Dragon Life - Chapter 15
One on One with the Captain. Talk of Rumors.
While I was relaxing in my room, a knock was heard. I called out with a 'sure' and answered the door revealing Ariade.
’’Vito, may I speak with you for a moment?’’
I step back into my room and invite her in. I was the only one occupying this room because Chiffon was away on break with her sister, shopping at the town around the castle. Since we don't have a table or chair, I had her sit on Chiffon's bed across from me. For some reason, Ariade's expression was dark.
’’What's wrong? You have a really glum expression.’’
’’Do you know the rumor that's been circulating the castle?’’
The only rumors I've heard were the typical news of a love affair, adultery, or cheating that the nobles talk about. I can't recall any rumor that Ariade might be worried about.
’’Right, you've been working outside of castle grounds so you haven't heard it yet...’’
Aah, I see. Its true that ever since I was assigned to the Fourth Knight Corp's dormitory, I haven't really been able wandered castle grounds. That's probably why I've been falling behind with the rumors.
’’An interesting story?’’
’’Rather than an interesting story...it's the rumor that the 'man-eating dragon' was actually an 'earth dragon'.’’
Is that so.
’’When the subjugation corps went out to exterminate the man-eating dragon, apparently they got attacked by another dragon and ended up being saved by an earth dragon.’’
’’Moreover, it took someone away but they returned, living and fine.’’
’’And its rumored that the person who returned got contracted to the earth dragon.’’
What with that rumor, I've never heard of it before*ー. ・・・・Wa, wait seriously? What? WHAATT? When did the captain and I get into a contract?
There's no way! My body is still white, and I don't even know how to make a contract. How can I make a contact if I don't know how?
’’I, I see.’’
The captain's been acting normally since then. ・・・wait, was he really? For some reason he doesn't seem to 'have his feet on the ground', well he's basically been acting normally.
’’So my little sister, ・・・I'm pretty sure she was attacked by the subjugation corps. They say that the earth dragon eats every single being it sees, and since my younger sister came back alive, that's the only possibility.’’
’’But the subjugation corps members came back alive too, you know.’’
’’If they managed to contract it, then they obviously would be able to come back. Besides, they say that all the people who went into the mountain before them didn't come back. ・・・It must be, it must be so.’’
It seems that she had thought a lot to get to that answer. Ariade has a sad expression on her face, but her eyes spoke of determination.
Somehow I feel that I'm leading Ariade around in a wild goose chase and guilt wells up within me. I'm also pretty sure that if it wasn't for me, her little sister wouldn't be bedridden with her sickness.
I was filled with an overwhelming sense of guilt.
’’Since I ended up grumbling to you about it, and I was worried that I ended up putting you in a bad mood. Sorry.’’
’’No, it fine! I was glad that you came to consult with me.’’
We became pretty close after that, and I didn't exactly have any bad feelings after that anyways. More like I was glad that she consulted me. Even if I was the cause of her problems.
’’So when you told me I can consult you whenever, it, well made me happy. I even caused you such a bother.’’
Blushing. Ariade definitely just blushed! With her cheeks tinted pink was quite different from her normal cool self, she looked more like a girl of age. If she was always like this, she would have tons of guys flirting with her. That in itself is pretty dangerous. Chiffon got called out to so many times as well. That girl could probably become the equivalent of a jewel-set palanquin. That's not what we're talking about though.
For some reason, I start smiling. Ariade's confession honestly made me happy. Ever since I came to live with humans, I seem to be living pretty calmly but I've more or less have been having my own inner conflicts as well. Even if I can't tell Ariade my worries, it's really reliable to have a friend who I know is willing to listen. It lets me see the illusion that I'm not alone.
’’Thank you, Ariade.’’
’’No, thank you.’’
Besides, when I talk to them everyday little things and create small talk, my worries seem to disappear.
’’When you say that someone might have been contracted, do you mean...’’
’’The Fourth Knight corps captain... If I remember correctly’’
Ugyah, just as I thought.
According to Ariade's story, they're certain it's the captain because whomever came across the earth dragon, regardless of age or gender, got eaten but the captain came back alive even after being abducted.
―――Eh, but I did eat him. The left arm.
