A Girl of White Gold, Desiring
A listlessness lingered in her body, a result of the happiness she shared.
She had longed for it for ages. She had always longed for it to be shared with him, and no one else.
The happiness he had chosen for her filled her chest.
The happiness brought about from his love for her made her giddy enough to cloud her vision.
She was happy.
The warmth of his close presence, closer than it had ever been before, made her drown in the scent of her very own sanctuary.
She was happy. That’s why…
Still within his arms, Latina’s eyes overflowed with tears.
… That was why she had found herself engulfed by the same spectacle she had become so used to.
In the centre of a circle formed by seven thrones, she sat down in front of her decided seat.
Her tears continued to fall, now far beyond her control.
She let them fall freely, her shoulders quaking, her voice wrecked by her sobs.
There was nothing she could do to hold them back.
The happiness she felt was what made her dread losing him all the more.
She wished that it would never come to pass.
That was the only thing she would ever wish for. She wished to live with him, with the man she loved. She wanted to be with him.
Any notion of accepting her own life span was nothing more than a lie. Her acceptance of the inevitable day the two of them would come apart was the same.
She couldn’t bring herself to part with him. There was no way she could ever live on without him once he had passed.
Her thin, quaking fingers reached out.
They touched the back of the throne that existed outside the boundaries of logic and reason, and snapped back with a start.
Still, she knew.
She knew… so she reached out for the throne one more time, her fingers still shaking.
There was power in her supposed rejection.
What she did accept was the power that would fulfil her one and only desire.
It was a familiar name, one that she had been called before.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry… This is wrong, it’s so wrong… But, I… I don’t want to cause you harm, not in any form… I’m sorry, so sorry… you new First King…”
“… There, I may yield my name to ye. My dearest… beloved daughter of whitened gold…”
While it was vague and obscured, she could still envision the lone presence that sat upon the first throne.
Her eyes swimming with tears, she raised her gaze to the entity that harboured a radiance as golden as the name would imply.
“O beloved daughter of white gold. I am there…”
The girl shook her head as it continued to speak.
The sky that echoed her cries was shaded with countless rainbows.
As if one with with moon itself, the rainbows that covered the world in a mantle while all were asleep glimmered ever silent.
Despite the unease he felt emanating from the warmth within his arms, he could find no reason behind its appearance. The only excuse he could find was his own gut feeling.
The unease and discomfort made his heart beat against his chest. A small part of him, more instinct than reason, somehow rejected the existence of his beloved.
The girl right in front of his eyes hadn’t changed in the slightest.
She peacefully slumbered on. Her expression seemed so much more angelic, and the way her soft white skin alluringly glistened with a thin sheen of sweat would give him no rest. But somehow, it still felt as if he were staring at a girl that had changed drastically.
Her voice hadn’t changed either. It was precisely because of this lack of change that Dale’s voice sounded as if he were on the verge of tears.
“… The Demon King.”
That word is enough to catch her surprise. Her body jerks, and her face shows her astonishment.
Her reaction only confirmed what Dale had already realised.
“Why…? Why did you become the Demon King…?”
“How… How did… Dale, how did you know…?”
Dale was in no state to muster any more worry.
Regardless, he managed to strike down his own screaming instincts that begged for her rejection, and went to embrace her.
Those with powers that rendered them heroes were blessed by multiple gods, recipients of their divine protection.
Among these divine protections, one was the courtesy of Tislow’s – his home’s – chieftain god, Kolmozei. It entailed his own protection by means of sorceries bound to the Earth itself. For someone whose very occupation dealt with battle, this power was invaluable.
Another blessing he had incurred was that of the god Azraq. This blessing bestowed him with the power responsible for his warm reception at the country of Lahrband, where he had been hailed as the “Demon King-Slaying Hero”.
Dale had the power to see through the veils of the Demon King and his retainers.
He had the power to perceive all things that deviated from the core make-up of humanity.
The power being his own was why Dale couldn’t even begin to turn a blind eye from these truths. Any attempt to evade the subject or play the fool was impossible for him.
There could be little doubt; he had caught on to the faintest sign that something had occurred.
He did not even entertain the thought of taking her to the temple of Kneeli. Instead, he covered her with his arms.
He had chosen to foolishly try and call her back to him, to tell her not to cross over instead.
Why, he couldn’t say himself.
Why he had come to fall for her, he couldn’t say.
“I… I’m sorry… I’m sorry…”
Latina broke into tears, repeating the same apology time and time again. Dale embraced her, held her close.
As an existence that opposed the Demon King himself, Dale’s very instincts rejected anything related to him. But still, the one he held in his arms was Latina, without a shadow of doubt.
It was the same Latina he had watched over since childhood.
He had already pledged that the two of them would stay together. He had vowed that she would always have a place at his side. That meant that as long as Latina remained herself, there was nothing that could change that.
Heart now resolute, Dale regained his composure.
The Demon King; so what? It didn’t matter if the Demon King was involved or not. Latina was an adorable, well-mannered girl. She was the one girl most precious to him, and that wouldn’t change anytime soon, would it?
Even if Latina turned into one herself, she was still Latina.
His thoughts returned to the present, and he recalled the night prior. Latina came back to mind, dishevelled and with sweat like dew on her skin as he embraced her.
He couldn’t help but think that reacting to that now would mark him as a failure of a human being…
“Come on, don’t cry… Latina…”
“I… I’m so… sorry… sorry…”
“I’m not angry, okay? Sure, I was worried, but not angry. So please, stop crying…”
Surely, there’s no need to go over this again, but… Dale was extraordinarily weak to seeing Latina’s crying face.
The guilt he felt toward the crying Latina was immense.
Even if the fault didn’t actually lie with him, he couldn’t bring himself to follow that line of reasoning. It was no wonder that he’d feel like this.
His guilt on his sleeve, he chose to share his thoughts with Latina.
“You turning into the Demon King surprised me, sure. But that’s water under the bridge now.”
“Well, it’s not like we can change the past. You became the Demon King, there’s nothing we can do about that.”
“Eh…? Eh?! Dale?!”
Well, one couldn’t blame her for being surprised at the complete and utter lack of questioning and the assertive behaviour she was faced with.
“As long as you’re you, I don’t mind.”
Not that Latina had gone shy, but she was at a loss for words. Even her expression had undergone a refreshing change.
His identity, revolving solely around the words “I love my dear daughter Latina!” had trumped his instincts as a hero in a single moment.
He was a hero only second, and an overly doting parent that put his daughter above all first.
“Well, I mean… I know I’m no good, but…”
“I know… you shouldn’t accept me… but…”
Latina’s tearful gaze wandered to Dale, who was holding her close as he had done since she was little, doing nothing but kindly listening to what she had to say.
“Why… Why aren’t you angry…?”
“Well, I don’t even know what I should be angry about. I do know that there’s a reason for choosing you after giving it a lot of thought, though.”
His voice was so kind she couldn’t help but weep again.
“Dale, I love you.”
“I don’t… I don’t want to lose you, Dale.”
“Yeah…? That so?”
“That’s… That’s why I accepted the Demon King’s power in the first place, and…”
What that meant was anyone’s guess, really.