CubexCursedxCurious:Volume17 Interlude A
« -interlude- A: "at night"»
Staring at the smile on Kuroe's face while she was pinned under him—staring intently—
Pendragon was instantly shocked.
Inserting his finger into Kuroe's mouth, he forced her jaw open, only to see at the corner of her lips...
Saliva dripping down, mixed with a red liquid.
"Hey... Are you trying to commit suicide by biting your tongue?"
She was serious. Had he not stopped her, she definitely would have bitten her own tongue off.
Pendragon felt greatly shaken after realizing this. He found it incomprehensible.
"—Why? Why do you have to go this far...?"
"You're asking me why?"
Kuroe was still smiling with a philosophical expression. This also troubled Pendragon.
"I don't intend to kill you. I just want to make you mine like Riko and Granaury, so I won't do anything excessive to you. No matter what, that's better than dying, right?"
"Is it~? But to me, it's the same as death."
Pendragon frowned. Kuroe remained calm and composed as always.
"Freedom is what I desire. Being cursed, I've caused trouble to many people. My curse was lifted after I moved to Haru's house. This was something I decided on my own, having led this kind of life."
After a pause, she smiled again.
"I want to enjoy my life. To enjoy life freely, unfettered by anyone or anything. If my freedom was taken away... To me, it would be the same as death."
That was why she tried to commit suicide by biting her tongue? Pendragon still could not understand.
Even so, he was at least certain that Kuroe was speaking the truth from the bottom of her heart.
She was truly resolved to take her own life.
He felt the pain of a certain emotion stirring in the depths of his heart. A pain that shook him, the strongest being.
How unlike him. Why was he so flustered? Hurry and calm down.
"Oh, I won't run away or bite my tongue anymore. Can I get up now...? Upsy-daisy."
Hearing her say that, only then did Pendragon discover that his hand had released Kuroe already. Standing up, Kuroe patted her backside. Staring at his finger, covered by Riko's armor—the finger that was moistened from her saliva and the blood from her injured tongue—Pendragon said:
"...If you actually died, wouldn't the result be the same?"
"Hmm, if I still died after doing everything I can, then it can't be helped. It's not like I want to do this, but if I was captured by force and deprived of freedom, it'd be the same as death... At least if I'm gone, you guys won't attack Haru, Ficchi and the others again, right?"
She was right. But as soon as she died, nothing would matter anymore. Pendragon still could not understand.
"By the way... Why are you at the shop? What do you hope to accomplish by cutting my hair? Did you really think you could change my mind by doing this?"
"Hmm~ About this, I was just thinking 'you still haven't expressed yourself' but that's on a different issue."
Kuroe spoke suggestively and turned her body slightly towards him.
"Still haven't expressed myself...?"
"Yes, that's right, but I guess I could give you a hint after saying so much already. You may find this incredible coming from me—Anyway, I don't actually hate you. But I feel that before doing all the many things you've done so far, there is something else you really should be doing first~"
Just as Pendragon was puzzling over Kuroe's words, which remained mind-boggling as ever, in that very instant—
"By the way."
Gone from her face was the aloof smile of a martyr's—
Instead, it was replaced by her smile of a mischievous child's, unfathomable as always.
"I said I won't run away, right? I lied."
Without warning, Kuroe extended several bundles of hair. Instead of reaching for Pendragon, her hair targeted the shelves behind her, the underside of a nearby beauty parlor chair, as well as a decorative plant's pot. Reaching the various destinations, her hair performed some kind of pressing action. Instantly—
White smoke filled the shop's interior, immediately making it impossible to see anything at all.
Riko cried out. Simultaneously, the excess armor behind his head swiftly rearranged itself to cover his head like a helmet. Although it reduced his field of vision, her armor was able to seal his head completely in a mode of thorough protection. Riko was probably taking precautions against a poison gas attack.
Pendragon understood that this gas did not pose any threat. It was simply a smoke bomb, a diversion. Despite being a place of business, this was her castle after all. It would not be surprising if she had laid traps for situations like these, but using poison gas for real would be far too dangerous.
Pendragon was able to reach these conclusions instantly. Nevertheless, his legs did not move. Neither did he allow them to.
...Even though delicate footsteps could be heard fleeing out of the shop, behind the smoke.
"Hey, what's wrong?"
"Aren't we going to pursue, master?"
Even after hearing these two's inquiries...
Pendragon did not move an inch.
Amidst a view entirely obscured by whiteness, what he could still currently see was—
Those eyes of hers, seriously wanting to commit suicide by tongue-biting...
As well as her smile of resolve, sacrificing herself for her way of life.
—Undoubtedly, that strength unique to her had branded itself deeply into his eyes.
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