The mental state of Melia was showing signs of calming down.
She doesn’t seem to be lowering her cautiousness towards the surroundings and keeping her scared face, but she has stopped bawling, unable to accept the current situation.
“This is… I…”
For a young person, several years brings about big changes mentally and physically.
The appearance shown in the mirror in front of Melia was similar yet not the same as the one she has been seeing until now.
“Your mind has been returned to the past due to the attack of an enemy. I won’t tell you to loosen your guard towards us, but if you have things you want to ask us, I intend to answer them all.”
The weakness in Melia’s heart was seeping out far more compared to before. There’s not even one bit of desire to want to rely on her.
The inside is that of a girl who is barely any old, so it can’t be helped. I know this is insensitive, but it made me impressed that people can become that strong over time.
“My name is Ekdoik -Ekdoik Salf. I don’t mind you calling me as you please.” (Ekdoik)
“…Ekdoik-oniichan…did I become a Holy Knight?” (Melia)
Her gaze was directed at the place where her own equipment is placed.
The same holy knight armor and sword as her sister Leishia must be part of the reason why she is remembering about her.
“Yeah, you have become a wonderful holy knight. You may be a new recruit, but you don’t skimp on your effort and you have a strong sense of justice. Also, my mother was saved thanks to you.” (Ekdoik)
“…I became a holy knight like my big sister?” (Melia)
“You give me the impression that you are more diligent than Leishia though. I assure you that you don’t fall behind her.” (Ekdoik)
“Ekdoik-oniichan, you know my big sister?” (Melia)
I wasn’t planning on avoiding this, but my mouth felt heavy when I had to speak about it.
However, I should be saying this clearly here -even if the result is that the current Melia will hate me for it. I have already resolved myself to accept any punishment I can.
“Yeah, I—” (Ekdoik)
“Hey there, excuse the intrusion, Ekdoik. Oh, you were awake, Melia.”
The door opened and Comrade showed up.
I may not have been cautious of my surroundings, but I should have been able to at least notice the footsteps if he was approaching the room.
That means Comrade was listening to this conversation from a bit before in front of the door.
“Ah, uhm…who are you, mister?” (Melia)
“It doesn’t matter who I am. You were talking about something interesting, so I am a mister who showed up for a bit and loves explaining.”
I coughed unconsciously at the greeting of Comrade.
I am impressed he can say that when he normally would always skip on explanations.
“Comrade, I will be the one talking about thi—” (Ekdoik)
“Are you trying to explain to her while thinking about the current Melia? I can’t really say I admire you making her suffer just for the sake of your own self-satisfaction.”
“Well, you can just supplement your own parts as you please after I am done explaining to her, right?”
Comrade smiled softly as he sat on the bed that Melia is laying on. Melia reacted a bit, but she relaxed after he didn’t show any signs of getting closer to her.
“Uhm…and so…” (Melia)
“Let’s confirm this first. How long has it been since your sister hasn’t returned?”
Comrade raised a hand at me as if he predicted that I would be interjecting here.
But opening up suddenly with that to the current Melia is just… There should be a limit to having no reservations.
“…Around 1 year.” (Melia)
“I see. Melia, you are really smart. That’s why, you should have noticed faintly after becoming a holy knight like your father and sister instead of the job you were originally dreaming for, right? -That your sister did not return.”
“You can cry. But let’s move on. The one who took the life of your sister was the Great Devil in the Mejis Nether, a monster called Beglagud.”
I could faintly feel something like anger in the eyes of Melia when she repeated that name.
Her sister’s life was taken away by a devil, but the life of her father was also taken away by a devil of the Mejis Nether. She probably has no qualms about hating them.
“There’s no need to hate him. Beglagud died a long time ago. He was killed cleanly by the little sister of Ekdoik here.”
“Not only that. Ekdoik took the power of that Beglagud, fought against monsters for the sake of Mejis, and contributed greatly. By the way, you met Ekdoik at that time.”
There’s no lie in the words of Comrade.
But I can clearly tell he is trying to leave a good impression about me. That’s not good.
It is because I existed that Leishia was caught by a devil.
“—Ekdoik was also one of the people that was kidnapped by that Beglagud. He was made to live a horrible life, telling him to kill people. And so, he met your sister as part of that education of his.”
“Met my sister?” (Melia)
“Yeah, for the sake of having Ekdoik learn the common sense of humans. And so, your sister was killed once she was not needed anymore.”
