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One day, as soon as I told him what I would be doing, Kou shouted unusually.
The mission I received this time was to support the fort protected by the Sixth Corps.
It seemed like monsters appeared more frequently from the nearby forest.
Many were injured and some even died.
In response to that, it’s not strange that the Third Corps received a mission to support them.
The First Corps is the most important, while the Third Corps overwhelmingly had the highest number of deaths.
The place they have to support is sometimes far away, and because it’s a monster subjugation, we don’t know when the monsters would appear so we need to live there.
I definitely can’t go back for at least a month.
It’s hard to be away from Kou during this time, but…I don’t want to take him to a dangerous place.
There’ll be a few people left for contact, so I told them to take care of Kou as well, but──
“No!! Kou, Ryodo’s, majichan! Togwether, go!” (No!! I’m your magician! Let’s go together!)
He raised his arm and protested.
However, Kou is still an “apprentice magician”.
I can’t take him on a support mission.
Unlike usual, I can’t understand him at all.
“Kou, majik, hand, can. Kou, togwether! Ryodo, togwether!” (I can lend a hand by using some magic. I want to stay with you!)
I’m glad you want to be with me, but the place I’m going to is too dangerous.
“Kou, good boy. Until I get home, wait.”
“Gud boy, wrong! Weit, no!” (I’m not a good boy! I won’t wait!)
He doesn’t listen at all.
“One month, if I can, home.” (I can be home in one month.)
He shook his head and didn’t agree.
(How can I persuade him?)
Usually, I’m reluctant to compromise.
But this is the first time I can’t fold in at all.
We’re at the training center to introduce those who would stay with Kou while I’m away, but I couldn’t even do that.
It’s been “no” since earlier.
“Kou. Don’t bother the Captain. If you’re an adult, listen to him.”
It’s the first time Renneiga saw such a Kou, and he looked confused.
But as soon as he said that──
Kou’s atmosphere changed.
Earlier, Kou was dominated by anger and impatience.
It felt like Kou was swallowed by despair, so I hurriedly approached his side.
I didn’t want to hurt Kou.
I just wanted him to stay in a safe place, so I chose to leave him behind.
However, the moment I was about to touch Kou, there was a clicking sound and I felt pain from my fingers.
(Was I rejected?)
I couldn’t believe it, but when I looked up at Kou, I felt my blood drain.
He’s shedding tears and had gloomy eyes that seemed to reject anything.
“Ryodo, always, togwether, friends. Wiar. …wiar, hate.” (Rodo said we’ll always be together. Liar. You’re a liar, I hate you.)
He wasn’t as angry as before, but my heart squeezed at those plainly told words.
Kou hates me…?
“Ryodo, wiar. Hate. Marriage, do, no!” (Rodo is a liar. I hate you. I won’t marry you!)
Lost for words and petrified, I was even kicked out.
“Won’t marry”, he says…
I have been able to withstand any kind of attack, but Kou’s words alone caused me to suffer unbearable pain.
“Oi! Don’t make the Captain useless.”
Renneiga screamed in a hurry, but Kou isn’t even looking at me anymore.
What I know is that I’ve hurt Kou irreparably.
“**********. *******. *********. *******.”
He is uttering some words in his language with dull eyes.
It’s been a long time since he talked this way and I don’t know what he’s saying.
He might be dissatisfied with me…
I reached out again, but the pain came out again.
“…don’t twouch me.”
The words spit out in a mutter pierced my chest.
However, I don’t want to lose Kou like this.
Every time I touched Kou, I’d suffer from pain, but I ignored it and hugged him.
“Don’t twouch me!”
After yelling, he disappeared from my arms.
But when I looked around, he was very close.
Seems like he could only move a short distance with magic.
When I approached and picked him up again, Kou didn’t resist.
“…Kou, awone, do, no.” (I don’t want to be alone.)
I apologized and almost cried to those words he said while crying.
I should have known that Kou had been lonely ever since he came to this world.
Why did I decide to leave him?
Certainly, there are many dangers on the way.
But then, I just have to protect Kou.
“Kou, together, go. Danger, exist. …but, Rodo, protect.” (Kou, let’s go together. If there’s danger, I’m here to protect you.)
“Ryodo, shorry. …but, awone, shcary.” (Rodo, I’m sorry, but being alone is scary.)
This time, Kou apologized.
