Between Chapters 19 and 20:
Idle Talk – Iris’ Feelings＊
I experienced chagrin and regret that day.
The day that the person whom I tried to reach, but in the end never could, was simply erased like mist.
I decided that I would never part from them again.
This was the decision that I made that time, that day, that moment when I met them again. A decision that I told nobody else.
I, Iris Taesnola, was in the far off past, born a daughter of the demon race.
Perhaps because of good fortune, my parents were a famous family within the demon race, and inheriting the blood of my mother and father who both possessed a powerful mana, I was born with powerful mana housed within me.
However, the world was not so soft that I could become powerful with nary an effort, and even for the demon race who were born with powerful mana, the skill required to handle that mana needed talent, and long years of endless practice.
It was not as though people who were born with unimaginable power, or that incredibly outstanding talent didn’t exist, but amongst the many demons, there was only one such person that I knew of.
His Majesty, the Demon King Luruslia Nord Ojisama.
For he was the strongest demon in the world, and existed beyond a wall, insurmountable to all others.
His ability to manipulate mana, his mana volume, and his physical strength ― all of these placed him far beyond the reaches of all others.
That Ojisama had gotten along strangely well with my father since they were young, and he often visited our house.
Unlike my heavy drinking father, Ojisama who liked to quietly sip wine while he read was a kind person who would unfailingly celebrate my birthday each year, and I think that a person like that required no important reason for me to come to like.
Unfortunately however, before I could ascertain whether these feelings were merely affection, or something beyond that, Ojisama passed away.
His chest was pierced by the holy sword of the hero who served as the emblem of the humans, and when I heard that he was annihilated, with even his remains dissolving into the air, I understood that I would never be able to meet him again, and did nothing but cry.
After that, the revenge began.
I loathed them.
That which had killed Ojisama.
The reasons that deemed Ojisama as somebody that needed to die.
Mysteriously, I did not loathe the hero.
I knew that that human had apparently held a few conversations with Ojisama.
And among those, the hero lent an ear to what Ojisama wanted to say.
I found out this truth a little while after Ojisama passed away, when the hero and the church suddenly opposed each other, and the conflict that split the humans into two began.
The fact that the church believed it was justice to destroy all of the demon race, and the fact that the hero opposed them, meant that the hero had probably stopped facing the demon clan with hostility.
And it was clear as day that the reason she did so was because of the conversation she held with Ojisama.
If the hero was following the wishes of Ojisama, then it wouldn’t have done to get in her way.
That’s why I didn’t feel hatred towards the hero.
In that case, what was I supposed to hate?
When I considered this, at first the church came to mind.
They were the group that one-sidedly saw the demon race as enemies, and challenged us to a war.
I didn’t know what meaning there was behind this, but there was surely some significance to it.
Wouldn’t it be fine to hate them?
No, that wasn’t it, I thought.
I didn’t think that I should hate all of those who ended up following that ideology.
The human race who were deceived, the demon race who had given up on dialogue, and I, who had done absolutely nothing.
I came to believe that I should hate the way the world was.
And I came to decide on a guide for myself.
I would act to change the world.
In other words, I would get rid of conflict.
What I could do was first of all, beat down those who continued the war.
What I could do was destroy the influence of the church.
However, the reality did not go well.
I was caught by an unknown somebody, and was thrown into some facility and was made to undergo long-term sleep.
And when I opened my eyes, before me were humans.
‘So the ones that shut me in here were humans?‘ I thought in my half-awoken daze, and becoming angry, I ended up attacking them.
However, unexpectedly, one of the humans standing there was Ojisama…
The fact that you never knew what kind of things the ties of destinies would bring, resounded profoundly in the depths of my heart.
Because I was thrown in here, and made to sleep, I was able to meet with Ojisama.
Once I thought that, on the contrary, I even felt that I couldn’t thank them enough.
And then, in that instant, I decided.
That I would never part from them again.
I think it just happened to come to mind.
However, at the time, it felt extremely natural to me.
I didn’t know the name of this emotion that resembled determination, but I felt no hesitance at following it.
Ojisama lived as a human in a human village.
When he told me this, it was natural that I was shocked.
However, the reality was that Ojisama’s appearance was that of a human, and because of that I couldn’t reject the facts.
I met with his two parents, but as expected, the two of them were humans, and I could feel that they had not a single thing to do with the demon race.
In fact, the fact that they didn’t think I was a demon at all was…
Even though they were humans, they weren’t different to the demon race in any way, and I was able to live with them without a single problem.
It was mysterious.
It was a demon ideology that souls were all equal, and the same souls just lived in different bodies.
However, living beings are easily influenced by what they see.
It was natural that it was easy to group together with those that looked the same as you, and so it couldn’t be helped that you felt a little hesitance when it came to others.
