C31 – Two Kids
Fixing the sheep collar.
What steps should he take?
Shire felt extreme fatigue, tossing and turning on the blanket.
Alicia hung his woolen coat outside to dry before returning. She lowered her gaze to the drowsy Shire.
“Are you planning to rest?”
“If you’re here to keep me company, I won’t feel drowsy anymore.” Shire widened his eyes.
“Simpleton.” Alicia knelt beside Shire. “You’re covered in blood, reeking and dirty. How can I possibly accompany you?”
“So, what should we do?”
“I haven’t a clue.” She settled down beside Shire. “They mentioned we could use our hands, mouths, backsides, or thighs, but I’ve no idea how it’s done.”
“I understand. Allow me to instruct you.” Gradiu eagerly offered.
“Save it.” Shire muttered to himself, “It’s repulsive.”
“No, do you genuinely believe I’m interested in you folks?” Gradiu felt slighted. “When you encounter two dogs or ants mating on the roadside, do you harbor any special sentiments?”
No matter the excuse the demon concocted, once it began speaking, Shire’s warm, sweet atmosphere dissipated.
“Alright, you deviant. If you dislike me so much, I’ll leave you be.” Gradiu fell into silence.
It was a lot more pleasant now. Shire turned to scrutinize Alicia’s visage. She had applied makeup with amateurish flair. Her lips were a vibrant red, her eyebrows finely shaped. Her eyes still retained an aura of innocence.
“You silly girl, you silly girl. Why do you look more naïve than others?” Alicia wondered aloud.
“Am I really naïve?” Shire was perplexed.
“Others are quite astute. The owner of our brothel is exceptionally shrewd. His demeanor is unfathomable. The others fear him and wouldn’t dare approach him without great reverence. You’re different. You appear quite easy to push around.”
“So, how should I look formidable then?”
“Just remain silent. Don’t say much. You exude a tranquil, aloof aura. It’s as if you know precisely what to do.”
Shire pressed his lips together, reminiscing about the state he was in when battling the demon. The candle’s flickering flame cast fleeting shadows. Shire’s eyes grew colder with the recollection.
Alicia shuddered. “Ah… Maybe it’s better not to be like that.”
He softened his expression once more.
“You’re unlike the others.” Alicia pursed her lips. “You’re kind-hearted. You treat me well. Everyone else wants to harm me.”
“Only those who are helpless are kind-hearted.” Shire reflected on the past. “But I’ll never harm you. That’s a promise.”
“They say men fall into two categories.” Alicia supported her head with her elbow. “One type is like a wolf, proactive, decisive, forward-thinking, and self-reliant. They can’t wait to make their mark. The other is like a dog, passive, unhurried, nearsighted, accustomed to obeying, and blending into the crowd.”
“What do you like?”
Alicia revealed a rare shy expression.
“What kind of person do you think you are?” She avoided the topic.
Shire leaned forward and kissed her. He looked for her lips. They were very soft, and the touch was very wonderful. The smell on her body made him feel intoxicated and lost.
No, it shouldn’t be like this. He had just lost so many companions in Twilight Forest. Even his master… had experienced such a tragedy. I actually still have the mood…
“Silly, this is normal.” Gradiu said. “This is the reproductive effect of a crisis. When intelligent creatures have encountered a fatal crisis recently, The switch is switched on. Your instinct tells you that you won’t be able to live much longer. So you need to leave behind genetic information as soon as possible. This is why you are suddenly interested in women. Give me some respect for my biological instincts! Go! Send those few milliliters of your sense of duty to the next generation! “
Is that so? Before Shire had time to think, she entangled him again.
Alicia kissed Shire deeply, but when his hand touched her body, she avoided him.
“I said, you have a smell on you.” Alicia tried her best to avoid it, “If you respect me, then don’t do this.”
Now Shire realized that women could not be understood. He was in a panic now, but she made him give up. This was going against his nature. He felt that if he was a shameless man, he would throw himself at her and use force.
He realized he wasn’t, so he decided to lie down on the blanket.
Shire diverted his attention to other things, thinking about the idea that the devil, the Holy Church, and Alicia had proposed.
“Are you angry?” Alicia saw that Shire did not respond to her, so she used her fingers to wrap around Shire’s hair. “Don’t be angry. I’ll compensate you.”
“Compensate?” Shire was still confused. In the next second, Alicia kissed him again. He held her in his arms. The two of them. Shire was seventeen, while Alicia might only be sixteen. They were both children and had no experience. They did not know the meaning of all intimate actions. They just treated kissing as a game. They treated it as a way to relax.
They were messing around for a while. It was not until later that Shire realized that kissing was tiring. A strong sense of sleepiness welled up in his heart, and he fell into a deep sleep.
Shire had an exhausted dream. He had been chased by monsters all this time, or he would have been buried underground by rocks or fallen into an abyss. However, after he woke up, the fatigue he had accumulated had been swept away.
