Dragon Life - Chapter 41
The memorial service. Her confession.
’’It's fine already, I'm not going off to get married.’’
I covered my face with both hands, and crouched down as if I would break down crying.
I didn't think girls could be this scary. Although I could cover my nakedness somehow, I was touched in various places, and they made me change clothes many times as if they were dressing up a doll;I feel embarrassed just by remembering it. Fire was blowing from my face. I want to reproach myself for not blowing fire from my mouth.
Relentlessly, I grasped a chance and escaped, but I don't even know where this is. 1 I had actually succeeded at escaping from Maribelle's room but since I was in a hurry, apparently I ran in the other direction and, so to speak, became a lost child at an unknown location. I don't know how many years I've been at the palace but I still don't get a grasp of the whole place, I wonder just how wide this castle is. 2
’’I wonder if I can return...’’
If possible, I'd like to return to Maribelle's room without being discovered. And to seclude myself within.
Surveying my surroundings, at a garden like place that is a long way from the castle, there are overgrown trees on the side that is opposite to the palace. There seems to be a small forest in its premises, and furthermore, is that a river, what I can see in between the gap amongst some trees?
It's a place I absolutely didn't know of.
At becoming a little anxious I tried to wipe my tears, but I stopped in a hurry at noticing that I was wearing lacey gloves. They have been borrowed for the time being. I also checked that my outfit hadn't become dirty, but it seemed okay.
Even so it was hard to move in it. The corset really causes pain to my waist and the feeling of oppression it gives in order to gather and lift my nonexistent breasts is terrible. It's a miracle that I haven't fallen down in these high-heeled shoes to which I'm not used to. I give my respect to the noble daughters who always dress up in this fashion. It sure is hard to become beautiful.
While I was thinking over what to do now, I turn around in surprise at the voice that came from behind. A little out of breath, the Captain was coming closer in a trot.
’’I was waiting outside, but you suddenly rushed out and I thought something may have happened, so I came after you.’’
-I'm so sorry. I was desperate.
He stood up tall from his crouching position and I looked up at him. His appearance is different from earlier. It's his usual uniform, but there is a flashy ornament about his armband, making it into a splendorous attire. If Prince LeBlanche is a prince come straight out of a picture book, then the Captain should be the loyal knight that protects the prince. That is to say that the Dragon me should be the villain, I know. Who would be the princess? I'll kidnap her with enthusiasm.
The Captain was staring at my face and making a surprised expression for some reason, but he immediately laughed the same as always and caressed my cheek in a gentle gesture.
’’It suits you.’’
So that was it. I had forgotten that my current appearance was of having been thoroughly played with. 3
’’Y- you don't' have to flatter me. Besides, it looks childish.’’
I don't know if it's Ariade's hobby, but I was recommended such things only. Like colorful primary colors, or with plenty of frills, my face cramps up just by remembering it.
But this looks embarrassing as well. It's of a soft red color, giving the impression of sweet candy and with a fluffy silhouette, however it's boldly open in the chest and back area, making me insecure. 'It doesn't reveal the legs but is it fine if it reveals the breast and the back?!' When I picked on this I got a 'that's right' as a reply. I honestly can't understand the criteria for shamelessness of the women of this world. My hair was braided and gathered beautifully. From time to time there is a bell-like sound, so I think that some kind of barrette was surely attached to it.
’’It's not flattery. You're cute.’’
'Cute,' I want to make the announcement that this word exists for the sake of people like Chiffon and Maribelle!
If I get the feeling that my face is too hot, surely, it's just my imagination. If I can't look up properly at the Captain's face, then that also is my imagination.
’’If- if you think I'm cute it's probably because this girl's appearance is good.’’
He makes an odd face at my words.
’’Because it's the figure of a village girl that I previously ate.’’
’’Ah, I see.’’
Even if I'm called 'cute' and I'm said that this 'suits me,' this isn't my true form. My true form, is that of another human ? ...Human? What am I saying, aren't I a Dragon?
’’Vito, you aren't human?’’
What is this person saying now.
’’What are you talking about, I'm a Dragon. There's no way I can be human. Do humans eat other humans?’’
’’Hmm... Is that so?’’
I really can't tell what are you thinking. He looks calm yet his line of sight is floating in midair.
’’You, are not human.’’
’’Yes. More importantly you have even interacted with me as a Dragon, right?’’
Saying that, I was surprised because his face, with disgruntled and seemingly dissatisfied look on, came closer to me.
’’Even though I called you 'my important girl.'’’
I think such a thing happened.
Eh, but I don't know if he was serious. What's with this person. Since I'm a Dragon, I can't be human, yet he has been interacting with me as if I was a human girl? What's with that, I don't get it.
’’A, anyway, me being human, -’’
There's no way.
Eh, then what about these human memories?