Comrade looked over here as if saying ‘you should have no complaints like this, right?’.
That’s right, that’s how it should be.
I met Melia under that fate and she has the right to hate me.
“Depending on how you see it, you could say your sister was simply used by devils and killed. But the will carved into Ekdoik by your sister at that time is still protecting you even as of present.”
“…What do you mean?” (Melia)
“The way of living as a human that Leishia taught Ekdoik served as a trigger for Ekdoik to be able to choose the path of saving people. The will of your sister has gone around and ended up saving you and the country you live in. You can be proud of that. Your sister has managed to bloom the seed of greatness that your average holy knight wouldn’t be able to accomplish.”
“My sister has…” (Melia)
“We would be here all day if I were to talk about the achievements of Ekdoik. He has defeated several Great Devils of the Mejis Nether, and has saved both Kuama and Gahne as well, you know?”
That’s over exaggerating.
Most of those achievements were from Comrade, and I simply helped him out.
Also, it is true that what Leishia taught me has affected my life, but I was in the end used by Raheight, became a resident of the underground world, and was hired to kill people…
“Well, this is not my opinion. It is the feelings of your future self towards Ekdoik.”
“That’s right. The feelings of the future Melia Pentes who knows the life of Ekdoik there… Ah, I forgot. I was thinking about bringing some snacks, but I can only carry drinks by myself. Come with me for a bit, Ekdoik.”
Comrade stood up and exited the room along with me.
Melia seemed to be thinking.
I was silently preparing the snacks together with Comrade at the kitchen, but I couldn’t endure it and spoke.
“Comrade, what are you trying to pull here?” (Ekdoik)
“Didn’t I already say? I don’t want Melia to suffer for the sake of your self-satisfaction. Impressions can change completely with just the way you do the explanation. What you were trying to do just now was to purposely give a bad impression to Melia so that she would hate you.”
“It is not on purpose. I was just going to tell her exactly how things are—” (Ekdoik)
“What I said also had no lies. It is exactly how things are. I simply put it in a way so that she wouldn’t feel displeasure from it, and in a way that would protect the honor of her precious sister. How much did you intend to downplay the death of Leishia so it looked like the way she died was misfortunate?”
…Leishia might not have died if I wasn’t there.
That’s why I planned on telling Melia that Leishia died because of me.
But if I did that, what would happen to the honor of Leishia who Melia treasured the most?
The more I tell her about how deplorable of a being I am, the more worthless the death of Leishia becomes.
“…I see, it is natural to call it self-satisfaction.” (Ekdoik)
“What you should be doing right now isn’t to push the truth to Melia and have her feel anger and hatred, right? Concentrate on clearing away her unease as much as possible and bringing her back to her normal state peacefully.”
“…Alright. By the way, what you said before… You currently should not have memories with Melia though.” (Ekdoik)
“My future self is methodical, you see. He has even recorded the relationship between others. There was also the result of his analysis about how Melia thought of you. There wasn’t much written down, but it was enough information to be able to draw the conclusion that what I said was the truth.”
“…I see.” (Ekdoik)
Melia didn’t just forgive me, she considered my relationship with Leishia a good one, and acknowledged that I was led to the right path through the will left by Leishia.
I began acting together with her in Torin, but I somewhat felt like she was way too kind to me… Could it be that she was overlapping the will of her sister with me?
“What you are thinking is most likely half wrong though.”
“I-Is it…?” (Ekdoik)
“At least put some effort in matching answers there. I would feel bad for the others if you are way too dense.”
“I will try… By the way, didn’t you come here because you had some business?” (Ekdoik)
“Yeah, I was thinking of talking about the next plan. You will be having a bit of a rough time, so I wanted you to be ready for that.”
“A foolish worry. I have no intention of objecting to the plan you have made, Comrade. I may need to be prepared for it, but it works just fine to pay you back for what you did for me just now.” (Ekdoik)
I was on the verge of making the past Melia suffer through this complacent action of mine.
The debt of him saving me from that is big.
I doubt I will be able to pay him back with just this following matter.
“Good response. Then, there should be no issues. I will be heading to Haakudoku’s place. You go talk to Melia, okay? You need to add suspenseful moments here and there as if you were reading heroic tales of yourself to a child, got it?”
“A-Are you telling me to talk as if I were a hero…?” (Ekdoik)
“That’s right. You are a hero for Melia after all. The stories of the hero that Melia’s sister raised -there’s no better lullaby than this.”
