“Gadi, I’ll talk a little to Zau before going.”
“He’s still confused so I would like to talk to him and explain my reasons. Otherwise, he’d be useless as your Shadow in the future.”
Gadillas seemed hesitant to leave Kuuga and Zau alone, but he sighed as if he’d given up when he saw that Kuuga was really curious.
“I got it. Come to the office when you’re done.”
“Ahh. It wouldn’t take long.”
While looking at Kuuga flicking his hair back, Gadillas left the bedroom. Kuuga sat on the sofa and urged Zau to sit, but the man just approached and refused to sit.
In this situation where he hadn’t fully grasped the situation yet, he didn’t feel comfortable sitting, so Kuuga simply continued.
“You asked me ’why’. Do you want to ask why I helped you?”
Zau silently nodded while staring straight at him as if he was trying to determine Kuuga’s true meaning.
“The reason is exactly what I said to Gadi… do you know Gadi’s circumstances?”
“…? Chosen by the Divine Beast to be the king…?”
“No, not that…”
“…you mean being a witch’s child?”
“That’s it, after all, it’s known to everybody. Because of that, Gadi has few allies. Becoming the king even increased the number of targets against his life, and you’re one of them.”
Even though Godo had been caught, how many more assassins would be sent at the request of another person… he felt like another would come.
Zau invaded the castle to assassinate Gadillas. Even though he didn’t want to kill him, he could still kill since he couldn’t go against his orders. Seemingly aware of that, Zau slightly looked down.
“Zau, do you want to be a knight?”
Kuuga grinned and raised the corner of his mouth while looking at Zau in a relaxed manner.
“I can tell by looking at your face even if you can’t speak. Just think of it as a special ability of the Divine Beast.”
“No, I can’t read minds. However, I know what kind of feelings you have. That’s why I tried to recruit you… for you who is longing to protect rather than kill… and I don’t think you have any other thoughts about him being related to a witch.”
Kuuga intentionally brought up the witch as if he already knew it. But since he didn’t know, he had to make Zau tell him since he failed in Rhode. And so, he changed his method.
“The witch is… also a friend. Don’t care.”
“You’ve been friends? …what kind of person are they?”
“…a good child.”
“Good child? Even though they’re a witch?”
“…have magical power, just like a normal human.”
Inwardly, he was very surprised, but Kuuga nodded without showing it on his face. His ears moved, but he wasn’t aware of it, and Zau didn’t care about it.
The word witch was not a metaphor, but a woman who could use magic… he spit out a small sigh.
Then, what did Rhode mean by “sin”? Why was it taught that only men could have magical powers?
A woman with magical power, did they mean to say that their existence itself was a sin?
“Ah-… the reason why witches are hated by the world… what do you think?”
“Reason…? …witches bring disaster?”
What’s with that? It’s not even close to what he thought.
“Apart from that… witches are the same as us, but also not the same.”
There was a witch who did something bad and was later called the witch of calamity, so all the witches were believed to be evil. Was that what happened?
Kuuga, who was wondering what to do because he couldn’t think of any better questions, suddenly realized. Zau said she was also a friend because of that.
Currently, they’re working to crush the organization with the information they got from Zau. Once they caught the members, that meant there’d be a witch among them. If they were successful, they might meet and with that in mind, he decided not to say anything extra to Zau for now.
“I understand… then you will guard Gadi by his side. But that’s not absolute either. ――so, can you protect him with me?”
He returned to the main topic after confirming Zau’s general feelings. Zau remained silent for a while and had stopped moving. Looking at him, Kuuga could see that he’s furiously thinking in his head, so he quietly waited.
After a while, Zau seemed to have decided on something. With power in his eyes, he stared straight at Kuuga then nodded once.
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
Kuuga left the bedroom while instructing Zau to try and escort him without being seen. He still had about 10 minutes left to be humanoid.
“Ahh, Heki. Thanks for the good work.”
Heki, who was guarding the front of the office, quickly noticed Kuuga and called out to him. Heki, who always guarded the outside of the office, had very few chances to meet the humanoid Kuuga. That’s why he’s happy that Kuuga could reply in words as he smiled widely. Even though he looked like a thief who just performed a heist, Kuuga didn’t say it.
When he entered the office door that Heki opened, Gadillas and Uros were dealing with the paperwork as usual while Edallion and Lewis were standing in the corner of the room.
Gadillas raised his face, as if asking what happened to Zau when he realized he was alone. Kuuga turned his face as an answer.
Kuuga couldn’t see him, but he could smell him. He didn’t know how he hid, but he had great skills.
Everyone in this place knew the situation. They realized the meaning of Kuuga’s words, and had frightened faces. Were they already working with a guy who just had his slave contract cancelled, or a demon! Such were their lines of sight.
“I can’t just leave him alone.”
Saying that with a little huffiness, Kuuga, as usual, wrapped around Gadillas, who was sitting in the chair, from behind.
It was already a habit and his body moved unconsciously. However, the moment he reached Gadillas, Kuuga realized with a start. ――maybe doing this might be wrong? But it’s already too late.
However, just as how Kuuga developed the habit, Gadillas was no longer surprised and was completely used to it. What would Gadillas think if Kuuga pulled away and kept a distance from him?
Gadillas’ thoughts would go to quite the extreme. Taking distance = guilt = betrayal, such would be his thoughts.
In the end, although he hesitated a little, Kuuga still rubbed against Gadillas as usual. However, even if he didn’t understand the reason, the people who perceived his slight hesitation only thought he’s “embarrassed”.
They wouldn’t even be surprised if they flirted normally since the air around Gadillas and Kuuga was closer to flirting.
Even so, Uros, who was looking at the strange atmosphere around Kuuga, only thought he was shy. Gadillas enthusiastically greeted Kuuga without minding about it.
――strange, what’s with this atmosphere?
Kuuga felt the situation was bad, but he had no idea what went wrong as he froze while being stroked by Gadillas.
His ears fluttered and shook around Gadillas’ fingers, perhaps to represent his inner turmoil.
――don’t make such a sweet voice!
When Kuuga thought he couldn’t bear it anymore, he finally ran out of time and his body began to shine. Kuuga tried to take off his gown, but couldn’t make it in time as he returned to his appearance of a beast.
It’s not a perfect outfit since it’s a loosely made gown, so it didn’t rip, but the shoulder area made some disturbing sounds. Edallion, who saw such a figure, went “bufu~“.
Dissatisfied with the fact that things didn’t go well, Kuuga hit the floor with his tail. Without even trying to take off the gown, he curled up on the spot and growled. At that moment, he heard a snapping sound from the gown, but he ignored it.
“Hey Kuuga? What are you doing?”
“Somehow, today’s Kuuga-sama is different from usual… What happened, Zau? Or did you do something, Your Majesty?”
“Why are you blaming me, hey, Zau! Are you there!”
No, you’re the reason! He couldn’t say that, so Kuuga expressed his dissatisfaction with his tail.
The called Zau suddenly appeared from somewhere, shook his head towards Gadillas, then disappeared again.
“…does that mean there’s nothing in particular?”
“That might be so.”
In the end, Uros brought scissors from somewhere and cut the back of the gown vertically before taking it off. Gadillas was in a good mood by stroking the still sullen Kuuga.
He felt too complicated, but it was still comfortable to be stroked, so he couldn’t resist.
He wouldn’t have felt this awkward if he hadn’t noticed Gadillas’ feelings. For the first time, Kuuga looked away from what his eyes were telling him.