my breath was caught at my throat.
“It’s because Kurono doesn’t understand Lily’s feelings at all.”
“…What, are you talking about?”
“Did you not realize it? Apparently, Lily is good at concealing her feelings. Even so, that’s dense of you, Kurono.”
What on earth is she on about?
Even if I was like this, I still cared about Lily. After all, she was the partner I’ve known the longest in this world. We even did a fusion, where our minds and bodies became one.
Therefore, what could I possibly not understand about her?
“—Lily loves Kurono.”
…I wasn’t so dense as to not understand her words. Still, both my understanding and focus failed me at that moment.
“What, did you say…?”
“Of course, she loves you as a member of the opposite sex. It’s neither affection nor friendship, but a romantic feeling, absolutely.”
Does Lily love me?
I thought she cherished me, and I never doubted for even a moment that I reciprocated it.
“Hence why I said you’re so dense, Kurono.”
Fiona spoke as if she’d seen through my heart.
“If you think about it, it shouldn’t be that difficult? Think of what happens when men and women are in the same party.”
An adventurer party consisting of men and women. More often than not, it’d lead to a romantic relationship. Because of that, the risk of falling out was extremely high, so the guild didn’t recommend it.
I’d never applied such common sense to myself.
Lily and I…
…I was confident that such a thing wouldn’t happen. No, I didn’t see myself as some sort of a saint. Instead, I must’ve placed a blind faith in Lily.
Only now did I realize how irresponsible that was.
“Is that how she saw me all this time?”
“That’s right. Probably from the time before you even met me.”
Was I dense for failing to comprehend that? …And here I thought Sariel was the one who couldn’t understand people’s feelings.
Lily and I had been together ever since we came across each other in Fairy Garden. Our days in the Irz Village were both peaceful and uneventful. Lily was inherently strong, and despite her childish appearance, she was independent.
As a result, she ended up taking care of me. As for me, I hadn’t been able to show my cool side to her.
A life of a rank 1 adventurer that was both peaceful and carefree…
I wonder if that’s the reason?
Could people fall in love just by being together without doing anything special?
“While Kurono seems to think that he’s betrayed her trust as a companion, but you’re completely mistaken. What you’ve betrayed is Lily’s love.”