So apparently this is the rumor that's been circulating the castle by mouth. It's apparently even spread to the town around the castle, and it's seriously problem.
I knew I should've eaten all of him and not just the left arm!
I hope it won't become anything too troublesome.
The captain began to wake up early without needing the key-word. Since I ate one of his braids, I ended up having to make two of them instead, like the ones that stereotypical long haired nerd girls have. It's strange because this actually suits him as well. Hey, can you try putting on some glasses? And a sailor uniform too. It'll definitely suit you.
Ahem, either way the captain's been acting weird. He keeps on getting lost in thought and walking into walls, and he often ends up not listening when people talk to him. His mind is totally above the clouds.
While I was thinking about how this would really begin to affect his work, it happened.
’’Excuse me Vito, but have you seen the captain?’’
Rance suddenly called out to me while I was cleaning the common room. Right now everyone should be out there for training, I wonder what happened. When I told him that I haven't he let out a dejected sigh with a mumbled 'ah dammit'.
’’Ever since then, the captain's been acting weird. Do you know anything, Vito?’’
Well if he's been like that since 'then' then it's probably 'that'.
’’I'm sorry but I'd like you to help me search from him. It's bad if our work gets delayed any longer.’’
’’Sure, I understand.’’
’’I'll search the dragon pens. Vito, please look anywhere that comes to mind. If you find him, tell him that I was looking for him and bring him to the dorms please.’’
With a deep sigh and I 'I'm counting on you', Rance left the common room. With all of his struggles, I swear that he's going to go bald in the future. Especially since there's another problem child present here. A good example would be Stefano. It seems that he's gotten better recently, but he still has a long ways to go. He recently got caught secretly meeting up with a noble woman from somewhere. Before that he was flirting with another woman in the courtyard. I'm afraid that one day it's going to result in a bloodbath.
The day that happens and then he'd get caught and scolded by Rance doesn't seem that far away. Rance is kind of like Stephano's mom. Their names sound kind of similar too.
But really, I wonder where and what that person is doing.
Switching from cleaning the common room to searching for the captain, I looked in the dorms first but he was nowhere to be found. Since Rance said he'd be looking in the dragon pens, let's go look on castle grounds.
It's Chiffon. If I remember correctly, this is the time period where they clean the windows. I can see some familiar faces.
Even the fact that I used to work here a few weeks ago feels nostalgic.
’’Good timing Chiffon, have you seen the captain?’’
When I hurriedly added on that he's the captain of 'the Fourth Knight Corps', Chiffon told me that she saw him wander over to the garden through the courtyard.
I got some really good information. Well done Chiffon! **
’’Hey hey, that captain is 'that' captain, right?’’
Urg. As I thought, Chiffon has heard it too. Everywhere is abuzz with this rumor!
It seems her co-workers want to hear this story as well because they keep glancing in our direction.
’’Ah, I'll tell you later. Thanks!’’
I hear an 'Eehー！' of protest behind me but I ignore it and walk away. I refuse to partake in any complicated matters. I'm afraid that I would end up telling them some unnecessary things while talking.
Let's hurry to the garden before the Captain changes locations.
I came to the colorfully blooming flower garden by walking through a neatly landscaped courtyard.
This place is usually used for date courses and tea parties and is not a place a normal servant like me can enter. But since there's nobody here, if I keep quiet about it I think I won't get found out.
I walked around quite a bit but I couldn't find the captain. When I exited the garden thinking that he's already left...
Ah, I found him.
Just as I was walking through the garden towards the exit, I saw the captain laying there hidden by the grass and bushes. It seems that I couldn't see him while walking to the path to the middle garden because he was hidden in the shade. Also you can't see him very well even if you look because he's practically assimilated with the grass. You know, because his hair's the same color.
’’Captain, I was looking for you.’’
It kind of startled me because his long bangs were divided straight down the center and I could see the area eyes clearly. And as always, he has his doll like face.
When I call out to him again, his eyes slowly open, revealing a pair of black eyes looking up at me.
Ahh, black is definitely the best. It makes me feel relieved.
’’Yes, it is. Who did you think I was?’’
The captain sits up and cradles one knee, then reaches out with his left hand and touches my chestnut colored bangs.
