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Black Demon King
524 The Answer
The talk was over.
Afterwards, we had dinner and went to sleep.
Sheer exhaustion pervaded me—it was as if I’d survived a long, arduous battle.
“I don’t have much of an appetite.”
“Well, I’m hungry.”
Fiona was her usual old self. Usual attitude, usual words, usual mood…
Just because she had become my lover, it’d be troublesome if she suddenly acted like a spoiled cat. Right now, it was safe to say that I didn’t have the confidence to deal with such a thing.
Hence why, I was glad Fiona behaved like usual.
…Although, she cried just now.
“Before that, I’d like to take a shower.”
“Okay, I’ll prepare dinner.”
“Thanks. What about Sariel?”
“She was asleep. She can just shower tomorrow.”
As a side note, Sariel went to sleep in an extra room in the dormitory. Since spare sheets and blankets were always available, she was free to use another bed.
“Back in the village, did Kurono help Sariel take a bath?”
Despite being the one asking, Fiona was unenthusiastic.
…Did it bother her?
The man she loved saw the naked body of another woman every day.
If I was in her shoes, it’d be impossible for me to not care. Also, her curt reply was kind of scary.
“Then, what about her diet?”
“If she’s still awake, I’ll feed her.”
I couldn’t just propose for all of us to eat together. On the surface, Fiona might agree, but there was no way she’d take kindly to it.
“About Sariel’s missing limbs… Did you give her any potions?”
“No, I didn’t give her anything because I can’t find anything useful.”
“I have a fairly potent healing potion. If you give it to her, while it won’t regenerate her missing limbs, I think that it’ll help her better in the long run.”
“…Is it really alright?”
“Yes, with the only downside being that it tastes so gross, you’re better off dead than drinking it.”
“T-then, let’s not…”
Even if slowly, Sariel’s wounds should be healing. For the time being, I had managed to convince others to let her stay.
Well, the rest was up to the Sparda army, but let’s not think about that today.
After asking all those questions, Fiona rushed to the shower.
Since the shower had been left vacant for a while, it must’ve been filthy… Still, Fiona should be able to do something about it with water magic.
Left alone, I sighed deeply.
Is this really alright?
Despite my dilemma, it wasn’t like there was anything I could do.
“Then, how about some soup?”
I decided to stop fussing about it and focus on cooking. Perhaps, as an escapism.
While we didn’t have any food left, we still had the supplies that Lily and the others prepared for our return to Spada.
Let’s make it simple and just use that for today.
For the first time in a while, I stood in the kitchen of the dormitory. Blankly, I started a fire in the hearth.
Thus, I cooked in autopilot mode, forgetting the passage of time.
I added the finely-diced ingredients into the pot, before grilling the thickly-sliced bacon. Even though they were leftover ingredients, they were much better than the ones I had in the cultivation village.
Surely, Reki and Ursula would rejoice at the sight of the bacon and white bread alone. When I remembered the smiles of the two of them—which remained in my heart—I felt a bit warmer.
“You’re just in time.”
Nice timing, Fiona had just finished showering. Instead of her usual witchy garb, she’d changed into casual loungewear. Seeing that familiar, light blue cape on her reminded me of my daily life in Spada.
“Let’s eat. I’ll be sure to clean the rest and bring some to Sariel. After this, please have some rest.”
Our casual exchange made the past happenings difficult to believe. Seeing how nonchalant Fiona was, I began to feel self-conscious.
…Am I the only one overthinking?
—Also, did Fiona really become my girlfriend?
I honestly didn’t feel like such was the case.
“What’s the matter, Kurono? Are you dozing off?”
“No, never mind…”
I prevented myself from overthinking once again and sat down at the table.
…Yeah, for now let’s just finish eating and head to bed.
I’ll just leave future planning and all the specifics that came with it to my tomorrow self.
I knocked on the old wooden door.
After hearing the soft, faint reply, I opened the door.