“Oi, wait, are you telling me to carry this by myse—” (Ekdoik)
“Those chains are all-purpose, right? Do your best.”
Comrade left with an amused face.
It is true that I would have no difficulties carrying the share of two if I use my chains… Can’t be helped.
Melia welcomed me with a surprised face when I returned to the room.
A man carrying tea with chains hanging in the air isn’t something you would see often.
“It seems Comrade remembered he had some urgent business. I will leave at once if I am a bother.” (Ekdoik)
“No, you are not.” (Melia)
“…I see.” (Ekdoik)
I move the table close to the bed using the chains and place the tableware there.
Melia was watching this with interest.
“You are really good at using magic, Ekdoik-oniichan!” (Melia)
“I am more versatile than your average person. But my cooking skills are not as good as yours and Leishia’s.” (Ekdoik)
“I see… Hey, Ekdoik-oniichan, are you an adventurer?” (Melia)
“What kind of adventures did you have?” (Melia)
“Most were plain, but let’s see… I have had a lot of memories that left a strong impression on me since meeting with Comrade who was here just now… Want to hear about them?” (Ekdoik)
Melia is already not scared of me anymore.
Even though her mind should be that of a young child… Has she already overcome the death of her sister? No, she is most likely desperately trying to get away from the sadness by showing interest in other things.
I sat on the bed like Comrade and went back to my past memories. I have never consciously tried to speak in a way that makes the other party happy, but there should be no need to think too deeply about it.
I began talking about the stories of the past which I have done before with Melia in a way brighter manner, and making them look as good as I can.
The faces of Rakura and Mix have been looking really gloomy since that man ended up in his past state.
He is normally a cold guy, but he could at least be considerate.
But now he only looks like a weirdo that observes you with creepy eyes.
“Oh, Blue Demon Lord. You are the one that was here?”
“…What is it?” (Blue)
Speaking of the devil. That man showed up.
It doesn’t feel that off right now, but just the fact that he isn’t calling me with Blue already feels pretty creepy.
It is not like I was happy about him calling me that like Ekdoik though.
“I don’t have business with you. I was searching for Haakudoku. You being here means he is not, right?”
“Yeah. I feel bad about occupying the living room, but he apparently doesn’t like me being overly considerate.” (Blue)
I have spoken with Haakudoku a number of times despite the circumstances. Of course, through a door.
He has a dirty mouth, but he can be more considerate than Ekdoik and he is easy to interact with.
That’s why I want to show consideration towards him to a certain degree. The other two who enjoy seeing him faint are the abnormal ones.
“The actions of Haakudoku really are a bit hard to read. I have to adjust it.”
“You… Instead of that, can’t you do something regarding your attitude towards Mix and Rakura?” (Blue)
“—Ekdoik is currently looking after Melia. It seems like they are meshing awfully well.”
“…Hah? What are you saying?” (Blue)
Why did he suddenly mention Ekdoik and Melia there? Well, I do have my own thoughts about Melia, but right now the situation requires it…
“I think it would be better to lead Ekdoik to treasure Melia more when considering her state -like a beloved one.”
“…What are you trying to say here?” (Blue)
“You must have thought it unpleasant, right? I stepped into your relationship with Ekdoik after all. Just consider that as me getting back at you for what you said just now.”
“As I said—” (Blue)
“I am saying that if you continue being tedious, I will stir things up so that such a scenario will become real.”
This man warned me while maintaining an amused face.
I don’t know how serious he is being here, but this man can do that. My body reflexively moved when I thought that.
I grabbed his collar and smashed him onto the wall.
“You are awfully emotional despite living for centuries.”
“Can you not misunderstand? The others are obeying your future self, but I am just lending a hand. That’s why I can have you taste one or two painful experiences, you know? I can do something about you even with my strength.” (Blue)
“Aren’t you the one misunderstanding here? I am far weaker compared to the residents of this world -I am fully aware of that. But there’s someone who I can threaten with force.”
“What are you—” (Blue)
“—You could lose your life with just a single mention of your name.”
I unconsciously let go and take distance.
Even though his expression has not changed, I felt as if I was sinking in mud just from being stared at by those eyes. A cold sticky sensation was crawling through my whole body.
I understood that this man would be able to do that just like I thought before.
