Volume 4 Chapter 24: Tranquil Days of the Small Dragon Part 1
Aru opened his eyes.
His vision opened up to a recognisable wooden ceiling, which was once very unfamiliar to him.
Feeling a little disappointed, he got out of his bed.
At first, he was surprised by the bedding which mainly consisted of a thin mattress directly laid out onto the floor. However, he thought it was nice in that he didn’t have to worry about rolling off his bed in the middle of the night.
As Aru got up, he saw that Mikoto had folded up her futon and had gotten changed already.
Noticing that Aru had gotten up, Mikoto, who was dressed in a white top with sleeves that draped down to her hip and red pleated pants called Hakama gently swayed her tail.
「Aru, are you awake?」
「Good morning, Miko-san. Have I overslept?」
「Don’t worry, we still have some time until our duty.」
While talking with Mikoto, Aru swiftly folded up his futon and got changed into the same clothes as Mikoto’s, which was placed next to his bed.
At first, he was surprised by the East Asian style clothes, which only uses strings to fasten up the clothes. However, he no longer found any of these aspects bizarre or absurd.
Straightening out his clothes, Aru tied up his hair with a string.
Then, he firmly held onto the bracelet which was wrapped around his wrist.
He could still feel the magic with which his parents had so delicately woven it up for him. Gaining some courage, he caught up to Mikoto who was waiting for him outside.
「Shall we head off?」
He answered in Eastern Japanese to sharpen his focus.
Like that, Aru and Mikoto swiftly walked through the wooden hallway side by side.
A familiar energetic voice echoed through the hallway while Aru was wiping the corner of a room like every other day.
「Good morning! Good to see you all working hard today as well!」
Ten, who was wearing her usual flashy short sleeves, dropped her tail down sadly as Aru gave an awkward response.
「Come on, don’t give me that look. You’re ruining your adorable face.」
「Anyone would give their kidnapper the same expression.」
Aru gave a cold attitude towards Ten, determined not to be fooled by her light-hearted words again. Suddenly, Makoto walked into the room, as if to shift the tension in the room. She had white hair, pale skin and her clothes were white from head to toe.
「Ten, there are no flaws in Aru’s words. We are Kadokawa-san’s slaves. So, could you please stop acting so friendly towards us.」
「Come on, I just want to be friends with cute people! I can’t help it but feel jealous that you two are being all friendly towards the other shrine maidens!」
Ten dimmed her face at Makoto’s accurate words. Then, Aru continued.
「Unlike you, other shrine maidens have been kind to us.」
「But… we’re all in on it with the kidnapping you know? This is not fair! Not fair at all!」
As Ten complained childishly, Aru felt a small pain in his chest.
That day, Aru and Mikoto were taken to a place called the Taisha where females of all ages and races lived together.
They woke up the moment the sun rose and shared their chores like cleaning and cooking which they referred to as Samu.
After the chores, they ate breakfast together before they headed off to the duties which they had been assigned to. In the afternoon, they have dinner together only when everyone in the Taisha is in one place, take a bath, then go to sleep afterwards. Like that, a healthy lifestyle took place in the Taisha.
Since a couple of days ago, Aru and Mikoto have been part of this routine as well.
Although the two of them were thrown into the group out of nowhere, the shrine maidens have welcomed them with open arms. However, Ten has made an unbelievable statement on the first day.
「Long story short, I kidnapped them. They’ll be living with us for a while so make sure to be nice to them!」
The event took place in the breakfast area. Aru thought back to that day, thinking about how he will never forget the furious glare of the shrine maidens.
That day, all the shrine maidens of the Taisha made Ten sit in the middle of the floor and scolded her one by one.
The flooring of the room was very traditional, consisting of tatami which was made by weaving up strands of dried up grass. It was soft to touch, however, it seemed painful to be sitting on it for a long period of time.
As a matter of fact, when the shrine maidens have finished scolding Ten, she struggled to stand up properly. At this sight, Aru and Mikoto pitied her a little.
