Kikunojou roared, Noah is also surprised he drew such a response from him.
"Seitenshi-sama is immature but she's the only one I can respect. She is someone who can rightfully rule as the sovereign!"
"I am overjoyed with her growth. Even if she grows independent from me, I will still to my best to serve her!"
Kikunojou's eyes were burning with flames. He wasn't lying at all, he's telling everyone here the truth.
Kisara, Rentaro and Noah slightly gasped. This old man truly respected and admired Seitenshi from the bottom of his heart, that much they can tell.
"You're not threatened by her growth, you say? If you're so proud of her growth, why are you here?"
"You came here because you wanted to know why your princess-sama changed, right?"
"That is my intention. But, I to know what happened that led to this growth."
Kikunojou calmed down and he explained himself.
"What did you do to change Seitenshi-sama so much?"
"What did I do?"
"You think I inteitonally did something to change that princess?"
Kikunojou stayed mum.
Noah is a foe he tried to take down for more than a year. Against this adversary of unknown origin, Kikunojou is sure he understood Noah better than anyone.
He knows Noah isn't the type to use underhanded tricks when he's out of town.
However, Seitenshi is slowly growing away from his help. Kikunojou witnessed her utilizing her free-will to make independent decisions.
Before he left, Seitenshi didn't behave like that. This behavior came into play only when he returned. By logical deduction, Noah who served as her bodyguard during that time must have did something to induce this change.
If it's not an intentional action, he must have inadvertently did or said something.
At least, Kikunojou is sure Noah is the source for Seitenshi's growth.
"I just said pretentious stuff to her."
Noah nonchalantly replied as if he read Kikunojou's mind.
"I did nothing else aside from that. I don't want to."
"Pretentious words, huh?"
Kikunojou continued with a grim tone.
"You're not trying to obtain her trust and use it to fulfill your own ambitions, right?"
Noah shot icy glares at Kikunojou.
"Weren't you intent on letting those monsters you feed live their lives like humans?"
Ignoring Noah's frosty look, he continued.
"If you used Seitenshi-sama, it wouldn't take long for that to become reality, right?"
Noah gave him a sarcastic laugh.
"Kikunojou, we have known each other for over a year now. Do you think I need to use someone to achieve that?"
Kikunojou's expression faltered slightly. Rentaro and Kisara listened while exchanging looks with one another.
Noah sounded like he's boasting but his thoughts were grounded in solid foundation.
With no political connections to speak of, he was someone who came from an unknown background, holding no high offices nor clout over the populace.
He built everything from the ground-up with his own style of operation. At most, he's just a famous civil defense officer.
Like a chairman of a private entity, he might be a notable person within his organization but he had no real power outside his organization. Unlike someone of Kikunojou's stature, he couldn't possibly compare in political power or connections.
Yet, Noah forced the ruler of Osaka region back, an opponent Seitenshi and Kikunojou had troubles dealing with.
Can anyone scoff his words when presented with overwhelming evidence?
Even Kikunojou had to admit Noah is very capable in holding his ground. He was speechless for a moment there.
Rentaro and Kisara waited with bated breathes as the mood turned sour.
Kikunojou spoke up.
"Why would you go to such lengths to protect those things, those monsters?"
Kikunojou asked the question that has been bugging him for years.
"I still vividly remember the day the world fell into the abyss of despair. The very virus that caused humans to go down this path of extinction lies within the contaminated blood of those monsters giggling around you. Why do you go to such trouble to give them sanctuary?"
"Did you not see how the monsters ate humans like they are just snacks? Did you not see the apocalyptic scenes of that day? Do you not go to sleep wondering if your parents or friends died digested in the acidic fluids of the monsters that share the same blood with those little monsters?"
Kikunojou vented his hatred and frustration with manic eyes.
"Will you only wake up when the filthy kids around you turn into monsters, devouring your loved ones? Would you feel guilt then?! When will you realize you're feeding a bunch of monsters in human skin?!"
Kikunojou didn't realize Noah is already looking at him with eyes that were suffused with pity.
Noah opened his mouth.
"Before this, I pegged you as someone special, although twisted. Now, I see, you're no different than the humans out there, ugly and pathetic humans plagued by their own darkness."
"What do you mean by that?"
Kikunojou asked with a hostile look.
"What did I say? Was it all not the truth?"
"Indeed, these children has Gastrea Virus coursing through their veins, they carry with them the virus that created the monsters known as Gastrea."
Noah looked at Kikunojou with a fixed look.
"So what if they are stained by the virus? Their souls are purer and more innocent than the ugly beings you call humans. Tell me, compared to creatures that would backstab their own race to cure their own insecurities, people that would rob their own kind for selfish gains, people that would response with hatred when danger arises, who's the real monster here?"
Kikunojou's eyes grew more frantic but he slowly reined in his emotional turbulence.
He looked like a volcano that's about to blow his top.
Kikunojou stood up and he looked down at Noah.
"As expected, Noah Dreyar, there will be no grounds for compromise between us!"
"That I can agree with."
Noah stood up as he stared into Kikunojou's eyes.
"You might have the flesh of blood of a human, but deep down, you're an ugly monster. And, I will do everything in my power to protect the 'monsters' from someone like you. Only one of us can live!"
Kikunojou shrugged Noah off as he headed for the exit.
"Given the chance, I will kill you!"
Noah repeated the same sentence as Kikunojou.
"Given the chance, I will kill you!"
As if they declared war with each other, the two parted with Noah sipping his tea and the guest storming out, disappearing beyond the gates.
The living room returned to peaceful silence.