Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
CHAPTER 31: Dragon-san Becomes a Little Girl Part 10
The feather pen containing a magical ink continued to scribble on top of the parchment’s surface, made especially for the purpose of long-time preservation.
While doing so, I also don’t forget to infuse the pen with magical power.
「Yup, that’s perfect.」
After confirming the results are satisfying enough, I dry the magical ink and place the ready document inside of a special magical box.
A few days after the kidnapping incident, I was sitting inside of Kyle’s house, being busy with copying the contents of a magical tome that I wanted to make sure it was ready in the future.
The children were all safe, and both the perpetrators and the demon worshippers had been caught.
However, the original sealing bracelet was shattered to pieces.
Although I did it to help the kidnapped children, it was all my fault.
I only noticed that some time later, when I finally managed to calm myself down a little bit after escaping from that place, and so I immediately confronted Kyle about it.
「…… Oh well, it cannot be helped that it got broken. We still have its copies, as well as their blueprints, so don’t worry too much about it.」
I am sure he would absolutely love to investigate the genuine ancient magical artefacts.
I thought he was going to be angry with me, but instead he only patted me lightly to the head. I really wanted him to get mad at me!
Nevertheless, what done is done, and there was no way to change that.
As a result, I was thinking what I could do to atone for my sin, and so, I come up with something like this:
On the first day, I was writing a guide for a barrier against the Orthodox.
On the second day, I was writing a guide for a barrier against simple curses.
Today marks the third day, and we were increasing the pace of reproducing the signature of the magical sealing tools.
If handled properly, you could even use them against monsters.
That it why I was working so hard, thinking about recreating the artifact that was once inside the wooden box inside Kyle’s office.
「Muu, there is still much more I could do.」
「Lava-dono, there’s no need for you to do anything more.」
Kyle appeared in the room at just the right moment.
Nectar was also together with him.
Apparently, his treatment finally ended.
「Ooh, Nectar, my friend. Thanks for your hard work. Are there any other curses on the bracelet? The part that broke down seems to be working fine.」
「More than enough. It’s good that there are still some there, so we can study them. However, their usage is rather different.」
「Eeh, is that so?」
「If someone is asking for my opinion, I would like to see Lava as a young little girl one more time.」
Kyle interrupted our conversation without either one of us managed to say anything more. His eyes were emanating with cold, violent light.
「Lava-dono, I would also like if you could refrained from changing to that form of yours in front of Nectar ever again.」
「I know, I know, I won’t do it, even if Nectar begged me to.」
It was one thing that I promised Kyle after this whole affair. I also realized that Nectar was sometimes no different than Gramps in some aspects. So I could only nod in affirmation.
It might be a little late to act now, but I won’t let Nectar turn into some kind of perverted monster!
Kyle and I were on the same wavelength in that regards, to Nectar’s overall peril and despair.
「Hee, but little Lava was so cute……」
「Cheer up, Nectar. Now, come here and lend me a hand with the recipe for this incantation.」
Hearing that, Nectar raised his face and said ‘With pleasure!’, taking new piece of parchment and starting writing.
「But still, you’re both back home quite early. You told me before that it might take even up to two weeks to close this case for good.」
「We managed to finish early thanks to those participants who were willing to cooperate and started talking.」
Kyle emphasized on that last part, but was unwilling to pursuit the matter further.
「It looked like a long investigation judging from the first few hearings. But, it turned out that there were also high-ranking members of nobility among them, and we can even prosecute them for some other crimes.」
「Sounds good to me, is it not?」
Each and every one of those people was under the effect of the spell called ‘Straight Speaking’ during their interrogations.
It was a spell that forced people to say aloud the very first thing that came to their minds at a given time.
You would be unable to tell a lie, and when someone asked you something specific, you would be inclined to tell them everything you know about it.
With every good deed done this way, the spell would be lifted little by little, but with these guys the probability of them committing good deeds was somewhat vague to say the least.
Additionally, some time ago I received the message from Ligurila saying that she would like to embark on some monster hunting.
It seems that the cult had some weak monsters under their control, but with Ligurila’s help the authorities managed to take care of them as well.
Well, once she set her sights on something she was going to do just that.
