Dragon Life - Chapter 37
TN: text in katakana is often translated into capital letters, however I wrote it here in italics so as to not hurt your eyes too much. Also, remember I'll write who is speaking by the side (in parenthesis) only when it's not too clear.
PS: Taiju (タイジュ) means Great Tree (大樹) in this case.
also, this chapter.... ascjnaspdcnapsdcapodscaoccscadqwedassss
The circumstances of the childhood friends and the circumstances of the contract.
After making Tiruzoto Kingdom recede I was heading towards the Vizan'nu Mountains.
I skillfully evade the multitude of overgrown trees and fold my large black wings as I descend to the ground. Surveying the surroundings, there's not a single animal around;it is a very quiet space. But it's been a short while, I wonder if the animals have escaped partly because Wyrms may have made their nests here.
On top of the earth on which I land, is the place where the human ’’me’’ appears. Not a split personality nor multiple personalities, let alone a parasitic character of my Dragon self, but myself. I am me, and nothing else.
I got the feeling that I can finally understand it a little bit now.
But I am not sure about the reason for my existence.
You, who are you? (Vito)
That mysterious voice that arbitrarily speaks to me, is not unlike a man's or a woman's and is both old and young. Still, I have the feeling that it is right next to me.
After a while, that voice echoes within my head.
I wonder if this Taiju is the same Great Tree that watches over all of the living things that Lau was talking about before. I wonder what does it mean, that an existence akin to a God in this world would be talking to a single Dragon. Or, were they the mastermind as I thought?
Tell me, is my existence something that you arranged?
That is the case.(1)
Oh, as expected.
A part of me becomes annoyed at receiving a positive answer in such a simple manner. I also want to ask 'why me,' or to confront them with a lot of other questions, but rather than that, there's something I want to say the most.
...I don't know in which way this world was created, nor how I myself was created. There's a part of me which doesn't believe in your existence either. But you know, don't believe you can deal with me as much as you like just like that.
In fact, I became unable to remember any of my human memories, as if they have been sealed. The Japanese language, and even about the family I have dreamed of so much. Is it because my human self was pushed back deep within me, or because I decided to live on as an Earth Dragon? However, whichever the case, coming from my instincts, a sense of purpose for protecting Alvina Kingdom is starting to boil up a little bit. (2)
But, I think that, that's still fine. Even if my actions are being manipulated by someone's expectations, these thoughts are unmistakably my own. I won't allow them to be called fake. Even if I'm being made to dance on top of someone's palm, I have enough power to resist and tear off those puppet strings. I have fangs to fight back against my owner. (3)
I'm only doing what I want to do. Even if those are the expectations of this voice, then it's just that our interests match.
I'll thoroughly, become serious. I do not want to have contradictory thoughts anymore.
You are the same as that guy but that will be fun once again.
Saying so at the end, the voice is gone. The sensation that was next to me disappears, and I wonder if this is what is called 'to feel relieved.'
Anyway ...'that guy'? That guy, who is it.
I thought it over for a while, but nothing comes to mind no matter how much I think.
When I extend my folded wings in order to return to the castle, something flashes at the edge of my field of vision. There's something on the ground, and it sparkles with a momentary flash of light at being hit by the sun. It's something so small that you won't be able to see what it is if you don't concentrate your gaze. As I bring my face closer to the ground to try to take a look at it, it was something similar to a pebble. However its color is too bright for it to be a pebble. When I try digging out that thing which was partly buried in the soil, a box with a rectangular shape appears. It seemed it had been neglected for a long time, maybe for several dozens, or even hundreds of years, as it is quite severely deteriorated, yet it was showing a vivid blue luster in some places. I wonder if the rain or something else dug this up from the ground.
It's a blue rectangular box that I've seen somewhere before. There's an incision in the middle, and something like a long thread is tied to its edge.
