Kou licked the edge of my lips.
Unlike the usual innocent appearance…he smiled bewitchingly.
Him inviting me is a fastball…
Didn’t you see me as your guardian?
I could only stare at Kou speechlessly──
“…down. Kou, walk.” (Put me down, I’ll walk.)
When I didn’t say anything, Kou’s ambiance darkened.
I lowered him and he went to a place I couldn’t reach.
“Kou, hands, connect, can’t?” (Kou, hold hands?)
I was refused to hold hands.
Is it bad that I stayed silent…
Isn’t it okay to just hold hands?
Kou walked while eating the Tean again.
He didn’t like sweets very much, but only Tean seemed special.
This is the first time I’ve been asked to “buy” something.
I wanted to give everything that Kou wants.
I was even planning on buying the whole store, but I was told he didn’t need it.
“…so he would also pout.”
His Majesty muttered as if impressed.
There are many times when Kou pouted.
It’s childish, but I love it.
…but usually, he’d come to me right away.
Even if it’s just to show me a smile.
But Kou, who walked away from me, didn’t even look at me.
Kou had been eating Tean for a while before his hands stopped.
I wondered if he had finished eating, but there’s still more since he closed the bag.
Then he stopped while holding the bag…
Will he eat it later?
I wondered if he’d come back to my side, but Kou just looked up at the sky with a sad look.
I felt like he’d disappear like this so I rushed to his side and hugged him.
Kou looked up and didn’t try to escape from my arms.
…I thought that was all I needed.
I was delighted since he no longer avoided me.
And I’d be happy if he just thought of me as “family”.
…but I guess I made a mistake.
What I wanted from Kou is to be a spouse rather than a family member.
Even so, it wouldn’t be strange if he thought that I only have familial love for him right now.
“…apologize, don’t. Kou, apologize, want, no.” (Don’t apologize. I don’t want you to apologize.)
Yet Kou looked like he’s about to cry.
──saying that he didn’t want me to apologize.
“Kou, sorry── ah…”
I was about to apologize again but I shut my mouth in a hurry.
If I can’t apologize, what should I say…?
This is driving me crazy.
Will he say “hate” like before?
Will I be told that we won’t get married?
He even spoke in his original language.
….what did he say?
He buried his head in my chest, so he’s not angry anymore, right?
Did he forgive me?
Kou looked up and smiled with a crying face.
It’s my fault that he had such a face.
I want him to smile happily from the bottom of his heart.
Kou broke out of my arms and I can’t say anything as Kou followed the other people.
…is this about what I’ve been floundering about?
…is that what you expect from me, but then gave up?
Me being his mate might be bad for Kou.
I wanted him to like me, but I don’t see anything that points to him liking me.
──I don’t understand Kou.
I don’t get Kou’s feelings.
Having a mate like me…
Does Kou hate it?
Looking at his back, I depressingly thought about that──
“Ryodo? Go, no?” (Ryodo? You’re not going?)
Kou, who should have gone earlier, looked back.
“Ryodo, go, no, Kou, go, no. Together, want. …home?” (If Ryodo won’t go, then I won’t. I want to be together. Let’s go home?)
If I don’t go, Kou said he won’t go either…
He said he’d be with me.
Even asking, “home?”.
My house…he probably meant that.
Will you still let such a pathetic mate stay by your side?
“Ryodo, Kou, together. Forever, anywhere.”
When I hugged him, Kou’s arms went around my back.
I was satisfied with this until now.
…but that wasn’t the case anymore.
Would Kou be scared if I treat him as a mate?
Will he hate me?
“Kou. Home, marriage, willing?”
He laughed happily instead of the crying face from before.
Holding his hands, we chased after His Majesty who had already walked quite far.
When we entered the healing room, the healer in charge of the First and Second Corps had a surprised expression.
His Majesty said that he wanted to see Kou heal today.
That didn’t seem to be passed on.
