"Come out coward!"
Emi huffed as she searched the sky all around her. She had been attacking Chronos for a while now without even leaving a single hit.
Her chest felt tight. Emi knew she shouldn't have used a lot of her energy all at one time, but at the moment, she couldn't keep a cool head.
"What's wrong with me?"
Emi was always calm and collected when it came to fights, but there was something keeping her from focusing. Not just something, but someone.
She quickly snapped away from her thoughts. She was the Hero and he was the Demon Lord, her sworn enemy, so there was no reason to be concerned about him and yet his picture kept coming into her mind.
"Maou, where are you?"
Emi barely whispered the words as Chronos finally appeared again.
Maou had only got to stare at the girl for a brief moment.
Although he had said her name, it must have been too low for her to hear or she was too scared to care because as soon as she noticed him looking at her, she had screamed.
Before Maou could do anything about it though, the smaller Emi had already ran and hid herself behind the other side of the tree.
Maou stood up and looked at her with a puzzled expression.
"You know I can see you, right?"
The little Emi pressed her face against the trunk and hugged the tree even tighter as she quickly scooted around the opposite side to avoid Maou's gaze.
Maou sweat dropped as he watched. Obviously this wasn't getting anywhere so maybe he should use a different approach? Maou pondered for a moment and thought about how he would treat the customer's children at work.
Kneeling down, Maou closed his eyes and plastered on his famous courteous smile.
"Hey there, you don't have to hide. Come on out, I won't hurt…."
Before Maou got to finish his sentence, he had gotten hit in the face by a rock.
The corners of Maou's mouth began to twitch.
"As I was saying, I'm not going to do anything so let's not throw…"
Thwack! Thwack! Thwack!
That was the last straw.
Having a smirk on his face, Maou instantly got up and reached the small Emi so fast that before she could make a run for it, he had already grabbed her by the shirt collar and hoisted her up so that she was now eye level with him.
"Was that really necessary!? I told you I wasn't…"
She screamed really loud and kept trying to squirm out of his grasp with no success. There was no way her puny strength could escape from his demonic grip.
"Oi brat, would you just listen already!"
The girl continued to ignore him by making more feeble attempts to get free until she finally pointed at him and shouted.
"You're supposed to be dead!"
Maou blinked at her with a confused face.
"Do I look dead to you, kid!?"
"You weren't breathing when I found you a while ago and your eyes were closed!"
Maou stared at her quizzically for a moment and then realized why she must have thought that. High-ranking demons, such as him, did not require breathing like humans or lower demons did because they are able to convert magic into life energy. Since Enta Isla had plenty of magic and he was currently in his demonic form, it was only natural for him not to do it. He had almost forgotten.
"Well clearly, I'm alive."
Just as Maou had finished saying the words, Emi head-butted him on his forehead and he dropped her.
"What was that for!?"
Just as he was about to scold her more, he noticed that she wasn't in the spot where she was supposed to have landed.
Looking ahead, he caught a glimpse of her already running through the trees to head deeper into the forest.
"So, that's how you want to play, huh?"
Maou sighed. He knew he should just walk away and leave the situation alone, but he was getting a bad feeling inside of his chest.
The Emi he knew always had a brave face, ready to take on any challenge. Even when they had first met and fought, she showed no fear in her eyes though she was facing one of the most powerful demons alive and stood her ground, almost defeating him. Those eyes were fearless and filled with determination, but this Emi's eyes were timid and full of terror. He didn't like it.
Although he understood she was only a child, he couldn't stand the way she had looked at him. He didn't want it to remain this way.
Tightening his hands into fists, Maou went into the forest to follow her.
"Is that all you got?"
Chronos mocked Emi as she continually missed him with each swipe.
He noticed that her movements had become slower and she was breathing hard.
Emi swiped her forehead.
"I'm just warming up."
"Oh, is that it? It looks like you're more washed up to me with those sluggish moves."
Emi bit her lip. Although she hated to admit it, she knew he was right.
Since coming to Earth, her powers were also limited, still unknown to Maou. In fact, the only way she was able to keep her holy energy up was by drinking Holy Vita β to replenish her powers. Luckily, she had one can with her just in case, but she didn't want to use it until the moment was right. She would just have to keep fighting for now.