I don't know what the heck this is, however I know the proper way to handle it. I open the box skillfully along the incision in order not to break it, and the edges become connected, becoming an even larger rectangle. (4)
For the fraction of a second, the black portion of the box's upper part fluctuates and three people appear. In the middle there's a young man, and by his sides there's a girl and a boy embracing his shoulders while laughing. That disappears right away so I can't define the details, however I could confirm that from their hair to their eyes, they were people that could be said to be laced in black.
Somehow this gets stuck in my mind, making me uneasy.
These thoughts which think this is nostalgic, whose thoughts are they?
When I returned to the castle in a hurry, I could hear joyful, excited voices here and there, and at the time I didn't even think that they were aimed at me. I thought that perhaps they were happy because Tiruzoto Kingdom was repelled and this time it became a victory for Alvina Kingdom.
Because at that moment, my head was only filled with thoughts about the Captain.
But I couldn't meet him.
As I laid down my large body in front of the Fourth Knight Corps dormitory, the Vice-Captain came to tell me. He had to be supported by Maribelle because of his injured leg, but I'm glad that he's alive. They told me with a gloomy face.
Apparently after that, the Captain lost consciousness and he hasn't woken up. They said that there's no danger to his life, but he's sleeping as if he were dead. I became uneasy after hearing that.
The contract, failed?
No, not at all. His injuries were healed and I also am alive like this. (5) And besides there's no way I can think that it failed. Because my instincts as an Earth Dragon are telling me so. That there was no failure. Yet, I wonder what's up with him not waking up. I wonder if something inexplicable happened?
But there's nothing the current me can do right now.
So I decided to wait.
Without thinking about anything, simply, waiting.
In my Dragon form, lying in front of the Fourth Knight Corps dormitory, waiting for him to wake up.
Some days later.
One week was about to pass.
But there is so much to think about, and yet I somehow became free of any thought, waiting there motionlessly till the point of resembling a rock. It did not think of this as troublesome at all.
When I came back to the castle, at first people crowded around me in a jumbled mess, totally like they were surrounding a freak show, and occasionally there were people who came to talk to me. There was the Prince and Madeleine, and also including Ariade and the other girls, however I submerged myself into silence and did not talk to anyone. I was just waiting there for the time to come, unmoving with my eyelids closed, mysteriously carrying a calm feeling.
A few days later, I don't know if it was out of consideration or because they had given up, but the surrounding people who came to visit me occasionally became extremely quiet.
Only the Prince comes to see me every day. He comes to see me any day, and talks to me.
He sits down on the ground right by my side, without worrying about getting dirty, and says while laughing, ’’what was I talking about yesterday.’’
Although he should be pressed about his duties on the relations with Tiruzoto Kingdom, day after day he visits me without learning his lesson;I don't understand this Prince LeBlanche. Just by talking about matters from the past his expression is softer than usual, giving me the impression that he's just a youth thinking about a friend.
’’It doesn't matter if it's said to be the taboo color, but that color of yours, I like it you know. That's because that's Lutoria's color.’’
Even if he knows there won't be an answer from me, he becomes satisfied by chatting a little as if he was talking to himself, then he goes back. Such a day-to-day continued for a while.
’’Well, even if it's called a taboo color, in this country of Ours there's almost no prejudice against it, hey. It was called so a lot more in the old days, and such a concept is already becoming obsolete. Yet, as habits are things that are deeply ingrained, there are some people who won't think of it as good.’’
'And it's inevitable that there are also those that grow lively out of curiosity, please don't think badly of them,' he says with a wry smile.
From silly talks to what is happening currently at the castle, or that Madeleine and the girls are also worried, he talks about a variety of things.
I was just listening to him talk without thinking about anything.
The Prince continues to talk without paying any mind to the unresponsive me.
’’I wonder if that guy is what you'd call 'distant,' he has almost no attachment to anything. This person is someone who lives in indifference to an impressive degree. Was it when we were children? After he was bitten by a wolf, he didn't raise any cry and just drove the wolf away, you know? It's funny right? I was still a small child ignorant of the ways of the world so I was crying like a baby chick at that time.’’
