The Day Before Her Return
“You sure this is all you’re going to need?” I spoke with my gaze fixed on the purse I had in hand. It alone constituted the entirety of Nell’s luggage.
“Mhm,” she confirmed with a nod.
“Really? You look pretty empty-handed to me, but alright, if you say so.”
“I didn’t really bring much with me to begin with.”
“Oh yeah, right. I almost forgot.”
Only after being prompted did I recall that I’d warped her here with nothing but the clothes on her back. She didn’t even have her sword, at the time. It’d been left behind on the battlefield.
The purse she would be taking with her was not one of her belongings, but rather something I’d bought for her with DP. Despite looking like the average fanny pack, it was actually enchanted to function like my item box. It contained a distortion in spacetime that allowed it to store much more than it otherwise seemed capable. It wasn’t capable of storing anywhere near as much as my inventory, but there was still a fair bit of space inside. She was unlikely to run into any problems unless she decided to be silly and fill it with corpses. The bigger limitation was that it could only accept items that fit through the bag’s mouth. The accessory wasn’t the only item I’d given her. I’d also thrown in a few extras to ensure that nothing would go wrong while she was out in the line of duty.
“Besides, if this purse isn’t big enough for all my things, then I don’t know what would be.” She smiled wryly. “It could easily store a whole fortune.”
“In that case, whaddya say we start up a shipping company?” I said, jokingly. “I think it’d go pretty well.”
“We could call it the Demon Lord Express.”
The idea got a hearty laugh out of me, so I decided to take the joke a step further by clearing my throat and putting on my best CEO impression. “Here at DLE, we are committed to providing the best postal service on the continent. We offer three couriers, a demon lord, a fenrir, and a supreme dragon. Each member of our team is fully trained to handle your packages with utmost care and equipped to take it from source to destination in record time.”
“The supreme dragon option certainly sounds fast and reliable, but wouldn’t it also be incredibly expensive?” said Nell with a giggle.
“Probably, yeah. She’d charge you an arm and a leg in sweets. …On second thought, that means it’d probably end up being the cheapest of the three.”
We shared a laugh as we entertained the idea of Lefi working as a mailman.
“Oh yeah, before I forget. I should probably tell you that I packed a few things for you. They’re all already in the purse.”
“Thanks! What things?”
“Let’s see… As far as countermeasures go, it’s got 20 potions and 10 warp crystals in case you ever run into any issues on that front. There are also five mithril knives packed in for offense. They’ll make for some pretty good anti-army weaponry, as they’re all enchanted with Bursting Embers. Just keep in mind that they’re one time use, and you’ll have to use them at range, else risk getting caught up in the blast,” I said. “Oh, and remember that orb thing I gave you back in the demon realm? There’s an upgraded version of it in your bag. The orb of correspondence Mk. II is a hell of a lot better than the Mk I. It’ll let us chat, even at long distance, so we can hear each other’s voices whenever we feel like it. Don’t hesitate to drop me a call any time you want, but be careful ‘cause it eats a bunch of mana. There are also emergency rations, which is basically just a bunch of Leila’s cooking all packaged up. They’re split up into full meals and snacks, based on what you happen to need. Oh, and there’s also—”
“W-wait! Yuki, hold on! Stop!”
I cocked a brow as I found myself interrupted by a rather flustered Nell.
“I-I’m very grateful, but you’ve honestly given me way too much!” she squeaked. “I’ll be fine, even without all this, especially not the anti-army stuff. It’s not like I’m going off to war.”
“Oh, come on. Now you’re just being silly,” I said. “My cute little wifey is going to be heading out into the world. Do you seriously think I can just sit around at home without at least making sure she’s well equipped?” I narrowed my eyes and brought a hand to my chin. “On second thought, I don’t think you have anywhere near enough stuff in here just yet. I’m still feeling a bit uneasy. Maybe I should throw in a bit more, just for good measure?”
“Y-you’ve already given me more than enough. I’ll be fine, thank you!” She snatched the purse out of my hands before I could stuff anything else inside of it. “Geez, Yuki. I’m happy you’re so worried about me, but you’re being too overprotective.”
“Huh? I am?” I blinked a few times in surprise. “My bad. I was trying not to be.”
“I’m not sure I should believe you.” She said with a happy but exasperated chuckle.