Moreover, His Majesty never entered the healing room.
Now that would be a surprise.
“Kou, can they be healed?”
And the person whom His Majesty called out was Kou.
Naturally, all eyes gathered on Kou, who’s holding hands with me.
“Kou, remember, others, no. Heal, use, capable, Kou, no.” (I can’t heal those I can’t remember. Using heal is also different.)
While lisping, Kou spoke dissatisfiedly to His Majesty, earning the surprised faces of the others.
I hadn’t taught him honorifics yet so Kou isn’t afraid.
It’s the same with his actions. If I bow my head, he’d just imitate it.
…His Majesty seemed happy that he’s no longer so scared he’s about to cry, so he didn’t blame him.
“If you could, can you heal them?”
His Majesty never lost the main point…
When Kou, who seemed convinced at last, nodded reluctantly, His Majesty tried to smile again but failed.
…when viewed from the side, Kou looked better.
Kou released my hand and walked towards the injured.
The First and Second Corps had the job to protect His Majesty.
However, that didn’t mean they didn’t do monster subjugation at all, so the injured people are the same in every corps.
Seems like there are more injured people because it’s a corps that don’t normally subdue monsters.
I heard that many people are proud and neglected to train here, but it’s apparently true.
That’s why when His Majesty visited another country, we, the Third Corps, are also convened.
──normally, just the First and Second Corps were enough.
Kou stopped in front of a man.
I heard that injuries caused by monsters are difficult to heal because the wounds are not clean.
If a limb is missing, a normal healer could only stop the bleeding.
However, even if they didn’t die, they can’t return to being a soldier anymore.
They also can’t get any other job.
Many people commit suicide since they knew it’s better to just die than not be a soldier.
Marihect is not a country where people with lost limbs can work.
The country would give them money because it happened while they’re working, but it’s only a small amount.
If they have a family, they can’t support them.
So many people divorced and then they died.
“Leg, hurt? Kou, heal, hurt, disappear. Get well, want?” (Does your leg hurt? I can make it disappear. Do you want to get well?)
Seemed like this one lost one leg.
Kou said he couldn’t heal the crushed face and body of someone he had never seen.
If they have marks on their legs and arms, he also can’t restore them.
However, even if it disappeared, it’s more important for the arms and legs to return.
──because that meant they could still work.
The injured man who wanted to be healed nodded desperately while in tears.
Kou held his hand and said so, then his feet shone.
The leg wrapped in light regenerated in no time.
As if he never lost it, there’s a leg without any scratches.
“Good boy, good boy. It’s fine, healed.”
Kou stroked the head of the man who’s shedding tears while stroking his regenerated leg and giving gentle words.
…he didn’t have to do that.
Why does he say such words?
“Hurt, right? No, leg, also. Here, too.” (You’re hurt, right? Not just the leg but here also.)
The man cried louder at Kou’s words.
(His heart hurts…?)
What do you mean?
“Kou, what do you mean?”
Even when I thought about it, I couldn’t understand.
It’s faster to hear it.
“Leg, grew, no, injury, hurts. …but, heart, more, hurts. Work, can, not. Family, goodbye, maybe. Injury, before, see, living, idle. So, painful. So, anxious. Injury, then, more, heart, hurts.” (Having no leg hurts, but his heart hurts more. He can’t work and might even say goodbye to his family. With that injury, he could only see himself living idly. It’s painful and also made him anxious. So even with the injury, his heart hurt more.)
The crying man nodded many times in affirmation.
Certainly, it’s impossible for a person who has lost his limbs to return to being a soldier.
It’s possible that the family will leave because they cannot support him.
…given that, I could understand how painful and anxious it might be.
I felt despair at just the thought that Kou might leave.
(Is this what it meant to have an “aching heart”…)
How can you even get rid of that pain…
He’s far from “Erideya’s Return”.
Kou is special.
─Rodo’s side end─