Even though this should have been the case, I, who was the only one in the village with silver hair, was easily taken in by Ojisama’s parents.
On top of that, they even spoke about becoming their daughter, and I really did end up as their foster daughter.
It was something that was absolutely impossible in the era when Ojisama and I battled.
I felt shock at the fact that the long flow of time could wear down prejudice, and turn it into a completely trifling matter.
I met the children in the village, and even learnt something.
Shockingly, Ojisama had friends of his own age.
It goes without saying that Ojisama would ordinarily be far older than them, but to my surprise, Ojisama was skilled at pretending to be a seven year old boy, and fostered friendships.
Those friends of his were a boy named Rusty, and two girls named Mii and Yuuri.
When I first met them and they saw me, the moment the boy, Rusty, stuttered,
“N-, Nice to meet you…”
as he held out his hand, I felt deeply moved about the fact that this era really was different to my old one.
Were it that era, a human child holding out their hand to a demon was an impossible scene.
Was the fact that Mii and Yuumi seemed to be glaring a little because of their avoidance of the demon race?
No, that probably wasn’t it.
According to Ojisama, the knowledge about how ancient demons look wasn’t passed down to this era.
Accordingly, it was impossible that these children know that I’m an ancient demon.
In light of all of this, it meant that the two girls were glaring at Rusty for a different reason, but… Didn’t their behaviour towards him seem a little affected?
I tried to recall a reason, but couldn’t.
It was on my mind, so when Rusty and Ojisama were playing together by themselves, I spoke to the two girls that were around them at a distance.
When I did…
“…Eh? You haven’t noticed?”
“This girl, could it be that she’s actually dense about these things…?”
Said the two of them together.
When I asked them what they meant, they said that Rusty had fallen for my doll-like appearance at first glance, and after shaking my hand, his face was red for a while.
In other words, he held ‘good will'(love) towards me, and to the two of them, that was an extremely perilous situation.
Because they even went as far as asking if I could somehow step back, I found it hilarious and started laughing.
“It’s not something to laugh about…”
Said the younger girl, Mii, as she puffed up her cheeks in a pout, as though defending herself.
“Ah, I’m sorry. I did not intend to make fun of you… Rather, I was thinking that I was a little blind, you see.”
Asked Yuuri, as she tilted her head to the side.
“Yes… Though I feel sorry towards Rusty, it seems that my heart already belongs to another…”
“Eh-… M-, meaning…?”
“We’d sure be happy if you told us…”
A moment ago they were feeling an impending crisis, but now their expressions suddenly changed, and their faces began nearing me as though pressing me for an answer.
Seeing their expressions, I suddenly thought, ‘Back then, my friends and I used to talk about this sort of stuff too, huh.‘
While recalling those friends whom I would never meet again, I felt a little moved at the fact that it seemed that I’d be able to make new friends over here.
Then, I spoke.
“They’re somebody who is a little bit… my senior.”
“Your senior… I see, then Rusty is in the clear, huh.”
Said Mii, seemingly relieved.
“By senior, just how much do you mean?”
Asked Yuuri, cutting in.
“I don’t believe that it is ten or twenty years, but… Exactly how much is it, I wonder? At this point, just how I am supposed to calculate it…?”
I said, a little troubled.
I didn’t know how I was supposed to measure Ojisama’s age, precisely.
Should I just count it normally, or should I count the years back then as well?
However, without hearing me out to the end, Mii and Yuuri, in shock,
“EHH!? I-, isn’t that a grown-up then?”
“Iris-chan is a precocious one, huh… It gave me a shock…”
Said Mii and then Yuuri, as they flushed red.
Yuuri then continued,
“When it comes to the older men around Iris-chan, then… There’s no one but the adventurer Gran-san, and Patrick-san, you know…”
Mii accepted this, and nodded.
“You’ve ended up with a tough love, huh… Mmm, we’ll cheer for you, okay!?”
The two of them unilaterally advanced the conversation on their own, but because of their threateningly intense attitudes, I accidentally went,
and ended up giving a vague reply.
After that, after I returned home, Ojisama casually said to me,
“…I don’t know if it’s Gran or Otousan, but wouldn’t it be better to give up on them? I mean… look, the age difference really is too… You know?”
So I replied,
“Ojisama. The likes of ‘age difference’ is but a trifling issue. On the contrary, it’s romantic because one overcomes it! You feel the same, right!?”
Because it was a rare occasion where I spoke forcefully, Ojisama was pressured and said,
“Y-, yeah… Well, I guess. Mmn. If the person herself is fine with it, then…”
I felt that a strange misunderstanding was being born, but decided to leave it aside.
For now, this distance between us was fine.
One day, once I become a little older…
Thinking this, I decided to hold these feelings in my heart for a little while.
/Side Story END
good will 好意（こうい） is a common (and obvious) euphemism for love