Dragon Life - Chapter 7
I was allowed to stay at the establishment, and when I woke up miss Lily had already made breakfast and was waiting for me.
Oops! Because of my time as a dragon, I don't have a sense of time and I ended up oversleeping.
When I wanted to sleep, I slept, when I wanted to eat, I ate, because of this idling lifestyle I can't really match the rhythm of human life.
That's slightly troublesome.
Be that as it may, the breakfast was also really good.
When I went to the place where I was supposed to be teached, what waited for me was a very large building which left me befuddled for a while. Isn't this the biggest mansion in this town? When I timidly approached the mansion, I noticed that another girl stood in front of the mansion. For several seconds she looked befuddled when looking up at the mansion in the same was I was a short while ago, so I called out to her. Apparently she also came here at miss Lily's recommendation.
She told me that her name was Chiffon, what a tasty sounding name. But she didn't seem to have any magical power, so I didn't feel like eating her... If I don't stop thinking about eating everyone I meet, it might get risky. What if I were to absentmindedly say what I was thinking.
Chiffon was shorter than I was, with dull honey-colored, fluffy hair. She wasn't healthily tanned like I was, instead having pure white skin. Her irises were also the color of honey.
Compared to amber color, it was a different, showy, dark color, but I liked it. Her shy face somehow reminded me of Saus. Uh-huh, humans and animals are different you say? You're too naive. I understand this. Let's leave it at that.
After we knocked on the door, an elderly woman with a scary face opened the door.
[You're on time. That is good.]
After she said that she smiled, and guided us inside the mansion. I wondered whether her scary face or her smiling face was her usual face, the gap between them surprised me. Chiffon told me: [That surprised me. At first I thought she was a scary person, but her smiling face is lovely, isn't it?] as she smiled. What a natural airhead.
All the vases, paintings and furniture in the room were luxurious and ornamented. A chandelier hung from the ceiling.
The last person had already come, sitting on one of three chairs that had been prepared in the room, waiting. The lady had us sit on the other two, then sat down on a chair that was in front of the other three chairs, talking whilst looking at the papers she held in her hands.
[Ariadne Barroo, Angelina town, fifteen years old.]
So she was from this town. However, coming from Angelina town that is being controlled by the Angelina Kingdom and having Angelina as part of her name, isn't that too simple? Am I overthinking things?
Nevertheless, the fact that she has a surname means she that she should be from a fairly well off family. I wonder why she wants to work in the castle.
I stole a quick glance at miss Angelina. She had her hair arranged in a ponytail, and her hair color was a thicker blond than even miss Lily. She had blue eyes, and the corner of her eyes were slightly slanted upwards, which caused her to have a cold and not easily approached impression. But she's the same age as I am. Well, I don't really know how old I am so I simply choose something that matches with my outer appearance.
[Chiffon Quartet, Quartet Village, sixteen years old.]
It seemed Chiffon was one year older. She replied while looking nervous.
[Vito Vienna, Vienna village, fifteen years old.]
People like I and Chiffon who don't have a surname use our village name in place of it. Those who have their own last names are those who have quite a bit of money, since apparently you need to buy it. The more unusual the name, the more expensive it is.
[Good. From here on, I'm going to give you the absolute minimum amount of etiquette that you need in order to work in the castle. Since you're going to work in the castle which is the symbol of this kingdom, I expect you to learn with a serious attitude. I want you to call me Madam. I am the personnel manager for the castle.]
[Yes, Madam] the three of us answered. The Madam looked satisfied and nodded, starting the lesson on etiquette.
The first day consisted of manners. If our backs weren't straight enough, our footsteps were too loud or if we moved our hands too much while we walked we'd get yelled at. It was better than getting whipped, but being scolded by that scary face was terrifying. To walk with pride, with your hands lightly in front of us. When walking not to forgot the etiquette of a lady. I never thought walking could be this tiring. The one she got the most scolded was Chiffon. The more she got scolded, the weirded her walking got, and noticing that the madam didn't scold her after that. As expected of someone with the duty of managing personnel. She really is good at observing people. My performance was average, so I got averagely scolded. Ariadne was amazing. Her movements were so pretty that I ended up captivated, if she told us she was the daughter of nobility I wouldn't be surprised. Madam looked satisfied, smiling while nodding showing the terrifying difference between her scary expression.