「Also, the children were returned to their parents safely.」
「That’s right. Those kidnapped children had to stay in the clinic for one day so that we could conduct check-ups, but since there was nothing wrong with them they were released. They seem to have no memories of the time when they were wearing the sealing tools, and were overjoyed to come back to their parents.」
I continued speaking,
「I thought that when Chrome and Seram got kidnapped they would take time to recover, but I am glad. It looks like they haven’t really developed any kind of trauma from this whole affair.」
In the end, I managed to return both of Kyle’s children safely to their house. Belga was worried sick when they had to be examined at the clinic, but they returned home in one piece and even managed to go to school the following day.
Well, I could feel that Chrome’s attitude towards me has changed slightly, but Seram was the same as always. So that’s good, I guess.
「Does that mean it’s finally over?」
「Umm…… Please excuse me.」
When I tried to conclude the events of the last couple of days, Belga came into the room with a tray full of cups and teapot, saying something with a troubled face.
「Oh, Belga, what’s wrong?」
「Umm, it’s about Seram.」
「Is there something wrong with him?」
Kyle asked with a serious expression on his face, but Belga shook her head in a hurry.
「Ah, no, no. It’s nothing related to the after-effects. It’s just that……」
Belga seemed troubled about something, to which Kyle lifted his eyebrows, Nectar’s facial expression became rather complex, and I shook my head.
「…… That reminds me: there was this one thing that I was persistently asked about.」
「…… What is this, that restless feeling in my chest?」
Kyle looked as if suddenly remembered something, while Nectar was grasping his clothes around his chest, as if his heart ached.
Belga continued, all the while placing the cups on the table and pouring tea for us.
「It seems that something good happened at school, but when I try to ask them about it, they just respond with that mysterious expression. Boys surely grow up so fast. I guess it will eventually come a time when we part ways, but for now I want to do everything I can for them.」
Belga spoke with that kind of expression that only a mother was able to make, while Kyle could only scratch his head, clearly unable to understand yet.
For the first time Seram noticed that there was a flowerbed outside of the classroom’s window, just directly below it.
During the break time in between classes, he would look there and gaze upon the green stems and orange petals of the flowers basking in the sun, when suddenly he was patted on the shoulder from behind.
「Seram, for today, how about…… Huh? What are you doing?」
「N, nothing! I was just spacing out a little bit.」
It was Relog. She looked at Seram with doubt, but when she noticed the flowers outside of the window, a huge grin appeared on her face.
「Hoo, were you perhaps thinking about her again?」
「N, no! I wasn’t doing anything like that!」
Seram replied in a hurry, but Relog wouldn’t stop laughing.
「Are you still trying to hide it? She was so small and so cute, that girl, but in the end, no one even knows her name or her address, anything. She went home before anyone even got a chance to ask her that.」
Says Seram while frowning.
He felt like Relog was going to make fun of him again, and the thought of that was what caused him to panic like that.
「Well, it cannot really be helped now, right? I’m going home, if you don’t mind.」
「Yeah, see you around.」
Finally, Seram felt relieved and even managed to smile faintly, but at that moment he heard a voice coming from the corridor.
When he turned around, he saw Bernie standing at the door.
Fun fact, lots of Seram’s female classmates glared at him when they observed how close he was with Bernie, or sometimes even acted with open hostility towards him.
That it why when Bernie entered the classroom and called out to Seram, the usual busy chatter got silenced.
「What is it?」
「I want you to grab the ball and come train together with me. I want to learn how to kick it without making it spin so much. Tell me how to do that.」
Hearing his overly friendly tone towards Seram, his classmates were more and more surprised as the days went by.
Having known the circumstances behind this situation, Relog couldn’t help it but laugh.
Hearing Bernie’s invitation, Seram smiled.
「Yeah, sure. I will go with you. But what about you, Relog?」
「I want to come, too! Please show me the magic that inflates the ball, please!」
As she answered that, the group exited the classroom with their school bags in their hands.
All of Seram’s classmates were taken aback by this sight, seeing the three of them walk shoulder to shoulder like a trio of best friends.
「See you tomorrow, Seram!」
「See you later, Bernie, everyone!」
They joined the other boys outside, put their bags down and began to play for so long that the sun already began to set.
Seram stayed behind, offering that he would clean the ball after playing with it, while others already went home.
It was the very same ball that the girl made for them that day with her magic.
And thanks to that, they were able to play a whole lot.
Looking at their playground, it was all dyed orange at the moment.