Thus, I saw a room with the same layout and size as my own. However, since it’d seldom been used, it only consisted of a desk, a chair, a closet, and a bed.
The new owner of the previously vacant room was the 7th Apostle—Sariel—who was currently lying on the bed.
“I brought you food.”
A mechanical response came from the blank-faced owner.
I didn’t know what went through her mind.
…No, is she even thinking at all?
“Kurono made this soup. Please eat it while it’s still warm.”
Then, I placed the bowl filled with piping hot soup on the floor, right in the middle of the room. It was almost as if I was feeding a dog.
Sariel stared alternately between the soup and me. She didn’t budge.
“What’s wrong? Hurry up and eat.”
“…Do you hate me?”
“Who cares, I’m telling you to hurry up and eat.”
I casually tugged her long, lustrous silver hair and dragged her out of the bed.
Whether it was because she was limbless, or because she was petite and slender, I was able to drag her to the floor.
With a thud, Sariel fell flat on the floor, but she didn’t make a single noise.
Well, considering that she’d undergone the same remodeling surgery as Kurono, a fall of that height wouldn’t be a problem.
“C’mon, it isn’t like you need a spoon.”
—Actually, I didn’t bring it from the beginning.
I only brought her soup—and one extra thing.
“This is a healing potion. Do savor it.”
I knew that Kurono was reluctant about letting Sariel drink it. But since we both wanted the best for her, it didn’t matter.
Above all, this woman was undeserving of the soup he made.
I popped the potion vial open, before letting the deep blue, slimy liquid dribble into her soup.
With her remaining left arm, Sariel crawled clumsily on the floor. After dragging herself for a few meters, she finally reached the plate of soup containing the disgusting potion.
“Thank you for the meal.”
After muttering in a ridiculously polite manner, Sariel lightly brought her face towards the soup and started lapping it like a dog.
…For the strongest warrior of the Sinclair Republic to be reduced into this state.
Is this the end of the one of the twelve holy humans closest to God—the 7th Apostle, Sariel?
“You look so pathetic, Sariel.”
As she leaned against the soup plate, I stepped on her head. I mercilessly pressed the sole of my favorite boots—dirty after traversing the Galahad Mountains—against her shining silver hair.
Someone of her capability should be able to easily evade and counter it, yet Sariel endured the humiliating gesture without any resistance.
Her beautiful, pure white face sank into the nasty, gooey blue liquid that was a mixture of soup and potion.
“I won’t show you any mercy, for I detest you.”
I wasn’t the type to mince my words. I just said whatever that went through my mind.
Therefore, I’d just be honest with her. Besides, I didn’t think I’d be able to hide it.
“I want to kill you right now.”
—Yet I can’t. I can’t kill her.
After all, that was the absolute prerequisite that I had to stomach in order to win Kurono.
—Yes, Lily can’t stand it, but I can.
…Because I’d been preparing myself for it for a long time.
It wasn’t until after the Last Rose Subjugation in the Asbel Mountains that I became convinced of our differences. I asked her about the dream Kurono had.
Her answer was, “He dreamed of his hometown.”
I asked her to elaborate. Apparently, Kurono might have a lover in his hometown.
However, Lily abruptly ended the conversation in the middle. She wouldn’t listen—she wouldn’t even entertain the possibility of Kurono loving someone else. Or, to put it simply, that he might not be a virgin.
Such was Lily’s biggest fear—that Kurono had bedded another woman.
Is it because she’s a fairy?
Akin to the ideals of the Crusaders, Lily’s strict when it came to chastity. Perhaps, “virtuous” was the correct term.
A respected concept of chastity that women of the world should embrace.
…Nevertheless, Lily, it’s a bit cruel to impose that ideal on a man?
I’d decided to only give my virginity to the one I love. However, I couldn’t possibly ask the same of Kurono? After all, he’d spend 17 long years in a peaceful, different world called Japan that we didn’t have a clue about. Therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising if he had past flings. Besides, he was already at the age where he could get married and have children.
