44-44 Delicious meals

 The boy felt like he was dreaming.

 Yes, this must be a dream.
 I've already been torn apart by the claws of the Black Death, and this must be the vision we all see after we die.

 It must be.
 Because this can't be real.

 How could I have talked to the [evil dragon], ridden on its back with the people who saved me and the princesses of a country, visited the imperial city from the sky, defeated the emperor, and returned home without a hitch?

 I couldn't help but think that it was a fiction, and the scenes I saw during that time were just unrealistic.

 A single person jumped into the midst of a huge army and created a silver wave with countless swords flying in the air.
 I also saw a light as bright as the sun being launched high into the sky, splitting apart and falling on the Imperial City like a meteor.
 I saw a beautiful woman in silver armor slicing through the towering iron castle in front of me like a piece of clay, and most importantly, I was fighting a giant goblin along with others.

 That's impossible.
 If this is not a dream, what is it?

 So many wonderful things that could never happen to me.
 I've never even imagined anything like this.

 It's a dream.
 It must be a dream.
 But the boy was still happy.
 Even if he knew it wasn't true, it was still a wonderful thing for him.

 I'm sure I've been dreaming since then.
 From that moment, when he flicked the dragon's claw with his black sword.
 I thought I had been dreaming sweet dreams ever since.

 I was able to have such a wonderful dream because I was instantly torn apart and killed by the claws of the black dragon without any pain.

 ─ Thank you for showing me such a happy dream.
 The boy thanked no one.

 So he did not think it strange that the beautiful woman standing in front of him said this.

You and I are going to be living together for a while.
 Nice to meet you, Rollo.

 I was brought into the large house, given a change of clothes, and watched blankly as various plates of food were placed on the white table.

What are you doing? What are you doing?

 The boy's shoulders shook with fear as he was unexpectedly called out.

I'm not sure what to make of this.

 The woman who was seated in front of him looked at him with a very strange expression.

I'm not sure if you can eat it or not, but this is dinner...?
 I'm not sure if there's anything you can't eat?
 If not, would you like me to prepare something else for you?

 The boy hurriedly shook his head.
 To be honest, I don't know if I can eat the food laid out in front of me.
 I've never eaten anything before.
 But this is a dream.
 I don't think there's anything I can't eat... but even though I know it's a dream, I feel self-conscious.

 No matter how much of a dream it is,......, is it really okay to have such a happy dream?  

I'm not sure if this is really a good idea,......? This is the rice...?

 When he heard the word "rice", what came back to his memory was a small, black, moldy bread.
 It was as hard as stone and always smelled of mold and mud.
 He would spend the day in the bars, slowly savoring it.
 It was enough not to die.
 Ever since I can remember, I've been taught to be grateful enough to be given food, and I've been given the same thing.

 And yet... there's something on the plate in front of me, something colorful and unknown.

 Is this rice?

 And the soup-like substance on the plate in front of me...

"I don't believe there's ...... meat in that...?

 I've never eaten anything so extravagant in my life.
 The boy was surprised, but satisfied.

 Yes, that's right.
 This was a dream.
 If it was a dream, this is what it should have been.

 The boy was a little relieved to think that.

 In a dream, it's okay to eat.
 If it was a dream, he wouldn't be beaten up too badly for eating the same thing as a human.

 But what if it doesn't taste like anything?
 Even though I knew it was my dream, it was a shame to realize that it was a dream.
 I was afraid that as soon as I put the food in my mouth, this wonderful dream would end.

"What's the matter, aren't you going to eat?

 The boy hesitated for a while, and then his stomach rumbled.
 Something's wrong.
 It's funny. I'm dreaming and I'm hungry.

"Come on, don't be shy. No one's gonna be mad at you for what you eat. Just eat whatever you want.

 And with that, the woman in front of him offered the boy a loaf of white bread.
 The boy swallowed his spit and made up his mind.

"...... then ...... please ............ me...! ...!

 The boy fearfully reached for the offered bread.
 And the moment his fingertips touched it, he felt a great sense of discomfort.

 It's soft.

 It was completely different from the touch of bread that the boy knew.
 Its surface was smooth and incredibly soft, and it accepted the boy's fingers as if they were cotton.

 What the hell is this?

 Puzzled, the boy sliced the edges of the soft bread and took a piece of it into his mouth.


 A mysterious fragrance that spreads softly in the mouth.
 It's not just sweet.  
 It was a sensation the boy had never experienced before.

 This is...

"...... Hey, ......, what's ......?

 These were the words that came out of his mouth.

 The boy imagined that this must be what "delicious" meant.
 He didn't know if he was right or not.
 But he couldn't help but think so.
 A feeling of happiness that he had never experienced before.
 A kind of joy he'd never experienced before.

 I've never eaten anything like this before.
 I've never even imagined it.

 This is supposed to be a dream.
 Why can I feel this way?

 Then the boy understood what was happening to him.

...... What's wrong?

 Suddenly, tears welled up in the boy's eyes.

 Finally, I understand.
 I understood.

 I knew that this was not a dream (・・・・・).

 This is happening for real.
 I'm not dead yet.
 The dragon didn't kill me.


 Because you came to me.
 Because he saved me.
 I'm alive now.
 I'm alive and I'm eating delicious food.

 But why ......?

Is ...... really okay? Are you sure you want to take this?

"You're overreacting. It's only bread.

 The woman in front of him laughed at the boy's reaction.

You can eat as much as you want. There's plenty more where that came from.


