I hear a voice. A voice calling my name.
Who-, it was obvious who it was. That low male voice that reached my ears, it was from the person I loved more than anyone, more than anything.
As soon as I thought this, my conscious awoke. My eyelids sprang wide open.
It was so bright. But my eyes quickly adjusted.
And what my eyes then took in, was a sight that was very familiar to me. Not just his form standing in front of me, but even the room I was in.
Nothing was strange, everything that entered my vision was in its right place. Even then, I felt a faint sense of unease.
Kurono. Even after inspecting him up and down, I could not point out anything unordinary. Both of his eyes and his hair were black, proof that he was an outsider. What he wore over his tall frame was the jet black robe, ‘Bahamut’s Embrace.’ The trademark of black mages.
This place, yes, it was my home. It was a place I spent thirty years in after being run out of the Light Fountain. It was a small cottage built quietly in the Fairy Garden.
Kurono was standing in front of the table in the middle of the room. I was now sitting up on the bed in the corner.
“Are you still tired? Should I not have woken you?”
“…No, it’s fine.”
I didn’t feel any annoyance at being awakened. I had just dozed off. And either way, I could not be mad at Kurono, even if he had woken me up in the middle of the night. No matter how small the reason was.
“I wish I could tell you to take it easy, but today is the one day that I really need your help.”
So saying, Kurono took a step towards me, and before I knew it he had picked me up. It seemed that my weight did not matter to Kurono, whether I was in the form of a child or in my true form as I now was.
His strong arms carried me into the air as if I weighed almost nothing.
I was suddenly pressed against his chest. Being held like a princess. It all happened so suddenly that I let out a weird gasp. I was embarrassed, but… I was also grinning from happiness. My cheeks grew hot.
“Or I could just carry you to the village like this. If you want to sleep more?”
He added that there was no guarantee that the ride would be comfortable, and gave me a wicked smile. I no longer had the consciousness of a child, and such seductions in my current state were hard to resist.
“I, I’m…fine. Really.”
I sounded shrill. I knew at that moment that I went red in the face. Even someone as insensitive as Kurono would see that.
“But, you haven’t gotten off yet.”
“It’s because you haven’t let me.”
My, my, his expression seemed to say as he chuckled. Kurono started to walk as he continued to carry me in his arms. Ahh, I was so happy. But, somewhere in the corner of my brain, I think: more, I want more.
“But I will let you down before we reach the village. We can show them how close we are tomorrow.”
But why tomorrow? What happens tomorrow? Before I could ask this, Kurono began to answer.
“After all, tomorrow is our wedding.”
Exactly one year ago, on the fourth day of the month of early summer.
The piercing screech of the monster bird Garuda had echoed throughout the forest. A moment later a large wooden box fell from the sky. The box had fallen from the edge of a cliff, and it shattered into pieces when it hit the ground. What spilled out were the apples that had filled the box, and one man.
I was still a child with a simple mind. I woke him up with the rough method of splashing water onto his face with a cup I created out of magic. Even then I was still thinking that I was nursing him back to health. In my childlike way.
In any case, that is how I met him.
“My name is the Black Demon King. What’s yours?”
Black Demon King. That’s what it sounded like to me, but correctly, the man’s name was ‘Kurono Maou.’
I don’t know why I started calling him Kurono, there was no deep thought behind it. After all, I had just taken to calling him ‘Kurono’ since I was a child. It was only during my first full moon when I understood that there was a difference between a first and last name. But at that point, Kurono’s name was Kurono to me, and he himself went by the name ‘Kurono’ in the village.
His real name, ‘Maou,’ which had a similar ring to Demon King, need only be known to friends who he shared this secret with. Yes, just me. For now and forever.
Kurono had trust in me. I too trusted Kurono. And I love him. And he loves me.
And so tomorrow, exactly one year since we first met, I and Kurono will be married.
The venue will, of course, be Irz village. Where we lived quietly, peacefully in gentle warmth for the past year.
“Oh, good morning Kurono and Lily! You sure are making a show this morning!”
We were walking with our hands in each other’s, and Vartz, the first goblin farmer to see us approaching the village, jeered as he watched.
I started to a feel a little embarrassed, and I found myself squeezing Kurono’s hand tightly. But at the same time, I was so happy that I felt like my face would distort from the grinning.
“We’ll give them a bigger show tomorrow, won’t we Lily?”
I must have been so smitten that my face had become quite foolish looking.
“Good morning, ah… Lily, you seem on top of the world this morning.”
It was Grint, leader of the vigilante group that protected the Irz gates today. As a lizardman, he wasn’t supposed to have the variation in facial expressions as the other races with human-like faces, but even so, he was pretty close.
