“Hey Zed… ” I could faintly hear Sakura’s voice sounding beside me. “I kind of want to see your statue. It should be up today, right?”
I opened my eyes a little, peeking at the bright sunlight seeping through the window’s curtains. Yaaawn…
Sakura was lying on my side, using my left arm as her pillow, caressing the red scratch mark that she made on my chest last night.
“No…” I had no urge at all to wake up, so I just turned my body to the side and pulled Sakura into my embrace. I could feel her soft body touching with mine. It felt so warm and comfortable.
“Mooo…” I could hear the indignation from her voice. “We have been cooped up in the room for 3 days already…”
I teasingly said to her, “Don’t blame me wifey… I am a healthy 24 years old male with dragon’s blood running in my veins. You should be thankful that I still give you times to sleep.”
“Pervert…” ( / w \ )
I already told her about the story about when the Demon attacked my city, made a hole on my chest, and how my Master had to save me by giving me his blood.
I also told her about how I had killed everyone in the city and how much sins I have been bearing on my shoulder ever since. She didn’t say anything when I told her about that, but just hugged me and caressed my head in silence.
“Aw… aw… aw… Wifey, I am sorry….” I could suddenly feel sharp pain on my side as I felt her fingers pinching and twisting it ruthlessly.
“Hmph! If you tease me again, I will ask for divorce.” She just turned her body around, facing away from me in annoyance.
After she washed her make up off, as if the magic had disappeared, she also went back into her bashful self. She couldn’t even bring herself to call me husband.
“I am sorry… I am sorry… My wife is just so cute that I can’t stop myself from teasing her…” I kissed her hair and asked, “Why do you want to see the statue anyway? You can just turn around and see the real person behind you.”
“It’s nothing… I just want to know what people say about y-… my h-h-husband…”
“Is that so…?” Sakura was so cute that I felt that I was the happiest man on the continent for having her. “Then we should definitely walk around later. But…”
Our current position was a bit ambiguous and dangerous as her soft bottom have been constantly teasing the little Zedediah. “Can I eat my breakfast first before we go?”
“Eh? Breakfa-aaahn… “
I could feel the piercing glare of the Innkeeper lady as I put the key of our room on the table in front of her. She looked quite annoyed yet relieved when she saw the rings on our left hands.
“Did the deed?” she asked.
“Eh? Um… Yes…” I answered honestly under her piercing glare.
“Sealed the deal?”
I took the hand of the blushing Sakura and said, “Yes…”
She glared at me again and said, “She is still young so be sure to protect her.”
She then took away the key on the table and said, “You both should eat lunch first, it’s on the house…”
So we ate a light lunch on the inn before going together to enjoy the festival. We bought snacks and walked around the busy roads, hand in hand, eating while looking at people selling masks and hearing bards and jesters telling stories about me.
“No one knows where Zedediah-sama actually came from. But one of my friends that worked at the Holy Alliance Church had told me that he was actually a Demon that was beaten by Tooru-sama and he wore a mask to hide his horn,” said one of the jesters.
“Zedediah-sama is the descendant of the previous Hero before Tooru-sama. His family lived deep inside the Magical Beast Mountain Range, training their descendants to beat the next Demon Emperor,” said another one.
Almost all of them were nonsense. There was even one bard that completely made up the story of his song,
The Sage loved the Holy Saint…
But she is the lover of Sword Hero…
But the Sage’s love was so true…
That he sacrificed himself to protect the Holy Saint…
I silently remembered his face because Sakura glared at me after she heard the song.
There was actually one blind old man that got the story right though. “Zedediah-sama is the crown prince of my Empire, the Knightley Empire. He joined the Hero to avenge the destruction of the Royal Family and the Empire.”
But most of the audience didn’t believe him.
“Really? How did he survive? The Demon Emperor destroyed the whole city with [Meteor], didn’t he?” One of them asked.
“That’s right! I have been to the old capital, and there was a really huge lake there!” Another one also chimed in.
The old man just answered, “If you didn’t believe me, then you tell me why their name is the same.”
“Just a coincidence?”
“Hmph! If you want to hear other proofs, then pay up!” The blind old man tapped the hat full of coins in front of him.
I smiled wryly seeing that my story actually became people’s source of money.
We then left the old man and walked again until we arrived at our main destination, the City’s Main Plaza. We sat together on one of the benches circling around the statue at the center of the plaza.
The large statue was made from wood and covered by a large brown coat, on its face was a flat mask made of wood painted in silver. The quality was actually passable, albeit not as detailed as the one for Tooru as they didn’t even bother to make my face when I looked at it from the side.
“Hey Zed… why did you wear mask anyway?” Sakura suddenly asked while holding a silver colored mask that I had bought for her earlier.
“Did you not want people to know that you are a prince?”
“Then because there were assassins looking for you?”
“Eh? Assassins? No…”
“Hmmm… Why then?”
