Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Volume 4 Chapter 8: Dragon-san Is in a Pinch
After washing herself thoroughly, Mikoto finally took a dip in the hot spring.
She kept on sighing and seemed annoyed for some reason.
Her tail was still standing straight, but once she gazed at Ligurila it stopped, returning to normal.
I was sitting in the middle of the two, embracing my knees with my hands.
I was curious what the two of them were going to talk about, and I initially wanted to give them some space to talk things through, but I let go of that idea. I needed to be here, in case things suddenly went south and the two of them started fighting again.
But the fact that they didn’t kicked me out of here was already showing some promise.
…… Aaahh, all of the tension and nerves were making my stomach hurt.
Just when I was starting to think that the hot spring was no longer as enjoyable as it was before, Mikoto began to speak with a low voice.
「Big Brother Sen was on his way to become the best Guardian in the whole country. Eventually, my sister appointed me to be the next Head Shrine Maiden, and so on that day they made a promise to each other that they shall be together.」
Mikoto was saying fascinating things from the very beginning.
As for Senjiro, it looks like he was even more amazing than I initially thought……
Mikoto continued, while embracing her knees with her hands.
「If it wasn’t for you, he would not hesitate so much to return home. He could live his life happily there.」
「You sound so sure, but is that really what Senjiro wishes for?」
Asked Ligurila, and Mikoto’s expression darkened in an instant.
「He didn’t say anything like that. Meaning: he didn’t want to do it. He chose to stay here with me. And this means that you can’t really complain or look for people to blame.」
Surprisingly enough, Ligurila didn’t seem to be shaken in the slightest about the fact that Senjiro used to have a fiancée.
Her tongue was as sharp as ever, but this time instead of ridiculing the other party, she limited herself to the raw facts.
She just shook her head at Mikoto’s naivety.
「My sister is the only family I have left. I came her to search for Big Brother Sen in her stead.」
「So you came all this way to bring Senjiro back to your sister? You travelled all the way across the sea just for that?」
「What do you, mean?」
As I started to feel as though Mikoto began to realize something, I could also feel the atmosphere of danger raising in the bath.
「You came all this way to find just one person, but nobody forced you to do it. You chose to do it yourself. And even when you already found him, the reason why you were so enraged when you saw Senjiro with me was not for your sister, but rather for yourself, was it not?」
After Ligurila said that Mikoto opened her eyes wide, her face becoming crimson-red in an instant.
That reaction was definitely not because of the hot water, but more out of shame.
Even I managed to piece it all together.
She had no need to say this directly, but the meaning was clear:
Mikoto was probably in love with Senjiro herself.
I knew that the two of them were suddenly reunited and because of that, Mikoto’s reaction could have been a little bit over-exaggerated, but the reason for her anger and frustration seemed to be something else entirely than what she was letting us know.
I don’t know if Ligurila figured it out all on her own, or if it was because Mikoto’s anger was directed at her.
However, whether Mikoto liked it or not, her body was reacting all on its own, making it painfully obvious to others to see.
「What, that’s not, I……」
「I knew it. So you didn’t even realize it yourself.」
Ligurila slowly crosses her legs, looking at Mikoto with an expression filled with pity.
「The only thing I want in this world is Senjiro. So in order to have him, I shall act accordingly with my own desires, destroying anything and anyone that would dare to oppose me in the pursuit of my goal. Can you say the same? If not, then we don’t have anything more to discuss.」
Ligurila says with confidence and strength, her features lit up by the moonlight. Even to me, who knew her for a long time, she seemed majestic at that moment.
However, what about Mikoto, who was suddenly made aware of the feelings that were hiding inside of her heart?
Mikoto looked at Ligurila in shock.
She opened her mouth to speak up, but the mixture of different feelings such as anger, fear, confusion and despair rendered her speechless.
So as she closed her mouth, Ligurila let out a sigh, pulled herself out and stood up from the water.
「That’s about everything I had to say. Now start acting like the little child you are and go back home like any little child should do.」
With Ligurila about ready to leave just like that, I was wondering what I should do.
Ligurila may have said too much there, but it was true that her relationship with Senjiro was genuine, and every word she said about wanting to protect said relationship was true.
So there was no way that she would apologize for her words.
Should I try to comfort Mikoto instead? But whatever should I say to her, when she was hurt so badly by Ligurila’s words?
While I was having a dilemma, Mikoto stood up from the water, splashing it everywhere around her.
