Translator: Kurehashi Aiko Editor: Queenie
「Edi will never become the second Demon Lord. You have my word on that.」
Klanven, who up until now was looking at me with a cold and empty expression, now became surprised upon hearing my sudden statement.Since I was standing right in front of him, it was kind of terrifying for me and a certain kind of fear began to raise up inside of me.
「–––– Puh! Ahahahahaha!!!」
Suddenly Klanven erupted into laughter, as if he was keeping it all inside of him and couldn’t hold it in anymore. And since there was no one else in the hallway but us, his laughter was carried throughout the corridors.
In stark contrast to his behavior from just a moment ago, Klanven was holding his stomach as it started to hurt. Too much laughter can easily do that to you.
When I tried to talk to him, he finally seemed to have calmed down, as he stopped laughing and wiped the tears that began to gather in the corners of his eyes.
「Haha, fufufu. To think that you would try to protect him just like that, you really are a most peculiar woman, you know?」
For Klanven it must have been a most exquisite kind of joke, for he laughed again while looking at me with a warm expression.
Surely I was but a single woman without power of any kind and I wouldn’t be very capable of protecting anyone, but if I continued to think like that things are never going to change. I will always be the one that needs to be protected, which is going to hurt the people that I hold dear to me. But even so, I wanted to protect that man. That feeling was not a lie. And I didn’t like that Klanven was laughing because of that.
「Fufu. Now, now, don’t make such a scary face! Cuteness is what suits you best.」
Even though I knew he said that only to flatter me, I couldn’t help it but to feel pleased upon being complimented like that.
While I was thinking of what to say in return to him, Klanven raised his hand and stroked my cheek gently with it.
While I was being amazed by his mysterious behavior, he laughed again. This time around, the expression on his face and his smile seemed different from his usual expressions. It was more natural, more like that of a child that was fascinated by something it saw for the first time.
「Honestly speaking, I was thinking that I was fine with dying during this month, but when I look at you now, I really want to live some more.」
While I was honestly pondering the meaning of his words, Klanven silently leans against me.
At that time, a beautiful voice cut through the empty hallway, reaching my ears.
「Filmina…… and Your Highness?」
When I saw my husband walking down the hallway towards us, wearing a beautiful black ceremonial robe I jumped away from Klanven and wanted to rush to his side instantly but…… In that exact moment Klanven leaned towards me and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek. A shriek escaped my mouth when that happened.
While I let out a shriek and the man was taken aback, Klanven only laughed in a merry manner.
「If you ever get tired of this guy, know that there’s always a spot open up for you deep inside of my heart.」
While saying that, Klanven reached out his hand towards mine, and placed something on top of my palm. It was the bookmark with a pressed flower that was so precious to me. A nostalgic aroma filled my nose at that moment.
「I think it’s high time for me to return this to you. Otherwise it might go to waste.」
Suddenly the air was filled with a murderous intent, and as the man drew closer to me, he manifested his staff in his hand, ready to cast spells at any time. Seeing that, Klanven slowly started to retreat.
While backing away, Klanven laughed innocently while looking into the man’s eyes. There were beads of sweat dripping from his forehead.
「Well then, it is high time for me to go now! Be seeing you, you two!」
「Edi, please calm down!」
As the magical gem in that man’s staff began to glow brightly, it was Klanven’s cue to leave, seeing how that man was in no mood for jokes. I guess those two could never truly get along, no matter what.
「Edi, please put your staff away! Klanven was only joking! It was nothing serious! Please put it away, alright!?」
「No, that was deadly serious. I can tell. Why is it that you attract all the nastiest men out there?」
「Even if you tell me that, I don’t know what to say……」
I wonder what does he mean by “attracting the nastiest of men”? Well, I couldn’t exactly deny that, but I also liked that man’s “bad” side very much. It was dear to me.
「That’s right! Edi! Is your injury okay!?」
Looking at the man, there was nothing strange about the way in which he was walking, and his wound seemed to have healed properly. It was pretty much possible that I was worrying over nothing.
That man seemed to be somewhat stunned upon hearing my question, but then he was back to his usual self in an instant, scolding me in a somewhat cold voice.