Next we practiced how to greet others. The most basic of the basics. First we were to say where we were assigned followed by our name. Simple, but we must be able to do it without wavering in our voices. I'm glad that I did some voice training while I was a dragon, even if it was for threatening others. Chiffon's voice was originally very quiet so she seemed to be struggling. Ariadne managed to do it very tidily with a clear voice. To be born with that voice... Wait a moment, if I eat her won't I get that voice? She seems like she'd have a decent amount of magical power anyway...No, no, no, this won't do. When I'm a human I must be forget my time as a dragon. Forget, me!
The last thing we did during the first day was how to bow when meeting a person of high rank in the hallway. It was a simple bow only bending the back 45 degrees. Becoming hunchbacked and only sticking out your behind is apparently not good enough. It's apparently good enough if we raise our heads after we no longer hear their footsteps. Isn't this kind of plain and painful. It seems I need to train my abdominal muscles.
[Aaah, I'm so tired... ]
When we reached our room Chiffon unsteadily walked to the bed in the middle and collapsed on it. Because she didn't seem very skilled, the one who seemed to be in the most pain was Chiffon.
I? I was very average. After using my muscles that I don't usually use, it seemed like I'll get some muscle pain tomorrow.
Apparently we were to live in one room with three people. When we arrive at the castle two people will share each room, so it seems like I will need to get used to it.
this room was quite spartan in comparison to the earlier splendid room. As expected of a room for servants. And what's more, of common birth. I don't we'll get to do anything but the most menial tasks in the castle, but what we're learning is probably the absolute minimum of what we need to know.
In the first place, the mental image I've gotten so far of those maids who take care of those with high standing, are that they are daughters of nobility who are serving as maids in order to learn the necessary skills to marry, and while doing it they are indirectly searching for their future husbands. What we commoners are made to do is simply what those daughters of nobility simply do not want to do. For example, the cleaning of the castle, laundry and carrying of heavy objects are tasks we are assigned. What we are made to wear are not the light blue apron dress that the maids are wearing, but deep blue clothes where it doesn't matter if they get dirty. That's actually what I'm wearing right now. Chiffon looks cute while wearing it so she's happy, but, well, compared to the clothes a village girl usually wears it's even got frills so it might be considered cute. And it's sturdy. This is important.
[Chiffon, if you're going to lie down, the do it after you change your clothes. You're going to get wrinkles in your clothes.]
We were also provided with sleep-wear. Gray dresses. I who have a very flat body could wear it down to my ankles without problem. This body doesn't have very much of a figure, huh. It feels very familiar... Does that mean that when I was human I didn't have much of a figure? Could it be that it couldn't be helped, since I was japanese?
But Chiffon is different. What's with those breasts!! Just where and how did she hide them, they were so big that it looked like two melons were about to spill out and fall out from her chest. Since it seemed like she had problems wearing the sleep-wear I offered my assistance, causing her to thank me while smiling. This girl is like a marshmallow girl. Her breasts are also like marshmallows.
When we finished our sleeping preparations, Ariadne also began changing her clothes. She loosened her ponytail. Her blond hair reached her hips. Her breasts weren't as large as Chiffons, instead having just the perfect size, and the line from her breasts until her hips were like a work of art. Miss Ariadne had a sensual body like that of an adult. What's with this difference, even though we are the same age.
And just how am I looking at these two. Like this, am I not just like some lewd old man?
And more importantly, Ariadne is taller than I, isn't she. Even though I am taller than the average woman, she's tall enough that I have to look up at her.
[I know! Let's introduce ourselves again! I'm Chiffon Quartet, I came from the Quartet village to the west. The fruits from there are tasty and plentiful, so if you feel like it please visit, okay?]
She was a cute girl with a matching sweet smile. Even though her breasts are like giant marshmallows.
