Black Demon King
523 Love Confession (2)
“…Fiona, did you know all this time?”
“Yes, I noticed from the time I joined the party.”
Apparently, she knew from the beginning.
Fiona knew of Lily’s feelings from the moment they met… At that time, I’d been living with Lily for three months. The word ‘dense’ couldn’t even describe me by this point…
“Dammit, why am I… Lily—…”
I was truly at a loss. What should I say to apologize? No, more importantly, it was lame that I needed someone else to spell it out for me.
It’d have been meaningless if I hadn’t realized it myself.
No, even if so, I doubted I’d actually realize it. After all, even with Reki and Ursula’s kindness, it wasn’t until leaving the village that I realized it.
“Kurono, do you want to go after Lily?”
I didn’t think I had the right to do so.
“Yes. Now that I’ve found out, I can’t just let it be.”
Do I love Lily?
I didn’t think that I saw her as a member of the opposite sex…
…Still, without realizing it, I’d become too attached to her.
However, that didn’t erase all of my doubts. I felt like I cherished her like a sister… At the very least, I couldn’t bear the sight of her crying?
“I’ll go look for Lily.”
“I won’t let you.”
When I turned to leave, there was a light impact on my back. Judging from the sensation, I could feel that Fiona was embracing me from behind. Her white arms encircled my belly.
“Why did you stop me?”
“Hey, Kurono… If I was the one who left tearfully, would you come after me?”
I didn’t understand the meaning of her question.
“What are you talking about? I have to hurry and find Lily—”
“—What do you think? Between me and Lily, who’d you choose?”
Fiona had been calmly listening until now. In the first place, from the moment we were reunited, she probably had a rough understanding about Sariel and I.
Therefore, it was difficult to imagine Fiona crying in shock.
“What are you talking about, Fiona? Now isn’t the time…”
“If you can’t answer, well, that’s fine, too. Anyhow, is it really wise to be in such a hurry? Lily needs some alone time. Surely, Kurono will understand?”
When she put it like that, I couldn’t help but nod.
After the battle to defend Alsace, life in Spada began to take a plunge into the depths of despair. It was only in the beginning that I was able to muster a bravado. Said petty sense of justice was reduced into nothing when I saw the surviving refugees.
At that time, thanks to Mia’s immediate appearance, I was able to sort out my thoughts. Above all, I managed to find hope. But without that, it’d take a long time before I could fully recover.
Or maybe… I truly had changed. A ruthless, selfish, and above all, cowardly man who cut down all but his precious companions without ever looking back.
“Alright… I’ll leave Lily alone for tonight.”
As soon as I nodded, Fiona released her grasp on me. But then, she approached me from the front. We weren’t exactly hugging, but close enough. On my chest, was the enigmatically beautiful Fiona.
“Kurono, in truth, even I’m shocked by this—to the same extent as Lily, even. It’s just that I have more rationality than her.”
“I’m sorry, you’re right…”
Although, it was one thing to understand, but whether or not she could forgive me was another matter. As for Fiona, I thought she followed me this far precisely because she trusted me…
My actions were unforgivable—both as a companion and a man.
“That’s right, Kurono, you’re the worst.”
For the first time, her curse words pierced my heart.
Even if I was aware of it—even if I admitted to it, to hear that from her was still shocking.
“To help our enemy, the apostle, out of selfish personal feelings… Even if you were to say that Sariel seduced you with her good looks and shackled you, there’s no excuse.”
Certainly, if my deeds were known, the general consensus was as such. After all, even though Sariel and I hailed from the same town, we were only acquaintances. We weren’t friends, much else a couple.
…No, even if Shirasaki and I were married for a long time, I had no way of proving that.
After all, it was Sariel—the apostle—whom I chose to spare. That fact alone made me a sitting duck to all kinds of slanders.
“If Kurono had realized Lily’s feelings sooner, then you might be able to proceed with killing Sariel.”
While it was nothing more than a theory, I thought that it was possible.
If I had noticed her feelings sooner, what’d I do? But thinking about it was useless, since I couldn’t respond to said feelings.
—Then, if I had a lover by the name of Lily, would I be able to kill Sariel that day? Even if I thought about it, I couldn’t find an answer. Even so, there was no doubt that I’d be more inclined to end her.
“Sariel should’ve been killed. Kurono, who failed to do so, is to blame.”
“Yes, I know, I’m selfish…”
By keeping Sariel alive, I had overlooked the risks that came with it. Fortunately, coincidences overlapped, and Sariel wasn’t only able to be rid of her divine protection, but also received the divine protection of the Dark Knight Freesia, eliminating the possibility of her ever being revived as an apostle ever again.
Still, the act itself could be considered a rebellion that’d put Sparda itself in jeopardy. That was what it meant to save an apostle. The level of danger was completely different than merely allowing Linfelt to escape.
“Nevertheless, Kurono still proceeded with the selfish acts, and even betrayed Lily’s feelings in the process.”
She was right.
Even now, I had no intention of slaying Sariel. As much as I was reluctant to admit it, my heart had accepted Sariel’s existence in the momentary peace I spent at the cultivation village.
Even at such a time, I glanced at Sariel, who remained expressionless. Despite my showdown with Fiona, she just sat there and listened…
In such a chaotic situation, I wondered what went through Sariel’s head…
“Please look this way, Kurono.”
