Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Dragon-san Becomes a Little Girl Part 2
The gatekeeper on duty for today was a young fellow, someone who just got assigned to the job.
Usually, to compensate for the newbie’s lack of experience, they would be paired with older guards who already got the hang of the job, but today his partner was yet to arrive and so the young gatekeeper was fulfilling his duty all alone.
Just like that, a few hours of loneliness passed for him, just standing by himself in front of the gate.
This was the only gate through which people could go in and go out, and to make matters even worse there was hardly any traffic here.
The rather monotonous nature of this work was not making his task any easier, making him lose focus and yawn all the time. It was then when he heard a rattle of the cart getting closer from behind him.
The gatekeeper nervously turned around, confirming that someone was approaching the checkpoint.
It was none other than Kyle Slaggart, the Head Magician and the leader of the reforms that started almost ten years ago, accompanied by Nectar Prominent, the kingdom’s Court Magician.
「At ease, soldier. We just want to pass.」
Although the gatekeeper was stunned by the sight of two great heroes, Kyle gave him the usual greeting, mainly by slamming his right fist to the soldier’s chest with vigor.
However, since Kyle put way too much force into it, he managed to knock the soldier out of breath, to which the uptight face of the magician softened a bit.
「Easy there, soldier. And thank you for all of your hard work.」
「Yes, sir! Thank you, sir!」
The gatekeeper’s cheeks flushed red as he let the two magicians through, but then, when they were already gone he suddenly remembered something.
There was this girl who passed through here a little while ago with the permit of the Slaggart’s family. Was she still inside or has she already went home?
The gatekeeper wanted to ask his partner, but when he turned around, he just remembered that he was the only one here today.
He thought she might still be inside, but his heart was simply too preoccupied with the images of the two heroes to care any longer.
「Alright, Lava, the coast is clear.」
I heard Nectar’s voice coming through the rattle of the moving cart, and then I pushed away the lid that was hanging over my head.
I managed to sneak out of the castle by hiding in one of the boxes that was loaded onto the cart. I breathed in the fresh outside air.
「Ah, hope I’ll never have to hide again inside the royal castle like that.」
「Should you ever need a place to hide, you can always come to my laboratory. You are always welcome there.」
「Sure, if I’ll ever feel the need.」
While I was having this exchange with Nectar who was pulling the cart, Kyle was walking right beside us, muttering to himself.
「He knew who we were, but still … he didn’t inspect our cart. We need to review and tighten the security around the castle.」
「Then again, this loose approach to responsibilities made it possible for me to get out.」
「True, but that’s not the case here. We don’t know when the spies might infiltrate the castle. Our division takes care of a lot of confidential tasks and projects, so something must be done about it. Sooner rather than later.」
「Well, you can always register individual magical wave patterns and imbued them into permits, just like the one Kyle has. I know how to do it and I can teach you that technique, and then we can also create a tool especially for reading those patterns. All the while we can search for a more suitable solution.」
「Then let us first create a prototype of the device in the Magic Tools Division, and then we will take it to the field tests and research tower. WE can get the founding from the national defense committee and make it our top priority.」
Who would have guessed, in a blink of an eye I was asked to help with the development and testing of new technology.
Wait a minute, is it something I can decide so easily? But then again, it should be fine.
「As long as it helps to solve the problem, I’m happy to help. Hey, Kyle, can you at least try to predict how long will it take me to go back to my original size?」
I suddenly ask Kyle, but his answer was somewhat hesitant.
「Let’s see, this child form is saving you lots of magical power. Also, the amount of magical power the bracelet absorbed was not so great to begin with. If you refrain from using your magic, the bracelet’s effect should wear off after a few days. I think」
Thinking about it now, I was really glad I came to visit them after adjusting all of the leylines in the neighborhood.
Anyway, thanks to doing my work ahead of schedule, I was saved some trouble in advance.
「In any case, we need some children’s clothing. I hate to ask him to do this, but we’ll send Nectar to my house and he’ll pick something for you.」
「Okay! Lava, please wait here, I will definitely choose something cute for you!」
Nectar stopped pulling the cart and smiled as if something really good just happened, to which I just nod.
「Oh, umm, okay, I guess?」
Then Nectar passed the cart to Kyle along with all the stuff we were carrying, and disappeared into the city. When he was gone, Kyle let out a sigh of relief.
Originally, I didn’t really wanted to trouble Nectar to get clothes for me.
Oh well, but looks like Nectar is really happy to help, so that’s okay.
I pushed up the lid of the box I was in to have a look around, only to gaze upon Kyle who, noticing that I was staring at him cough uneasily and turned away. Oh well, that kind of behavior couldn’t really be helped in this situation.
However, I do get a little bit worried if Nectar will get accused of being a pervert for wanting to borrow girl’s clothing.
