Dragon Life Chapter 56
—I had the premonition that something was about to change.
A large and deep darkness expanded in front of my eyes. It wasn’t the kind that could be easily explained as how a cloud covers a city due to its size, but a real darkness that seemed like it would swallow up everything. When I saw it in person, —-I had the premonition that something was about to change.
I hadn’t felt such unpleasant premonition before. Perhaps it was about the self-proclaimed Demon King, or about Miss Kikuko who came from a country in another world which may be my country of origin too, or about Lord Cleric who wanted to sacrifice himself in my place, or about Timo who was intending to follow him, or about the Captain and Miss Rosa who became helpers. When I noticed, Mr. Maurice had reached an agreement with them as well; since the development was too fast, I couldn’t follow them.
What on earth was I going to do?
I looked out of the window towards the sky, which should have been blue, and sighed.
I was left out for real. There was nothing for me to do. I wasn’t helpful for anything at all. Wasn’t it fine that I could be at peace? But my surroundings were moving in a hurry. That thing which floated in the sky was at fault. I wonder when did it appear over there, but a large and black darkness was expanding. It wasn’t the kind that could be easily explained as how a cloud covers a city due to its size, but a real darkness that seemed like it would swallow up everything.1
It totally looks the same as me, I said with a laugh.
“That thing is the reason why black was said to be a taboo color, you know.”
Lord Cleric murmured behind me.
“This world has continued to be threatened by that darkness since ancient times. It covered the world 300 years ago as well, and at the same time, the Demon King and the Demons were resurrected too. Back then, although the crisis was averted thanks to the Japanese man who was summoned from another world and the Earth Dragon, Maji witnessed that power, and I don’t know what he was thinking of but he tried to take that power for himself, yet he failed.2 That’s why the Demon King awoke faster this time.”
“This has happened several times?”
He gave a small nod at my question and then added, ‘The world was damaged until it was partially destroyed.’
“Well then, I must go.”
Where to? I already knew it.
Lord Cleric said he had accumulated magical power to the limit, so by taking his body to that thing, it’d be possible to annihilate it in order to prevent the Demons from appearing through it. He also said that, ‘I could have done this before but didn’t out of selfishness.’ But I believe it’s natural to think of one’s own life as precious. I had thought that it wasn’t possible for a martyr who’d save the world by sacrificing themselves to exist; that such heroic legends are just absurd. But they were possible in this world.
“Please live on, Miss Vito.”
Lord Cleric laughed. I wonder why, but that smile pierced me straight through the chest.
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“Where did my cute Vito go?”
At the moment when Lord Cleric left, Lady Minette’s spiritless voice reached me.
“Please don’t be so obviously dejected, Lady Minette.” (Vito)
And she was destroying the serious mood as well.
Holding her head as she squatted in a corner of the room, she heaved a magnificent sigh while she continued murmuring a soliloquy, “Wait, don’t I still have Lady Maribelle!”
When Stephanos reached me, he clapped my shoulder and stroked my head into a mess as he laughed. I want you to stop treating me as a man just because I’m in the form of one. I wanted to return to Anna’s figure, but for the moment I had to endure. And all of the other forms I could change into were mostly dandy middle-aged uncles, …that’s still acceptable, you say? However, that may be too hard on me, emotionally. Think about it, you suddenly becoming a dandy uncle with a built physique and an unshaved stubble. And it’d be a dandy guy who’d go to Lady Minette and tell her, “Missy, why so troubled. Wanna talk about it with uncle? I’ll help you out.” …Let’s just drop it after all.
“I wouldn’t have thought things would turn out this way when we first arrived at this country.”
In strong contrast with me who was daydreaming about having become a middle-aged uncle, Lance was looking out the window towards the sky with sharp eyes.
“I thought ‘The Rule of the Blackness’ was just a fairytale, but it seems to be true.”
Stefanos, who had started binding my arms behind my back, said. Rather than that, quit it please. Since he was totally making the face he made when he fawned over Brad, I was left thoroughly at a loss. My appearance may have changed, but the contents hadn’t changed at all.
“The Rule of Blackness? …Please let me go.”
“I thought it was a horror story that was made up to scare children; a tale about the darkness covering up the sky and leaving only a lightless world. Now that I remember, the Captain hated that story a whole lot. …Well ain’t it fine anyway when his head’s at just the right height?”3
Oh that’s true. There’s no way one would come to like it if one’s eye color is transmitted through time as an abhorred color by such a scary tale. Even I got mixed feelings over it. But at the same time a part of me also wanted to melt in that darkness. Obsessions are scary, aren’t they. If I stared fixedly at it I would end up captivated. It looked absolutely the same as the Captain’s eyes. It made me feel like throwing everything away and let myself be sucked into it.