It was just like that day, when the mysterious girl disappeared without a trace.
(I wanted to say it to her.)
The very next day after the kidnapping attempt, Seram secretly went to school even though his mother wanted him to stay home and rest. Bernie was already waiting for him.
With some effort, he managed to greet him properly, and Seram returned the greeting.
During the break Bernie came to Seram’s classroom and the two managed to hold a normal conversation.
And before he even knew it, they were playing football again as if nothing happened.
It was all thanks to that girl.
Thanks to the kidnapping attempt his memories from the past three days were rather hazy, but still, he remembered the girl clearly.
After that, he heard that his father seemed to know about this girl, but he didn’t really wanted to talk about it all that much.
He was satisfied with a mere information that she was safe and managed to avoid getting herself kindapped.
But, Seram wanted to see the girl in the orange dress again.
(I want to see her again, so that I can say thank you.)
But then ––––
When Seram returned the ball and came back to the yard, there was someone out there, as if waiting for him.
Wearing an orange dress, her long shadow stretched out in the setting sun.
Unlike a few days before, today she was wearing a straw hat. Seram immediately started running towards her.
「Oh, Seram, nice to ––––!」
The strong wind began to blow, making the girl’s hat cover her field of vision. When she corrected it, she realized that Seram threw his arms around her and hugged her little body.
「W, wha, what’s wrong? What’s with you?」
「…… I’m so glad.」
Seram said that with a relief, hearing the girl speak normally and standing here unhurt, he let out a sigh.
「I’ve heard that you were okay, but I still wasn’t sure about that. That’s why I’m glad.」
He was able to confirm that the girl was safe and sound. That made him feel relieved.
They stood there like that for a while, but finally the girl managed to slip her hand under Seram’s arms and pat his back reassuringly.
「I’m sorry I was gone so suddenly.」
「I would like you to say a proper goodbye next time you do that.」
Seram separated himself from the girl, his spirits all lifted.
「No, it’s nothing at all.」
Fortunately, no one could see them thanks to the bushes that were around the yard.
Letting out a sigh of relief, Seram returned his eyes to the girl.
There was so much he wanted to tell her. So much feelings he wanted to convey.
「Oh, that’s right. I’ve managed to become friends with Bernie.」
The girl smiled softly as she said that, catching him off guard.
「Other people who played with us also began to talk to me.」
「Sorry for what I did just now. But, I wanted to see you so much.」
「Please play with us again sometime.」
「I even received a letter from one of the girl’s in our class. It was hard for me because I didn’t know what to do about it, but now I think I’m going to be okay!」
Seram talked and talked to the girl, wanting to tell her everything that happened so far.
「Thank you so much.」
It’s because she appeared in front of him, making it possible for him to go forward.
「Yeah, don’t sweat it.」
The girl smiled gently at him, causing Seram to drop his gaze, thanks to which he even lost the sight of the girl’s shoes.
When he finally raised his face again, the girl was already a few steps away from him.
「I had fun, but for now I have to say goodbye.」
The girl waved her hand at him, causing the hem of her dress to dance upon the wind.
「Bernie and Relog said that they also want to play with you again! So, if you happen to live nearby, let’s play again some more soon!」
Thanks to the shadow of sunset Seram was unable to see the girl’s face, but somehow he could understand that the girl was seriously troubled by that proposal.
「Is that a no, perhaps?」
「Umm, I’m sorry. Bye bye, Seram.」
Said the girl and turned around.
「Wait! Please, at least tell me your name……」
Seram shouted at the back of quickly walking away girl.
Another strong wind had blown, taking the hat off the girls head and lifting it high into the air.
For a while, Seram just stood there and did nothing but watch, as the wind lift up clouds of dust from the ground.
The wind was blowing the girl’s jet-black long hair, making them dancing in the air.
When Seram finally pulled himself together, the girl was already gone.
The only thing that was left was the orange light illuminating the yard.
「…… I’m home.」
「Oh, Seram. Welcome back.」
When Seram opened the door and walked in the house, his mother came to greet him with a smile.
「The dinner is going to be ready shortly, so please just wait a little bit more.」
Seram tried to go upstairs to the second floor so that he could change his clothes in his room, but then a voice came from the living room, stopping him.