It's silent inside me but a cluster of strange recollections reside in there. Nope, I don't know.
’’...It's fine even if you don't correct yourself? It seems that I, actually have human memories. But even to me, these have me wondering what they are exactly, so I don't quite understand it.’’
’’So you certainly have them.’’ 4
My eyes go round at the answer that came back forthrightly.
’’How do you know?’’
’’Because of your human-like behavior. No matter how high it's the intelligence of an Earth Dragon, there is no Dragon that would blend so smoothly into human society like you, Vito. There is remaining literature that states that previous Earth Dragon faced considerable struggles. So I was wondering if Vito was actually a human.’’
’’Are there humans that can turn into Dragons?’’
There usually aren't, he replied.
’’But the origin of the Earth Dragon has not yet been elucidated. It's even unknown how it is born. So one way or another, I can tell.’’
Come to think of it, by the time I noticed I was in Vizannu Mountains, and didn't even think it was weird for me not to have parents. How was I born, I wonder.
’’If it bothers you, you may ask Lord Cleric.’’
’’No thank you.’’
He laughed at my immediate answer. I'm not good with that person. I don't want to involve myself with him as much as possible.
’’Come on, Vito. It's about time.’’
Judging from the situation I think that I'll be surely taken to the party dubbed as Cultural Exchange Meeting. I don't want to go, but I get the feeling like I won't be able to escape from the Captain. When I was heaving a grand sigh in my heart, he suddenly pulled my hand.
’’Eh, but that way is’’
Rather than the castle, it was towards the small forest.
As it was, the two of us entered the trees that surround of the park outside the castle. My heels are piercing the ground so it's hard to walk, but I was able to keep up with him somehow because he matched my pace. It's not necessary to mention that I stopped him when he seemed like he wanted to carry me. Rather, I want to carry him. I'm the type that wants to protect rather than being protected, is there a problem?
’’It's a river that connects to Lake Killuv.’’ 5
It appears that what I saw earlier in the gaps between the trees was a river indeed. It's sparkling by reflecting the light of the sinking sun. If it's a river that connects to the castle, I'm guessing it's a large river.
’’What are those people doing?’’
A little distance away from here, there are a lot of people gathered. Carrying something that looks like small hanging lanterns, they are letting them float away in the river. The spectacle of countless faint, fleeting lights trembling as they flow away in the river is just like the stars suspended in the night sky. However, in some respects the lonesome color of the lights makes them seem like they could disappear at any moment.
’’It's a memorial service. After a battle, it's usually done over here.’’
To comfort the dead, a ritual to see them off.
So these are lamplights for the people who became sacrifices? At the flowing scene I remember the battle from earlier, and my feelings become something that's hard to put into words. To steal a life takes but an instant. But that life may be an irreplaceable existence for someone else, and they will never be the same again once it's lost.
’’...In this world, do you believe in reincarnation?’’
’’If I had to say, then there is a lot of people who do believe in it. That the soul returns to its original world. ...Why?’’
’’I was just wondering, if souls do actually exist.’’
Isn't the concept of a soul something humans fabricated and something they yearn for?
’’You don't think, that you want to believe in it?’’
’’No. Maybe I'm just being rebellious, but I can't believe in it.’’
So that's why I want to live this one-time life to the fullest, and why I don't want to have any regrets.
’’That's so like you. But that exists for certain.’’
He laughs mischievously.
His narrowed dark pupils shone, clad in the light from the lamps flowing in the river.
I wonder, how many times have I become fascinated by those dark eyes. How many times, have they made me hesitate. It's not just because they are black, it's because they belong to him that I'm fascinated.
In the first place, why am I so obsessed over black, I wonder.
Since waking up at the Vizannu mountains as myself, several years have passed. Death has come to a lot of human beings in this continent, and I also have sacrificed countless human beings in order to live. Though I may come to be resented or hated for these cruel acts, I have still done them. It can be concluded that the fact that I'm here right now comes from having sacrificed them. I wonder if it's imprudent of me that I feel like I don't have a sense of reality over this.
Before being a Dragon, I wonder, just what in the world was I. I feel sick, because it's like a wide, gaping hollow was open within my heart. I feel ill at ease. Unbalanced.
Still, I believe that I'm able to be standing here like this is, surely, because the Captain is by my side.
In order to make a prayer towards the many small lights floating in the river, I close my eyes.
Oh, this is delicious.
I didn't know that there was such a large assembly hall in the castle. It seems like it's being used as a dance hall or ballroom, but there is a large chandelier is enshrined in the ceiling with so many luxurious decorations on it that if it was to fall down it would become a great disaster. As there are people who dance at the rhythm of the musical instruments, there are people who make flowers bloom in their speech, people who recite epic tales;there are varied people. Yet my eyes and nose are hurting from their perfumes and the vivid colors of their garments.