Indeed, my face had gotten so red and I had continued grinning, it was as if my emotions were a chaos of happiness that displayed on my face. I knew this was true, but I could not stop myself.
“Good morning, Kurono! Ah, as always, the sight of you and Lily walking and holding hands, it’s positively criminal!”
“Shut up, Nyarko. Do your job.”
When we reached the adventurers guild, Nyarko began in her usual light-hearted way as soon as we opened the door. At first, I had my reservations about this cat daughter who acted so familiarly around Kurono, but now I did not care at all. After all, I was Kurono’s number one. He loved me more than any other woman.
“Nino, you’re back.”
Nino was the leader of Irz village’s only exclusive party, ‘Irz Blader’. He appeared to have been eating breakfast with his men before they started to walk towards us.
“Yeah, we managed to get back last night. Look at us, just in time for the ceremony, eh?”
“Thank you. I’ll increase the reward.”
“Hehe, I would hope so!”
We had gone out of our way to call a priest from the Pandora Temple in the Daidalos capital, just for tomorrow’s ceremony. The Irz Blader’s had accepted the quest of escorting the priest to the village safely.
Up until a year ago, everyone had thought of them as a young and unreliable party. But then Kurono appeared as a rival, and this ended up having a good effect on both parties, now they were impressive rank three adventurers.
By the way, I and Kurono are rank two. If we wanted, we could easily go and capture a salamander from the Galahad mountain ranges and raise our rank to a five. But we did not have any ambitions of becoming stronger or becoming famous. We just wanted to live peacefully and enjoy life as adventurers.
“I guess you two are going to start living together as a couple now, huh…Hahaha!”
Ohh, this was embarrassing. I think as I start to pet the fat cat who lay in a ball in a corner of the lobby. I don’t know how long the cat has been here, but playing with it has become a habit for me. Even when I was a child, I felt like I could be myself with it.
“…Lily, I heard that the wedding dress arrived at the goods store. We should go and check.”
This time he grabbed my arm and we basically flew out of the guild house.
As the double doors opened, a black shadow appeared in front of us. No, it wasn’t a black shadow, it was just someone who was dressed completely in black.
The person was wrapped in a high-grade magical robe covered in feathers. But the most distinctive thing about the person’s appearance was the large triangular hat. ‘Ainz Broom’, her favorite staff was gripped tightly in her hand.
“Good morning, Kurono and Lily.”
I greeted my friend whose eyes always looked sleepy.
“I’ve just returned to the village.”
“So, are you actually sleepy right now?”
“Yes. I intend to go and sleep in my guild room now. After I eat breakfast, of course.”
“You have not changed at all.”
I was half exasperated and half impressed. This witch had not changed at all since the time I first met her. Even though she was a rank five adventurer now.
“Speaking of which, I didn’t have a chance to say it as I was on a pretty long quest, but…”
Perhaps the gentle spring sunlight was too much for her sleepy eyes because she then lowered the brim of her hat with her left hand. I noticed that there was no ring on her ring finger. It bothered me a little.
“…congratulations on getting married.”
But that unease was blown away by her heartfelt blessing.
She was usually quite expressionless, but there was a faint smile on her face. There was nothing hidden behind her words. The natural telepathy conveyed was proof of it.
In the first place, what reason did I have to doubt her? Fiona was my very best friend.
And so I gave her my biggest smile and replied,
“Thank you, Fiona.”
Before I knew it, it had become night time.
I was together in bed with Kurono. Ever since the day we met, we’ve always slept together. Of course, it was just sleeping.
But I was no longer a child. I would never return to being a child.
When was it that I received the divine blessing from the fairy queen Iris? I don’t remember, but because of it, I am now able to stay in my true form forever. I was also able to make peace with the fairies of the Light Fountain. This was all an unmistakable truth.
The dress that had arrived at the goods store was created by them. It was a pure white dress that shone and sparkled, hehe, I looked forward to wearing it tomorrow.
“Hey, Kurono…I’m so happy.”
“Ah, I am too, Lily.”
Kurono’s large hand gently rubbed my cheek. It was warm, it tickled, I felt like I would melt.
“This isn’t a dream, is it?”
“It’s not a dream.”
I was so happy and fulfilled that it made me scared.
“Everyone, no, the whole world has blessed us. From now on, I want you to live with me in peaceful tranquility.”
“Yes…yes, I would be happy if I could just stay with you forever.”
Me too, Kurono says as he pulls me to him. I pull him back; his large body.
“We have an early morning tomorrow. Let’s get some sleep.”
“Good night, Lily.”
I was enveloped in warmth and happiness, and in that, I gently let go of my consciousness.
Ahh, I pray that these happy days continue forever…