The boisterous pitches yelled by the traders and the laughter of the jubilant crowd mixed together in a chaotic orchestra that touched the high heaven. It's already deep in the night but the crowd isn't thinning out even slightly. Rather, more citizens joined the festivity.
Wu Yan couldn't help but chuckle when he saw the pining looks the gentlemen near Kurumi threw in her direction.
Without even thinking about it, Wu Yan blurted it out.
"Kurumi, you're very beautiful..."
The sudden praise surprised Kurumi. She grinned when she finally noticed the attention she's garnering from the crowd around her.
"I am very happy to hear you say that..."
She gave the arm she's hugging a tighter squeeze. She giggled like a happy camper.
"Granted, if you're jealous then that would make me happier..."
Wu Yan wanted to deny it but he decided to play along when Kurumi squinted her eyes at him.
"Well, maybe just a bit..."
She placed her index finger on her lips. That cute move touched Wu Yan's heart while making the males around her stumble due to sheer fascination.
Kurumi tilted her head. She used the finger that was just on her lips on Wu Yan's lips.
"Don't worry, I only have feelings for hubby-sama, forever and ever..."
Wu Yan paused briefly. He looked straight into Kurumi's eyes.
"What about Hinagiku, Mikoto, Kotori & the others?"
Kurumi's eyes flashed before she answered with another question.
"Which one does hubby-sama want to hear? The fake answer or the real answer?"
Wu Yan shook his head, he gave her a serious expression.
"Naturally, I want to hear your honest thoughts on the matter."
Kurumi had a weird light within her eyes. She turned mum for a second before answering.
"As I said, I only have feelings for hubby-sama..."
Wu Yan also turned taciturn.
He had expected this outcome. Unlike Tohka and Yoshino who are both benevolent spirits and Kotori who is an artificial spirit, Kurumi's life before meeting Wu Yan can only be described as dark.
Wu Yan isn't aware of what transpired during the period of time between when first materialized and when she met him. He's sure it's a life no one should live.
She likes cute animals, going as far as to stand up to anyone who abused animals. What kind of hate and resentment gave her the motivation to kill over 10,000 humans...
She's known as the vilest spirit, someone who wanted to kill the First Spirit. She used most of her time and effort in preparation to end the first spirit. Even if she did do that, she will only disappear as destroying the source of her power would make her disappear too, that fate doesn't faze her.
What kind of life led her to make this decision? Who would abandon their lives for a purpose like this?
Wu Yan didn't understand, he didn't want to understand.
Because the Kurumi who is with him has changed.
Alas, this change is only limited to him.
It won't be an easy task to open her heart up to others. After all, she allowed Mana to kill her past selves, she also somehow managed to stay relatively sane until now despite her lonely existence.
If he had not seized her heart when he defeated her, if he had not lit a spark of hope in the deepest recess of her heart, had he not saved her from that endless cycle of killing and being killed, she would have fallen further into the abyss.
Under this situation, it's hard to get her to open up to the girls around Wu Yan.
"Even so, I want you to live a good life with the other girls."
Wu Yan said, the strong emotion within his wish didn't escape Kurumi's ears.
"After all, you're all important existences in my life."
Kurumi's smile froze, the slow realization caused her to retrieve her smile.
Kurumi knew Wu Yan had seen through her.
Despite that, he still wished for her to open up to the others...
No, it's not the part where he wanted her to hang out with the ladies in his harem. It's also not the part where he wanted her to show her genuine feelings for the other girls. He just wants her to live a good life.
The man she loved the most wants her to just live happily.
That's the basic message.
He's not the most reliable man when it comes to things like this, heck, he's even too half-assed with his own feelings. But, this man used the warmth hidden in his heart to care for her. He didn't try to force her to do anything.
"I will try harder..."
Wu Yan also laughed.
"That's enough for me..."
After that, they thoroughly enjoyed the festival, they browsed the stores and Wu Yan got a few good memories of Kurumi showing her innocent self or licking her lips after being exposed to the sight of delicious snacks. She also mesmerized many men with her antics.
At a faraway vacant field, Wu Yan and Kurumi looked up at the brilliant firework show. Judging by the grins on their faces, they had a good time.
Kurumi is especially vibrant with joviality. However, the satisfaction in her eyes was marred by a hint of remorse.
Kurumi enjoyed herself tonight.
Perhaps too much, that's why she felt bad about the time left for her...
Time slowly ticked closer to midnight as the fireworks exploded across the sky. This is the climax of the Tanabata festival, it's also the start of the end.
Her face reflected the iridescent lights of the fireworks. Her already country-ruining beauty took on an even more fantastic beauty, she exuded a silent sense of lethal beauty.
When the fireworks finally ended, Kurumi finally spoke.
"Actually, I am a bit confused..."
Wu Yan looked at Kurumi quietly, urging her to go on.
"I got a new intel..."
Kurumi continued without checking Wu Yan's reaction.
"The second spirit to appear after the First spirit seems to have knowledge on the identity and whereabouts of the First Spirit."
If a person understood Kurumi then they would not be faulted for freaking out upon hearing this.
It sounds like she's going to take up her vain objective of ending all spirits once and for all.
Wu Yan didn't twitch. Even Kurumi was surprised by how composed he was upon hearing her revelation. He slightly nodded before turning towards her.
"Do you want to go look for her?"
Kurumi lowered her head, her eyes were dim.
"I don't know, I am still confused..."
Wu Yan gave her a shocking suggestion.
"If that's the case, go find her!"
Kurumi couldn't believe Wu Yan said that. Wu Yan started explaining himself with a soft tone.
"Since you're bewildered, it's a sign that you haven't buried this hatchet completely. Maybe you will find an answer if you actually go and try..."
Wu Yan hoisted her hand up to eye-level.
"Just know that I don't want to see you disappear from my side..."
Kurumi was stunned. She started giggling.
"Are you not afraid that I might cause a pandemonium?"
"Well, keep the damage to a minimum, I don't care about anything else."
Wu Yan rubbed the Sealing Bracelet on her wrist.
"If you go over the line, I will march over there to stop you. Once you put the Sealing Bracelet on, there's no going back..."
"Don't even think about me this lifetime."
Kurumi closed her wavering eyes before beaming at him.
"Just how I like it..."