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Sorry, I have been having issues with my site lately. I still can’t post and save my draft at the moment, but I managed to get by using another method for now. I’m still trying to fix this. If anyone experiences any problem reading this post, or notices any error, please let me know.Rinkage
Chapter 07: I listened to the mermaid’s story (part 1)
“…Why are you protecting that mermaid?”
I came upon an unexpected scene the moment I reached them using the foothold I had created; Happiness, who was standing in front of the mermaid, had her hand spread out as if to protect the latter while Raven was still gripping his sword.
Alternatively, the mermaid seemed to be at a loss, and she looked around in confusion.
… If she starts singing now, she might render us incapable of fighting. She might not be a bad person, so perhaps, it would be a good idea to listen to her side of the story. I should ask her about it. Well, before that, I should stop these two people first.
“Hey! Lower your sword for now, Raven!”
“…Youki, are you protecting that mermaid as well? That is a demon.”
“That’s not it… I don’t sense any hostility from the mermaid anymore, so why don’t you lower your sword for now?”
Raven put his sword back in its sheath after we persuaded him to, while Happiness plopped down on the ground there and then, her expression the same as usual. However, upon closer observation, her hands seemed to be shaking.
“Are you okay?”
“…I’m all right.”
It was possibly due to her trauma, since she had been attacked by humans in the past, or it could also have been the aftermath of stopping Raven’s attack in the nick of time. Regardless, it seemed that she was mentally affected by this. She might have assured me that she was fine, but I decided to let her take a short rest.
Raven, being himself, merely crossed his arms in a grumpy manner and looked in a completely different direction. It didn’t seem like he was going to say anything, even after seeing Happiness’s condition. If he were to handle this poorly, cracks might form in their relationship. However, all of a sudden, Duke’s words flashed through my mind. If we were to return to Minerva as is, with such a questionable ambience like this hovering over them, I would no doubt be facing a double lecture from Duke and Cecilia.
Their relationship was just starting to give off such good vibes, so why did this happen? I don’t recall doing anything unnecessary. Yes, I shouldn’t have anything to do with this… maybe.
“Um, you know…”
“Hmm, ah. Sorry, I forgot.”
While I was thinking of ways to escape that two people’s wrath, the mermaid called out to us.
“A-Aren’t you going to kill me?”
“Well, as you can see, the situation changed, or something along that line…”
I looked at Raven and Happiness with a wry smile on my face. However, probably because the mermaid was not familiar with the relationship between humans, she cocked her head to one side in response.
“Anyway, it seems that my friend has some business with you, so if there are any circumstances on your side, we’d like to hear them.”
“I-I am a demon, though. Would you believe a demon’s words?”
All of us were actually demons, though, except for one human here. Although, that wasn’t something that I could reveal to her. With that said, it really did seem like she had circumstances on her side.
“Putting aside if I’ll believe in you or not…”
I would decide only after listening to her story. That was what I was planning to say before Happiness suddenly interrupted me.
Was it alright for things to proceed as is? I threw a glance at Raven to confirm his reaction, but he seemed completely indifferent.
“So, I’ll begin, then. Umm…”
“R-Right. Before that, we’ll introduce ourselves. I’m Youki. Nice to meet you-!”
The atmosphere was extremely tense, so I tried to lighten up the mood by introducing myself as Youki. (1) …If I were to blurt out these thoughts at the moment, the temperature here would definitely drop by a few notches. (2)
“I’m fine, you idiot! This lady with a sharp tongue is Happiness, and the guy who’s looking in another direction is Raven.”
I really couldn’t comprehend Raven’s feelings at the moment. Even my usual banter with Happiness did not get any response from him.
“Umm, my name’s Shike.”
“You’re Shike-chan, then. I see. So, my friend here, Happiness, feels that there should be a reason behind this incident. Is that correct?” I asked while patting Happiness’s head, though, the instant I did so, she slapped off my hand. It would seem that I had made her feel uncomfortable. Well, she was always making fun of me, so there was no way I would apologize.
“Y-Yes. I am being threatened to sing…”
She had skipped all the important points, jumping straight to her current situation.
“Ah! You won’t be able to understand with just this, right? I’m sorry.”
“No, it’s fine. For the time being, please calm yourself before further elaborating.”
“Yes. One day, I was swimming in the ocean with my friend, Misaki. However, we were suddenly caught in a storm, and when I realized it… I was already tied up, gagged, and blindfolded.”
“The culprit must have, unfortunately, found you when you got washed up ashore following the storm.”
It might only be a speculation, but it was probably not far off.
“When I tried to struggle, I could hear that person whispering to me, ‘If you don’t want anything to happen to your friend, heed my order.'”
“So that means that person caught your mermaid friend, too.”
“The instant I thought Misaki would be killed, I was so afraid that all I did was nod my head several times. After that, I was carried and brought to this place… Then as instructed, I sang at the port to put all the people who were on board the ships to sleep.”
And, that seemed to be the end of Shike-chan’s story.
Shike-chan seemed to be telling the truth, but I couldn’t affirm it. There was a huge possibility that one might lie when their life was in danger. At a time like this, I should listen to Raven and Happiness’s opinions as well.
“…Youki, could you come over for a moment.”
Raven, who had been silent all this while, called me over to him before bringing me to an area a distance away so we wouldn’t be overheard.
(1) Youki was trying to make a pun here (also called a ‘dajare’, oyaji gyagu, or wordplay joke), but it didn’t work out when translated to English. A dajare relies on similarities in the pronunciation of words to create a simple joke. Youki’s name is ヨウキ (youki) while 陽気 (also youki / yōki ) means lively/cheerful. Both pronunciations are almost similar.
(2) Usually the standard Japanese response to ‘oyaji gyagu’, which is usually considered as ‘lame’, is to shiver and comment on a sudden chill in the room. You can learn more about it here.