「I told you a hundred times already that I’m fine! The knife wasn’t poisoned or anything, it was a simple stab wound.」
「In the first place, it was not your fault, so you don’t need to worry about it so much. If you continue to drag this subject, I am really going to get angry with you.」
I was still thinking that it was not okay to end the conversation like that, but then the man’s line of sight fell onto the object that I was holding in my hand.
「Is the thing you hold in your hand the reason you decided to take care of Klanven?」
「…………………… I see.」
While I was overcome with both anxiety and embarrassment over my actions, his only response was something of sorts that now it “couldn’t really be helped”…… I wasn’t expecting him to act in such a way. But on the contrary, he only held my hand and smiled gently.
That smile of his was against my wildest expectations. While I was being mesmerized by his lovely smile, I could hear a huge cheer starting to sound from the outside. Apparently Heathrow already started the main event of the festival, which was making all of the flower buds throughout the capital bloom all at once. It was such a beautiful sight that not many things could even compare to it.
I close my hand on the bookmark and turn around, taking the man by the hand and starting to go back the way I came here.
「Oh yes, that’s right! We must hurry and go to the balcony! Everyone is waiting for us and must be annoyed by now that we are keeping them waiting!」
「I don’t see the reason why I should hurry it up for a ceremony that is organized in part for me. In fact, getting late for that seems like a sensible thing to……」
「Edi. You say anything more, and it will be ME who is going to get angry.」
「…… My bad. Sorry. I’ll try to be more careful with my words from now on.」
The man apologized properly, which was fairly rare for him to do, and then put his staff away. Then instead of his staff, something else appeared in the palm of his white hand.
「That’s the spirit. But we must hurry it up, since we are already late.」
It was a flower crown made of chrysanthemum flowers and wild herbs, neatly intertwined together. The combination of white and yellow flowers was cute and adorable to a fault. I never would have thought that this man was capable of creating something like this.
While I was being surprised by this creation of his, that man walked closer to me and put the crown on top of my head.
「Yes, let’s do just that.」
「Is there something wrong? You seem troubled.」
「…… I don’t have my crown. I can’t give you one in return.」
The flower which I had bought at the market yesterday were all destroyed by the women that assaulted me. And after being released from the temple yesterday, we were escorted back to our quarters in the Red Rose Court, where I fell asleep like a log and woke up the next day. Naturally, I had no time to prepare another crown.
That is why I was so shocked that I needed to accompany that man on the balcony of the Great Temple. I was informed about this this morning, after I woke up, when I wanted to make another crown. But unfortunately, I was nothing but empty-handed. No wonder I was feeling at a loss.
At first the man’s face seemed to say “What about it?” but then bent down so that his head was on my level.
When I blink a few times in surprise, the man gently flicks my forehead with his finger, and then he says:
「—- You do have something to give me in return, you know?」
His beautiful and long eyelashes cast a small shadow on his face. Somehow his features were invoking some memories within me, or maybe it was just my imagination?
It was a memory of a time when I was still young. At that time, the situation was quite the opposite: I gave him a flower crow whilst he was the one who was empty-handed. But at that time, wasn’t I sad and depressed, whilst looking as if my whole world just ended?
While still struggling with my own thoughts, I remember our visit to the orphanage. And my mind was no longer uncertain. I know what it is that I want to do for him. I bring my face closer to his. Then I gently kiss him while he opens his eyes wide in surprise. I could see glimmers of mischievous light shining in those beautiful eyes of his.
「Is that supposed to be an exchange?」
The man laughs, while I managed to smile even though my face was bright red with embarrassment. To think that would still be able to make me feel like that……
「What is it?」
「—- No, it’s nothing.」
I was trying to think of any words I could say here, but I was ultimately unable to do so, so I just smiled instead. However, that smile must have been enough for that man to understand my intentions, for he laughed shortly, bent over and gently kissed my mouth while holding my hand.
His hand was so warm. I won’t let anyone take that warmth away from me. I am powerless, but if need be I’ll put my very life and soul on the line to make that happen.
Then we walked back to the balcony where we were greeted by a mass of happy cheers.