Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Volume 4 Chapter 5: Dragon-san and the Affairs from the Eastern Country
Although I suggested that we try to talk things out, I never thought that they would have both agreed to it, not given the current vicious atmosphere. Surprisingly enough though, both Mikoto and Senjiro (with Ligurila as well) agreed to the idea.
So for the moment we gathered in the living room of our house, ready to talk things out.
At the same, Elvie thought this might turn out to be something not suitable for the children to see, so he got both Aru and Marca to play with him outside.
And since both Iori and Elvie were with them, the little ones would be safe.
At first I thought it would be a good idea for everyone present to introduce themselves, but I quickly gave up on that idea seeing that as it wouldn’t do us any good at this point.
Anyways, since the atmosphere was rather heavy and Ligurila looked rather unhappy with this whole situation, there were a few things I needed to consider.
For one, I would really like her to sit right next to me, to avoid any unnecessary conflicts.
With that in mind, we quickly established the seating order.
At one side of the table there was me, with an unhappy Ligurila on my left side and Mikoto on my right, emanating a truly intimidating aura and an urge to kill.
On the opposite side of the table was Nectar, sandwiched in between Senjiro and Kyle.
「…… Now then, Senjiro. Please begin by telling us what your relationship with Mikoto is.」
I was worried about where exactly should I start, and ultimately decided to go with this question, but it was Ligurila that spoke up and explained.
「She is the distant relative of one of Senjiro’s cousins. But since they were growing up in the same village, their relationship is closer to that of an actual brother and sister.」
Senjiro didn’t say anything, but looked rather relieved that someone spared him the trouble of explaining all of that himself.
Hmm, so that explains why their magical energy patterns are different.
If they were close family, like father and daughter, or an actual brother and sister, it would be a whole different story, since close relatives have similar patterns of magical energy waves.
But for them, they were so different because they were from different generations. It makes sense now.
「For beastmen, if we have children with someone from another race, the children can be of either race. However, it is easier to have offspring with someone from the same race. That is why we can travel the world seemingly without worry.」
Hearing that, Nectar’s eyes sparkled like diamonds, and then he said to Mikoto:
「So even if you decide to marry someone of a different race than your own and have children, there is no risk of creating a life that will be of a race all of its own.」
「Therefore it is a rare occurrence for a child to be born nowadays with a strong manifestation of their ancestral bloodline and even unlikelier with parents of different races.」
After that explanation, it was Senjiro’s turn to stare down at Kyle, the two of them being separated by Nectar only.
「Now then, Kyle-dono. I would like to hear your explanation as to what your relationship with Mikoto is. We spent some time together and I know that you are a good and dependable man, but do mind that given your answer, I might end up cutting you down.」
The look in his eyes and the tone of his voice were clearly indicating that he wasn’t kidding.
I thought about that earlier, but now I was rather surprised.
For as long as I have known him, Senjiro was always projecting the image of a strong person, and I have never seen him showing any negative emotions like sadness or anger.
As far as I know, Senjiro was being swung around by Ligurila’s whims.
While Kyle was at a loss, I tried to say something, but before I could do that, Mikoto butted in.
「And more importantly, I want to know just what kind of relationship my Big Brother has with this Aramitama.」
This time it was Mikoto who was glaring at Senjiro.
「First, I would like to hear about Kyle-dono and you.」
「No, no, by all means, you go first.」
While I was wondering what to do with these two, Kyle decided to finally join in on the conversation.
「For the time being, let me explain the kind of relationship that we have going on. After all, should any misunderstandings happen, Senjiro said he will kill me. Are you fine with doing the same, Lava?」
「Doing what, exactly?」
「Please tell us about the relationship that is going on between Lily and Senjiro. Out of all of us, you should be able to present the facts in a simple and unbiased way.」
「Oh, that. Yeah, yeah sure.」
That being said, we proceeded to talk about various things surrounding Kyle’s demonization, the first time that Ligurila met Senjiro and what they were doing before that.
After everyone finished talking there was a period of really awkward silence, but eventually Senjiro opened his mouth and spoke up.
「Kyle-dono, let me apologize to you for my rude behavior. Even though you saved my sister, I said all of those things to you and…」
Senjiro bowed down apologetically to Kyle, and he only smiled bitterly in response.
「No, it’s no big deal, really. She saved my body as well, so if anything, that makes us even. But why were you so upset?」
At that moment, Senjiro hesitated for a bit, before his ears dropped down in shame.
「Yeah, about that. In the Eastern countries, some of us possess the power to borrow the power of gods, demons and spirits alike.」
「The thing that Mikoto used to save Kyle’s body from disappearing, right?」
I added, and Senjiro continued even more awkwardly than before.