I wonder what that thing is. Although the tone was close to that of Rau’s and Lady Rosa’s, but not being exactly the same, their tones didn’t make me feel too much attraction; the feeling this gave off was different.
I couldn’t understand it.
Perhaps he found it odd that I suddenly fell silent, because Stefanos got a hold of my chin and turned it up, and so his upside down face entered my line of sight.
“M-, my neck hurts.”
“What are you thinking about; it’s not like you to be like this.”
Eh, I was just thinking in the same manner as usual.
“Then what am I usually like…?”
“Ah, although I know that habit of yours, that face you make when you’re thinking, it’s not like you to wrinkle your brows that much. Do you want me to poke your forehead?”
I swiftly brushed his hand away with a ‘please stop it,’ and he unexpectedly let me go quite easily.
“Oh, that was a good pass, Stefan. But Vito belongs to the Captain; it’s such a pity.”
“It-, it’s not like that!! Quit grinning so much! This just feels like having a little brother!”
Did he say ‘little brother’? Did that mean that Stefanos had been treating me like one? Not as a sister but as a brother. I felt happy, but also worried about whether that was a thing to feel happy about or not.
“Even so, I’m bored.”
I wasn’t the only one to nod at Lady Minette’s words. Stefanos and Lance were to be on standby in the room, and Whitey and Rau were probably tired as they were sleeping on the bed with Saus as an extra. In short, we were the lot who were left out. We discussed together if there was nothing we could do, but in the end we reached the same conclusion dozens of times that only Lord Cleric’s group could deal with the problem. Whitey‘s matter was postponed due to this emergency. Was I the only one who was thinking we should run away while we had the time?
It seemed that Lord Cleric was busy discussing with Lord Maurice’s side about the preparations, while Lady Rosa and the Captain seemed to be assisting Timo with something. Even if we were to go outside, the town that used to be so lively was now extremely quiet to the point it resembled the days before a war. Anyone who’d glance up at the darkened sky would become afraid and withdraw themselves into their houses.
Will black become a hated color again because of this? As I sighed, Lady Minette poked my cheek lightly. I turned around and reflexively tried to bite her finger into my mouth, but when I noticed I had started chewing on her playfully so I stopped in a panic, but Lady Minette was left surprised. I was surprised too.
“…Are you hungry perhaps?”
That was so embarrassing.
“…Yes, I guess Timo is probably using the Captain’s magical power, because it seems that less magical power is flowing my way; so that must be why.”
After I said, ‘I’m sorry,’ in apology, Lady Minette’s face came closer all of a sudden.
“Eh? Wha-, What is it?”
“Well I thought that if you’re hungry, a mere kiss would be fine, right? Then come, feed on me.”
Her voice, which was of a pleasant low tone for a woman, whispered by my ear.
What’s with those lines! Smooth! Too smooth! Also it’s not like I’d feed on Lady Minette herself but just her magical power! Besides why do you know that it’s possible to deliver magical power with a mere kikikikiss! I mean I thought about this before but wasn’t this too much of a convenient setting!
“I, I thank you for your kindness, but I’ll pass.”
“Why? Isn’t this harsh on you? …Oh, it won’t do if it’s me? Well then, Stefan!”
“Huh!? What are you even saying!?”
Why are you blushing like that. You’re too pure, Lance. I wonder, have you never dated a woman before? Despite being a Madam Killer, are you actually a pure boy!?4
“Good grief! A cute girl… I mean, a cute boy is troubled to such an extent due to hunger over here! You’re not qualified to call yourselves Knights if you don’t help him!”
Did you have to say that much?
“I’m not into men y’know!”
Stefanos, who has endless rumors about being with many women, seems to have absolutely no immunity to men. Ah, it was a good thing that I was a man.
Even so. Perhaps the reason I didn’t even notice that I had become hungry was because of everything that was going on around me? If I didn’t do anything about this, something like what happened just now when I was chewing on Lady Minette’s fingers may happen again. My last ray of hope, the Captain, had his requesting line attached to Timo, so the magical power is drifting that way. I was worried that, since his enormous magical power was reduced to such an extent, perhaps he would collapse again.
So it seemed that I had to put up with being hungry for a while. But that was too dangerous. I could hardly know what my instincts could do.
I sighed for the Nth time today and I looked over at them.
Lady Minette was favoured by the same spirit of fire as Stefanos, but it seemed that her magical power wasn’t that large. Stefanos as well. Lance had about the same amount, but it wasn’t that much as to borrow from him. I thought about getting some from one of out of the three of them, but apparently there was no owner of magical power that could actually replace the Captain.