Looking at her, Mikoto’s fists were tightly clenched, and she looked at Ligurila with an expression as if she was about to cry.
「Even if you say that you know him for a long time, I knew Big Brother Sen far longer than you! So I won’t let you have him! Not some dubious and unsightly Aramitama like yourself!」
Even though Mikoto shouted all those things at Ligurila, there was no way for her to understand them, since Mikoto was speaking in her native tongue. Hence Ligurila’s unchanged expression.
However, it was now clear that Mikoto was adamant on not wanting to give up.
Ligurila stopped in her tracks, looked back at Mikoto and then the corners of her lips lifted slightly.
I knew that look all too well.
It was the look of a predator that finally found a worthy opponent.
「Ara? Little foxy is talking back? Ahh, I guess it cannot be helped because of your beastly nature, but do you have the bite to back up your bark?」
「Look who’s talking! You don’t even understand the language we are speaking! If you say you love him so much, why don’t you put some effort into learning it, huh!? Don’t you dare look down on me only because your tits are huge!」
「Tch, you on the other hand have no chest to speak of. See those? Those are the fruits of my labor over the years, after going through a lot of trial and error. Even Senjiro says that they are splendid.」
Saying that, Ligurila stretched her body and her breasts shook magnificently.
Yup, they were amazing, without a doubt.
「B-big Brother Sen is a man after all, so no wonder he likes them! Not that he can help it, but he values other things in women, not only their bodies alone!」
Although Mikoto looked as if she regretted speaking up, she kept on pushing the offensive with her words.
「We were always together, every morning and every night! It is because of that that I failed to notice my own feelings up until now! So you just stay away from Big Brother Sen and stop trying to seduce him!」
「Fufufu, well said you brat, but there are some nuances that can be only discovered with magic. I know everything that there is to know about Senjiro’s body, every single nook and cranny. Why do you think we train every single day? And you can be damn sure that he’s trembling with anticipation for it, and enjoys every second of it!」
「…… Well then, if you trust Big Brother Sen so much, then why are you so irritated that he’s so popular with women?」
「Every time he travelled somewhere to exterminate demons, there would always be a woman or two who would fall for him! Honestly, it was so ridiculous that my family was sure that at some point even a princess or some other noble lady might set her sights on him!」
「W-why would I even be interested in some sissy or two from Senjiro’s past? This only goes to show just how wonderful Senjiro is.」
No, you keep saying that, but your body is trembling all over. Can’t you see it?
「No matter how many times he gets himself into trouble, he just can’t help himself…… If there is someone in need of help, he is going to help them no matter the cost.」
This time it was Ligurila who was visibly taken aback by Mikoto’s words.
「That man, as long as I am his number one, I don’t care what he does on the side or with whom he decides to involve himself with.」
「Like that, he’ll be gone from your side before you even realize it…… He’ll go back home without telling you a thing, as to not worry you.」
Even though Mikoto’s words could only be understood partially, if you consider the amount of words that both of them produced for the sake of their arguments, they actually managed to hold a decent conversation filled with ideals, complaints and comebacks.
Aside from the fact that they both seemed to idolize Senjiro way too much, it was amazing how their opinions about him differed. It was also amazing that they didn’t end up going for each other’s throats.
For now she fell silent, but Mikoto’s tail was swaying with certainty, and there was no shade of doubt on her face.
「But still, we were always taking our baths together with Big Brother Sen.」
「…… What was that?」
I couldn’t help myself but laugh just a little bit seeing just how stunned Ligurila was from that simple statement.
But that would be when they were still in their homeland, so Mikoto must have been really young and small back then.
However, seeing how much it affected Ligurila, Mikoto probably didn’t wanted to clarify that fact at all.
「I let him brush my fur whenever he liked it! He would let me ride on his shoulders and let me sleep on his lap when I was tired! And when he was away on the job, he would always buy me sweets and give them to me when he was coming back! He was treating me exceptionally!」
「M-me too, I was taking care of Senjiro’s tail! I washed it, combed it and did everything in my power to make it look clean and healthy!」
「He let you touch his tail!?」
Umm, it seems like touching the tail was something of a really intimate or even shameless action to do, but butting in right now and having that clarified would be extremely unwise of me.
That conversation, the one about the cultural differences, was unlikely to end quickly, and the farther it went, the more lost I would become.
Not to mention that if I were to listen to any more of this, I might end up unable to look Senjiro or Ligurila properly in the eye once it all came to an end.