Laughing occasional, he is immersed in the old memories.
’’He always said he wanted to fly in the night sky. Because the dark color that spreads to every side of that sky is, the color of that guy's eyes. We may say this or that, but he was probably worried about the color of his eyes being different from others'. When he started to grow his bangs was about the time when he started to put more discretion into it, and it was his most delicate period. ...Oh that's right, there was just one thing that Lutoria had an attachment to. That was, Dragons.’’
Saying, 'I wonder about when did it start,' the Prince looked up at the sky.
’’When we were playing in the woods after escaping the castle, we found a young, weakened wild Dragon, and we brought it back. That Dragon, was Lutoria's companion Fire Drake. It was unusually quiet for being a male Dragon.’’
He lowered his face in sadness.
’’How many years have passed since then, ...that one died while covering up for Lutoria. They grew up together since they were very young so it was like they were brothers;at losing one of the group he was raging for some time. ...But, he started to change when you appeared. In a good way. So I'm thankful towards Vito. Rather than as a Prince, as LeBlanche, as Lutoria's friend, I want to thank you. And, thank you for choosing him.’’
I don't have any memory of doing anything that requires any thanks, though.
’’But, please don't die. Because Lutoria has a risky side to him, so he would even sacrifice his body like he did previously.’’
Talking up to this point, a voice calling for the Prince's name could be heard from some distance away. It should be time already.
The Prince stands up, knocks off the dirt attached to his clothes with his hand, and goes away with a ’’Later.’’
Tomorrow, will he come again?
I properly understood he wanted to say. But I do not want to live even at the expense of sacrificing those existences that are important to me. Such a promise, I don't know whether I'll be able to keep it.
Even with this time's matters, the cause is me. So, I also feel that I also want to protect the Captain at the expense of this body.
I'm tired of just, being protected.
If I'll feel regret by not doing anything, then I'd rather want to feel regret from doing something instead.
When he made some signs of having woken up I opened my eyelids and directed my sight to the balcony. The closed window and curtains were open and spread apart, and a nostalgic figure came into view.
As his eyes fell on me he laughed happily.
And then, what was he thinking? He jumped over the handrail and came falling down. It's quite high, too dangerous. As I quickly raise my body from the ground and use my back to catch him, he slides from there and goes down and stands on the ground. Maybe he couldn't keep his balance properly, for he staggered when his feet touched the ground so I used the tip of my nose to support him from behind, preventing him from falling.
[What a reckless thing are you doing!!]
As I was rebuking him he looked at me with his eyes narrowing pleasantly. (6)
Even though I thought my heart was gonna stop!
’’It seems I'm a little dull. But somehow my body feels light, so.’’
['So,' you say...]
If you fall from a balcony and end up dying then that's the end.
As I was saying to him, 'Do you really understand that,' in a sermon-like, vigorous tone, he says.
’’Because I believed Vito would catch me.’’
His dark eyes peek into my blood red eyes, and he laughs gently.
’’Welcome back, Vito’’
It's nostalgic seeing him after so many days, and I also feel like he got a little skinny. But his fluffy smiling face is the same as ever, and it calms my heart. Just by looking at that smile, I become serene as if a wide, vacant gap that existed in me until now became full, and at the same time it gives me a rustling heart.
Looking appreciative, the Captain deepened his smile.
I wonder if he was always someone to laugh so innocently. When we first met he didn't speak more often than not, let alone laughing;I believed he was a silent person, and I thought that was what was a matter of course. But recently he speaks and laughs a lot. It seems that what the Prince was saying was not a lie. ... If it was me, if I had an important person, but that person was lost because of me, I wouldn't be able to stand up again.
But there're no longer vestiges of his previous condition in the current Captain.
At that point, I noticed something different from usual. it's obvious that his clothes would be different but, still feeling something was strange I stared at him from the top of his head to the tip of his toes, and what felt out of place were his bangs.
[What's with the barrette?]