“Haha, you are awfully attached to your life despite being a suicidal Demon Lord.”
“…It is about time you put a break to this joke. I am seriously going to kill you.” (Blue)
“Do it then. I think who is faster will depend on luck though. No matter where it rolls, your future will be done for, you know.”
He is not faltering at all even when I am directing killing intent.
It is not like he has physical strength, and yet, it feels as if he is just solely enjoying this situation.
I may as well just kill this man… My relationship with the other Demon Lords will turn bad, and I won’t be able to stay together with Rakura and the others.
Ekdoik might stay together with me, but I am sure that…
“You don’t think he will devote his fullest towards the person that killed his benefactor, right? That thought of yours is correct. But the premise is wrong in the first place. What power do you hold?”
The power I hold.
The power of Annihilation that binds the souls of the dead and controls them as undead.
But it has already been proven that others can also use something similar as necromancy.
If this man were to be turned into an undead by someone, just that alone would be enough for my name to be spread.
“That’s quite the crude way of threatening. It is not like you.” (Blue)
“You seek elegance when pulling out weed?”
“Who are you calling weed?!” (Blue)
“You are not an enemy, but you are also not an ally I can trust. I am fine with getting rid of you at my own discretion when I think that you are a hindrance to me. I am also just restraining myself from putting a hand on the people that the future me treasures though.”
Aah, this man really is talking as if it is about someone else.
He is saying his relationship with Rakura and Mix have nothing to do with his current self, and also that he can get rid of me and Ekdoik without hesitation if we were to become hindrances.
“You were still horrible, but I am impressed you could improve from there.” (Blue)
“Goes both ways. No, you apparently changed an awful lot.”
You really get on my nerves even when you are your past self!
That said, he might really view me as an enemy if things get thornier than this.
There’s a lot in the bag right now, so I would like to avoid a relationship where we are trying to kill each other.
No, I honestly don’t mind, but I don’t really want it to be my fault.
“…Haah, fine. Do as you please. Haakudoku was dragged by Barastos and made to clean the storage room.” (Blue)
“You should have told me that from the very beginning and it would have saved us all this prickling. Isn’t it because you are like that that you can’t manage to deliver your love to Ekdoik clearly?”
“I am trying to end it here, and yet, you plan on continuing it?!” (Blue)
But it seems like the atmosphere he gives off is the same as before. It looks like he has no intention of pressing on.
“This is just me being a busybody. Once the memories of Melia return and she learns about what has happened until now, her relationship with Ekdoik will grow deeper. The placements might get switched even without me stirring things up.”
“…Whose side are you even on?” (Blue)
“I have no interest in you or Melia. I do want to make the environment of Ekdoik a bit better.”
What’s that supposed to mean? Are you saying his current environment is bad?!
Well…it is true that another woman has been added while I was still indecisive though…!
“Isn’t this kind of relationship fine too?” (Blue)
“How long can you be satisfied with being second place?”
“…Second? What, are you also included?” (Blue)
Could it be that this man has those kinds of preferences?
In that case, I can understand why he is cold with Mix and Rakura. Wait, wouldn’t he be beyond a formidable opponent if that’s the case?!
“Can you not just include me on your own? The one Ekdoik is aware of the most as a woman is the sister of Melia, Leishia. Overcoming a dead person is pretty difficult, you know?”
Eh, really? Aah, yeah, that might be the case.
At the time when Ekdoik was opening up to Melia about the situation, he was super worried about it most likely because he still has a lot of lingering feelings towards Leishia…
In that case, Ekdoik being soft towards Melia is because of his feelings for Leishia…
“B-But that doesn’t have anything to do with romantic feelings, right?” (Blue)
“Maybe. But the type of Ekdoik are the older ones that take the lead, you know?”
“…Eh, really?” (Blue)
I didn’t feel that at all though.
There’s barely any girls older than Ekdoik around him in the first place. Ah, but even though I may have an outward appearance that looks younger than Ekdoik, I am still a lot older than him in actual age… It is sad for me to be saying this myself though.
“Excluding the misrepresented age of a Demon Lord.”
“Can you not sucker punch my heart?!” (Blue)
“This is for smashing me onto the wall. Go ahead and worry a whole lot.”
This man… His boundary between enemy or ally being so hazy is an issue, but he enjoys shaking the hearts of people from the core of his self, doesn’t he?!
You definitely won’t become a decent adult! And he didn’t! Right, he is already an adult!