“Because…” I actually didn’t really want to tell her. “I thought that I was ugly…”
Sakura couldn’t stop laughing after I told her the story from when I went to the city with Master for the first time.
I closed my face with the mask. “Even my wife thinks that my face is ugly…”
She giggled and wrapped her arm around mine. She then said while looking at my mask, “I don’t love you because of your face though…”
I felt even more depressed, “So it’s true that I am ugly…”
“Eeeeeh… I-I-I didn’t say that…” She looked cute when she was panicking.
“But you think about that, right?” I kept teasing her because she couldn’t see my face.
“N-no! Of course not!” She shook her head left and right in panic.
“Then… proof it?”
“Kiss me!” I grinned mischievously under the mask.
“Eh?! Here??” ( O A O )
“B-b-but there are people around…”
“Sniff… My wife won’t kiss me because I am ugly…”
“Mooo… Fine! Here!“ She pecked the mask on my face with her lips.
I laughed as I saw her hiding her red face with her hands after she realized that people were giggling and looking at us.
“Ouch… ouch… I am sorry… I am sorry…”
“I want a divorce!” She screamed while pinching my side.
“Wait… what did you say?” She suddenly looked at me with eyes wide open, looking very surprised.
It was late evening when we had finished looking around the festival. The sun had already set, so we decided to find somewhere to eat and stay the night. I actually wanted to just go back to the Innkeeper lady’s inn, but Sakura said the she was too embarrassed to go back, so we just decided to stay at the inn near the Main Plaza.
As it was near the center of the city, the inn was actually seemed to be a bit classier. It even served Magical Beast Steak, which I had already ordered for the two of us.
Anyway, I digressed…
“Eh? What?” I was surprised to see her glaring at me. ‘What did I say wrong?’
Sakura put down the fork and the knife down on her plate of steak and looked at me straight in the eyes. “You want to go hunt Magical Beasts?”
“Uh… yes?” I also put down the glass of ale on my hand to the table.
“But why? Don’t we still have money?”
‘Ah, right… I haven’t told her yet.’ I took another sip of the ale and said, “How do I say this? Hmmm… So… This time, we are actually really in debt…”
Then I proceeded to tell her about the proposal night three days ago. The clothes renting fee was 20 silver coins, the restaurant fee was 20 silver coins, and the down payment for the ring was 1 gold coin.
“We do still have money, but I am still short 4 gold coins to pay for the ring.” I scratched my cheek awkwardly. “It’s fine though, the store accepts installments and it can be paid through the Adventurer’s Guild across the continent, so we can go together and travel around while we are at it.”
But I didn’t tell her that if I failed to pay, the Guild would invalidate my cards and put down bounty on my head. Then I would be sold as a slave if they managed to catch me. ‘Well, they will never be able to catch me anyway.’
“Y-y-yes…?” I could see that Sakura was smiling, but it seemed really scary somehow.
“For now… hand me the Storage Ring first…” she said, while stretching her hand forward toward me.
“H-h-here…” I hurriedly pulled out my ring and put it on her hand.
“[Storage]” It seemed like she was checking the money inside the ring. Then she looked at me and said, “Husband… I am happy that you proposed to me in such a romantic way… and I am also very happy that you bought me a ring that was very beautiful…”
“A-ah the rings are actually special! They are a pair of Magical Equipment with [Sense] magic in them! They can feel each other position if you pour Mana into them!”
“Husband… I am not done talking…” Her tone was very cold, but she still smiled the same.
“I know that you have put a lot of effort for that night… and I am very very happy about that… But the next time you want to spend that much money, we have to talk about it together… For now, I will be in charge of our money… Does husband understand?”
“Understand…” ( TT A TT )
She then looked down onto her steak and continued eating silently while frowning her brows now and then.
“Is wifey mad…?” I tried asking her.
“What does husband think?” She asked back without looking at me.
“Wifey is mad…”
“…” She put down her utensils again and said, “I am not mad… How could I be mad when the money you spent was for me? I am just worried… I know that you are strong, but 4 gold coins is really a lot of money. If one middle grade Magical Core is 10 silver coins, then you will have to collect 40 of them.”
“Or 8 High Grade Magical Core…?” It shouldn’t take too long if I spread [Mana Web] in a forest area. It was just there weren’t too many High Grade Magical Beast near the capital because the army swept them regularly.
“That’s not the point!! Even 8 High Grade Magical Cores means that you have to kill 8 High Grade Magical Beasts! 8 of them! That’s dangerous!!”
I could see that her eyes starting to redden, looking as if tears would come pouring down soon. I just smiled while thinking, ‘Wifey is really a crybaby… So cute…’
“Why are you smiling!!”
I put both my hands on her cheeks and wiped the tears on the edge of her eyes with my thumbs. “Sakura… Your husband is the strongest in the world, you know?”
“You don’t trust me…?”
“I am even stronger than the Demon Emperor, you know?”