—I still didn’t know.
I still didn’t know if Kurono truly had a lover back in his hometown. If not, would that make Sariel his first?
I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me. But I no longer cared. I’d resolved myself to move past that.
From the beginning, I’d given up on being Kurono’s “first.” Lily, on the other hand, was vying for it. Such was the difference between the two of us.
Therefore, from the moment I saw Kurono holding Sariel in Alsace Fortress, I was convinced that I had won.
I had something to confess—
—The realization struck me in an instant.
Kurono couldn’t kill Sariel.
Thus, I decided to take advantage of it. The relationship between him and Sariel—or to be precise, with that girl from his hometown. Shirasaki Yuriko. When I heard about their relationship, I soon understood that the relationship between the two was complicated.
…However, it wasn’t like he wholeheartedly loved her, either. Kurono didn’t seem to be interested in marrying Sariel, but that alone was enough.
By holding Sariel hostage, Kurono couldn’t turn down my confession. At the same time, she also inadvertently became my weapon to eliminate Lily—my strongest love rival.
Due to her integrity, Lily would never forgive Sariel for making love with Kurono.
She was so disappointed, so much that she conceded easily. Akin to a fragile maiden, she desolately cried and ran away.
Thankfully, yes, thankfully, he didn’t refuse…
Kurono, you’re way too serious.
Under normal circumstances, any man would reject a woman who approached him so unscrupulously. Heck, I wouldn’t even blame them for resorting to violence.
Yet, Kurono didn’t. No matter how inconvenient it was, he listened to my every word.
How he must suffer—!
I’m sorry for making you suffer, Kurono…
However, foolish joy outweighed my remorse.
“—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.”
The moment I heard those words, I became the happiest girl in the world.
My wish had come true.
I couldn’t wish for anything more.
Hence why, I could endure it, I was even willing to permit Sariel’s existence.
“—Hey, it’s spilling. Please drink it properly.”
When I suddenly came to, Sariel’s face was still immersed in the soup. The discolored soup had been soiled by the white vixen and the dusty floor.
Sariel’s breath was slightly hurried.
Geez, it’s just a plate of soup.
It wasn’t like she was drowning.
“Don’t worry, this won’t happen again.”
I was different from the lowly female students at the magic academy who—despite being of noble birth—were ugly, vulgar, insidious, and were prone to bullying.
Right now, I was just losing my cool for a bit.
…Although, even if I had prepared myself, when Crono did confess to it—
—Suffice to say, if Lily wasn’t there, I’d probably resorted to killing.
That was how shocked and disturbed I was.
“As long as you don’t betray Kurono, I’ll guarantee your safety.”
But of course, I’d also welcome it if she secretly colluded with the Crusaders, because I’d then have an excuse to get rid of her.
At the same time, it’d be risky for me to do something so unnecessary here. If, by any chance, Kurono found out that I tried to set Sariel up, this relationship will end.
It’d be equally as risky to continue with this kind of bullying. No matter how soft he was, I didn’t think he’d tolerate such a rotten woman.
My job here was done. If the need arises, I’d take care of Sariel. No, I’d take the initiative. As if I’d let Kurono bathe Sariel…
“Please refrain from causing me any problem. Above all, it’d be helpful if you could hurry up and finish that bland soup, since I’m in charge of cleaning.”
Thus, I silently waited as the 7th Apostle uncomfortably lapped the soup like a dog.
Afterwards, I cleaned the soup stain from the floor, put away the plate, wiped Sariel’s face, placed her on the bed… and then;
—It’s time for the finishing touches.
“Aah, how nervous I am, since it’s my first night—”
For now, let’s head to bed.
But when I finally went to bed, a sudden realization hit me.
I know it.
The source of my fatigue was all mental. Physically, I wasn’t exhausted in the least.
