Yes, it was intense.
The heat was enough to melt even the chill left by the Spirit King’s contractor.
She now felt something stirring between herself and him.
“Fall for me?”
A feeling stronger and more passionate than any desire, but one that imposed devotion.
“Don’t say something so foolish. Who…”
It was something that could never arise in demons consumed by selfishness.
If anything, it would just be lust mistaken for love.
“Who would be enchanted by someone who came in such a disheveled state? I’m a demon. Just look at the corpses strewn around here. They are more severely damaged than you…”
Even reproduction was just a means to fulfill their desires or used as avatars to achieve what they themselves couldn’t. That was the nature of demons.
How could she, who considered even that to be outside her interest as it didn’t serve her purpose, confidently say she had a longing for the opposite sex?
“Me, who feels no emotion even when committing such acts, couldn’t possibly feel that now…”
Yet why couldn’t she dismiss the words left by the one who left this place as a silly joke?
Why, as she looked down at this wounded man, did not a single insincere smile form on her face, as usual?
Droplets flowed down and wiped away the bloodstains on her face.
Unaware of even that, she felt her rationality drowning in her emotions, finally placing her hand on his cheek and whispering her inner thoughts.
“Is there even a slight chance that I wish for such a thing to happen?”
Her heart felt like a sandbank had been filled with weathered memories.
A shining pebble found in that barren and empty world felt dazzling to her at this moment.
The desire to grasp it in her hand and hold it close to her heart surely stemmed from an emotion called desire…
A feeling more powerful and passionate than any desire, yet one that necessitated devotion.
“What were your feelings when you rushed toward me?”
The demon was in love.
“Do you also feel the same as me?”
Pushed by an unreciprocated loyalty to the brink of death.
A passionate love that now doesn’t hesitate to sacrifice herself.
His body reflexively rose due to the heat covering his whole body.
He felt his heavily subdued mind awakening, but such struggles couldn’t lead to consciousness due to something restraining his body.
His body was just writhing, and his muscles and joints were constricted by something hard.
Feeling suffocated, he turned his head to the side and saw a man tending to someone lying in the next bed.
Being cared for, wrapped in bandages all over…
Perhaps a patient who looked as battered as I did.
“Ah, have you come to?”
A man, presumably a medic, soon started showing concern, looking me in the eye.
“…Where is this?”
“Eh, this is the medical tent of the garrison area. Don’t worry. We’ve used hemostatic agents and performed emergency surgery. You lost so much blood; it was almost a disaster.”
The garrison area’s medical tent…
It seemed that while I was unconscious, people from the garrison area had taken care of me.
The number of patients suggested a fierce invasion by the Demon King’s army, but the lack of urgency indicated that the fierce battle had somehow ended by now.
The Demon King’s army had retreated, and we had survived.
Around this time, I vaguely guessed that, based on my past experiences, I suddenly realized that I couldn’t muster strength in my lower body.
“…I can’t feel anything in my lower half.”
“Uh… You’ve sustained a very serious injury in your lower half. It seems you were hit in a particularly bad spot…”
“A particularly bad spot. What does that mean?”
“Uh, I was going to tell you after you fully recovered…”
The medic sighed deeply, a bitter expression on his face.
Amidst an uncomfortable feeling, he soon spoke to me with a serious face.
“Please understand. Ah… You won’t be able to… have children in the future. In other words, you won’t be able to have sexual relations.”
“What… what did you say?”
Unable to have sexual relations?
Being hit in a particularly bad spot means that?
Does that mean I’ve become impotent?
“Impotent, no, what are you talking about? Me? Impotent?!!!”
“Damn it, impotent!!! Me, impotent!! Ahahah…!”
Oh Deok-hun has a girlfriend, and I’m impotent!!!
This is ridiculous! Aaaah!!!
“Well, anyway, a priest will be coming soon to heal you, so it’ll all be better then.”
“Ah, don’t you know? With divine power, you can be healed without the need for medication or surgery, whether it’s fractures or internal injuries.”
Ah, right. I forgot because I was always rolling around, but this was a fantasy world, wasn’t it?
After all, it was a divine miracle that cured everything except baldness, so even impotence might somehow be treatable.
“You’re lucky. Those who participated in defending the garrison are insured by the guild, so they can receive treatment for free without making a donation to the order.”
“…Please don’t joke about being able to treat this.”
“Haha, sometimes a joke like this is needed to see if a person gets annoyed; it’s a way to confirm you’re okay, isn’t it?”
A fleeting irritation at the thought, ‘What if I got so upset that all my wounds burst open?’
As the tension eased with the current joke, I suddenly felt something I had forgotten slowly coming back to mind.
Yes, she was nowhere to be seen.
The moment I realized that, a sense of urgency began to envelop my heart.
“Where is Merilyn? The minstrel who was with me…”
“If you’re talking about the woman with short white hair and a smiling face… She left after bringing you here.”
“Yes, she asked to give you this note before she left.”
A note slipped out in response to my question.
The sealed envelope was filled with quite substantial content, as could be vaguely seen.
“Fortunately, the Demon King’s army has retreated, and the curfew is lifted, but she left immediately, saying she had things to do despite the possible dangers.”
“What ‘things to do’…? what does that mean?”
“You’ll know once you read the note. Since I’m not involved, I didn’t open it. I’ll leave now; there are many others to be treated before the priests arrive.”
