“Shal, the barrier has disappeared, so I’ve come to pla– aah?!”
“Mm… Good morning, Gard… Go through the door…”
This grinning Gard hadn’t come here in a while, but he was still a window intruder.
He looked shocked when he saw me lying down exhausted on top of the bed without its bedcover and with my arms and legs spread out.
I shakily pointed at the door. He walked out of the door once and immediately walked right back in, even though he couldn’t grasp the situation. Yup, he was a boy who could do anything if he tried.
As for me, I got up this morning as usual and managed to finish my stretching.
But even though I was feeling better than last night, I was still a bit tired. I also refused breakfast, so I remained rooted in bed.
Two pachinko ball-sized holes were drilled in my neck and had been taken from like water flowing from a faucet. So, if it weren’t for my enhanced basic stats, I might’ve died.
I couldn’t recover by physical reinforcement since they sealed my magic, so I had to rely on my natural healing power.
“Shal, Shal. Are you going to die? Are you dying?”
Gard approached me with small steps and crouched next to my bed. He looked at me as I lay there sprawled out and tilted his head.
He didn’t show it much in his movements or face, but he was apparently worried. Gard just had his eyebrows drooped.
“Don’t kill me as you please… This Hero is… strong… nghh…”
“No, I’m nooot…”
I tried to get up, not wanting him to worry, but I sadly collapsed and emitted a pitiful voice.
He pronounced me dead in a panic when he saw that, so I frantically told him I wasn’t. Gard thought of me like a hamster after all… It was disgraceful, really.
Then, sometime later, while he was making a commotion saying I was dead and that I wasn’t, I recovered enough not to feel lightheaded.
“…I can’t win against the demon lord… But, I’m a little pissed off.”
When I recovered, I drank water as I explained to him in summary why I was in this state. Gard narrowed his eyes like a snake and wriggled his tail restlessly.
Well, I wasn’t even the slightest angry… I didn’t really mind it, so even though I was grateful for his sentiments, I was hoping he could swallow them down.
In the first place, I was the one who told him he could drink more even before and also the one who made him sad thoughtlessly.
My actions had hurt Azel. That was what this was all about.
When I told him that, Gard wriggled his tail even further, taking his anger out on the carpet and making it more fluffed.
“Even with those set aside, it still ain’t good to put you on the verge of death, you know.”
Well… If we were to talk about whether it was good or bad, it would fall more on the latter, but it was generally my fault anyway.
The demonic characteristic of having the desire to protect the weak, unless they were hostile against demons, might be overflowing from him.
I couldn’t figure out the scoring criteria for Gard’s anger, so I just nodded and said, “I see.”
After that, I was fulfilling Gard’s wish for me to pat his heat just as he had said from the start, and he shared with me what had happened to him before we met today.
The other day, when he was patrolling the skies as a soldier, he spotted a swarm of sky tuna swimming through the clouds.
Sky tuna, as the name implies, was apparently a flying tuna. Its taste was as sweet as chocolate and was said to be Gard’s favorite food.
He beamed as he returned home, having gobbled up as much as he wanted in a festive manner.
“Chocolate tuna… Wow, it’ll be hard for me to get used to the taste gap.”
“What are you talking about? Isn’t tuna sweet?”
He told me that as if it was just obvious, but tuna was a fish that had a pungent smell both in my previous world and in the human realm. It was the king of fish for the masses that was very popular with the children.
Gard was excited to go hunting next time.
Well, I don’t really have any complaints about the chocolate tuna, but… hm, no? I might have some.
Gard was in an excellent mood since I listened to his story and petted him lots.
Apparently, he liked being touched. Was it because he hadn’t been touched much?
Talking to him was fun for me too. But there was something I had decided to do today.
I felt bad for my friend who came to see me, but I had to get going, so I stood up.
All I had was my usual black-fitted innerwear, so I didn’t really have that much choice. I didn’t have any personal belongings, so I had nothing to bring. I had also taken a shower already.
“Where’re you going? The sun’s only just risen, and you haven’t still taken a stroll in the sky with me after our little chat.”
“Sorry, I have to go and make up with Azel for a while. Can you show me the way to the office?”
“Hmph. Are you going to die again!”
“I won’t, I won’t!”
For what it’s worth, you’re the one who wants to kill me!
Gard crossed both his arms and formed a large “X” as he said, “You can’t!” and I threatened him with both my hands ready to flick his forehead.
I would still go, even if a Hydrod blocked my way.
I was so ashamed of myself for leaving Azel alone all night, depressed because of my stupidity, and that I hadn’t cleared up the misunderstanding yet, nor had I made up for it.
I had to show him that I was a man too.
“I’m coming with you.”
In response to my threats, that was the only thing he seemed not to be willing to compromise on. It all worked out better than I had expected. I nodded happily to this.
I would quickly get to the office if he led the way.
After we had settled on that…
Gard joined my party now, and this would be my first mission… no, this would be my first time exploring the demon lord’s castle, excluding the decisive battle I had back then.