It appears that the high executives from Tiruzoto Kingdom have come as well, but everyone is similarly wearing gaudy and elegant clothes without wearing any distinctive, so I don't know who is who. With a glance I can't see anything other than a mere grand party. I became a little worried over wondering if the Cultural Exchange had started. In the first place what do you do at a so-called cultural exchange. I'll ask the Prince later.
And earlier I met our King for the first time. If our Prince is one to follow the 'royal road' then the King was one to follow it, too. 6 An unfashionable white moustache and curled white hair. A crown and a red outfit. For some reason he started nagging at us, but since it was about something that I don't mind particularly I made an insincere smile and floated away. The Captain's still his prisoner, though.
Munch munch, yeah, I like this. Its sharp spiciness and sourness are indescribable.
I was told to greet the people at the assembly hall but I refused resolutely. If it's at the level of just doing greetings I'll still run away, you know . It's all right for them not to remember my face. Although the Prince made a bitter face, it troubles me if I'm treated like a pet. It's absolutely absurd to place a necklace on my neck. Well, not that they have.
Sweets are also good. Ah but I wanted to eat the desserts at the end.
In a situation such as this, because it seemed like if I continued to act like a wallflower something bothersome could happen, I was silently eating delicious dishes while holding some water in one hand. Although these delicate flavors are elegant, I like exciting flavors more. At getting overly stuffed with various flavors, the aftertaste is unpleasantly heavy. But this marinade is great. Oh, this, could it be Nassau's special, karaage?!6 If it's only eating it, then let's eat it. 7 Ahh but it's strange if the food is diminishing only over here so let's us borrow from another table as well.
[KARAAGE - FRIED CHICKEN MEAT WITH A SPECIAL MARINADE]
Satisfied from having finished eating all dishes from beginning to end, I let out a happy sigh, but from somewhere I felt a gaze on me, so I surveyed my surroundings.
I met eyes with a petite youth.
I wonder if he was perhaps watching my eating manners. The boy was surprised that our eyes had met, and was blinking his large eyes blinking in astonishment. When he calmed down his irises were of a deep blue color, and were so big they seemed about to fall off, and his long, pink colored hair was tied together. I was briefly fascinated by this lovely noble bishounen, but some reason something feels out of place. 8 Although there are a lot of other noble boys and girls, for some reason I can't tear my eyes away from him.
Who is he, I wonder;I could tell with a glance that he carries the divine protection of the spirit of wind, however, this, I don't know how to say it, he has a familiar, calming and healing atmosphere.
As we have been staring at each other for a while, I finally noticed, who this person is.
’’Oh..., Maribe ’’
The boy opens his eyes wide and runs over in a panic. He moved so extremely fast that the words I was saying ended up getting clogged up. As if to tackle me, he covered my mouth with a handkerchief brought out of his pocket.
He even covered my nose so it was hard to breathe.
I was astonished since she was stronger than I thought and I forgot to resist. In that manner, as if I was being dragged, I was lead to a corner of the assembly hall, and pushed behind some thick, rouge colored curtain. According to Ariade, when a ball is held there will certainly be a rendezvous of men and women at the corners of the dancing hall, this is such a place. He was impatient, but luckily there were no preceding visitors in this corner, so after feeling relieved for a bit, the youth turns to me and peers at my face.
Ah, as I thought, this face is.
’’Stay quiet, understand? Don't yell either.’’
It's a calm voice characteristic to boys.
When I nodded, the boy made a relieved expression and released me, but used the handkerchief as it was to wipe my mouth.
’’Sigh, you've eaten too much, Vito. The corners of your mouth are dirty.’’
’’I'm sorry, I couldn't stop myself.’’
Being in front of such wonderful food and not eating it, is something I cannot do.
’’Couldn't stop yourself, you say... You are a girl so at least you should care a little for your personal appearance. Seriously.’’
After wiping my mouth and nagging me like a mother, this time he takes out lip gloss from his breast pocket;and saying, 'don't move,' he applies some on my lips. It tickles.
’’There we go.’’
’’Th, thank you.’’
’’Since people went through the trouble to spruce you up, you should pay a little attention! You shouldn't go eating so much again after this!’’
He's looking up at me with both hands on his hips and up-turned eyes. 'Pay attention,' he says and makes a smiling face, as if satisfied. This lovely smile is absolutely
’’You, are Maribelle, right?’’
Although he has a somewhat different appearance and voice, there's no doubt. According to the little gestures and the touches that are the same as usual, this is definitely Maribelle. She's not wearing the usual light make-up, on the contrary her outfit is completely that of a praiseworthy noble youth;if not for her long pink hair and because I knew her make-up-free face I may not have recognized her. At first I was even staring at her while thinking 'there is such a lovely pretty boy over there.'