After checking my condition and leaving just a note, the medic left the room.
With him gone, I ignored the tingling sensation in my lower body and examined the letter in my hand.
Injuries that would soon be healed by the priests were less important than the note she left as she departed my side.
Relieved that she left a letter for me, meaning she, too must be safe.
To Mr. Hyo-sung.
But that feeling of relief quickly extinguished as I read the beginning of her letter.
By the time you read this letter, I will have already left the area.
To a distant land, which can be called my hometown, not the Empire you will soon return to…
A hometown, not the Empire.
In this world, everywhere outside the Empire is a danger zone, so naturally, it was worrisome, wasn’t it?
You don’t need to find it odd.
Travel always comes to an end, and it’s only natural that the final destination is my hometown.
Of course, travel was something she was accustomed to, as she mentioned in our first meeting.
Even as I read the letter, I couldn’t feel relieved by her words.
Because as the letter progressed, I could feel the characters in it becoming distorted.
But today, as I write this letter, returning to my hometown feels unusually significant.
Just as you, who tried to save me, hold me in special regard.
Because I, too, feel drawn to you.
The warmth when I last embraced her, as if to prove it was not a mere illusion.
Between the increasingly intense characters, traces of something soaked started to appear one by one.
Yes, I certainly think so.
Though it was only a day’s encounter, I’m sure I will still remember you, even if it’s something I should forget soon after.
Meeting someone as special as you, I’m convinced it’s the greatest blessing in my long journey.
And because of that, I have no choice but to leave your side.
Even if the brief time I spent with you was intense, it cannot undo the time I’ve already spent.
I am a jester.
A humble being who has dedicated her life to serving her lord.
But such an insignificant mission is my foundation, my direction, and everything.
Since that has been my path, I couldn’t prioritize it over the profound meaning of the day spent with you.
Even if my loyalty to my lord wanes due to our encounter, if I don’t end this connection, my foundation will interfere with the days I dream of spending with you.
So, I want to leave your side, keeping the comfort I got from you in a corner of my heart, to fulfill my uncompleted mission.
To tell my lord that I, who have found a light in you, can no longer swear pure loyalty.
You can probably guess what happens to a retainer who betrays his loyalty.
But please forgive me.
Even if I strongly feel your heart and the desire to connect it with mine at this moment.
Because of the time I’ve already gone through, what I must prioritize is not the future I could have with you, but the past I had without your existence…
The letter crumpled and rustled under the force of my grip.
Even that, following the previously formed tears, the barely unfolded characters began to distort again.
So, having read this letter, I have one request for you.
Her heart, which I presume felt the same emotions as I did, even before me…
I could clearly feel them as they passed through my hand at this moment.
Please forget about me.
Whatever you felt for me, now it’s just like a midsummer night’s dream to be let go.
Burn and forget this uncertain promise with this letter, and live as if you never encountered me.
Even if by chance we meet again, let that reunion start with nothing more than a trivial greeting, rather than joy…
Considering such modest delight as the starting point to be all the expectation we’re allowed.
Without a word.
I repeatedly traced the contents of the letter with my eyes, mulling them over in my mind for several minutes.
In the still bustling medical tent, after organizing my thoughts, I put down the letter in my hand and let out a wry laugh.
After all, there was no need to think too deeply about it.
Choosing work over people and ending up with strained relationships was commonplace in society.
“…I got rejected again.”
But how could I blame her for that?
The time she and I spent together was just a day or two, and for just that time, she intended to convey her intentions to the one she had devoted her life to in loyalty.
For just someone like me.
It was too greedy to blame her for valuing our meeting so much that she was going to the guillotine for it.
“I really got rejected properly indeed.”
What about mithril Ego Weapons and what about obsession?
Ultimately, I was nothing more than a foreigner who wasn’t born with the power of a hero.
No matter how hard I tried, the most I could grasp in this cruel world was merely my own life.
All I could do, unable to muster the courage to traverse the harsh world in search of her, was to hope for the uncertain reunion as written in the letter.
As I suppressed such self-deprecation with a bitter smile, soon, a trivial lament started to escape my lips.
“Oh Deok-hun even has a girlfriend. When will I ever have one?”
It was the usual lament.
Thinking that if such things continue to happen, I might have to get used to them as well…
Several days later.
The cry of a flying monster echoed under the blood-red sky.
The monster, spewing an ugly cry from its several throats, gently lowered the person it had carried on its back to the ground.
“Thanks for bringing me this far.”
The monster took off into the sky, accompanied by a whistle from the mouth.
Once out of her influence, it would return to the wild, resuming its role as a predator as it originally did.
Whether it would grow beyond a mere monster into a formidable beast, or be eaten by a predator before that was of no concern to her.
“Who are you?”
“Why is a human here..?”
After passing through the ruined city, she encountered two demons at the entrance of the abandoned castle and revealed her familiar form by dispelling the magic covering her body.
Disguise was a basic skill for a jester.
Changing her appearance in an instant was quite easy for her…
“Please tell the Demon King.”
Thus, she returned to her guise as a jester.
She spoke in a low voice to the gatekeepers.
“Tell him that his little jester has returned.”
Mephisto Rage, one of the Four Heavenly Kings.
The Demon King’s oldest follower had finally come to end their connection.
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