His bangs that are always long enough to hide his eyes have been pulled to one side and kept in place by a barrette. Therefore his pair of eyes are in plain view, and to the left side of his face, the geometric pattern that is a testament of the contract is clearly visible.
’’I got it from LeBlanche.’’
The Captain touches the barrette.
He got it from the Prince? What does that mean? And in addition to that the mark is in sight. (7) Don't tell me, he gave him the barrette, in order to show that off?
[...Take it off right now. If you leave it as it is, isn't just the same as saying 'I'm the contractor'...!]
’’You're right. I believe LeBlanche surely had that intention when he gave it to me. But at the same time, it protects me.’’
[It protects you?]
’’This, is Alvina Kingdom's coat of arms. Only the royals and those who have been recognized by them can wield it.’’
The tip of the barrette has been decorated with the workmanship of a diminute hexagon. If you look closely, it's not impossible to see the figure of a Dragon. Could this possibly be an Earth Dragon? And besides this pattern is well in place throughout the castle. Even in the Captain's and the Knights' uniforms, it had a slightly different shape but it was sewn into them like embroidery.
Was perhaps the Prince, by confering this to the Captain, intending to make it so that nobody would be able to reject him? But such a thing, does it not have the meaning of being officially recognized by the country?
[Still, it is, no good. It's no good. If I hadn't gone and formed the contract as I pleased, this wouldn't be... I don't wish to cause trouble for you anymore, so, it's no good.]
I have caused him a lot of trouble until now. This time it's the same. I don't want people to talk behind his back like they do about me. It's enough if it only happens to me.
The Captain asks me with a curious face. I was left in a loss for words, but I can't not to say anything.
[I mean, I made the contract of my own accord... without your consent...? So it's fine if you want to swear at me, or even hit me.]
When thinking normally, it's absurd to make a contract without permission. Although common sense or absurdity may have nothing to do in such situation, for the Captain it's like his whole life is being put under control. He was dragged into this by my selfish decision.
Such a thing, I hate it.
’’Vito, do you want to be insulted, do you want to get beaten?’’
I don't have such an SM hobby. There's no living organism that'd find joy in that. At least I'm not fine with it.
But, I ended up doing such a large damage. (8)
One that is, irreparable for a lifetime.
’’Well then, I won't do it.’’
I ended up becoming dumbfounded at the answer which was returned to me so readily.
’’Such a thing, don't worry about it. Rather, it's me the one who should apologize. For ending up forcing you to make a contract, I'm sorry.’’
'Though you said you didn't want it so much,' he says with a sad expression.
[Why are you apologizing! Although it's me the one who should be apologizing...!]
Certainly I did say I didn't want to do it, and I thought so too, but the decision was unmistakably made by me in the end. That's a matter the Captain needs not to worry about.
Stroking the cheek of my downcast face gently, the Captain says.
’’I don't want to see you suffering so much because of me... In the first place it's my fault for having been so close to dying.’’
[I'm to blame because you used your body to cover for me.]
’’In that case then we are even. I covered for you, and you saved me from the brink of death. Is it still no good like that?’’
In that case things are too convenient for me.
The Captain's words continued.
’’And Vito chose me. That alone is enough. The one who told me for the first time that this color is beautiful, and honestly said that they liked it was you. And above all, you dyed your body in my color. There's nothing happier than this for me. So I have no need to hide it anymore.’’
At being told to lift my face, I raise my down casted face only a little.
The Captain was laughing with an almost dazzling smile.
’’So, thank you.’’
Saying so, he bends down and as I think he is going to crouch down, he places a gently kiss on the tip of my nose.
At the small feeling that is transmitted from my scales, my heart became warm.
Really, he's too kind.
’’And besides, being hit and cursed at would appease just you.’’ (9)
’’I'm not going to blame you for anything, so you should regret it for the rest of your life.’’ (9)
What's with this devil. So from now on I should always continue to be tormented for a contract I did on a whim!? Wh, what kind of person are you, Captain!