「But, you see. The shrine maidens of the Eastern countries can borrow the power of gods and spirits, but they can make the contract with only one of them, to make them the pillar of their power. It is the thing that makes the gods jealous. They can even use some really underhanded tactics to achieve that goal while ridding themselves of the competition」
Same thing apparently went for the people. They were doing everything to get on the gods’ good side.
The technique that Mikoto used to save Kyle’s life was apparently the technique that bound a god or demon to a person, so on the physical level I could very well understand why Senjiro was feeling so anxious about it.
「Choosing an appropriate god or demon to accompany you through life is not a small or trivial thing. In return, the gods and demons alike ask for knowledge about this world and their companion’s spiritual power. It is a contact that basically makes the two parties devote their whole beings to one another.」
「…… And that means?」
I asked, even though I had some really bad feeling about this. Senjiro’s arms dropped even further as he continued.
「By making a contract with Kyle-dono, Mikoto agreed to become his everything. In both body AND soul.」
So, in other words, Kyle and Mikoto are now bound by something like Master-Slave contract!?
Sure, no matter how one wants to look at it, in every possible aspect Mikoto was a pretty and attractive girl.
So if it was true and the two were now Master and Slave, it was nothing short but outrageous!
I turn my eyes towards Kyle at once, but he quickly shook his head in denial.
「No, no, no! WE only made the contract in order to save me from disappearing! There were no hidden motifs other than self-preservation and survival!」
At the time I wasn’t paying them that much attention, so I don’t know the details of their conversation.
But looking at him now, he was speaking the truth.
「…… I was prepared for this ever since that time. I will serve you with everything I have.」
「No, you really shouldn’t be doing that. I am grateful to you for saving me during our first meeting, but if I knew the price of that method, I would have never accepted it so easily.」
Kyle said that while looking Mikoto straight in the eyes, clearly looking upset.
Well, it was only natural. I would probably react in exactly that same way if a young girl like Mikoto suddenly appeared in front of me and said that she’s going to serve me.
However, everything was fine since Kyle had no ill intentions towards Mikoto. Otherwise he would already be on his way to the gallows for trying to commit a very serious crime.
「So you mean that you are going to put your very soul on the line to serve your gods or demons?」
Nectar said to himself before he turned his gaze towards Kyle.
「You know, it’s a really horrible thing to say that you don’t want to take responsibility after you’ve made a young girl do something like that for you.」
「Oi, Nectar. Are you sure that you’re the one to talk?」
「I only talk about the facts!」
「It sure doesn’t sound like the facts to me!」
Nectar and Kyle started one of their usual banters and were involved in it for quite a while.
Finally, Kyle calmed down and let out a sigh, turning towards Mikoto.
「Mikoto, are you really sure about this?」
「For now you are. But I am nothing ordinary…… I am a demon. I don’t know if I’ll meet your standards or be even close to them. You saved me, and I will help you, but for now let’s not get ahead of ourselves and,」
「But the moment the contract was established, I must abide by it. That is my role as a shrine maiden and my honor rests upon it.」
Kyle looked to the ceiling with a stiff expression, thinking for a while.
「Mikoto, I’m really sorry about all this.」
Having said that, you could definitely say that there was some kind of connection being established between Mikoto and Kyle.
「Say, Kyle. That was only a temporary contract, right? So can’t you just cancel it on the spot?」
To my understanding, this ritual was way simpler than the familiar contract that was established between Nectar and I way back.
So even if cancelling it was impossible for Mikoto, technically it should be possible for him to cancel it from his end.
「Hey, you’re right! Alright, Mikoto! We are going to cancel this thing later!」
Kyle seemed to be enthusiastic about this thing, but Mikoto, for some reason, looked deeply hurt.
「…… Is it because… I’m not good enough for you?」
「That’s not it. It’s about one-sided slavery. And that isn’t something good.」
Everyone was overwhelmed by his heavy words.
That is because in the past, Kyle used to be bound to the state as its magician with the slavery contract.
I don’t know what kinds of things he must have gone through back in the day, but it was no wonder that he was so heavily opposed to the idea of slavery.
「Let’s establish a fair and equal contract through normal means. It’s a pity to be summoned so suddenly, but don’t hesitate to do that if you ever find yourself in need of my help.」
Mikoto reluctantly nods to Kyle’s sincere words.
Next, I turned towards Senjiro with a serious expression.
「…… I understand, for now at least. It’s a good thing that I also managed to find my soul mate. Although I would have never thought that she would be such a wild one.」
Hearing that, Ligurila crossed her arms on her chest and noticed that Mikoto was still glaring at her.