When he said those selfish words, he thought he was bothering me.
But that’s not the case.
From Kou’s point of view, no one wants to be alone.
Kou is still trying not to build a deep relationship with anyone other than me.
It’s fine if it’s with Renneiga.
But those I intended to take care of Kou can’t be said to be close to him.
It’s no wonder he’s scared.
…why didn’t I notice that?
“Kou, together with Rodo.”
I hugged Kou, who was crying and sometimes hiccuping while stroking his back.
“Kou, don’t cry.”
I didn’t want to make him cry…just what am I doing?
“Kou is a child.”
It’s probably Renneiga’s usual teasing.
To soothe Kou and to make him stop crying.
“…Kou, 20, adult.” (Kou will be an adult at 20.)
But I’m not the only one who’s surprised by what Kou said.
“20 years old is an adult!? Kou is 18 years old right now, right? Will you become an adult in the next two years?”
Renneiga screamed in amazement.
“…mawiage, 18, can.”
But those words surprised me even more.
In other words, Kou is saying he’s already old enough to get married.
…but I don’t understand the meaning of Kou being an “adult”.
If you’re old enough to get married, you’re recognized as an adult.
But strangely, 20 years old is when you’re considered an adult.
“Then why not marry Captain right now? …ah, ouch!”
I hit Renneiga’s head for saying something extra.
What is he asking Kou, who had stopped crying but still hiccupping?
Besides, he just said he “can get married”, but never expressed that he wanted to get married.
He said he “likes” me, but not romantically.
…you can see that just by looking at him.
Perhaps he didn’t want to say that, so Kou buried his face in my chest.
He probably understood that his feelings for me aren’t romantic at all.
Even today, he just didn’t want to leave his current guardian.
“…bwig, become, can do…” (Once I become big, I can.)
Those whispered words reached my ears.
It’s the same with the sharp-eared Renneiga.
“…be one, don’t know…bwut, Ryodo, that’sh why…”
As he reached the end, he became quieter and I could only hear some mutterings.
…is he possibly shy?
He wouldn’t show me his face, so I don’t know what he looked like right now.
However, I don’t want to make Kou, who stopped crying, cry again, so I can’t forcefully see his face.
Or maybe…I just don’t want to let go of Kou, who is clinging to me.
For the time being, I’m glad that Kou seemed to be considering agreeing.
We went home, put together a change of clothes, then headed to the barracks again.
I had already brought my luggage to the barracks so I went straight to Sig.
Around this time, Kou, who finally showed his face, left me, got on Sig’s back, and talked like usual.
He looked to be in a good mood, so I decided not to talk to him and discuss the route to the fort with everyone.
If Kou is going with me, it might be better to stop taking the shortest route.
However, because it’s an urgent mission, I was thinking of leaving as soon as I was ready.
As expected, should we go by the shortest route?
Still, it took a long time to persuade Kou to stay.
…and I ended up taking him, so it might have been better to simply explain the mission and take him without persuading him.
I also sent a messenger to the Tower of Trik, telling them that Kou couldn’t go there for a month, and by then, we were almost ready.
In the end, I decided to take the shortest route, so I should make sure that Kou is fixed to my body.
As I approached Kou, who is still on Sig’s back, he was stroking its fur while saying something.
It’s probably not my imagination that Sig looked comfortable.
I’ve never seen anyone stroked or combed by Kou reject him.
Even that father was struck by Kou and purred.
…I can’t say anything about the others, but it doesn’t matter since I’m his other half.
“Kou, now, go.” (We’re leaving now.)
When I called out, a nod came back.
He reached out to me, probably because whenever we ride Sig, I’ll fix Kou’s body to mine.
Hugging Kou, I fixed him with a cloth instead of a string.
The reason why I don’t use a string is that it wouldn’t hurt Kou’s body.
So I used several soft cloths to secure him.
For Kou, I only use the finest soft cloth.
It’s pricey, but it’s cheap if it didn’t hurt Kou’s body.
Sig also started to run without shaking too much.
I’ve never seen him show such considerate behavior to me, though.
Is it because Kou is my mate?
Or that he has more magical power than anyone else?
Not being overwhelmed by an Akinist aura but afraid of His Majesty, it’s the first time for us.
Does Kou still have hidden abilities?
…however, no matter what, I’ll never let go of this hand again.
─Rodo’s side end─