While I was deeply troubled, the door suddenly opened, and all my troubles were solved. Well no, but.
“Hey! Are you free? You are, right? Come help me for a bit.”
You don’t even knock the door and you consider yourself this country’s top chief? Ah but the blood that circulated under his flawless skin may have been exactly what I needed to moisturize the dryness in my throat.5
Lance and the other started fixing their appearances in a hurry, but he dismissed that with his hand and just came into the room. His eye color was changing faster than usual today. It was like staring at soap bubbles.
“Could you please lend me a hand? You can handle those Dragons called Fire Drakes, right? I heard they are faster than horses, since we’d like to reach a far place by flying, you see.”
“A far place?”
“I’d like to relay to every country what is going on in our nation. I have prepared the letters already, so if you could, please depart as soon as possible.”
Whether because they didn’t dare refuse the prefuse a request from a whole country’s top chief, or perhaps because they were free anyway, Lance and the others nodded respectively and left through the corridor together with the soldiers that had been stationed behind Mr. Maurice.
Since for the moment I could still turn into a Dragon, I could still accept that task, but I was stopped by him when I tried to go with them.
“Vito, it’s your meal time.”
His laughing eyes were blood red.
Ah, I’m full, I’m full. I sucked exhaustively to the point my stomach was filled up! It wasn’t that much that I’d left him as a mummy, but I did suck till the point he couldn’t move. It had a mysterious taste. It seemed to have the mixed taste of all the spirits, and it had both a light and heavy flavor. I wouldn’t say it was delicious, but it was perfect for my hungry state.
“…Do you not know what a limit is?”
When I retorted, ‘Wasn’t it you who told me it was fine to sick you dry?’, he chuckled with his throat and stared back at me with pupils that had turned scarlet. I guess that it was actually a joke, but when something is offered to me, then I just receive it. Even if, for example, the one doing th offering is a top chief.
Mr. Maurice is exhaustedly lying on the sofa, pressing down on his arm. I searched around the room for something to disinfect and bandage the bite wound and found something not unlike a first-aid kit; when I was taking it out, he suddenly starting saying weird things.
“Rosa seems to be together with Lutoria.”
“Yeah, that seems about right.”
His magical power was probably being severely squeezed out even now.
“From the outside they seem to get along quite well. What do you think, Vito?”
My hand which was wrapping the bandage stopped for a second. He may have noticed that I was a little shaken.
“…Why do you ask me that?”
“What, as a Contracted Beast, it is your role to examine the females who may become your Contractor’s lifelong partner. What do you think of Rosa?”
What sort of role is that?
“I think she has a great sensitivity, and is gentle person.”
“I see! Okay then, should I advance the talk on the premise of marriage? …I think that having this kind of conversation is unscrupulous during such a time, but for me, a bright and joyous talk will become a source of strength no matter when.”
‘Is that so,’ I replied with a nod, but, marriage? Between the Captain and Lady Rosa? …I hadn’t given it a thought, but the Earth Dragon lives a lifetime with its Contractor. Even if the Contractor were to find a companion. If that were to happen, in what manner should I continue to live from then on? Honestly I wasn’t confident in being able to continue getting by so smoothly as I had so far. Moreover.
“Rosa seems to like you too, so please continue to get along with her from now on.”
I liked her too. She was sincere and lovely, and I’d like to get along with her if I could, I thought. But that was, as a friend, not as the Captain’s, as his companion— ah it’s useless. I can’t think beyond that. Did I always have such a strong desire to monopolize? To think that she could become the Captain’s partner.
“I also like you, how about you?”
I failed to notice that Mr. Maurice’s face had been approaching me till it was right in from of me. If he came slightly closer, we’d come in contact.
“…What do you mean?”
“I mean that I like you enough to make you my companion.”
I don’t know what you mean. No, I know. I don’t want to understand it. What was he saying all of a sudden. Surely, what was on my mind right then was the same thing he was thinking of.
I couldn’t take my eyes off his scarlet irises. It wasn’t a halfhearted sensation like feeling like a deer in the headlights. It was as if a beast was being raised within those pupils, and if I shifted my line of sight even a little, the beast would bite at me at any moment. Although he was a human being, there were times when he didn’t resemble one. If I had to say, then I’d say that he seemed to be an existence very similar to Ruff.
I breathed in heavily once to adjust my breathing, and said while knitting my brows.
“To take a Sacred Beast as a spouse, is your sanity all right?”