「You used a name that I’m not familiar with, but I am a demon as well. I’m not that “Aramitama” thing or whatever it was that you called me.」
「In the Eastern countries, Aramitama are the spirits or gods and demons that are not worthy of being paired up with humans, as opposed to the beings that are.」
「Fuhn? In other words, even though they are essentially the same thing, some are considered worthy of receiving human aid and the others are not? I wonder what those demons think about being classified as such by humans?」
「It’s not that Aramitamas existence is a threat to the Eight Million Gods, but they are generally considered to be a bother at best.」
「Ara, now that’s awfully nice of you people.」
Mikoto bit her lip under Ligurila’s sharp glare, still visibly displeased that her older brother was in a relationship with a woman like that.
Senjiro looked pretty embarrassed because people were judging his relationship with Ligurila like that, but he nevertheless spoke up as to cut the topic short.
「Still, Mikoto, you seem awfully fluent in the Western language.」
「But, of course. I studied really hard to be able to study abroad.」
「I learned it from the books that were in the village, but…… Our speech seems to differ greatly. Lava-dono, do you happen to know why?」
That question caught me completely off guard and I became nervous in an instant.
「Umm, let me see…… Your speech seems to be a little bit old fashioned. How long has it been since you learned the language?」
「In Western years? Probably a hundred or two hundred. Is there a problem?」
Said Senjiro, and Nectar nodded to himself.
「I see. The books in their village must have been left there by traders who landed there a hundred or more years ago. That would certainly explain a lot of things.」
「Big Brother, you only noticed it now?」
「Umu, it may be so, but I can communicate without any problems. I’ve been managing that for five years now.」
「That’s nothing to write home about, mind you!」
Said Mikoto, to which Senjiro became visibly irritated.
「Ohhh, it’s been a while since I last saw that. Angry Mikoto, that is.」
「Oh, what joy!」
「She often gets angry when she’s talking with me.」
「Because you would never listen to what everyone else had to say! And you would never let anyone else have the last word!」
「Umu. Indeed that was the case. But I was always grateful to you. When you were there, the conversation would always be cut short. I miss those times.」
Senjiro recalls, and Mikoto blushes slightly hearing him say that.
While we were all admiring what a wonderful thing a family is, Ligurila stood up from her chair, presumably annoyed.
But the expression on her face that I saw from where I was sitting was that of a complete disinterest.
「What’s wrong, Ligurila?」
「I have grown tired of this farce, so I’m going for a swim in the lake.」
「I’m not quite done with you!」
Mikoto stood up and raised her voice, to which Ligurila only smiled bitterly at her and turned around, walking away while shaking her long, golden hair.
「Ara, and whatever it is it that you still want to talk about? You are just Senjiro’s acquaintance, nothing more. Why should I waste my time on you?」
「With that, I shall take my leave.」
Mikoto was speechless, and Ligurila simply walked away.
Welp, what can you do?
Mikoto was shaking with anger and anxiety all over, and once Ligurila left the room she turned towards Senjiro and spoke in their native tongue.
「Big Brother. Why did you get yourself involved with a wicked woman like that!?」
「No, you don’t understand! She has her mood-swings, true, but she’s also very cute and ––––」
「One of the reasons I wanted to study abroad was so that I could find you and bring you back home! My sister and the whole village is waiting for you to return! So let’s go back home! Big Brother!」
I have no idea what they were talking about, because Mikoto leaned over to Senjiro really close, but Senjiro answered her in a gentle manner.
「I cannot do that. I already promised Ligurila to be with her.」
「No way, did she forced you into making a contract with her!?」
「It not that, either. It’s a genuine thing. I have seen many sides of her: childish, spoiled, impish, but also compassionate and kind. I won’t break our contract no matter what. Besides, Ligurila is crazy strong. As a matter of fact, I have not won against here even once to this date.」
「What, did you just say?」
Senjiro stood up and placed his hand in between Mikoto’s long ears, gently stroking her head.
「That being said, Mikoto, I’m really sorry. But I’m not going back home.」
Mikoto’s tail sprung straight in response to Senjiro’s sudden action, but determination was not gone from her eyes.
Together with Nectar, we couldn’t understand what the two of them were saying, but we somehow got it. No words were needed to understand, it was all in the atmosphere.
He couldn’t comfort her, and she was unable to stop him.
As the silence descended upon the room, Mikoto’s eyes were filled with tears.
In the next moment, Mikoto’s right fist plunged deeply into Senjiro’s chin.
Senjiro’s head made a nasty sound and the force of the punch was so great that it blew Senjiro off of his feet.
「…… Geez, I don’t care about you anymore, Big Brother! I hope that this booby Aramitama eats your soul away! Painfully!」
All of the people here were fully aware of the tears that had accumulated in Mikoto’s eyes and dripped down her cheeks.
While we were all stunned by this, Mikoto turned around and run away.