[Ehm, my elder sister is also working in the castle. Since I look up to my sister, it's been my dream to someday work in the castle, too. Then I coincidentally heard that miss Lily was recruiting servants, so I thought it was my chance!]
A nice girl who thinks of her elder sister. It almost makes me want to cry. Even though her breasts are like giant marshmallows.
[Ariadne-chan, would you mind?]
Ah, so she's asking miss Ariadne first. I didn't expect that miss Ariadne would be like me and be slightly bewildered, but she opened her mouth.
[I'm... That is...]
It seemed difficult to articulate so she averted her eyes. It seems like she has her own circumstances.
Oh shit, Chiffon is the type who can't read the atmosphere.
[Ehrm, I am, uh...]
I decided to give her a helping hand.
[You know of the Vizannu mountain close to Vienna village, right?]
If I was strangely silent here it would be odd, right? I decided to tell the same story I told to miss Lily.
[Ah, I know! It's the mountain where the man-eating dragon lives!]
Chiffon took my bait. I'm happy but has the rumor about the man-eating dragon spread this far? Like this it might be really hard to return to my dragon form.
Miss Ariadne also seemed to have an interest in the talk about the dragon, as she stole a glance in my direction.
[Yes, there were several people in the village who fell victim to it, so dad and mom told me that it was dangerous to stay in that village and had me go here to this town. A lot of mercenaries also came to the village and stayed over, but they were all people with no manners. Apparently they were dangerous for a young girl like me.]
I didn't tell miss Lily about the mercenaries. Because the subjugation parties in the beginning were a mish-mash collection, their manners were all very bad. When they entered the forest they teased the animals and threw trash everywhere. In the end I witnessed them trying to rape a young girl who had become lost, so I snapped and turned them all into charcoal. I think that humans can do both good and evil deeds. That's true even when I am a dragon. I eat humans because I want to live. That's why I kill humans without hesitation, because otherwise I can't keep my own life. But those people captured an unrelated young girl. Just recalling it makes me incredibly angry. I wonder if turning them into charcoal was too light a punishment. But because I burnt them to the bone, they will become good nutrition for the mountain, so it's fine I guess.
[There sure are some savage people, huh... They're scarier than the dragon. You did the right thing by leaving your village!]
Hearing that gave me some complicated feelings, but I felt happy at the same time.
After that we fooled around for a while, but since she suddenly went out like a candle, Chiffon might have reached her peak. Covered by her sheet, we could hear her breathing. How surprisingly charming.
I decided to also sleep, so I slipped under my closeby sheet.
I said goodnight to Ariadne, but she seemed to be thinking about something so she stayed up for a while longer.
Aah, it seems I'm reaching my limits, too.
The sandman attacked me shortly after that, and I fell asleep.
The second day, we began by reviewing what we learned the day before and in the afternoon we went over what we needed to learn in order to do our jobs. We had to study so many things that I felt my head was about to explode. So there were etiquette when doing work. I never knew that...
The third day started with a review of the first day, and in the afternoon we studied common knowledge. This surprised me. Since I don't know what the common sense is around here, I couldn't answer at all. But for the detailed knowledge, I could answer. This is probably in part thanks to Rau. Madam looked at me with curiosity, but I managed to dodge the issue with a laugh. HAHAHAHA.
The fourth day we took a break by studying how to brew tea. We will almost never do this job, but there is no disadvantage in the knowledge so we had delicious tea with cakes. Unexpectedly, Chiffon was the best at this, which surprised me. Apparently she loved cakes and tea back in her village, so she had become proficient at preparing both. Even Madam was surprised at this.
The fifth day was the last day, and we repeated everything we'd learned for the Madam to see. Ariadne splendidly managed to succeed on her first try. I failed a few times but managed to receive approval. Chiffon was repeatedly nervous, so she failed around ten times, but somehow managed to succeed which made her really happy. Thus the three of us succeeded. I heard that tomorrow we will be moving out to start working in the castle.
This is the last time we'll be in this room, which is kind of sad. The three of us will be assigned quarters close to each other, but we might end up in different rooms.
