An Internal Discourse
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
“Man, Baachsburg was fun. It’s pretty much packed with interesting things,” said Yuki.
“We have just as many strange devices at home,” replied Leila.
Though Leila took part in the conversation, her mind was elsewhere, thinking about a related matter, brought up by the man himself.
“How do I feel about him?” she wondered.
He was the master she served, a person she found incredibly entertaining, an unreadable unknown, and the subject of her research, all at once.
Those were the concepts that immediately came to mind. Explored in more detail, she thought that he was a strange being that was capable of providing a home for her unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Around him, she knew she would never run out of new things to investigate and learn.
By his side, she would be able to unravel far more information than any other sheep-horned demon, even with the race’s long history considered. But upon taking a step back and casting on herself an objective gaze, she realised that there was more to it than the thirst for knowledge. As she was now, she simply enjoyed being a part of his world. She enjoyed joking around, doing the chores, and taking care of the children. They were all pleasant experiences.
It brought her just as much joy as the eternal pursuit. And she had to admit, he was more to her than just the subject of her research. She knew that, objectively, but she had no idea how she felt about him as a man.
She simply lacked the experience and knowledge she needed to make a judgement. Because Baachsburg’s population was almost entirely female, and because she had always cared more for research than she did private affairs.
Romance remained an unknown.
Unknowns typically filled her with wonder. But this particular one was different. It perplexed her. And to no end, at that.
A certain dragon’s words came to mind as she continued to ponder.
She had stated that meeting him had led her to experience many an emotion for the first time. And she had no idea how she was meant to evaluate them.
It was a thought that had come before their marriage. And the very same feeling that she was now experiencing.
She was surprised to find herself feeling the way she did.
She also found, after further contemplation, that she had very little appeal, when compared to the dungeon’s other residents.
She was nowhere near as expressive and often chose to take to the sidelines and observe, over participating in their interactions.
In a way, she had always distanced herself from everyone else. And because she knew herself as much as she did, she immediately understood that she had, at one point in the past, built up a wall between herself and the others.
That was what she thought at first. But after a moment of delay, she realised that blending in with the background was always how she dealt with scenarios that didn’t grab her interest. She did not care about the things that she wasn’t interested in, but she couldn’t deny that she didn’t think as highly of them as those that she did. But the time she spent in the dungeon was slowly starting to change her. She had already done away with the wall. And she had already started to take the first few steps to follow its removal.
The professor’s discussion with Yuki had likely been a sort of encouragement, something meant to give her another little push in the right direction.
She must have caught on during one of the conversations they had in private.
The professor had realised that spending time outside had taught her hopeless disciple about her humanity. And that the impetus had been none other than the demon lord named Yuki.
The meddling was her way of telling her that she needed to be more mindful, if she was to continue living with them.
“What a bother you are indeed, Professor…”
She didn’t realise that she had voiced the thought until she looked at the curious gaze on the man beside her.
“It’s… nothing. I’m simply experiencing a minor bit of difficulty when it comes to verbalizing and defining my emotions.”
She didn’t think he was going to understand, given that she was anything but to the point, but he replied with both a chuckle and a reasonable explanation.
“That’s a first, coming from you. But you know, that’s just how it is. Emotions are hard to put into words because words are rational. Feelings aren’t.”
The term irrational floated through her mind. She considered it and chewed on it for a solid moment before she made up her mind.
“Yuki, may I?”
“May you whaoaah! L-Leila?”
She pressed her head against his chest.
His initial reaction was a bit of a confused shout, but he soon calmed down, placed a hand on her head, and ran his fingers through her hair. His palms were rugged. Distinctly masculine. Warm. And calming.
His scent almost seemed to envelop her.
And that was when it finally clicked.
She finally understood.
The moment she was experiencing was the one that she and all the others instinctively sought.
And for a while, it lasted. They remained silent, in that exact position, until she opened her mouth.
“Understanding my emotional state is a problem that will take some time to solve.” The words were anxious. “I don’t think it will be possible for me to come to terms with the answer unless I find it myself. Would you be willing to wait until I do?”
He waited a moment to speak, a moment he used to contemplate. “Leila.”
“You’re already part of the family. I’m not the only one that thinks that way. Everyone does. So take your time. Take as much of it as you need. I’ll always be waiting.”
She looked up at him from up close.
His smile was gentle, full of affection.
Affection that filled her with a sense of warmth.
A smile on her lips, Leila repeated what she did before. And pressed her face into his chest.