Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Volume 4 Chapter 33: Glimpsing Thoughts of the Dragon Child
Could you please bring us some tea? Aru accepted a request from the two Shrine Maidens just like that.
Because he had no other choice, sine of those Shrine Maidens was Ten, and the other was her visitor.
And so he started to walk down the quiet hallway, but then he suddenly heard a voice.
The voices belonged to Ten and her visitor.
「THAT. IS. WHY. I’m telling you! We should focus on doing these things properly!」
「Yes, it’s true that I wanted you to check whether or not the rumors about that dragon were real!? But why THE FUCK it ended up in a KIDNAPING!?」
「Yeah, so you see, I went to the Western continent just as you told me and met that dragon. However, what I didn’t know was the fact that my younger sister was being friends with it. It looked quite promising, and so I even wanted to ask them to come here for a visit. But then I thought it would be a while lot more interesting if I were to play the role of a villain her and make them put in some effort into this on their end. And I even brought this cute girl back with me. See? It’s a win-win situation in my book.」
「Uuuuwwwwaaaahhhh! What to do!? I cannot communicate with this girl at all!」
「Eeeeeh? But, didn’t you tell me to do whatever I see if, as long as the results are satisfying? And here you are, still complaining. Aren’t you a little bit too demanding?」
「But honestly, to think that dragons can have children!? Now I’ve seen everything…… And its father is a spirit, no less.」
「There you go, talking about people like that! Your personality is terrible, you know? Good grief.」
While she was saying that, Ten’s voice sounded as though she was rather enjoying herself.
But noticing that they were talking about him, Aru got strangely nervous.
「It’s not good, you know? This child is half-spirit and half-dragon, you know? You may talk about it a roundabout ways, but it won’t change that fact.」
「I am well aware of that, since I was the one who kidnapped them. So? What about its mother? Are you sure she’s going to come to rescue it?」
「She will. Maybe. Possibly.」
「…… Somehow, you don’t sound all that confident.」
「I know that they got caught up in my teleportation circle, but I somewhat doubt her maternal instincts, you know? Like, does she care enough for her child to come chasing after it? On the other hand, since it is so hard for dragons to reproduce, she may come at us with everything she has just so she can have her child back.」
Suddenly, the sliding door opened, while Aru was wondering whether he should enter or not.
Seeing him, Ten smiled brightly.
「That is why, you need to bear it for a little while longer and just play nicely with you Onee-san. Can you do that?」
「Ah, eh, the tea, it’s ready……」
「I’ll have some, I’ll have some! Nothing goes better with some snacks than a delicious tea! Everyone, please help yourselves!」
Now that she said that Aru finally remembered.
Even though Ten and her Shrine Maidens were currently in the dining hall, Ten herself didn’t really eat anything.
Since she was a spirit it wasn’t something unusual, but eating was such a natural thing to do that it was pretty much impossible to just forget about it.
「Ah, that’s right, the condition of the gate is not all that great today, so you should wait some more before using it. You can kill some time here until then. See ya!」
「Haa? What the hell does that supposed to mean! Wait just a minute, you dumb dragon!」
Aru witnessed Ten coming out of the room and disappearing somewhere, and right away a pale-haired young man stormed out of the room after her.
Aru was not really all that good with dealing with this man, but even so he mustered enough courage to speak up.
「Lute-san, hello. Umm, today’s snack is mizu yokan. It’s really delicious, so you should definitely have some.」
「…… Haah, you too……? Why are you so……」
Aru was silently waiting for Lute to finish his sentence.
「It’s nothing. I’m fine. It’s not like I’m jealous or anything…… So it’s not like I really want to try this out or anything, haah…… Good grief, it’s just a bean paste boiled together with sugar, so why does it have to be so good-looking.」
「But it looks so nice, I’m sure it’s going to be delicious.」
「You people say the strangest of things sometimes!」
Lute just wouldn’t stop complaining, but at the same time he reached out his hand and took some of the mizu yokan from Aru.