「Oh, welcome back, little one.」
Looking in that direction, Seram saw a woman, Lava-san, a friend of father’s with long black hair with strange traces of red mixed among them, relaxing on the sofa.
「Oh, Seram. You’re pretty late today.」
「Thanks again for having me.」
Looking closely, Nectar-san, another one of father’s friends, was also here and the three of them seemed to be discussing about something.
「Is there something wrong?」
While watching this strange person with black-red hair, suddenly a certain thought came to Seram’s mind, but he quickly shook his head, chasing it away.
「N, nothing at all! I, I’m going to change my clothes now!」
Since Seram left towards his room in a wave of sudden panic, he could not overhear their conversation that took place right afterwards.
「You think he realized?」
「…… That’s hard to tell…… It all boils down to whether or not was he able to spot those red traces in your hair, even though it was sunset and you wore a hat……」
「Well, I just wanted to say goodbye to him, but I never anticipated that it would get so windy all of a sudden.」
「Are you sure it was just a wind?」
「…… I didn’t do anything! I swear! It was just a wind!」
「If you asked me, I could not sense any magic from you and I definitely wouldn’t be able to recognize you in that situation.」
「I did all of that as nothing but good faith. Besides, I was worried since Seram seemed to not be feeling well these past few days.」
「Anyway, that’s Seram’s problem to deal with. Lava, meddling in too much will not do him any good.」
「Well, I don’t really care all that much. Even if my identity gets exposed, I managed to make some good memories.」
「That’s right. …… Kyle, I knew it, I really want to witness Lava’s young form again!」
When Seram arrived on the second floor and changed his clothes, he was sitting in his chair when he heard knocking onto the door.
「Seram, can come in?」
Seram hesitated a little, but finally let Chrome in.
「Umm, this is……」
Instead of sitting down, Chrome was fidgeting around before he eventually decided to crouch down.
「So, hey, it’s about that girl from before.」
「I met her not so long ago, in front of the Academy.」
To Seram’s sudden words, Chrome raised his face, clearly surprise, and then he gazed at Seram with a rather complex expression.
「By any chance, did you……?」
Chrome was was unable to say anything more, to which Seram only smiled ambiguously.
He wasn’t so sure about it, since it was all dyed in the orange sunset.
But the girl’s hair had strands of red mixed in them. They were shining in the setting sun as if they were ablaze.
Those hair were the same as the ones that Onee-san down in the living room had.
Seram have heard the stories of a dragon that helped this country in the past, passed in between his classmates in secret after the classes would end.
They said that a human being with golden eyes and black hair with red strands mixed in them was an incarnation of that dragon, but sometimes her gender would change, depending on who was telling the story.
‘Metamorphosis’ was a truly complex and difficult magic.
Seram also knew that even the strongest of magicians couldn’t pull it off that easily.
So does that mean the girl he met at the Academy and that Onee-san are one and the same, an incarnation of a dragon at that?
When that thought occurred to him, re recalled all the time he had spent with the girl.
「Do you find school fun? Come on, say something, you can talk to me.」
Seram wanted to tell him all about that person.
But how could he, if he couldn’t even honestly talk to anyone about his school life?
It was something he could never possibly tell to people like father or mother, so telling anyone else about the person he has come to deeply respect and adore was out of the question as well.
Even though he understood that keeping secrets was bad, his pride just wouldn’t let him openly speak about it.
She even changed her appearance to come and help him.
She even came to see him today, so Seram thought it might not that bad of idea to leave things just the way they were for now.
He was so happy.
But at the same time he knew that this girl was just like a mirage, out of his reach.
Knowing that made him feel like wanting to cry.
That sunset truly was special, with not a single trace of clouds in the sky.
Seram then felt as if there was something important forming at the very bottom of his heart, but before it could take full form he diverted his attention from it and looked outside of the window. It was already dark outside.
「I, I am going to study even more.」
「You don’t have to worry about me. Someday, I will be able to help you just like you helped me.」
Hearing Seram say that, Chrome looked surprised but quickly stood up and gave him a friendly pat on the shoulder.
「Yeah, you do that. Do your best, buddy. And come to me if you ever want to learn a thing or two about sword fighting.」
With just so little, tears began to well up in their eyes.
At that time, their mother’s voice could be heard, calling to them from the ground floor.
In response to their mother’s call, Seram wiped his eyes and left the room together with Chrome.