A Demon Lord's Tale: Dungeons, Monster Girls, and Heartwarming Bliss Chapter 112
Lefi’s Bizarre Behaviour
Editors: Speedphoenix, Joker
I had thought that Lefi might return to normal shortly after my return, but it didn't happen. Case in point, right now.
"Hold still. There is a speck of filth in your hair." The dragon girl, who had approached upon noticing me, reached over and grabbed what looked like a piece of yarn from out of my hair.
"T-thanks. I didn't even notice."
"You are very welcome."
She casually sat herself down right next to me. She was so close that the two of us were basically touching. I tried not to pay her much mind as I continued transmuting weapons for the sake of boosting the skill's level. But I couldn't. The whole situation was just way too discomforting.
And it wasn't just because she was there. I was fine with that. The reason I was unable to focus was because the dragon girl did nothing but silently stare at me from up close.
"Sooooo uh… Is there something on my face?" I broke the awkward silence by turning towards her.
"There is not," she said. "W-would you prefer if I turned my gaze away?"
"N-Nah. I mean, I don't really mind, it's just… y'know, it makes me think something's up."
Lefi had become much more clingy since my return. The most notable part was that the physical distance between us had shrunk by what felt like a full step. She would often position herself right beside me. I even felt as if we were almost always in physical contact, someway or another. Is it just me, or is it getting kinda warm in here?
Unlike before, she leaned on me a hell of a lot, and she would even tug at the hem of my shirt whenever she needed me for anything. The whole shirt tugging bit was something that our resident vampire did often. On several occasions, I'd caught myself spinning around and expecting to see Illuna, only to find Lefi there instead.
Though I had a bunch of different opinions on the matter, it wasn't as if I thought negatively of Lefi's newfound desire for physical contact. Men were creatures that loved how soft and wonderful girls like her were to the touch. And as a healthy male specimen, I was no exception. It's just… how do I put this? The problem is that it feels like Lefi's pushing herself real hard and forcing herself to do things outside her comfort zone.
Her face was basically always red, and she way she spoke made it obvious that she was feeling awkward. She kept tripping over her own words, and even sounded stiff or nervous at times. And her being off ultimately ended up throwing me for a loop as well. I just didn't know how I was supposed to react.
Just to reiterate, it wasn't as if I disliked the way she was acting. Hell, I would even go as far as to say that I found it adorable. But even with that said, I preferred Lefi's usual self. It just wasn't right for her not to be so brazen, shameless, or impudent. I really don't want her to have to keep forcing herself to act like someone she isn't. I really hope she gets back to normal sooner, rather than later…
"Soooo… Lyuu…" I said to the maid I'd arranged a meeting with. "You and I need to talk."
Her back was to the wall, so I took advantage of our relative positions and slammed one of my hands into the part of the wall right by her face. It was a classic Japanese technique often used by males that wanted to pressure their female counterparts into agreeing to things, often dates, that they otherwise wouldn't.
Of course, my intention wasn't to create any sort of romantic tension. All I wanted to do was pressure her into speaking by blocking off all possible means of escape.
"Eep!" She squealed at the impact before timidly turning her eyes upwards."W-What is it Master? The way yer smilin' right now is real scary."
"Do you know why Lefi's been acting so weird lately?"
"H-Huh? W-w-what are you talkin' 'bout? Lefi ain't actin' weird at all?" Lyuu responded, abnormally flustered.
"Alright, let's get this straight. You think that's normal?
"Come on Master. Lefi's a girl too, y'know? And she's just doin' what girls do."
"Lyuu, please." I rolled my eyes. "Like, come on. All Lefi used to do all day was laze around in bed. She only ever got up to eat and play. You can't just write off a sudden shift like that as something girls do. She's been hella weird lately, and you know it!"
Lyuu paused. She had run out of arguments. "W-Why are you askin' me of all people anyway? I-I'm sure that Leila knows what's goin' on. She prolly knows way more, so whydda gotta pick on me!?"
Welp. That's Lyuu for you. She's started selling our her buddies just because she's run out of things to say.
"Well, that's just because I can't really bring myself to put any pressure on Leila. She does good work."
Leila was nothing short of exceptional. She did more or less all the housework and even went above and beyond by teaching me about magic. I almost felt like I owed her for everything that she'd done for me.
"B-but then why would you think it's okay to pressure me!?"
"Because you're an incompetent, sorry excuse for a maid that can't even pull her own weight. Duh."
"What the heck!? That's somethin' I'm really conscious of! You can't just rub it in my face like that! You're awful, Master! That's totally discriminatory! You're a tyrant, Master! A horrible, horrible tyrant!" Lyuu shouted indignantly. "Why can't you be nicer to me, and y'know, treat me with more care 'n respect!?"
"What are you, stupid? Of course I'm a tyrant. That's just what demon lords are. I don't know why you'd expect me to be anything else," I flashed a wide grin. "And you want me to be nicer to you? Give me a break, I'm being nice enough already. Are you already forgetting that I'm the only reason Rir ever comes anywhere near you?"