Emi points her sword toward Chronos.
"This battle isn't finished yet."
Maou had walked through the forest for a while until he finally found her.
She was standing in a small clearing with a tree in the center.
Her back was turned so Maou hid behind one of the trees at the edge of the clearing in order for him to stay unseen.
Taking a quick peek, Maou noticed she was still standing in the same spot, looking up at the tree in front of her. Following her gaze, Maou also looked up to see what she was staring at.
Dangling from the tree above her was a bunch of bright red apples. She must have wanted one.
Taking his gaze away from the tree, Maou saw that the child Emi finally began to move.
Standing on a stone nearby to give her more height, Emi began jumping up to try to reach one of the apples on the lowest branch. Maou watched her as she attempted to get one, but failed each time.
Maou chuckled to himself.
Emi didn't come close to reaching any of the apples. She was too small, but she kept trying anyway even though there was no possibility she could get one on her own.
After many tries, Emi finally gave up that method and then began to try climbing the tree.
She would get somewhat up the tree, but then she would end up falling down every time. Seeing her try for a fourth time, Maou decided he could not just sit back and watch any longer.
Reaching her in a moment, Maou stood behind the girl and picked her up, placing her legs in between his head so that she was now sitting on his shoulders.
It all happened so fast that it took a minute before Emi realized what happened.
Screaming, Emi balled her hands into tiny fists and began to hit Maou's head.
"Let me go, let me go!"
Emi began to struggle even harder.
"Look, I'm just trying to help you."
"Daddy said demons are bad! They hurt people!"
"Does it look like I'm trying to hurt you!?"
Realizing that her hits were not fazing Maou in any way, she finally gave up.
Maou changed his voice to a gentler tone.
"If I really wanted to hurt you, don't you think I could have done that already? Besides you want an apple, right?"
Hesitant, Emi nodded her head without any other response.
Sighing from relief, Maou had a small smile.
"Okay, let's get one."
The tree wasn't too big and being in his demon form, Maou was really tall so reaching a branch was no difficulty for him.
Emi eyes widened and sparkled as she looked at all the apples she was now able to reach. After looking down at Maou to make sure he wasn't planning anything suspicious, Emi stretched out her arms and grabbed 3 or 4 apples.
Feeling that she felt satisfied with her pickings, Maou carefully took her off his shoulders and set her on the ground.
Maou looked down at her and tried to suppress a laugh when he saw her expression.
She was smiling really big as she examined all the apples she got. Emi rubbed each one and kept shifting her eyes back and forth among them as if she couldn't decide which one she wanted to eat first.
After finally choosing one to eat, Emi started to munch on it with pure bliss. Maou noticed that some of the skin of the apple was left at the corner of her mouth.
As if his movements were automatic, Maou crouched down with his arm was already moving to remove it.
His hand was only inches from her face until Emi saw what he was doing.
Closing her eyes, she began to tremble.
Maou's hand froze. She was scared.
The pain that filled Maou's chest began to well up inside again. Maybe this wasn't a good idea after all.
Removing his hand away from her, Maou got to his feet, solemn. He then placed his hand over his face so that it was covered.
"Sorry, this face is scary right? I'll leave so you won't have to be afraid anymore."
Turning around, Maou slowly began to walk away.
The girl watched him with curious eyes as he went and looked down at her apples.
Maou felt so stupid. Even though this child was definitely Emi, it was crazy of him to think that she would be exactly the same. She was still too young; of course she would be scared of a demon like him.
As these thoughts jabbed him, Maou had almost reached the edge of the clearing until he felt a tiny hand tug his pants.
Maou looked down and was surprised to see big green eyes staring up at him.
When their eyes met, she had looked away for a moment and then she slowly lifted her gaze back up again. Taking her other hand from behind her back, she lifted it up so he could see the object in it. It was an apple.
Maou stared at her with amazement. Was she offering him the apple?
Before he could ask, she had already started speaking.
"Will you play with me?"
Author's Note: Sorry it took so long for the update! Finals kept me busy, but since school is out now, I'm going to try to make my updates a little faster. Thanks to everybody for the comments and I hope you liked this chapter! :)