Certainly, we were in a bit of a rush when we crossed the Galahad Mountains and returned from the fortress to Spada. It was a moderately steep, yet reasonable long distance. Still, since I started the trip prepared with enough equipment, my body wasn’t overburdened.
Now that I thought about it, the only joyous reunion I had so far was with my horse—Nightmare. The moment it saw me, it began to neigh and licked my face all over. It was totally different from Sariel’s Pegasus.
Speaking of which, had Sariel fallen asleep yet?
Come to think of it, she was present when Fiona confessed to me. I wondered what she’d think of the bloody mess. Will she, who had Shirasaki’s memory, think of me as an indecisive, useless, guy?
After living in the cultivation village, she had regained a semblance of her humanity. Well, I’d like to believe that was the case. Perhaps, that was why I started regarding her as a regular person. Even though it shouldn’t have mattered what Sariel thought of me…
Yeah, that’s a bad idea.
“Kurono, are you still awake?”
At Fiona’s voice, accompanied by the knocking of the door, my heart thumped.
“Yes, I am. What’s the matter, Fiona?”
“May I come in?”
I had no reason to refuse.
Maybe, she failed to get Sariel to eat the soup.
If such was the case, I’d do it in her stead.
The priest, Kuroe—who’d been caring for Sariel for three months—shall teach her how to politely and generously—
—the foolish thought was swept away in an instant.
“Oh, hey… Fiona, that outfit is…”
The image of her opening the door with an interior lamp in hand loomed vaguely in the darkness.
Still, I could tell right away that she was wearing a scant, one-piece negligee. Considering I’d seen her in pajamas quite a few times, it shouldn’t come off as a surprise—
—but this was just different.
I had never seen her in such an outfit before. It was apparent at a glance that the fabric was thin—no, it’s actually transparent…
In fact, the same could be said about her outfit as a whole. It was see-through to the point that I wondered if there was even a meaning to wearing it in the first place.
At the same time, I could vividly make out her contour, and even her bare skin. I could also see her navel, and underneath it, was black… Due to my good night vision, I didn’t fail to catch her rather risqué, bikini-type, black pants.
“Is something the matter?”
Why did she say it as if it was something she usually wears?
…It’s too stimulating for a virgin!
Although, I was no longer a virgin. Even so, as a man who was unused to women, I tried my best to avert my gaze from her enticing appearance.
“N-no, not at all, but…”
“Is that so? Does it not suit me after all?”
“I, I think, it looks good on you, yeah…”
On top of stuttering, I wondered how credible my answer was when I directed it to a wall.
Still, I was being honest when I said that it suited her.
“So, what’s the matter, Fiona?”
“Well, I thought I’d talk with Kurono for a bit more.”
“Is that so? Then, I also have something I’d like to ask you—huh!?”
Just when I thought Fiona was approaching the bed, she didn’t stop. She drew closer.
For a moment, my blanket was removed, and chilly air rushed in. But the next moment, I felt the warmth and softness of human skin. Apparently, Fiona was hugging me from behind. The sensation of her hands crawling from my back akin to snakes made me shudder.
“Hey, Fiona, wait a minute, this is—”
“—Isn’t it alright? We’re lovers.”
Is this some kind of sneak attack?
No, wait a minute. Certainly, she’d confessed, but that was just a moment ago. Besides, I didn’t have the mental preparation to—
“—I’m sorry, Kurono.”
Her somewhat dejected apology stopped my train of thoughts.
“Why are you apologizing?”
“My confession was terrible, wasn’t it?”
—If you want her to stay alive, go out with me.
Such was the gist of Fiona’s confession. As for whether or not it was terrible, of course it was. In fact, rather than a confession, it could even be considered as a threat—a criminal act.
“No, that’s not true. I’m sure Fiona has suffered all this time. Therefore, you must’ve been desperate.”
