“You’re always only proactive when you’re teasing someone…”
Despite Youko’s angry glares, she continued to brush Shinichi’s hair, and Shinichi enjoyed the sensation of her tail.
Seeing him so happy naturally made Youko’s cheeks loosen.
Touching each other just made her that happy.
“…Thanks… And I’m sorry it took me so long to notice.”
But then Shinichi suddenly said from her lap.
Youko didn’t understand what he meant, so he continued.
“As I thought, You’re better off like this. There’s no need to force yourself to act like Stella, that way’s just more painful.”
“…Since when did you notice?”
Youko was shocked when she found that he’d noticed, but Shinichi just smiled apologetically and shook his head.
“It’s the other way around. You should be asking why it took me this long to notice. Ever since we got here, you’ve been scolding me just like her and also being considerate of me. Especially, those things you said to me during the department store incident. That really wasn’t like you. And the way you acted when you healed me earlier. It was a perfect rendition.”
Intentionally pointing out things he didn’t want pointed out, and scolding him.
Getting mad from time to time when needed, and resorting to threats to get him to obey.
That was not Youko, but the ever strict Head Maid’s way of doing things.
“It’s fine. You copied her because you thought it was necessary, right? And you did help me a lot in doing so, but when I think of how I made you go that far…”
What made it even more pathetic was that he didn’t notice it until today.
That’s why he apologized with a wry smile, but Youko shook her head.
“Taking care of your heart is also part of my responsibilities as your servant. Unfortunately, I can’t beat Stella when it comes to this, so I had to copy her.”
“Really? I don’t think that’s true at all. You acting spoiled like this is good too. As long as you’re not too focused on seducing me, I don’t mind spending time together like this.”
“B-But that’s really difficult…”
Seeing Youko make a face that suggested that her seducing him was her default state, Shinichi made a glum face.
In response, Youko smiled at him, and master and servant continued grooming each other.
That was a smile she could make precisely she knew him well.
“You must be tired. Why don’t you retire for the day, Master? We can take care of the reports and our future plans tomorrow. Or perhaps, you’d like to have something light first?”
“Hmm… It’s been a while since I got this tired, so I think… I’ll sleep.”
“Alright, please sleep at ease then. Even if all the armies of the world were to attack, I will be sure to protect your esteemed self.”
“Please don’t. If something like that were to happen, be sure to wake me up.”
Knowing that she meant what she said, Shinichi wryly smiled as he closed his eyes.
After a while, his breathing calmed down, and Youko affectionately watched him as he slept.
“…Good grief, you’re such a troublesome master. Even though you’re more exhausted than me, you’re still so considerate of me.”
Telling her not to copy her and act herself was likely out of consideration for her.
Youko wanted to share more of his burdens, but having him be so considerate of her made her happy too.
‘The heart of a human woman is truly beyond help,’ Youko thought with her beast’s mind as she smiled.
And when that womanly heart saw the object of her affection asleep and defenseless on her lap, Youko found her eyes fixated onto him.
“…You’re, asleep, right?”
She muttered quietly, then she looked around her. Of course, there was no one else here.
Without her knowing, her eyes naturally found their way to her master’s lips.
“May you… be able to sleep without seeing anything──── *Chu.”
Youko approached her master’s face, making sure to pull her hair up so they didn’t brush against him, and then gently brought her lips to that sleeping face lying there above her lap.
As she uttered a prayer that likely won’t come true, she gave her master a light kiss, a shy expression like the red of autumn surfacing on her cheeks.
“P-Please have a good rest.”
Was it because she was more embarrassed about what she’d done than she thought? Or was it to fool her master? Either way, she carefully and quietly laid her master on the bed, making sure not to cause any vibrations, and upon seeing that her master was still asleep, she let out a breath of relief and transformed into her beast form.
The moment she turned into her three-tailed form…
She quietly screamed, so as to not wake up her master, as she rolled on the floor.
Her face was so thoroughly flushed red that it seemed as though her golden fur were fake.
“W-W-Why do I keep doing stuff like that whenever I transform!? N-N-Not only did I put on such a shameless outfit, I even kissed master while he was sleeping!”
If she could, she would scream loud enough to shake the whole world, but she made do with the butterfly-like whimpers she made.
Although the combination of her beastly instinct combined with her human desires made her unable to control herself, the moment she returned to her beast form, and the desires of her human part waned, a great amount of embarrassed attacked her.
“Uu, ah, hiyaAAa! I can’t believe I did something so shameful!!”
But by putting her crime into words, the sensation still fresh on her lips assaulted her, and her face blushed an even deeper shade of red, and she rolled on the floor with such careful precision that not the slightest sound was made.
Although she was herself regardless which form she took, her beast form was more rational compared to her human form that was so devoted to its thirst. That’s why she would always end up a blushing mess after transforming back.
Although it was also because it’s been a while since she last took on her human form, it was mostly because she didn’t want her master to see her like this.
“Ku, ku ku…”
But in the end, was her master really so kind as to miss seeing something so funny?
Like a rusted toy, Youko slowly looked up toward the bed, and lo and behold, there her master was, smiling mischievously as he watched her.
“If you showed me that in your human form, my reason would have long left me.”
“Ku ku ku, good night. I’ll be sleeping for real this time, so keep an eye out for me, okay?”
After laughing at her distress, he went to sleep.
Youko scrutinized her master to make sure that he wasn’t just acting again, but this time, he really was asleep.
“Ah, sheesh! He really doesn’t cut corners when teasing me, does he!”
To feign sleep before someone like her whose senses were so heightened was a remarkable feat.
It was also a remarkable waste of skill.
Youko glared at her seriously asleep master with her face still red.
But that spiteful glare was gradually filled with sorrow.
The Tenkorius were especially perceptive when it came to their master, so she could tell that he was acting weird.
Unable to shake off her worries that something painful might have happened to him again, her eyes wavered
So much has happened, and yet her master wasn’t grumbling in regret or self-defeat.
He didn’t even grumble about the state of his room or about his fatigue.
“What do you mean it’s okay to be spoiled? Me being spoiled is one thing, but master… You’ve never let me spoil you before coming to this world.”
When he found out about the cruelty time, when he found out about his family’s situation, and now.
It wasn’t as bad as back then, but she could see that he was ‘weak’.
It was not his body, and neither was it because he’d picked a fight with the whole world.
Were he that weak, he would’ve never lived as Masquerade in Falandia.
“…I was right not to ask just yet – why I could smell the smell of another Tenkorius from master…”
She felt the reason behind his weakness lay there, but for now, she would just watch over his rest.
It was true that he was physically tired, so he needed to rest, but…
‘Unfortunately,’ a painful expression surfaced on her.
“───There’s no rest for him even in his dreams.”
With the tragedy of that day on loop, where could he find rest?
As Youko thought of her master that had already gotten used to the nightmares, she quietly watched over his sleeping face for the rest of the night.