As soon as I heard Ulysse’s words, I ran through the air, desperately chasing the scent of Shal’s magic as I headed towards the city.
It was hard to breathe, as if my heart was about to be crushed. My ears were ringing and I couldn’t hear a sound.
I didn’t expect that Shal would leave on his own.
Why did he leave? Does he hate it in the naval base? To the point of venturing out into the dangerous city?
But Shal didn’t say a word during the inspection. He even smiled when it was over, and said I worked hard. Shal would never tell a lie.
As I thought about it, I only just remembered now that this was an unfamiliar place for Shal.
In this place, I was the only one whom he could rely on, and yet, I didn’t really see him during the inspection, did I?
Of course, it would be uncomfortable to eat and stay at a naval base surrounded by soldiers he doesn’t know.
He was all alone, separated from that one person he could rely on. From me.
Then, I was the one who left Shal on his own, wasn’t it? I brought him to a place where he couldn’t even walk around by himself.
Shal was unarmed, could barely use magic, and even came into this dangerous city. I was well aware of what could happen to him.
—The horrible sight of Shal lying in a pool of blood flashed in my mind.
Ah, shit. Move out of the way! I can’t pick out his scent among the crowd! Should I kill them? No, I can’t. The stench of blood will hinder me even more.
“Blood… The stench of blood… Ah…!”
As I approached the city, I smelled blood.
It was a subtle, faint smell that only a species sensitive to smell would ever notice it.
However, there was no way I wouldn’t recognize it.
It was rich, mellow, sweet, and warm, and filled my throat and my heart – it was his fragrance.
I thought I had forgotten how to breathe. The scent became more and more dense as I followed and ran through it.
Don’t tell me– No, no way, that’s…! In such a short time… No! My… guiding light…!
Was it bad luck? How could a series of coincidences have brought such an intoxicating scent?
I imagined cruel things that turned my insides all upside down, and felt as if they were going to be vomited out of my mouth.
—When I found the building where the scent came from, I felt like I was going crazy. I followed my impulse and charged my head through the door, including the walls.
“W-What the hell?!”
I blew off the edges of the building, and spread the rubble outward to prevent damage to the inside.
When the inside of the unsightly building had been exposed, the owner of an unfamiliar voice gasped in astonishment and looked up at me in dismay.
But no, that doesn’t matter! Shal, where are you? Where are you! Shal, ah…!
As soon I saw the figure covered with wounds staring at me, I immediately reverted back to my human form.
Then, I gently, yet firmly, embraced him, so as not to break his body.
“Shal… Shal…! You idiot… Why are you fighting alone…! Why didn’t you ask for help…!”
Does he have a curse that makes him think that he deserves all the difficulties that came his way?
He fought and endured everything with that in mind.
Unlike me, Shal never grieved whenever he was hurt, whether physically or emotionally.
Shal’s brainwashed strength—I hated it.
“I’m gonna heal you now… I won’t allow another scratch on you… I’m not letting you go again, so…!”
Do you still laugh at times like this?
I tried my best to cast a healing spell on Shal’s heartrending, bleeding wound, even if the power wasn’t that considerable for an offense-focused dark magic.
Wrapped in dark magic, I put all my thoughts into healing, and his wound somehow closed up.
But the blood he lost wouldn’t return. And, the fact that his wound was caused by being bitten… I will never forgive them.
“…only you… I’m… still….”
I muttered something in broken tones, and gently brushed my thumb across Shal’s bloodied cheek.
Then, Shal smiled again as if relieved, and his consciousness fell into a gentle dream where there was no smell of blood.
I felt my expression disappear from my face.
I wasn’t good at suppressing my emotions. If I forced it in, it would disappear.
But I wasn’t that nice to begin with. I wasn’t sweet, and I didn’t understand people’s feelings.
I desperately tried to be kind, since I was dealing with Shal. And, because of that, I kept on thinking and thinking about his feelings, and the frequency of my heartbeat and the pain in my heart varied.
Everything about Shal is important, after all…
—to keep him by my side.
I moved feebly as I stood up with Shal in my arms, and felt my anger in the weight of my head that was looking down.
I don’t want you to see what I’m about to say, or do.
You filled me with all kinds of human emotion, but if you find out what a monster I really am… you would surely hate me this time.
However, I had no choice but to do it.
After all, this was a decision, a perfectly natural one, just as the moon rises when the sun goes down, and just as the trees rustle when the wind blows.
It was just as it should be.
The magical power that healed Shal’s wounds enveloped around his limp body.
Even if he woke up, he wouldn’t be able to see much of what was happening outside since the magic was so concentrated that it would block out everything.
That’s good. Just rest for now.
It’s okay. I’ll make it all go away. I will erase the ones who hurt you and bring you pain, without them even knowing that it’s the last of their days.
“Sorry to keep you waiting. …Come play with me, too.”
My voice sounded more indifferent than I thought it would.
I slowly raised my head, and didn’t glare at the perpetrators who didn’t move nor run away, but just gazed at them.
They were not trying to escape… They couldn’t.
As soon as I recognized that some of them were speaking out, I let my blood rush into their shadows. It was a dark magic that stopped the movement of every shadow.
My body, shaped by the surging magical power, was transformed into the form of a beast.
The floor creaked, probably because I was changing my form in a room with broken walls, but I couldn’t care less.
I gently placed Shal on my soft back, and four huge vermillion scythes spread out to surround me.