Today was Nell’s last day in the dungeon. She was going to set out early tomorrow and return to civilization. As such, Lefi and Lyuu had said “it would be best for the two of you to spend some time alone,” and “we’ll leave you two alone, so you can snuggle up all you want without anyone pryin’,” respectively, before heading back to the castle with all the other residents in tow.
That said, it wasn’t as if we were really spending all that much time by ourselves. It was already the afternoon and we had to return to the castle for dinner, as there was going to be a big farewell party for both the hero and the princess. It was an event that had left the kids bursting with excitement, even after playing all day. I didn’t understand where they got all their energy. Joining them for just their morning play session was already enough to leave me feeling totally exhausted. Man… the girls are making me feel hella old. Wait, aren’t I supposed to be the youngest of the bunch? Technically speaking, it’s only been a year and a half since I was reborn.
We spent the majority of the afternoon discussing whatever random topics happened to come to mind. But as evening approached, I decided that it was either now or never, so I nervously brought up something I’d been waiting all day to mention whilst scratching my cheek and thereby hiding a portion of my face to mask my embarrassment.
“Oh uhm… there’s something I’ve been meaning to get to.”
“Could you do me a favour and let me borrow your left hand?” I reached into my inventory and produced the ring I’d crafted for her.
“…Mkay.” Her cheeks reddened as she spotted it, but that didn’t stop her from happily presenting me with her hand.
I took her thin, fair fingers in mine and slowly but steadily slipped the accessory onto her fourth. Her ring was unlike most of the other things that I’d created in that it was made without the application of Weapon Transmutation. Rather, it was something that had been crafted by hand. Coming to this world had led me to spend a lot on shaping the finer details of items of all shapes and sizes. As such, I’d gotten fairly good at handicrafts and the like. Pretty sure my overinflated dex stat is playing a big part in it too, since it’s higher than all my other stats. But if that’s the case, then why hasn’t it been doing much for me elsewhere? Swordplay and I still just don’t seem to mesh. It’s not like I’m not putting the effort in either. I’m practicing regularly, but it just doesn’t really work.
“And uh… sorry. I tried to come up with an original design, but that didn’t seem like it would work, so it ended up looking just like mine and Lefi’s.”
One of the ideas I’d entertained was crafting a unique ring for each of my wives, but I soon gave up on it because I realized that I would have to then wear three distinct pieces of jewelry if I wanted to match all of them. That didn’t exactly seem practical, so I called the whole thing off.
Nell’s ring wasn’t the only one I’d worked on. I had actually finished Lyuu’s as well, but as we weren’t going to be officially married until her father showed up again, I decided to label it as a prototype and place it in storage so I could forge her a better one when the time came.
“That’s totally okay.” She smiled. “Thank you very much, Yuki.” A faint giggle escaped her lips as she raised her hand to her face in order to inspect the piece of jewelry she’d been given. “I guess this means I’m officially one of your wives now… S-should I start calling you darling?”
Wow. What a cutiepie.
“O-of course not. T-there’s no way I could possibly do that.” Nell covered her face with her hands and started to twist from side to side. “W-what am I saying? That’s way too embarrassing!”
“Calm down, Nell, you’re twisting yourself into a knot.” I chuckled. “You don’t have to change the way you refer to me. I mean, look at Lefi, she still just calls me by my name. Nothing wrong with that.”
“R-really?” At first, she only peeked at me from between her fingers, but ended up slowly lowering her hands as she calmed down.
C u t e.
“Mmk… I guess I’ll just keep calling you Yuki for now,” she said. “But one day, I want it to feel natural for me to call you darling.”
Hnnnnnnng. Holy fuck. Is she trying to smother me with so much cuteness that I die? Goddamn, that was a three hit combo right there. And a lethal one at that. Damn heroes, acting all sly and shit. I’m onto you! Don’t think I’m not!
“Heroes are scary,” I said. “Super goddamn scary.”
“Huh?” She gave me a blank stare.
“I know exactly what you’re up to. You’re going to weaponize that goddamn cuteness of yours, turn it into a weapon of mass destruction, and wipe out every demon lord there is.”
“And so, the demon lord known as Yuki was brought to his knees, and the world was once again restored to a state of peace and tranquility. The end.”
That’s all folks! Thanks for reading!
“Yuki? Hello?” Nell stared in confusion as I refused to respond or explain myself. “Seriously! What the heck has gotten into you this time!?”