Chiffon went to sleep first, and when I was about to sleep as well and had just slipped into the bed, Ariadne called my name.
I might be late in saying this, but the truth is that these last days we had grown close enough to call each other by first name. Chiffon likes to add chan to our names, but she's the only one doing that.
I got up from the bed and looked at the girl who sat on the bed behind Chiffons bed. She looked deep in thought when she looked at me, her ponytail still untied.
[What is it, Ariadne?]
[That is... You told me you were from Vienna village, right? There's one thing I'd like to ask you.]
When I nodded, Ariadne steeled herself and opened her mouth.
[I have a young sister. At the moment she is bedridden with a sickness though.]
That is a serious matter. Since She's Ariadne's sister she's probably very lovely. But I wonder why she's bedridden. I don't get the reason why she told me that either, but I won't be able to say anything without listening to her. I simply kept quiet and listened to her story.
[It happened several weeks ago when we were on a trip to our grandmothers place. I carelessly took my eyes of her for a moment, and she disappeared. I desperately searched for her, but I couldn't find her after I don't know how many hours. But the next morning, I found her. That is, in the middle of a forest at the foot of the Vizenna mountain... She was so emaciated that it stung my heart. She was so covered in wounds and mud that she was painful to look at, her face was pale blue and she was incoherently muttering...’’The dragon’’.]
I was startled.
Among the humans I've met so far, none have been able to escape. Because before they manage to escape, I have either eaten them or killed them. But I overlooked one of them, a single girl. Since she was fainted I didn't think she saw me, it seems she saw me.
Could it be that that girl was―――
[That was the first time I heard the rumor of the man-eating dragon. And all this time I thought that the reason my sister was bedridden with a sickness was because of that dragon. The whole time, the whole time, until now I've hated that dragon.]
Ariadne smiled, the sadness apparent on her expression.
[The reason that I decided to work at the castle, is also for the sake of my sister. My parents run a shop intended for nobles, but it seems that those earnings alone won't be enough to cure my sister. That's why I went to miss Lily's establishment, wondering if there wasn't anything I could do to help. And then I was referred to this job.]
I wonder if this sickness she's suffering, is a sickness of the heart.
She didn't tell that much.
[... That's when, I heard Vito's story some days ago and became to doubt.]
The talk from the first day, I guess?
[That time, you said that the subjugation parties were filled with bad people, didn't you?]
[...There were several bruises on my sister's body. But they were the size of an adults fist. There's no way they were the work of a giant dragon... Could it be that my sister wasn't attacked by the dragon, but the mercenaries... Thinking that made me mortified. That humans who were supposed to be my allies, had caused a wound on the heart of my sister.]
Could the reason why Ariadne seemed down lately be because she was thinking about this?
Could it be that she was constantly reminded of the small mistake she did that one day, and always troubled by it?
[I've no longer know. In what should I believe?]
She had probably hated the dragon until now. Then when she heard what I said, she came to realize that those she thought were her allies could be the very ones who perpetrated the deed which caused her to become perplexed.
It seems that what I told Ariadne caused her to worry, huh. With that knowledge, what I should say is... I should probably not say anything.
I can't say anything that would cause her to feel better. But, if she's lost because of my words.
[Ariadne, you don't have to force yourself to believe in anything. If you find something that you find worthy of your belief, then it's fine to believe in that.]
I think that her sister really was assaulted by the mercenaries. But I can't say that to her. I can't prove it, and I can't confess that I am that dragon.
[I think what happened to your sister is unfortunate. But there would be no meaning if because of that, you also lost your heart. It would certainly make your sister sad as well. If she was attacked by the dragon, or attacked by the mercenaries, I can't tell that... But you will certainly find the answer one day.]
More than that, you should focus on working hard in the castle for the sake of your sister, right? If you can't come up with an answer, then there's no point in thinking about it.
I don't know how to encourage her, but by saying that and including my feelings as much as I could, Ariadne muttered weakly [That's true.], but she still smiled.
Regarding the talk about her sister, I couldn't do anything but evade.