Fiona’s white hand reached for my cheek, forcing me to look forward. Her golden eyes were right in front of me, drawing me in.
“Is this woman that important to you?”
It was as if I was being tested. While her half-eyed gaze was as laidback as ever, I felt that way.
“…Yes, just as Lily said, I chose memories. Even though not even a single trace of Shirasaki remains in Sariel, and that she’s nothing more than an empty husk… But even so, I don’t want Sariel to die. I’ve decided to protect her.”
“I see. It’s the worst answer. After all, you’re the worst.”
Seeing Fiona exhale, I realized.
Would it be the end of my alliance with the Element Master?
Fiona didn’t forgive me. In the first place, what I had committed was unforgivable. I was aware of that, too. I should’ve seen it coming.
“I’m so sorry, Fiona. If this is the end—”
—Suddenly, Fiona’s face approached. Before I knew it, no distance remained.
Our lips overlapped.
“What, are you…?”
Fiona pulled back as if nothing had happened. Only then did I realize that I’ve been kissed.
“Kurono, you’re the worst, but I forgive you.”
I made a stupid noise. It didn’t make any sense. In the first place, I was still wrapping my head around the fact that Fiona had just kissed me…
My heart was pounding.
“I forgive you—do you know why?”
“Shouldn’t that be obvious? Because I love you.”
What kind of expression was I making?
“The truth is, you already know, don’t you?”
After all, Fiona had kissed me. That alone proved that she wasn’t simply playing around.
“Kurono, I love you.”
A heartfelt confession.
Just as Elina told me before she departed for the Galahad War, Fiona’s words were so straightforward and crisp that I couldn’t mishear it…
I couldn’t give an immediate answer. I knew that I was being lame—even so, it was impossible for me!
In Elina’s case, I turned her down right away. Since I was concerned about myself and the future, it wasn’t difficult.
But what about now?
Fiona accompanied me in the decisive battle with Sariel. Without her, we’d have lost the Galahad War. I’d be helpless against the apostle.
In the first place, her strength was necessary for me in future battles. After all, Fiona was a rare companion who could go with the crusaders on the bloody battlefield of Hell.
For such a person to love me… Moreover, she was also ridiculously beautiful. I’d lost count as to how many times I’d been struck by her beauty. If I wasn’t this pathetic, I’d make a move on her.
In short, a girl named Fiona was a very rare existence who’d love a brute like me… Originally, I should be the one to bow and confess to her.
So why wasn’t I tempted to do so until now? Because Lily was there.
Now that Fiona had confessed to me, why did my worry and distress outweigh the happiness? Because Lily was there.
Despite knowing that Lily loved me, Fiona still confessed to me…
“Is that what you mean by ‘choose’?”
A cruel affirmation, where neither lies nor deceit could be found.
“Please choose me.”
Was it a wish, or an order? Once again, Fiona’s face approached mine.
I managed to prevent the second kiss.
I didn’t shove her, and instead pushed her shoulders back.
“Am I not good enough?”
“No, it’s not about that…”
I didn’t understand what I was saying. Still, I didn’t think it’d be right to let her kiss me…
“Lily won’t forgive you, Kurono. To be more precise, she wouldn’t be able to forgive Sariel’s existence. Once she returns, she’s more likely to point her blade at her again.”
But that was only a speculation…
Surely, if Lily cooled her head, she’d come to an understanding—
—was a very wishful and convenient thought from me.
“But if it’s me, I will. It’s alright if you don’t want to kill Sariel, I can overlook that. Of course, it’ll take some time before I can forgive you. Even so, I can handle it—as long as you become my lover.”
…To forgive the unforgivable, is that the power of love?
Fiona’s words were filled with love. Was that her honest feelings? Was that truly what she thought?
“If I don’t choose Fiona, what’ll happen?”
“Do you have the confidence to turn me and Lily into enemies for the sake of Sariel?”
Chill went down my spine.
It was a familiar feeling to me, who’d fought countless life-threatening battles. However, it was the first time for me to feel that even though I wasn’t in danger.
Fiona was serious.
“Please choose me, Kurono. That way, I can grant your wishes.”
Apparently, a threat can sound so sweet, too…
—My instinct told me to not give in.
To not give up.
There must be other, better alternatives.
My rationality cried.
“Because I love you dearly, I can forgive me for anything, anytime.”
Fiona reached for my face again. I couldn’t stop her. My arms, still holding onto her shoulders, didn’t move in the slightest, as if I’d been petrified by her demonic gaze.
“Now, answer me, Kurono.”
Fiona closed in for the third time akin to a beast that relentlessly pursued her prey.
However, no matter how many times I beheld the face of this girl, who threatened me amidst her love confession, she was still beautiful.
Somehow, I just couldn’t believe it. Did I truly fight alongside such a beautiful girl until now?
One early summer day, when I first met her, she laid defenselessly on the side of the highway in the middle of evening; the memories of surviving Alsace; living in Spada; and facing the decisive battle of Galahad—those memories flashed across my mind.
Always, no matter what, she’d be sure to look at me with that sleepy, expressionless face.
“—Alright, Fiona. Let’s get closer. No, if you’re alright with me, why don’t we go out? From now on, as a lover, and not a friend.”
“Of course, Kurono.”
Thus, I accepted the second kiss.
As we locked lips together in a trance, tears overflowed from her face.