Then he took one more. And then one more. One after another, the sweet treats kept on disappearing inside of his mouth.
It seems that Lute-san has a really sweet tooth. Aru made sure to not that inside of his head.
He appeared in Taisha a few days ago and almost immediately got into a fight with Ten. He also seemed astonished upon seeing Aru.
Luckily he didn’t ask any questions, completely focusing on arguing with Ten over the smallest of things.
Aru didn’t understand much from their interactions, but from he managed to gather, this young man must have been a spirit, as well as Ten’s friend.
It also looked as though he was able to come and go here as he pleased.
Occasionally he would arrive in the company of female spirits, but over the course of the last few days the scene with him coming to Taisha and quarrelling with Ten became something similar to a routine.
Realizing just so many sweets he has eaten, Lute had a guilty look on his face while he stood up.
「Where are you going?」
Whenever, it doesn’t really matter. Besides, it’s not as though I’m obliged to tell you anything.」
Having said that, Lute came to a stop after picking up his instrument that he left earlier in the corner of the room.
Aru finished eating, and then returned the tray to the kitchen and went out.
He went to the flower garden, where a few Shrine Maidens that were there started to follow him with their eyes.
When he tried to look at them they averted their gazes, but then proceeded to look at him the moment he turned around.
Then, after a few minutes of walking he reached a small, secluded alcove with wooden roof. Lute was sitting there.
Lute, who was almost obsessively trying to tune his instrument, saw Aru coming and spoke with an irritated voice.
「So, fancy to tell me why did you come after me?」
「No, it’s just that…… You speak in Western language.」
Of course, Aru spoke with Mikoto in Western language on a daily basis, but because no one else knew it here, he couldn’t help it but to feel a little bit alienated.
So, when he heard Lute speaking familiar words, he felt somehow relieved.
「Also, I was hoping to hear you play your instrument today as well, Lute-san.」
Aru sat opposite of Lute and stared at him, while Lute stopped his hands that were about to move to the strings of his instrument.
Suddenly, Aru could feel that the atmosphere in here got somehow colder.
「You do realize that I am your enemy and right now you are nothing but my prisoner? My only intention is to use you. Trying to get along with me is utterly meaningless.」
「Are you not getting along with Father and Mother?」
Hearing Aru say that, Lute glared at him menacingly.
「I just know that there is no reason for us to try to get along. You, the dragons, are the things that I detest the most in this entire world.」
There was a tremendous wave of negativity coming from Lute towards Aru, and he could feel his heart aching because of that.
It wasn’t the first time he felt such negativity being directed towards him.
He felt the same things back at school, when a group of his peers and seniors used to talk behind his back, thinking he didn’t hear them.
However, since it was the first time that Aru met with such hostility face to face, he was unsure how to react to that.
「Why do you hate us so much?」
「Who wouldn’t if you were to take something that was the most precious to someone away from them?」
「Did we do something to you?」
「Even if I told you that, what would you do? Are you able to do anything on your own? It’s arrogant of you to think that I shall answer every little question that you may have.」
To Lute’s cold words, Aru clenched his fist onto his kimono.
Still, he managed to calm himself down and take a deep breath.
「…… That is why I dislike children so much. They are too clueless to understand why someone is being angry at them.」
After that, Lute just went back to adjusting his instrument, stroking the strings from time to time.
And since some of the strings were placed on the single screw, their sound would resonate in double whenever he was doing that.
「Your parents, how old are they?」
Aru, who was absorbed in watching Lute work, was surprised to hear him ask such a question.
「Oh, umm, which one?」
「Both of them.」
「Father should be around two hundred years old, while Mother should be around five hundred years old.」
「…… I didn’t think they would be so young.」
Said Lute while stopping his tuning.
Aru didn’t understand why would Lute be surprised at that fact, and that got him scared. Why was he asking him that in the first place?
This doubt must have been written all over his face, because Lute spoke to him again.
「You do realize that you’re the first dragon child that was born since thousands of years?」
「I am the youngest?」
「Well, if you were really born out of that dragon, than that’s exactly the case.」
After he said that, Lute let out a sigh and stroked the strings of his instrument.
