Although Bloed knew about Aya's feelings since a while ago, it was the first time that she mentioned them directly.
So, for a moment, Bloed was stunned and he did not know how to reply.
Aya smiled bitterly and lowered her head when she saw that.
"… Sorry… Forget what I said just now, okay?"
She then turned around and sat on the ground.
Bloed could not help but put smile bitterly.
He could see Aya's disappointment in her eyes, and he could see the tears that she was trying to suppress as well.
Bloed could imagine how much courage she needed to confess her feelings just now.
Thus, the least that he could do was to answer seriously.
Taking a deep breath, Bloed sat beside Aya.
He then extended his arms and hugged her waist.
Before Aya could understand what was happening, Bloed lifted her petite body and put it on his lap.
Then, he put his chin over her head and sighed.
"B-Bloed?" Aya asked flustered.
Despite the darkness of the tunnels, Bloed could see the red hue in her cheeks clearly. Moreover, her cat ears were twitching softly in embarrassment and confusion.
Bloed chuckled when he saw that and hugged her waist more strongly.
"Hey Aya, do you remember the first time we met?"
"… I do…" Aya nodded softly.
"Back then, we ended cooperating in the fight to get the right to represent the Grand Savannah in the competition for the mines. I remember that you did not like me much at the start."
"I-It wasn't like that! I-I just… M-My brother talked about you all the time, so…"
"Sorry, sorry, let's not talk about it anymore… Right, when did you started to like me?"
"… I'm not sure." Aya murmured in an almost inaudible voice. "… I thought that you were cool when you helped me and when you defeated all your opponents and got the right to represent The Great Savannah against the elves and the Sun Kingdom… But… I think that I started to like you when you carried me after I fainted in the training room."
Bloed smiled softly and thought back on that day.
Now that he recalled it, Aya was also depressed back then. She had overworked herself during her training after losing to Greta and failing to be selected as one of the representatives of the Great Savannah.
"… Yeah, you were very silly and cute back then." Bloed suddenly said.
Aya immediately turned red. She squirmed in Bloed's arms and looked at the ground in embarrassment.
Seeing that, Bloed smiled could not help but laugh.
But next, he put on a complicated smile.
"Hey Aya, there are some things that I must tell you... If you truly like me, you should know about it."
Bloed then told her about his past.
His true identity, the fact that he was manaless, and about his goal.
Actually, he had already revealed bits of these things to Aya previously. But even so, Bloed decided to tell her everything clearly.
After all, if he planned to start a relationship with her, she needed to know it.
When Bloed finished telling his story, Aya fell silent.
She already had an idea about most of the things that Bloed told her, but after hearing it directly from Bloed, she could not help but be surprised.
"Do you understand now? Do you still want to be my lover even after knowing that?"
"I do," Aya replied without hesitation. She turned around and looked straight into Bloed's eyes, her black eyes looking much firmer than normal.
Seeing such an expression on her face, Bloed smiled gently.
"Is it so? Then, do you want to hear my answer?"
"... Mm..." Aya nodded, although she was unable to hide the nervousness on her expression.
But in the next second, her eyes opened wide.
Because Bloed lips were pressed against hers.
He had kissed her suddenly.
Aya froze. Her face turned completely red and it seemed as though steam was coming from her head.
With a very embarrassed expression, the cat girl hid her face on Bloed's chest and let out a soft groan.
Bloed wanted to laugh when he saw such a cute gesture.
"Is my answer enough?"
"Really? I can do it again if you think that it's not enough."
"Hahahaha, you are so cute, did you know?"
Bloed laughed again and hugged the petite body of the cat girl with a soft expression.
Aya trembled softly. But then, her body relaxed and her lips curved up in a shy smile.
"… I like you."
"I like you as well."
Aya nodded and fell silent.
However, her tail started to wag softly.
'She looks like a puppy…'
That thought appeared in Bloed's mind after seeing her like that.
'… I guess that Aya is the third then, huh? I hope that Regina and Liu Ying do not become too angry.'
Smiling wryly in his mind, Bloed kissed the hair of the black-haired cat girl.
As for Aya, she was too embarrassed to look at Bloed and remained with her head on Bloed's chest for a while.
Eventually, though, the pair separated again.
Although Bloed wanted to stay like that for a while more, there was something that he had to do first.
With an embarrassed Aya following behind him, Bloed started to deactivate all the magic circles nearby.
Right now, Regina should be searching for him, and Bloed was certain that Regina would find him before long. However, it would be bad if the magic circles activate accidentally when Regina appears.
In the worst of the cases, the tunnels could collapse again.
Hence, Bloed decided to deactivate the nearby magic circles.
However, when Bloed was about to deactivate the seventh magic circle, he stopped abruptly.
At the same time, Aya's ears twitched.
"… Bloed, something is here." Aya instantly put on a serious expression, making her embarrassed look of just before to seem a lie.
Bloed nodded. He then grabbed his saber and commanded what remained of Leto to remain on standby.
One second later, a creature appeared slowly from the darkness of the tunnels.
The creature was very ugly. It seemed like a lizard, however, its head was like a rat, and its body was covered in fur.
No, when Bloed looked at it closely, it was not fur. Instead, its body was filled with countless small tendrils that squirmed softly.
Strangely, the creature did not seem to have eyes. But despite that, it seemed to be able to pinpoint Bloed and Aya's location accurately.
"… What is that?" Bloed and Aya were surprised when they saw the creature.
But then, their expressions changed.
Because in the next second, the creature rushed towards them!