“Yes, I was really terrified of being rejected by Kurono…”
The fact that she even said such an outrageous thing proved that her feelings weren’t half-hearted, regardless of how dense I was.
“—Hence why I wanted you to accept me, even if it was a lie.”
“—It wasn’t a lie. If I truly didn’t like it, I would’ve rejected you, even if it means using force.”
Back when the confession took place, we were at the dormitory’s lounge, and in a close proximity. If a battle had ensued—I, a berserker, would’ve had a better chance at victory than Fiona, a magician. In fact, I could even forcibly subdue her using brute force.
“T-that’s, but, I’m…”
“When I had to choose, I had to admit that I was troubled. But to be able to choose between Lily and Fiona in itself was probably the most luxurious choice in the world. And I ended up choosing the best woman.”
Fiona’s arms tightened around my body.
How’d she receive my words?
She might be surprised, or plain decided that it was a lie—no, she might not even care.
Being honest about what I felt was honestly scary, but I couldn’t stop.
“What I did with Sariel was unforgivable. Not even Lily was willing to forgive me. But Fiona, you—and only you said that you’d forgive me.”
…Even though I knew it was just a white lie.
“Thank you for forgiving me.”
Surely, that was all that I wanted.
The fake days I spent with Sariel, whom I couldn’t kill. In the end, I couldn’t find the answer myself.
How should I treat Sariel? What is it that I want to do?
…Above all, how should I redeem myself after failing to kill Sariel?
The answer was infinitely simple—
—I just wanted someone to forgive me.
“I love you, Fiona.”
Suddenly, she released me.
But soon, she returned. Now, she was hugging me from the front.
Fiona came over me while I was lying on my back. Half of my blanket had fallen off the bed. It felt somewhat chilly.
—A third kiss. No, I didn’t know how many times it had been. Fiona rained kisses on me, over and over again.
My heart raced as her indescribably soft lips pressed fiercely against mine. But rather than feeling as if my consciousness was swept away, I felt overtaken by my instincts.
—And I knew that sensation all too well.
When I gave up on everything and kissed Sariel on my own volition, it was also like this.
As if unsatisfied with those mere sensations alone, my lips began to part at a certain slimy and small foreign thing.
Then, Fiona’s tongue slid between my parted lips. In the small crevice that was my mouth, our tongues began to overlap with each other.
“—Nn, ugh, wait, Fiona!”
Only by pushing her shoulders did I manage to stop her advance.
Fiona’s face was dyed in a faint vermillion color as if she was feverish. Even without her saying a word, her excitement was conveyed loud and clear.
“No more… That’s enough for tonight. Please stop…”
“Why? Do you find me unattractive?”
“Until I speak to Lily, I can’t hold you.”
What significance would talking to Lily have? At the very least, I didn’t think I’d be able to explain in my own words why it’d be important.
Nevertheless, I had a conviction—a conviction that I couldn’t afford to be swept away by this.
“I’m sorry, Fiona. I’m just being selfish…”
Fiona affirmed after a while.
“But I can’t wait for too long.”
“Yes, next time, I’ll be the one to invite you.”
Seeing Fiona in such a lewd state, I didn’t think I’d have it in me to refuse. Somehow, despite the fact that such an attractive girl wanted me, I was able to stop the act… I felt proud of my rationality.
“Hoo… Is that so? If such is the case, then I might be able to wait for a little bit longer.”
Fiona let out a luscious sigh before drawing away from me—at the loss of her comforting weight, I felt somewhat regretful…
Fiona slipped out of the bed and took the lamp that was by my bedside. Apparently, she was going back to her own room.
But she couldn’t leave—
—I had caught her wrist, holding her back.
“…Sorry, but can you spend the night with me?”
“That’s terrible, Kurono. You might as well kill me.”
As she spoke, she seemed terribly embarrassed.
“I’m begging you, let me care for you.”
—This much should be fine.
“Fine, then. After all—”
—After all, she’s my lover.