The reason why the shrine maidens scolded Ten was that she dragged Aru and Mikoto into their matter. So, nobody objected Ten when she said the kidnapping was necessary.
Although the shrine maidens were kind to the two of them, they did not help Aru and Mikoto when it came to escaping the Taisha.
The two have attempted to evade. However, they could not find their way out, even with Aru’s dragon ability.
Even if they managed to escape, they would have to survive the attacks from Ten and the other shrine maidens. After that, they would need to meet up with Lava and the others somehow. So, they decided that quietly waiting for their rescue in Taisha would be the best option for everyone.
Although the shrine maidens did not lend a hand with their breakout, they treated Aru and Mikoto like their family and have taught them many things.
The Taisha is a place where the best of the shrine maidens from a bloodline of shrine maidens in Eastern Asia are brought in.
However, in reality, Ten makes most of the decisions and only the shrine maidens which she has taken a liking to remains at the Taisha. The rest are sent to different shrines.
Ten can be quite perverted. However, she did genuinely love the girls.
The role of shrine maiden at the Taisha is to take down the gargoyles which appear in the area.
And to protect something very important.
From the tone of the shrine maidens, it was obvious that they were all defending Ten in some way.
「I am very sorry. However, this is all Ten has allowed me to explain it to you. She said to figure out the rest by yourselves.」
Said the oldest shrine maiden apologetically.
However, the shrine maidens have taught them their language, their lifestyle, their culture, and even the spells they use.
Aru and Mikoto did not understand why they were being so kind to them.
However, they saw the affection was real, so the two talked to the other shrine maidens normally.
That’s why they didn’t hesitate with the attitude towards Ten.
「Everyone else has scolded you for our sake, so they are an exception.」
「Sob. Makocchi and Little Dragon-chan are bullying me.」
As Aru added with a straight face, Ten tried to hug onto Makoto with watery eyes. However, she pushed Ten’s hand away with her tail, waving it like a smooth stream of water.
「Of course we would. Also, please don’t touch me.」
「But this is how I cheer myself up」
As Ten cried, other shrine maidens who have been cleaning nearby started to giggle.
Aru knew that it wasn’t just towards the half beast maidens which Ten acted in this way.
Aru never understood the light-hearted relation between Ten and the other shrine maidens.
The shrine maidens had an air of superiority around them. However, the two got along with the girls like they were their family.
Since that day, Aru has not spoken Ten’s name.
He did not understand why he had to be nice to Ten when she was the one who has kidnapped him.
However, there was no denying that she has been taking care of Aru and Mikoto with her best hospitality.
As he was wondering how Makoto was awake before him, he could hear a set of light footsteps echoing through the hallway.
「Onee-chan, there you are!」
Mikoto appeared around the corner of the hallway, her golden ears standing up straight.
「Oh, good morning Mikoto.」
「What are you doing here?! You ditched your check up again, didn’t you? The Exorcist has been looking for you all over the place. Could you please go to your check up for once!」
Mikoto replied in her usual self. However, the moment she was reminded of her appointment, Mikoto’s eyes shifted into a sharp glare.
As Aru thought to himself 「Not this again…」he glanced over to Makoto who was grinning.
「I can manage the health of my own spirit power just fine by myself. I have made a full recovery now. Everyone else is just worrying too much.」
「Says the person who couldn’t get out of their bed for three days!」
「I told you, that was because I used too much of my spirit power.」
Makoto’s lips curved downwards as Mikoto was about to continue on frustratedly. Then, Ten cut into the conversation.
「Makoto, you promised that you would go to your check-ups. We’re all worried about you so do us a favour and go to your check-ups, okay?」
「Really? Ten? Even you’re on their side? Fine then, I’ll go.」
As Makoto saw Ten’s uncharacteristically serious gaze, she shifted her gaze down to the floor.
「I’m sorry for causing such a fuss. Aru, I will see you at breakfast.」
「Please take care.」
As Aru replied, Makoto gave a gorgeous smile and followed after Ten.