People with such strange tastes, they would be so few that even if we search around the world, the fingers on both hands would suffice to count them.
“It is said that in your country there was once a case where a human-Sacred Beast couple lived as spouses for a lifetime.”
That was a very long time ago. There was no way to ascertain whether it was true or not, either.
“In the first place I currently am in the form of a man.”
“You changing forms has nothing to do with it at all, does it? What happened to your former appearance though? I was surprised because of your sudden change, y’know. Well, I don’t care about whatever form you take anyway!”
I was left startled. My heart was uneasy.
“Our kingdom’s princess together with the Contractor, and her older brother together with his Earth Dragon. If both couples are to join in marriage, both countries will greatly rejoice. Didn’t you originally come here to ask for an alliance? This is a great base material for that.”
I wonder what more should I do for Alvina Kingdom’s sake. Did I have the obligation to do this?
“Ah, but don’t you already have Ruff?”
“Unfortunately Ruff is male, and he seems to have a secret crush on that black princess you know?”
“That black princess?”
“That big crow.”
Perhaps, that was Rau? Although he showed a cold attitude when viewed from the outside, maybe he had the character of a child who takes a cool attitude in front of the child they like? That sounds interesting. I’ll tease him next time.
“You don’t have to give me a reply right away. Impatient men become disliked in the end. But please just keep this in mind: I said just now that this could be a great base for an alliance, but this is not a political maneuver; these are nothing but my own private feelings.“
They were even heavier. There’s nothing heavier than people’s feelings. Precisely because they can’t be seen it is that they are heavy. So heavy. So heavy. Having lived up to now I had realized that there were things that let me experience the actual feeling of hating something. Especially rumors and expectations, there’s nothing more troublesome than those. But, I honestly still don’t understand the feeling called ‘good will’. Sometimes I think it’s a pleasant thing, sometimes I think the opposite.
Besides not even a day had passed since we met and more than that, this was the second time we had talked to each other. I really cannot think that he’d look at me with such an aim. I can’t believe it.
“Should I go back now?”
At seeing that I wasn’t saying anything, he stood up from the sofa with a bitter smile on his face, but he went, ‘Ah that’s right,’ and gave me a letter he took from his chest pocket.
“The Cleric entrusted me with this.”
I thought that it would be a letter from Lord Cleric, but the charming cursive letters were familiar.
That’s right, I remember now that she said that Ariade had taught her to write. Compared to Ariade’s letters that were like an exemplary font, to write in strangely round and big letters was very Chiffon-like.
“Apparently he forgot to give it to you. Is it from a friend?”
“Yes. Thank you very much.”
We haven’t met for a while; I’ve had wanted to meet them for some time now. I wanted to see them and talk. Go shopping with them, eat sweets, and make some tea. Wait, wasn’t that what ordinary human girls do? Ah well, it should be fine. It’ll be okay as long as we’re having fun. If we can just meet and laugh and pass the days like that it’s enough. I wonder if Ariade was being as cool as ever, and if Chiffon was still wearing that healing smile of hers; remembering the two of them made my face relax involuntarily, and Mr. Maurice, who was at the door, retraced his steps and caressed my head.
“So you can laugh in that manner too, that’s a nice smile.”
Wondering if perhaps I hadn’t been smiling much all this while I immediately made a sullen face, and he laughed at me.
“One more thing, I’m letting you know that I’m bad at giving up!”
Guys who are bad at giving up are disliked even more you know.
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Thanks to Chrouya from the Nihongo to Eigo discord server (a server to Learn Japanese, you can ask me for an invite), and to Meteor from the Translator’s Corner for their help with a couple of sentences!! ヾ(´∀｀)ﾉ I’d had become stuck without their help.
Anyway, on to the notes!!
this kind of repetition of the first paragraph is not a typo on my part, it is like this in the raw.
- the second part of this sentence is a bit confusing for me, but this is what I understand. This sounds like what lord cleric himself did (swallowing the magic crystal but still failing to stop the demon king) but maji is specifically mentioned to be the subject here so I’m a little lost… […]が、その力を目の当たりにしたマージが何を思ったかあれを取り込もうとして、失敗しました。 ↩
- ain’t it fine anyway when his head’s at just the right height?: i GUESS (and Meteor does too) he means that since Captain is quite tall, his eye color shouldn’t be that noticeable… yeah sure. Stefanos i’m hitting you. Thanks to Meteor from the Translator’s Corner for their help! ・・・丁度いい所に頭があるからいいじゃねぇか」 ↩
- boy: boy was in katakana (that is to say, it was practically in english XD). ボーイ ↩
- she’s implying she’d like to drink his blood XD ↩