"Erk… I-I mean yer right, but…"
The warwolf could do nothing but respond with vexation.
"And there goes your argument," I smirked. "Right, anyway. Back to the whole Lefi thing. You mind explaining now, or what?"
"Ughhh… fine." Lyuu finally seemed to realize that she wasn't going to be able to worm her way out of divulging the details, so she reluctantly began to speak. "…I'll tell ya, but y'can't let anyone know that it was me that spilled the beans, 'kay? Lefi'll turn me to nothing but a pile o' ashes if she ever finds out."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. Don't worry."
"Lefi seems to be kinda worried 'bout stuff," began the beastkin.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Lyuu explained the details to me. To summarize, the source of Lefi's distress was the fact that she had no idea how she was supposed to get closer to people. While it sounded like the type of problem a kid with few friends would have, I found it to be a surprisingly understandable concern. Lefi had always lived by herself. She had literally spent centuries without any real company. She had told me that the experiences I, or rather, we, brought her were fresh, new, and exciting. And that was what she had told Lyuu and Leila as well.
She explained to them that she was enjoying life as it were, but she wasn't sure if things could stay the way they were right now forever. Because she had never been the initiator. She felt as if everyone else was actively making attempts to grow closer with those around them, whereas she alone had put almost no effort towards the function. Her bonds were only what they were because of everyone else's initiative. And that was the problem.
Lefi had lived a long life, and experiences had taught her well. She knew that she couldn't just take the things around her, relationships included, as granted. She knew that her bonds would one day fade unless she herself actively participated in strengthening them.
The two maids had listened to her grips whilst I was away in the capital. They found her worries adorable and enthusiastically began giving her all sorts of guidance and advice. Of course, I wasn't privy to the exact details of what that advice entailed. Lyuu hadn't told me that much.
Either way, it meant that her current behaviour was basically her taking the maids' advice and trying her best to roll with it.
"Hah… I swear, Lefi…" I sighed before switching right over to my usual wry smile. You know, I can't even say that she's acting all that weird anymore. Like, now that I get it, I agree. She's just being awkward and clumsy. As usual. I get what you're trying to do now, Lefi, but you know what? You really don't have to try that hard. You can just be you. But I get it. You're trying because of how foreign the concept feels.
You know what? I probably shouldn't say too much to her. It'd probably be best for me to just keep nonchalantly playing along for now. I mean, I'm sure she'll figure it out eventually. We're going to be together for a long, long time, after all. But I might as well help her along where I can, right? Though, I guess I will at least tell her not to push herself too hard. Wouldn't want things to go south just 'cause she's forcing it too hard. I guess I should probably help her blow off some steam or something just to make sure everything goes well. Oh, I know. I'll treat her to the booze I got from the king. It'd probably be best if I did it sooner rather than later, huh? Hmmm. I guess today'll work. Or tomorrow if it doesn't.
"Whew…" Lyuu breathed a sigh of relief once her master was out of earshot. "Looks like I managed to trick 'im."
Of course, it wasn't as if everything she had told him had been a lie. It was true that her other master, the mistress of the house, was concerned about strengthening her bonds with other people. But it was a little more specific than just that.
Her mistress wasn't concerned about bonding with people in general. All she wanted was to get closer to another specific individual. Listening to her explain her concerns had left a bittersweet taste in Lyuu's mouth. They sounded almost like the issues one would hear from the average girl that had just come of age.
Though she had been pressured, there was no way Lyuu could possibly spare her master the undoctored details. Because she knew that the truth was something meant only for her mistress to tell.
Lyuu giggled as she gave one of her fists a pump. "Do your best, Lefi! I know you can do it! Us maids'll be cheerin' you on from the sidelines!"
Editor's note (Joker): Hey, guys! Joker here. Aww, isn't that adorable? Lefi's trying to get close to Yuki and he's being as blind as a bat about it. Can't say I'm surprised. That's about par for the course for most isekai protags. They don't know love when it's rubbing right up against them. But hopefully, Yuki's Chuuni-Eye, I mean uh, Magic Eye, will see through Lefi's attempts and give her the loving she wants. I'm personally still torn between Black Mage and Samurai, but I'm actually leaning more towards Samurai. And it makes me sad. Maybe I'll try leveling both up. That'll be more fun. So we got 3 questions and 2 headpats for me (For whatever reason…), and 11 headpats for Nirvash, so thanks to kx, Sylphian and Tup for your questions, Tonatsi and Anime Dragon for the headpats to me. Again, don't know why you guys do that… and Nirvash would like to thank kx, جهاد السعيدي, Tonatsi, thedefend, Sylphian, Yashuul, and Anime Dragon. Remember, if you have a QUESTION for me, leave it below with the hashtag #AskJoker. If you want to headpat NIRVASH, put #NirvashHeadPat in the comments. See y'all in the next chapter!