“I know… but…”
“But you can still bleed… A-a-and you can still… die… I can’t stop thinking that you will die because of me…” Her tears started to flow down rapidly. “And if you disappear… then I also don’t want to live anymore… hiks… hiks…“
I knew that she still had some lingering trauma from her last life about losing the people she loved. Even if the curse had already disappeared, the fear still lingered.
“Geez… My wife is such a crybaby…” I jokingly said while wiping her tears with the clean inner side of my coat. “Don’t cry… don’t cry… you look ugly when crying…”
“Stop teasing me!! I am being serious here!!”
“Hahaha… I won’t die, okay? I still want to be with you. Well, if you are still worried, then if the enemy seemed to be dangerous, I won’t fight it. How about that?”
“hiks… hiks… You promise?”
“I promise… I promise… Here, blow your nose too… There are sniffles everywhere…” I pinched her nose with my coat.
“Who-who-who is sniffling?! Stop teasing me!!”
“Zed…” Sakura suddenly called my name in the middle of the night. She had been lying down on the bed in silence for an hour, seemingly thinking of something.
“Hm, what is it?” I stopped polishing the sword on my hand and looked at her. The room was dimly lit with candle, but I could do maintenance on my sword just fine with the Dragon’s Eye.
She looked at the sword on my hand and said, “Will you train me how to fight? I want to become stronger.”
Hearing her, I suddenly remembered about Erina. ‘I want to become stronger, so please teach me Zed-san, no, Master! Did she say something like that?’
I put my sword into its sheath and looked at Sakura again. Then I asked her the same thing I asked Erina, “Why? Why do you want to become strong?”
She sat up and looked straight at me. “Because I want to be able to protect you!”
I guessed as much. “Then no, I won’t teach you…”
“Eeeeeh? Whyyyy? Isn’t that the part where you say ‘Of course I will teach you Wifey!’?” She started flailing her hands and feet, throwing a tantrum on the bed.
I just smiled and said, “Sakura, training is hard, you know? Your hand will get blisters, you can get wounded, you will also get sweaty and maybe even smelly from the splattered blood, and didn’t you faint from seeing the blood when I skinned the rabbit?”
“But… I don’t want to not be able do anything when you fight…” She bit her lips anxiously.
I sat on the bed beside her and patted her head. “I am happy that you want to protect me, but if there will come a time that you have to protect me, that means the enemy is even stronger than a Demon Emperor, you know? And I also don’t want to fight that hard anymore. I just want to hunt some Magical Beasts, collect enough money, then buy a house for us both, after that maybe we can have a child or two…”
“T-t-two child?” She stammered.
“Yeah, maybe two girls. So they will be as cute as you…” I looked at her panicked face and continued to tease her.
“U-un… I will do my best…” She nodded while blushing, looking really cute.
“Boys are fine too though, as long as I am with you…” I put my hand on her shoulder and pulled her closer into my embrace.
“Um, me too…” She nodded and leaned her head on my chest. “As long as I am with you…”
“With that said… Should we start working on one first?” I grinned mischievously.
“Eh? What? Nooooo!” She shouted and pushed me away onto the cold floor.
I felt a bit sad to be rejected that strongly…
“D-d-don’t change the subject! I-I know that the training will be hard, but I still want to help you somehow!”
I sat up on the cold floor, crossed my hands in front of my chest, tilted my head, and started thinking, ‘I honestly couldn’t really see the need for her to train at all. Our trip to collect money will be more or less just going around randomly looking for Magical Cores to sell. It’s more like a honeymoon. It’s not like we will meet Demons anyway…’
As for my own strength, after going around the Demon Continent, even Medium Grade Magical Beasts would run from me and High Grade Magical Beasts would feel reluctant to face me. I even once saw a Low Grade Magical Rabbit just do a belly flop in front of me because it was too late for it too run. It was so pitiful that I just let it run away.
I also couldn’t train her like I did with Tooru and the others. The fact that she was my wife meant that I wouldn’t be willing to put her into any hardship at all.
‘Well, I guess I can just teach her magic? It won’t be as tiring as training sword, and the Goddess said that Sakura should have it easier in learning magic too. I did promise her that I will teach her, didn’t I?’ I remembered on the nights we first met, we talked briefly about it.
“Hmmm…. Sakura, what about magic? Do you want to learn it?”
“The Goddess said that you should be able to. Maybe you could also learn [Heal] and treat my wound if I ever get hurt.”
“Ooooh!” Her eyes brightened up. “Then I want to learn magic!”
“Ok then, I will teach you magic.” I tried remembering some basic teaching materials from when I trained long ago. ‘I should be able to teach her somewhat.’
“Un!” She nodded her head. “I-I will sleep then! Good night Zed!” She hurriedly hid her body under the quilt and slept on her side facing away from me.
I felt a bit dejected that there would be no night time today. But it was also my fault for teasing her earlier, so I could only smile in defeat and said to her, “Goodnight wifey…”