Aside from the person pulling the cart nothing really has changed (I was still inside of the box on top of the cart) and we were on our way to Kyle’s house, where Nectar already explained the situation to Belga and was waiting for us with a mountain-load of children clothes.
「I couldn’t really decide on one, so I brought them all.」
I must say, I was almost captivated by his good-natured smile at that moment. Almost.
Belga, having heard the whole story from Nectar, had her eyes shine with expectations, but she truly lost it the moment I got out of the box.
Seeing me in my little girl form, Belga cried out ‘I can’t believe it!’, snatched some dress from Nectar’s hands and led me to another room, where she offered me her help in changing my clothes.
Belga was choosing one dress after another, each fundamentally different from previous ones, and made my try them all, rubbing some of her enthusiasm onto me in the process.
「I’m sorry, I wish I can offer you more beautiful clothes.」
Hearing Belga being sorry like that, I just shook my head.
Just like Kyle, she was forced into servitude by the ‘Curse of Slavery’ at an early age, and was doing nothing but gruel training and going on dangerous missions from the early years of her life.
It’s nothing strange that she would admire colorful clothes and cute accessories, just like any other normal girl.
Many of them were orphans or came from poor families, so it was almost ironic that despite their harsh circumstances they became experts on magecraft. They age slower than ordinary people, and so they were bound to outlive their families and friends, being the ones who get left behind.
I don’t have a clue about her past or her circumstances, but that’s not the reason for her to apologize to me for anything.
This commotion right now is all on me. It’s not Belga’s fault in any way.
But right now she looked nostalgic for some reason, even a little bit sad.
And so I told this to Belga, who was struggling with choosing between a light-blue skirt and a brown dress for the moment:
「Which one would you like me to wear?」
Like that, she can help me choose something nice.
For a moment Belga looked surprised, with a slight tinge of sadness in her eyes, but it almost instantly changed into the look of gratitude.
「Well then, you can try to match this light-blue blouse with this lattice-patterned beret. They are perfect for each other!」
…… Although I might have read a little bit too much in this whole situation, seeing how much her eyes were sparkling right about now.
After all, this is indeed for the best! With that, after finally choosing my new outfit, I left Kyle’s study wearing knitted boots and a cute orange dress that was ever so slightly tight around the chest area.
…… I was also stunned by the fact that I couldn’t really reach the doorknob on my own.
I was aware that the people of this country had a good physiques, but the architecture and furniture around here was way too big even for adults!
So tiny, this new body of mine was just too small!
And it was not only the door. The whole house seems like a hard level obstacle for me right about now……
I knocked on the door, burning that sense of defeat deep into my memory, and when Nectar opened the door and saw me he instantly became speechless.
「It’s so cute, Lava! It really suits you!」
「Hehe, thank you.」
I shrugged my shoulder a bit, letting the praise sink in.
Even though right now I was most certainly a loli character, it was nice to get praised like that.
Since it cannot be helped, I might as well enjoy this small body while it lasts, right?
For the time being Nectar and Kyle began with studying the symbols engraved on the beads, using the kind of tool that looked like magical glasses. It was supposed to analyze the composition of magic in various things.
Based on the things they manage to find out they will look further into the records of similar things and magic tools of the past.
「I would like to do this as soon as possible, but since Nectar and I can’t really leave our jobs for too long, we must shortly return to the castle.」
「We were going ahead of schedule today, but since now we have an unexpected work cut out for us, we might be there for some time. So, I’ll try to see through the archives of the research tower, there might be something there that I have never seen before.」
「Is that so? …… Sorry, it seems that I only increased the amount of work you need to do.」
Hearing that I only added them some extra work made me drop my shoulders, but then I heard both Kyle and Nectar letting out a sigh.
「…… Thanks to you we managed to find a dangerous magical object, so it’s not like we mind that at all.」
「That’s right. We are going to find the solution to this problem in a flash.」
「But, it’s not about that!」
I was going to argue some more with Kyle, but ultimately ended up stomping my feet too hard, losing my balance and falling on my butt.
My childish head swayed from side to side, my head felt a bit dizzy.
「Lava, I want you to just sit in the house and behave yourself.」
「Okay, okay! I understand, I give up!」
My. Eyes. Are. Spinning. Round. And. Around!
「Nice try, but unfortunately for you, I’m with Kyle on this one.」
Although my vision was kinda shaky, I could hear Nectar’s voice quite clearly. When my vision finally stabilized, I could see Nectar squatting in front of me with a gentle smile.
「We will surely find a way to remove this thing, so please wait.」
「Uhm, yes, I understand. Don’t overdo it, Nectar.」
Oh, I was expecting something different, but okay. Then Nectar’s expression suddenly changed, as he proceeded to hug me tightly.
「…… On second thought, let me stay here and do my work from here!」
「Oh, no you don’t! Nectar, my friend, you’re coming with me right NOW!」
Kyle grabbed the struggling Nectar by the collar and began to drag him towards the Royal Castle.