’’Who, I wonder... Its' just, your presence was very alike.’’
I don't ask who. Somehow I have a very good idea who it is. I'm very troubled because the captain has sharp senses for the weirdest of things. I might get found out if I don't get out of dorm duty soon. But even though the Madam said I could return at any time, the work here is challenging and leaving makes me feel a little lonely.
Lonely, huh. ・・・I wonder, why I'm lonely? Because I won't go and wake up the Captain every morning? Because I won't be able to go to the dragon pens anymore? Because I won't be able to have long silly conversations with the Vice-captain anymore? Because I won't be able to hear stories of all the hard times Rance has had anymore? Because I won't be able to laugh with the other personnel about Stephano's relationships with women? The people in the dorm are all pretty good people. Even Nasso the chef, who waits for me with my meal. Its kind of like he's my grandpa.
・・・But the thing that bugs me the most is ―――you, captain.
Really, you're so unfair captain. I wonder why I mind you so much. Because I want to eat you? There's that too. But there's also something else, rooted deep within my chest. Whether this comes from me as a human or me as a dragon, I do not know. It's frustrating because I don't know.
The person in question looks up at me with sleepy eyes. Just what are you thinking about.
’’Rance has been looking for you. I even stopped my work to look for you, you know.’’
’’I see, sorry.’’
’’What were you doing?’’
Please don't ask me. When I tell him that, he gives me a bitter smile and says 'you're right'. The captain slowly sits upright.
There's grass on his back. To return to the dorm like that is embarrassing, so I dusted the grass off of him and he finally stood up. When I stand up, I again notice how tall he is. He was so tiny before. Since humans can see things from so many different perspectives everything is always a new experience. Also even when I find someone tasty looking in a human form, I don't end up moving per instinct like in my dragon form.
・・・・I wonder what the captain thinks about that. I've actually been fidgeting, really wanting to ask.
Rather than Chiffon and the others, I think the one who wants to know the most is me.
Would it be okay if I just asked・・・？
’’I have something I want to ask you.’’
It's just my curiosity acting up.
’’I heard that you met with the Earth-dragon in the rumors, but is it true that you contracted it?’’
The captain had a blank look on his face, but suddenly began laughing and giggling. I wonder what's so funny.
’’What do you think, Vito?’’
’’Wh, What I think・・・’’
I didn't think I would get a question in reply. It's actually my first time having a question answered with another question.
I wonder how I should reply.
’’Hrm. ・・・No, maybe?’’
’’Yup, I haven't.’’
He said it so frankly.***
’’But, you're the first one to say that, Vito. Everyone only either says 'I don't know' or 'you did'.’’
Dammit, did I just dig my own grave? I kind of panicked but the captain doesn't seem to mind at all. He just looks up at the sky and stretches. Since there was grass in his hair as well, I reach out and take them out. The soft feeling of his hair was transmitted from my finger. This hair, this hair has definitely become a habit. Ah, oh no, I'm not drooling am I!? ・・・・Ah, good I wasn't.
’’Shall we go back?’’
Since he stood up, I can't see his black eyes anymore. While thinking that its regrettable, I answered with a 'yes, lets' and followed the captain back to the dorms.
While we were walking we ended up meeting with Rance, and the captain got thoroughly scolded. Although the captain was pretty dazed, and it looked like he didn't hear any of Rance's words at all, head floating above the clouds again.
Rance, realizing that the captain wasn't listening stopped scolding him and let out a large sigh instead. With a 'now, lets go back' he slapped the captain across the back.
Since I still had work to do, I returned to the dorms from there.
On my hand lingered the sensation of the captain's hair.
My heart is warm, just a little bit.
I wonder what this is.
Thank you for reading! There's probably a need for some editing, but this is the best you're gonna get for now. I might get pissed off and come back here to edit sometime, but I really don't feel like it right now, Sorry.
Also, the romance plot bits are finally beginning to move! Its SO SLOW though hahaha. I guess I can't expect much from the dragon and her
*TN: Vito's being really flaky, just kind of imagine her words in a fake innocent tone. Yeah.
**TN: There was another sentence here, but I really couldn't put it into English.
***TN: Vito actually speaks with some distaste here, but I couldn't bring the tone into English very well.