 With tears streaming down his face, the boy began to eat the food in front of him.
 As he sobbed and put the food in his mouth, he thought.

 I don't know.

 Why am I in this situation?
 There were so many things the boy didn't understand.
 This is supposed to be real.
 Why are the people around me so kind to me?

 But one thing is for sure.

 He protected me from the Black Death Dragon's claws.
 Because she asked me to give her a home.

 Because of him, I'm alive now.

 Even though I was thinking it from the bottom of my heart.
 The moment the claw of the Black Death Dragon swung down, I thought.

 I'm so glad I died here.
 I was truly happy that I, who was only a harm to the world, would disappear.

 So I gave up everything and prayed at least.

 If I could die and be reborn, I prayed that in my next life I would not be beaten up so badly.
 And that I could be of some use to someone.
 And if my wish comes true, I hope to be able to eat a good meal, at least once.

 One of those wishes has already come true.
 I will not die and be reborn.
 It came true just now, on the very day I wished for it.

 Because you saved me.

"I wonder if ...... I can be of help to ...... someone?

 When the black death dragon bursts and he faces that person...
 I'm sure you've heard of it.

 I want to do something, even though I am an abomination.
 I want to be of use to someone.

 That was the boy's little dream.
 But I've never told anyone.
 He'd get beaten up if he said it.
 "You're a demon," they'd say.
 They'll kick you and ridicule you.

 I'm useful to someone?

 Of course not.
 Because I'm a demon.
 A creature cursed from birth.
 A child with sinister powers.
 A being who was born to be hated by all...
 That's what I am.
 I've lived my whole life thinking that.

 I should have known that, but why did I say it?
 After I said it, I regretted it.
 I'm sure he'll hit me too.

 The boy shrank back and waited for a fist to fall from the person in front of him.

 But the fist didn't fall for a long time.
 Instead, what came back to him were unexpected words.

"Of course you do, you have such great talent.

 The man did not deny the boy's dream.
 Not only that, he even called his cursed power a 'talent'.

 He's lying.
 That's not possible.
 He's lying.

 That's what I thought right away.
 Because that's what everyone who's ever said nice things about me has been saying.
 In reality, they're just people who hate you and want to take advantage of you.
 I felt the same.
 That's why I read "Heart".

 At that moment, I thought, "Oh, no.

 Even if I knew it was a lie, no one had ever given me such nice words before.
 The words he gave me... if I could, I would believe them.
 So I didn't need to look into her heart.
 All I needed was to find out that this wonderful illusion was a lie.

 I don't want those words to be a lie.

 I hoped so, but it was too late.
 Before he knew it, the boy had read the man's mind.
 But what he saw was not what he expected.

 What he saw was a clear, unclouded mind with eyes that saw deep into the psyche.
 Somehow, this man is even more sure of himself.


 And he didn't doubt his own words in the slightest.
 It was the most dazzling color of "trust" I've ever seen.

 What this person said was not a lie.
 They were true words that came from the bottom of his heart.
 On top of that, even though he knew he was a demon, he didn't have a single bit of dislike for the boy.


 It was the first time for the boy to receive such a thing as unshakable trust.

 So, hesitantly... he said it again.
 Something he thought he should never tell anyone.

I'm not sure if ...... I'll ever be needed by anyone, ......?

 As soon as the words came out, tears welled up in my eyes.

 For a while, the man quietly watched the boy while the tears continued to flow without stopping.
 Finally, when the tears had dried up...
 The man didn't hit him, he didn't make fun of him, he just said from the bottom of his heart.

"Yes, of course. You can do more than I can, if you want to.

 At that moment, for the first time in his life, he felt as if he had been given words he could trust.
 But the boy couldn't believe it.

 It's even harder to believe now.

 "Much more than me"?

 How is that possible?
 He easily swatted away the claws of a black death dragon with a one-handed sword, single-handedly fought a dragon that could destroy an entire city, plunged into the midst of ten thousand soldiers, and came back as if nothing had happened.
 More than someone like that? That's impossible.


 That's exactly what he said.
 She believed it from the bottom of her heart, without the slightest doubt in her words.

 Then, the boy thought.

 He could believe her... her words.
 Maybe I should believe him too.
 Because someone much more powerful than him believes it.  

 The boy couldn't believe what he was hearing.

 But I don't want those words to be a lie.
 That's what he thought from the bottom of his heart.

 There was a small fire in the boy's heart now.
 Something he had never had before...
 Something that had never existed in the boy's mind before, something that was still vague and unreliable, but something that would never go away was beginning to grow.

 He said, "If you want, you can have as many as you want.
 That's what he said.

 So it's okay if you want to.
 If you do, you'll be needed by someone someday...
 Someone you thought would never come true.


 If it's okay for me to want something...
 I'll do whatever it takes to make it happen.

 I'll do anything from now on.
 Even if I don't get what I want right away I'll do whatever it takes until I do.

 It's like I've died and been reborn.
 This time, I'm going to be useful to someone, I'm going to be needed.

 I know I can be that person.
 Because she believed in me.
 He told me that even if I'm a demon, I can always be useful to someone.
 Because he told me that it's okay to want to...

 I'm gonna do it.

 I'm not going to lie to you about the trust you gave me.

Rollo ......, don't eat so fast, no one's going to get it.
 There's only two of us here, you and me. Eat slowly.


 In front of the woman in front of him who was smiling bitterly, he threw the food in front of him one after another into his mouth while shedding tears, thanking her for everything...

 I'm sure you'll be able to understand that I'm not the only one who has a problem with this.