Since I was to stay at Kyle’s house I thought I might as well help Belga with her house chores! I tried to lend her a hand, but I created more work for her instead.
「I’m so sorry! Cleaning and washing have nothing to do with magic, so I thought I can help……」
By the way, Belga was manipulating both the broom and the cleaning cloth at the same time with a technique that was simply astonishing. She was not on the level of a simple housewife, but rather a fully-fledged maid employed at the mansion of some noble family.
Seeing the wiping cloth and broom moving by themselves was a pure fantasy! They did their job without stopping and did it flawlessly, at that.
I must learn how to do that someday.
After deciding that I would be of more help if I tried to decipher the words written on the beads on my own, Belga handed me some paper and writing utensils, and then she sat me in the most comfortable place in the living room.
「This isn’t working. Afterall, I still need to be able to do magic…… Sigh……」
The only thing I could do now was to try to guess what technique was used to create the bracelet, but even if I happen across some reasonable theories, I still needed my magic to try them out.
…… It is impossible for me to do anything right now.
While I was busy getting depressed, small spirits started to gather around me.
They are a collective of magical powers that have will of their own and are capable of small thinking, appearing in places where the magical power was especially dense.
They are quite fleeting and tend to disappear the moment the density of magic becomes thinner, but thanks to that they can get quite attached to people and places that emanate magic. Especially, if you were using the kind of magic that was most the compatible with the person.
For example, Kyle’s house was a popular place for the spirits to hang about. Kyle was adept at manipulating the thunder magic, which by default was difficult to control. However, Kyle was dexterous enough to control water and wind magic at the same time. Kyle favored thunder the most, since he had a good compatibility with it since birth.
Also, because the magical power was stable around me since I was a dragon, there are many small spirits that hang around me for quite a while without disappearing at all.
Especially right now, since the magical power around the beads was being automatically diffused, it seems that they wanted to talk to me so they could borrow some of my magic to stabilize themselves without sucking the magic from their surroundings.
「Yeah, I’m fine, thanks….. Oh, if you ever find yourselves in trouble, you can come to me for help, you know? So don’t worry about it and thanks as usual.」
Because they are like pure and innocent children, they were willing to help anyone who would offer them magical power, so they would often return the favour by helping their benefactors out from time to time.
Consoled by the spirits in an empty living room, I began to think of a better way in which I could spend my time.
Since I was in the city, I wanted to do something that could only be done here, but surprisingly enough I was unable to think of anything at the moment.
I read one book after another in Kyle’s study, and I even found a board game, but without a real opponent I was unable to play it.
Kyle’s children were yet to come home, apparently doing some other things……
As I was rolling around on the sofa, I suddenly got up.
Both of them were students at this point, going to schools in the city.
The older brother Chrome was very fond of swordsmanship, and so was spending lots of time in the nearby dojo. While the younger brother, Seram, started his education only recently.
Meeting people of the same age, being able to use magic for the first time, and in a totally unfamiliar place, is Seram going to be alright? I keep asking myself that, always arriving at the conclusion that he would be just fine.
But, I heard that school was not always a fun place to be in. And didn’t Belga said Seram was in some sort of trouble? Remembering that, my facial expression turned sad, and I began to worry.
I was trying to have a look through some of the academic books in Kyle’s study when suddenly I’ve come to a stop.
But what if?
Right now I could totally blend into the academic population without raising any suspicions, so I could very well have a glance at how the educational system of this country works! Woot?
Then, a certain thought came to my mind.
What a brilliant idea!!
Feeling oddly inspired about this whole idea, I’ve began to formulate a plan inside my head, thinking so intensely that even the spirits got a little bit scared there for a minute.
It looks like Belga was attending to some unexpected visitor in the other room, so I won’t be able to talk to her anytime soon.
「If that’s the case, I’ll just leave her a letter explaining everything!」
Hearing Kyle’s words about behaving myself ringing in my head, I took a piece of paper that I was supposed to use earlier and I joyfully thrusted the feather pen into the ink bottle.
「Come to think of it, it’s nothing unusual that Chrome is late, but Seram is also late today. Umm, Lava-sama, can I ask you…… Lava, sama?」
Belga went to the living room to apologize to Lava for leaving her all alone, but there was no girl in an orange dress there.
She initially thought that maybe she returned to her room, until she realized that there was a piece of paper stuck to the books that were placed on the table. Something written in ancient language.
The letters were elegant, and the word neatly spelled in ancient language. Belga mobilized all of her linguistic prowess to decipher what was written on it.
「Is it alright…… go get them? Want, to see, where they, learn? Be right, back.」
(Lava-sama, even though you said you would pick them up from school…… Do you actually know where to go!?)
Her children were unaware of the identity of this ‘Easygoing Onee-san who would occasionally come to visit’.
Belga, who apparently had some idea about what was going on, was at a loss for words.