Meruem wondered how Komugi perceived the world. For what he understood she could see nothing. Was the world a black void? Would she even know it was black or what a void looked like? Did smells, sounds and sensations come from nowhere? Did she imagine what things looked like?
More importantly, did she ever imagine what he looked like? She laid her piece on the gungi board, ready for his next move. He glanced at the board but focused on her. He could easily size up his opponent, make judgments based on their appearance. She couldn’t do that. She couldn’t make a decision about him based on his looks, only on how he played.
But he wanted her to see him. How did someone who is blind see? She would never know what he truly was, a marvel of antkind.
“What do you think I look like?” he asked. Komugi jumped and her cheeks reddened as she scratched her head.
“I don’t know. Probably very handsome. Your voice sounds nice,” she said.
“Is that how you decide someone’s beauty? By the way their voice sounds?”
“U-um...well, usually by how they treat me,” she said. “There are people with nice voices and cold hearts.”
Since she had no physical gauge, all she had to go by was what they said. He reached for a piece to make a move, but stopped.
“How do you judge someone’s physical appearance?” he asked.
“You must have some way of knowing if someone is attractive.”
Her face was getting redder and redder. “I-I really don’t know. I don’t usually...men don’t usually...”
“What about your siblings? You must know what they look like.”
“I know how their voice sounds, I know their face is similar to my face.”
“Well...”She placed her fingertips at her hair line and gently ran them down her face. “This is what my face looks like. And...” she reached for his face and stopped. Komugi put her hands in her lap and her face turned even redder if possible.
“I want you to see me,” he said.
“I-I already do. I know the way you walk. Your foot steps are different from the others. You don’t wear shoes. Your skin must be different, when you touch the ground it makes a different sound than I'm used to hearing. You walk with purpose and authority. And I know your voice when I’m summoned.”
He held her wrists. “I want you to see me.”
She nodded. He pressed his palms against hers. She raised her eyebrows and opened her eyes.
“Wow,” she whispered. “Four fingers.” His fingers fit into the spaces between hers. A grin spread across her face. “Perfect,” she said.
He tilted his head. Why did this make her smile? And why was this particular smile making him feel sick? He assumed this was illness, why else would his stomach feel so unsettled. He moved her hands so they rested on top of his head. Her fingers wiggled over the ridges and grooves.
“Is this your crown?” she asked.
“You could say that.”
“It’s part of your skull, isn’t it? It’s too warm to be a crown.”
“I-I see. May I—”
Her hands ran down his ears, down his long tendrils. She smiled faintly and reached for his face before stopping. He closed his eyes and placed her fingers at his brow bone. She ran her fingertips gently down his face, pausing at his lips before her cheeks turned pink again. She ran her hands down his neck and stopped.
“You’re very handsome, just like I thought,” she said.
“I know. Touch my arms,” he said.
He put her hands on his shoulders. Her cheeks only got darker.
“Impressive,” she whispered. He didn’t understand. He liked this. He liked her reddened cheeks, the way his organs seemed to twist at her soft touches (though they were not moving, they certainly felt like it). Perhaps this was a new technique he had yet to learn. Komugi was stronger than he thought. But the feelings she was exciting in him did not give him any fear of defeat and he rather liked it. He could stop this at any time, he was certain. But just to test his theory, he put her hands on his chest. She obediently ran her hands down his chest and stopped at his stomach.
“Oh!” she said.
“Is something wrong?” he asked.
“Is your heart here?” she asked, patting his stomach.
“It’s beating so fast!”
“It happens when you’re around sometimes. You are a formidable opponent.”
She laughed. “Um...m-may I touch your face again?”
“Yes. Was something to your liking?” he asked.
She smiled again and ran her hands over his face and stopped at his lips. She giggled a little.
“What’s funny?” he asked.
“I demand to know.”
“U-um...well, your lips are good for kissing,” she said. His eyes widened in shock, then narrowed in anger. Who else had she kissed so that she would know something like that?
“O-of course...I’m not speaking from experience,” she said. “They just...they feel nice to touch.”
“I want to know,” he said.
“Kiss me and tell me for sure if my lips are good for kissing,” he said.
“Then I’ll kiss you,” he said. He held her chin and touched his lips to hers. It was more of a rush than he bargained for. He kissed her again, more firmly. H e pulled away but not too far.
“They’re good...for kissing...definitely,” she said breathlessly.
“So are yours,” he said. “I liked it.”
“Let’s do it again.”
“Please,” she whispered. He was all too eager to oblige. He was adventurous this time, sucking her lips gently, gliding his tongue against the line of her mouth. And when she parted her lips and let him in, when she wrapped her arms around his neck and responded to his kiss...
He wanted this to last for as long as possible. He wrapped his arms around her waist, his tail coiled around her. When they finally finished, when he got a good look at her swollen lips and half lidded green eyes he knew what would make everything perfect. He loosed hair and ran his fingers through it. She was beautiful and he couldn’t even say it. He grabbed her hand and held it over his heart.
“You feel that?” he said. “It’s yours.”
She held his hand over her heart. “Then this is yours.”
It was the most valuable thing he’d ever been given.