I feel the need to divert my gaze as cold sweat comes out. But contrary to his words, his mildly laughing smiling face makes me not want to look away from his eyes, thus I end up staring fixedly at him.
’’Think only of me, even if it's in distress;don't think of anything else. Moreover, I can stop restraining myself now, right?’’
He stretches both hands fully and comes to hug my head as if he wanted to carry it in his arms.
’’Am I allowed to have expectations of getting a chance, now?’’
'Restrain? Chance? Expectations? What the heck.' As I voice this, with my eyes blinking in surprise, the Captain chuckles.
’’You don't believe me when I say I like you, and when I tried showing you through my actions it was all splendidly in vain. In that case, I'll try my best so that you believe me this time. ’’
Oh dear, 'like'? 'Showing me through his actions'? ...As I try to think back on the matters of the past, there are too many things that prick at my heart so I feel troubled.
It's stuff that makes me blush just by remembering them.
Maybe, those were his true feelings?
Saying that he likes me, the intense physical contact, and even when he strangely charged at me, all of it.
But I was desperately convincing myself that it was because he loves Dragons, or because he saw me as a pet. Somehow I feel that the affection the Captain's sending my way is not that kind of thing. I want to think I'm imagining it, but it may already be the limit to continue to avert my eyes. A part of me thinks so, somewhere within my heart.
And besides I'm not as dense as not to notice it when being told so.
... Nonono there's no way that's the case! Aren't I being too conceited!
I mean, I don't know what I should do.
Because, this is the first time for me.
My head is confused.
[There's no need to try your best.]
I blurt that instantly.
’’I'll do my best.’’
And he ends up saying that with a big smile.
I am no good with balls that change speeds, but I'm also bad with fast balls;I'd like to ask you to send me slower balls please. (10)
As I kept on staying silent because I didn't know what to say, he said with a smile.
’’Because I, am strongly possessive.’’
His smiling face was dazzling.
LutoriaaaaaaaaaarghOMG this guy's gonna kill me xD
And aaaaaah, i'm so SO glad none of you know where i live, i might be murdered and cut into tiny pieces then thrown into a spaceship with the sun for destination if you knew XD i'm sorry, i couldn't resist. please take it as an early Halloween Trick;D okay the army of notes. there's nothing too important in them, anyway, other than me fighting against japanese...
(2) tricky sentence for me, so I'm unsure if there's a better way to phrase it but the general meaning is there :/ どちらにせよ本能からアルヴィナ国を守らなければならないと言う使命感が少し沸き始めている。
(3) like a dog would bite back against its owner, i'm unsure if i managed to convey the meaning across properly.
(4) this paragraph and the previous ones were hell in letters. I somehow managed to translate it with @BionicArk's help in NUForums (here). I leave the original text too in case someone can suggest a better description. Also, I'm like 99.999999999...9% sure this mysterious box will pop up again sometime later, and will be like, very important. Excalibur-level important. and then please someone remind me to come back and review this part again in case I can improve this description when we know WTH this box is xD どこかで見た事のある青い長方形の箱。間には切れ目が入っており、端には長い糸のようなものが括りつけられていた。
(5) 'I'm alive like this' - not sure what she meant here xD but I guess she's talking about her scales becoming black. 隊長さんの怪我は治って私もこうやって生きている
(6) i know it sounds odd... how could I make it sound better? 咎める私を愉快そうに目を細めて見ている。
(7) proof/testament ->I changed this to the ’’mark’’ this time because the ’’proof’’/ ’’testament’’ sounds awkward to me when not accompanied by 'of the contract.' the actual word is akashi (証). I may or may not do the same in the future, but keep in mind that it refers to the magical pattern on Lu-chan's face.
(8) Vito doesn't use the word damage, but there's a limit to the amount of times one can use the word 'thing' and not get tired of it xD
(9) these two sentences were translated with @frenzy85's help from NUF forums!! (here is the thread, also thank you to the people who helped review it!)
(10) baseball terms xD