V2 Chapter 37: A Daytime Discussion

I proved my strength on Demon Island and was given full authority over Suzume. From now on, Suzume will not be attacked by the Mitsurugi family’s assassins.

It was natural to tell Suzume about that. The problem was everything else.

Whether or not to tell Suzume about the knowledge of the Kijin and the demon gods that Oken, who called himself Duke of Taizan, had spoken of. And if I did tell her, how much should I tell her?

I had thought about it from time to time. But I still haven’t reached a conclusion. Even now, as I sat down on a bench next to Suzume, I still hadn’t.

One of the reasons why I was hesitating was that I had doubts about the reliability of the knowledge I had obtained. After all, when I heard this story, I had a blade pressed against Oken’s neck. It was not possible to deny the possibility that Oken had told me nonsense.

Even if Oken had told me the truth, I wondered if there was any point in telling Suzume about it. The knowledge of the demon gods and Chiyou would not be of any use for living peacefully. In the worst case scenario, it could happen that by gaining this knowledge, the resonance with the demon gods would deepen – something like that.

To be honest, I didn’t want to tell Suzume about these things. I repeat, this is knowledge that is not necessary for living normally in Ishka. Words like turbulent and demon god descent don’t suit Suzume. I sincerely hope that she will continue to live a calm and peaceful life.

However, I was also aware that this feeling was my imposition.

The fact that the Kijin are living in the human world already implies turbulence. I can’t always, forever, be by her side.

Besides, I’m not even sure if Suzume wants my protection. If it weren’t for my involvement, she wouldn’t have been attacked by Gozu and the others.

So, I decided to listen to Suzume’s troubles first, and then gently talk about those things.

“Well, Suzume-san”

“Y-yes, what is it!?”

When I called out to her, Suzume straightened her back and responded with a tense attitude.

She looked nervous when she sat down on the bench, so I tried to loosen her up by jokingly calling out to her – well, it had no effect at all. Rather, why is she so stiff?

I wondered why she was so tense and gently asked her, but Suzume shrank her shoulders as if she was embarrassed. I didn’t ask her again, but waited for her to feel like talking.

Her small mouth opened after I slowly counted to about twenty.

“…I feel bad for being a burden to you and the others for so long.”

When I heard that, I involuntarily frowned. I don’t think you’re a burden at all. You’ve been helping out a lot with the house and the clan – that’s what I thought, but I didn’t rush to interrupt her and waited for her to finish.

As I patiently listened, I gradually got a glimpse of what was on Suzume’s mind.

In a word, it was fear.

She was afraid that she would cause trouble, injure, or even kill the people around her by being there. And she might be kicked out of this place for that reason – that kind of fear.

Suzume had always been prone to this kind of worry, but as she got used to living in Ishka, she stopped showing it. The accumulation of facts that showed that even a Kijin could live in the human world must have erased her anxiety.

The existence of Ciel and Lunamaria, who were kind to her, and Miroslav, who taught her magic, also seemed to have a big impact. Suzume herself tried hard to be useful to everyone. I think that led to her confidence.

The cause of Suzume’s troubles again was – I didn’t have to think about it. It was only the attack by Gozu and the others the other day.

The attackers who appeared to target the Kijin’s lives. Ciel and the others who fell while protecting her. There was no doubt that the events of that time cast a shadow on Suzume’s feelings.

That’s why I told her not to worry about it many times after it was over – but apparently, it didn’t have much effect either.

Come to think of it, it might be natural. She was the cause of the people around her being attacked. Even if the attackers were to blame, the fact that she was the cause was undeniable. I wouldn’t be able to ignore it if I were in Suzume’s position. Especially if she was kind and serious like Suzume.

I was busy with the dragon hole, Claira, Behemoth, and other things back then. I didn’t mean to neglect Suzume, but – now that I think about it, I should have listened to her more attentively. I’ll reflect on that.

The silver lining was that Suzume’s actions so far had been somewhat positive, thinking that she had to be more useful because she was causing trouble. Her eagerness to accompany me to Berka was a manifestation of that. I’m glad she didn’t think that she should leave Ishka because she was causing trouble.

However, that could change depending on the decision here.

…Yeah, I guess I have no choice but to take Suzume to Berka. Not just as a companion. As a proper member of the clan, as a clan’s strength. If I just take her to Berka for the sake of it, it won’t have any effect, and it might even backfire.

To me, Suzume is a symbol of good deeds without any calculation. I can’t help but feel guilty about considering her as a strength, but if that’s what she wants, I have no choice.

――When I told her that, Suzume looked surprised as if she had heard something unexpected. After a beat, Suzume smiled brightly as if she understood what I meant.

Her smile was like a blooming flower and undoubtedly cute.

“Th-thank you!”

“Of course, if I take you with me, I’ll be very strict with you. If I decide that you can’t keep up, you might have to go back to Ishka.”

“Yes, I’ll do my best!”

If I take her with me, I can’t just show her a sweet face. I nailed it with a particularly stern look, but Suzume clenched both hands in front of her chest and looked up at me earnestly.

Yeah, she’s still cute.

As I thought that, I told Suzume about what happened on Demon Island. I had been wondering whether or not to tell her until a while ago, but looking at Suzume now, I felt like I didn’t have to hesitate.

She listened intently with a serious face, but her expression changed when the story came to the demon gods. She looked puzzled and hesitantly told me about her dream.

Sometimes, a person with blood-red eyes appears in her dreams.

She said that at first, she would forget it every time she woke up, but recently – specifically, around the time I went to Demon Island, she started to remember it clearly.

“It was too realistic to dismiss it as just a dream, and I was worried about it.”

“Hmm, I see…”

I agreed with Suzume and nodded.

Suzume is a Kijin. And the Kijin are connected to the demon god Chiyou by their horns.

What came back to my mind was the words that the demon god who was cut by me on Demon Island left behind: “…I found it.” I still don’t know what that meant, and it might have been a misunderstanding on my part, but if the demon god really said “I found it” to me – there is a possibility that he had his eye on Suzume, who is a vessel close to me.

What would happen, or what would happen, when this attention of the demon god and Suzume’s desire to be useful overlapped?

The resonance with the Anima, the same-origin existence.

Of course, the probability is low. Even if the Kijin are connected to the demon god, it’s not like they can easily awaken their soul equipment. If they could master their soul equipment so easily, the Kijin wouldn’t have been driven out of the continent.

There is no mistake in this conjecture. There is no mistake, but as long as Suzume is actually seeing a dream of something that looks like a demon god, I can’t ignore it.

I decided to keep an eye on Suzume in Berka. As I thought that, I told Suzume about my conjecture.

To be honest, I didn’t want to talk about the resonance, but I couldn’t keep quiet about the crucial part after revealing everything else. That would be dishonest and dangerous to Suzume.

She listened to me and widened her eyes in surprise. I could feel her anxiety about the red-eyed dream, but at the same time, I could feel her strong will to accept the situation she was in.

Seeing that, I suddenly thought.

Maybe Lunamaria and Miroslav also saw this eye of Suzume and agreed to take her to the battlefield.

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