「If you are so young, then you couldn’t possibly know.」
While Aru listened to the lute’s melody, those words placed some doubt in his heart.
And even though Aru knew that it was just a tune-in, the melody was still beautiful.
「I really like hearing you play, Lute-san.」
Once he heard those words, Lute stopped tuning his strings again.
He looked at Aru and wanted to say something, but ultimately decided to close his mouth and say nothing.
Then he put his hands on the strings again and the melody resumed.
「One song. There will be nothing more.」
Seeing as lute finally gave up, Aru corrected his posture, ready to listen.
He knew that if he had the time to spare, Lute would play his instrument.
He heard him play on the first day that he got here.
The song in itself was fast paces, but its melody seemed to have resonated with Aru’s very soul.
The next song was slow-paced and smooth.
Hearing that, Aru was fascinated just how soothing it was, making him calm down on the spot.
He applauded Lute’s performance so much that his hand started to hurt, and even after that when Lute finally noticed him, he didn’t stop playing and Aru wouldn’t stop listening.
However, these songs were without lyrics.
This time it was different. The lyrics were there, but they felt somewhat disconnected from the melody.
His voice was soft, but felt as though it was striking the false tone.
He was using the ancient language with surgical precision, even though there were no imminent effects of its use.
「Falling into the deep water,
A flock of wild salmon.
But no one even notices,
The eternal life that passes through the world during the night.
The silver gaze and,
The person connected with deep bond,
Forgets the name of that one person.
Love for the Heavens,
Care for the Earth,
Desire for the world it grew in,
The voice is,
Not reaching the Heavens,
Falls to the deaf Earth,
Unknown to the world.
Nothing to threaten the eternal sleep,
Remnant only in the leaves,
At the bottom of the sea,
Riding through the wind.」
It was a really sad song.
The song was painful, heartbreaking, sad, unbearable, and full of awkwardness.
As soon as the lute’s sound faded to silence, tears began to flow down Aru’s cheeks.
They fall to the ground, changing into small crystal beads mid-air.
Feeling his throat becoming sore, Aru looked at Lute who had a rather complex expression on his face right now.
「It’s just a song. No need to get so emotional over it.」
「But, it’s just so sad…… It feels as though I forgotten about something.」
「…… So, did you managed to understand its meaning?」
Aru managed to stop his tears from flowing, and forced his throat to articulate words so that he could ask Lute this question:
「What happens next? Can he wake up?」
「Let me reiterate: it’s just a song. It’s not meant to be appreciated, and is destined to fall into oblivion of being forgotten.」
「So, there is no one who will be at his side?」
To Aru’s question, Lute’s face distorts again.
「…… I’m trying to do something about that.」
Being overwhelmed by his overflowing feelings, Aru raised his head towards Lute who suddenly got up.
When Aru got up, he could see Mikoto walking the path towards here.
Mikoto was surprised to see Aru crying, and she turned towards Lute with a hostile expression.
「What did, you do?」
「Nothing. He started crying on his own. You came here with the news regarding the gate? And take care of him, for he clearly might lose his way on his way back.」
Aru wanted to go after Lute, but was stopped by Mikoto who placed her hand on his shoulder.
「Ah, see, see you!」
He didn’t return the farewell, and soon disappeared at the other end of the path.
「Aru, are you okay? Did he try to do something bad to you?」
「Lute-san’s performance was really sad.」
Although Aru had problems with formulating his thoughts clearly, Mikoto let out a sigh of relief.
Still, her expression tightened immediately.
「Say, Aru? That spirit is a friend of Ten, right? Why do you try to get so close with him?」
Mikoto brings that up, seemingly unable to understand Aru’s motivation.
His performance was really good.
「It’s just, he looked so sad, I just couldn’t help myself.」
Somehow, there was always that aura of pain and sadness surrounding him.
Aru was worried about him.
Aru recalls the lyrics of the song to Mikoto, while walking side by side with her.
What was that all about?