But, I wonder why is she dressed like this.
The youth, no, Maribelle's face was deathly pale and her eyes were swimming left and right, but she let out a big sigh.
’’Oh man, how did it come to this! Anyway, come here. Since we can't speak here.’’
My arm is grabbed again and I'm dragged along. Upon exiting to the garden, it was nice and cool as if the heat of the hall was a lie. There are some visitors who arrived before us here and there, but none seem near enough hear us talk. Making sure of this Maribelle finally released the tension of her shoulders.
’’'s it safe here?’’
’’... Your manner of speech is different.’’
Is it just me or her tone of voice is lower. Her high-pitched voice seemed like a lie.
’’Using a woman's voice when dressed like this would be weird, right?! Do you want me to act like a pervert?’’ 9
This angry face is Maribelle's usual expression. But this appearance and voice, and that change in her use of first person have me perplexed.
’’Ehm, I'm sorry, my head's not following, is, is this a disguise?’’
’’You think it's a disguise?’’
I really don't know what's going on.
The boy that seems to be Maribelle glances down with a small sigh.
’’It's not like I'm wearing this outfit because I like it. Isn't it obvious I'd want to wear a dress with a cute design...?! I had it tailored just for today but it was ruined! Why did this happen!’’ 10
’’Maribelle, your speech is rebounding between a boy's and a girl's.’’
Perhaps the moments when his voice returns to being high-pitched are a mere illusion. But when I caught Maribelle's usual voice, I was convinced that the boy in front of my eyes was her.
Maribelle makes a face of having done something forbidden and covers her mouth with a hand in a panic.
’’If this, is not a disguise then what in the world... or is it something you can't talk about?’’
Madeleine said that Maribelle wouldn't attend because she had other matters to tend to, and I didn't ask further. I wonder if she was meaning to remain silent about it. I feel sorry for having discovered this.
’’I didn't even think I would be discovered this early... Why didn't you avert your eyes at that time!’’
’’Because you were staring at me? And I was thinking, 'there's such a pretty boy over there.'’’
’’I'm such a foool!! Anyway Vito, you are no good because you are dressed so cutely! Even though you are always dressed so sloppily! It, it's not like I was charmed by how cute you looked or anything, you hear?!!’’ 9
When her face became bright red, mine also ended up becoming red. It might be the first time Maribelle tells me such a thing to my face.
’’Thank you. But you are way cuter than me.’’
’’N, not at all! That's not what I was trying to say!! Uugh...’’
She suddenly became silent, and desperately used her hands to cool her flushed cheeks.
She calmed down after a while, and then her expression became serious.
’’I was, meaning to tell you someday. Because understand that continuing on like this, is wrong.’’
She quickly sucks in a breath, and stares at me squarely.
Her serious, dark blue irises were shaking somewhat.
’’ I, I'm a man.’’
Yes, come again?
A TRAP HAS BEEN SPRUNG.
I hope you listened to me and brought a thief with you. YOU CAN'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU.
coughcough, on to the note army.
- wild guess with the first part of this sentence!! XD 隙を突いて逃げ出したは良いが
- I don't know how many years [...] - Vito literally says she doesn't know how many years she has been there. YEARS? Like, REALLY?! It doesn't feel like that at all! 何年も城にいるのに未だに全部を把握していないって [...]
- appearance of having been played with - Vito says she was ijikurikawas'ed xD - according to weblio jp, this means: [the appearance of repeatedly/frequently tampering with ___. The state of severly/utterly playing/toying with ___. When using a kana-kanji software the characters 「弄繰り回す」do show up as an option, but the most usual spelling used is 「弄くり回す」]. So... vito was thoroughly played with.
- thanks to @Yukkuri Oniisan from Nuf for helping me out with figuring the best translation for this sentence~ (here)
- lake killuv - it could be a swamp, too... stupid kanjis and their multi-meanings XD other writings for killuv could be: Kiruvu/Kiluvu/Killuvu. キルヴ沼
- karaage - it's usually chicken meat marinated in mirin and dipped in a special batter, which includes potato starch and then this is all fried. Supposedly, the potato starch gives you ' the feeling of eating chicken and fries at the same time!' [from: gurashii]. Karaage, though, is not what we commonly know as fried chicken, and is different from tempura as well. 'karaage derives its taste from the marinade,' while 'tempura relies on a dipping sauce for flavoring.' [from quora].
- not sure :/ 食べれるだけ食べておこう。
- briefly - the term used is 'sukoshi no ma.' According to weblio jp: for a small duration of time - for a short while;for a little bit;for a moment;one breath;a beat [...].
- 'boku', a masculine 'I' is used in this sentence.
- first 'boku' is used, but save for the first sentence, the others are spoken in a girly manner.