The sunlight passed through the tent and shone on the ground. Alicia lay on his body and slept soundly. She stretched her arms and legs, pressing Shire’s arms and legs, making him unable to get up. He did not dare to move, afraid that he would wake her up. He could only feel her weight like this.
Alicia was really very light. Shire estimated that she might not be more than 100 pounds and was very thin. At this distance, he could clearly see Alicia’s face. She used makeup to cover up the dry skin that was lacking nutrition, which made Shire’s heart ache.
He had heard many people talk about love. Poets in taverns treated love as the poisonous stinger of bees. Mercenaries treated love as a means of fraud and recreation. Nobles sang about love, and farmers did not understand love. Etienne had told him clearly that love was a stumbling block, and it was specifically used to kill men.
However, they had more or less mentioned one thing. One day, people would feel the appearance of love, and at that time, everything would be self-evident. After that day, all those who had once looked down on, mocked, or thought that they would never have the chance to love would come to a realization, and they would wholeheartedly devote themselves to it.
Shire found himself intrigued by the concept of love. He desired a deeper understanding of it.
“If you’ve got the time, it might be worth delving into physiology and neuroscience. That’s where love finds its roots,” Gradiu suggested.
A burst of feminine laughter outside the tent roused Alicia from her slumber.
“Ah… Ah…” Alicia yawned and turned groggily. Slowly, she opened her eyes. “Why’s it daytime?”
“Good morning,” Shire greeted, attempting to convey his friendliness.
“You’re flattening my hair,” Alicia complained with a frown.
Shire promptly adjusted his position. They both rose amid a mild commotion. Alicia’s attire appeared a bit disheveled, but she seemed unconcerned with tidying up.
“You seem to enjoy this, don’t you?” Alicia remarked.
“I do,” Shire nodded eagerly. “May I… touch it?”
“My belongings. Why would I let you touch them?” Alicia turned her head and proceeded to dress neatly.
“When we return to Gray Tree Hall, I still need to find you.”
“I’ll start by offering you this money. I want to liberate you from the brothel,” Shire produced five gold coins from his purse and placed them on the small table.
Alicia gaped, her gaze fixated on the few gold coins resting there.
“If… I accept your money, I’d truly be a harlot.”
“Why?” Shire appeared bewildered.
“It’s excessive. A few silver coins would suffice.” Alicia approached the table, her expression conflicted. “You’re not a particularly generous person.”
“I care for you. This is for you.” At times, Shire found it challenging to comprehend a woman’s thoughts.
“You’re a Devil Hunter. I’m a prostitute. Can people like us… truly be alright?”
“Why not? We’ll lead the happiest life,” Shire declared with heightened enthusiasm. “Together, we can pursue countless things we cherish. Just wait and see. When we reach the city, I’ll free you from the brothel. At that moment, you’ll cease to be a prostitute.”
“Then what am I?”
“You will always be yourself,” Shire assured, “but you won’t have to feel inferior because of your status. Then, we can live happily together.”
“Ha, mortals have a lifetime of suffering,” Gradiu mocked within Shire’s thoughts, “You’ll only endure torment. You’ll fall into the cycle of your limited abilities clashing with boundless ambition time and time again. She’ll demand jewelry, real estate, titles, and a crown, all to drain your life away and make you feel content. Women are like a potent elixir that erodes your ambitions. If you desire a title, you’ll be needing a crown. If you chase a crown, she’ll require titles. Listen to my advice. After a few escapades, let her go. Don’t plunge too deep.”
“You should calm down,” Shire muttered to himself.
For now, the two innocent souls exchanged glances, temporarily diverting his attention from the harshness of the devilish reality.
“Really? Will we have a wonderful life?” Alicia beamed with joy, casting away her somber expression. “I’ll be a good wife. I’ll help with cooking and housekeeping.”
“I don’t have a home. I reside in the Holy Church of the Hunters. But you can move in there when the time comes. It’s a grand castle, and we’ll be together,” Shire explained.
“Caw! Caw! Caw!” Gradiu cackled wildly in Shire’s thoughts. “One person will be hunting demons outside, while the other guards an empty home. You call this companionship.”
Alicia blushed, embracing Shire and burying her face in his arms. “Mr. Devil Hunter…”
Laughter echoed outside the tent again, and this time, it wasn’t just one woman laughing. Several women joined in.
This was starting to feel eerie. Shire took Alicia and drew the tent’s curtain open, stepping outside.
“Ah…” He pressed his hand to his forehead.
“Oh!” Alicia gasped. “How did this happen…”
The women in the nearby tents were all laughing at the sight on the drying rack.
Shire’s wool coat had significantly shrunk after washing, now reduced to only two-thirds of its original size, appearing comically small. Alicia’s cheeks turned crimson. She hastily retrieved the coat and handed it to Shire.
“It’s clean now, at least. Please put it on.”
“Thank you,” Shire replied.
The mature women gathered around, amused by the situation. Alicia blushed and gently nudged him. Shire donned the shrunken coat, which now only reached his upper arms. The tight-fitting attire clung to his chest and back, but it didn’t seem too odd.