Long story short, even Eastern countries seemed to have their fair share of taboos (wry smile).
I was wiping my body while thinking about that half seriously, when suddenly I felt that there was something wrong at the entrance to the changing room.
Or more than that, it was as if there was someone there?
One I changed my clothes, I looked around only to find huge figure sitting in the shadows of the building.
With animal ears and a tail covered in grey fur, it was obvious at first glance who it was. I couldn’t help it but to feel sympathy for that man.
When I approached him, he raised his head and looked at me.
「…… Believe me, I wasn’t trying to peek or eavesdrop.」
「Yeah, I understand. You just wanted to take a dip in the hot springs, right?」
After all, Ligurila and Mikoto were quite loud with their dispute.
I didn’t set any kind of barrier, so Senjiro must have heard it all.
And seeing how bright red his face currently was, he must have heard every single word.
「I would be really grateful if you forget about all of this.」
「It looks like even you have your own share of troubles, Sen-san. Do you want to be loved?」
Hearing that, Senjiro’s ears jolted upwards.
For me it was so much fun, since I have never seen Sen-san so upset ever before.
「Guess I didn’t need to ask, but you might have been better without hearing all that.」
「Naturally…… Now please kill me.」
Senjiro said that with a soft voice while he stood up.
Seriously, the way in which he was moving right now couldn’t be more obvious.
With that, it really would be better if he didn’t hear anything.
「Don’t you want to hear more? Or maybe you would like to go home, pretending you didn’t hear anything?」
I asked, and Senjiro shook his head.
「I don’t really want to hear more. It is a shame, but I don’t think anything good would come out of it. I think I’m going to come back here in the morning to take a bath.」
「That sounds nice.」
I walk alongside him, and Senjiro begins to speak.
「I am really happy to hear that Ligurila feels that way about me. Although I thought it was something impossible.」
「I was really surprised, too.」
First things first, the fact that Mikoto had feelings for him.
And what’s more, that she was willing to follow him all the way out here because of that.
「I am sorry that she needed to go through that because of how she feels about me, but I would be lying if I told you that part of me wasn’t happy that Ligurila feels that way about me.」
Senjiro wagged his tail in an embarrassed manner, all the while looking into the distance with absent-minded look in his eyes.
「Mikoto was still a small child when we were separated. She was really attached to me, but when I left home, she was no more than ten years old. I didn’t think that her feelings for me were of that kind, though.」
Ligurila may have said so, but I do believe that Mikoto’s feelings for Senjiro were more of the feelings that a sister could have for her brother rather than a woman would have for a man.
Still, first love would always be first love, and it wasn’t to be taken lightly.
「I was sure that she gave up on those feelings at this point, but hearing her now only proved that this was not the case.」
Senjiro let out a sigh in the middle of the night.
But I could feel that it was not a sigh filled with pain and sorrow.
「To me, Mikoto is an important person, a dear little sister. So I hope that she can find her true love someday.」
Mikoto would certainly be sad if she heard that because Senjiro’s heart belonged wholly to Ligurila at this point.
It was something that couldn’t be helped, but Mikoto would surely end up being hurt by that no matter what.
And the fact that Ligurila was the cause of her depression certainly wasn’t helping.
「Ligurila only does the things she wants to do. So maybe it is high time for you to do the same?」
I speak casually, to which Senjiro shakes his tail and puts his hand onto his forehead.
「Umu, I’m beginning to think so, too.」
I would never have thought that an embarrassed man would still look cute.
Of course, Nectar was an exception to that rule.
I smiled at that thought, and Senjiro coughed a few times, as if to clear his throat.
「For the time being, I would like to have a nice, long chat with Mikoto. It would be nice if she allowed me to have that.」
「What do you want to talk about with her? Something about your homeland?」
If I wasn’t home for five years, I would surely like to know that everything was okay. However, Senjiro’s response wasn’t quite what I expected.
「Umm, that’s part of the reason as well, but……」
He seemed strangely restless for some reason, but I wasn’t exactly sure why would that be the case.
「I don’t know what to do with my sudden newfound popularity.」
「I understand. Ah, Sen-san. There’s one last thing I wanted to ask you.」
「What is it?」
「I could feel strong traces of your magic coming off from Ligurila earlier. What were you guys were up to?」
「…… This –– No, I’m terribly sorry, but I’d rather keep that to myself! Please forgive me!」
While I was trying to force the grinning Senjiro to spill the beans, we finally arrived back home.