6. The Returnee Noble Lady (5)
“—Rave! Come here, and don’t you dare laugh!”
A magical haze rose, engulfing Hadith’s shoulder as his golden pupils widened.
In front of Jill, in a fluid motion, the silver magical power began transforming into a white, glowing, creature.
…Dragon—no, a snake?
However, it had wings—what a mysterious creature.
The creature who possessed calm, golden, eyes also had gleaming silver scales covering its entire body. It had supple limbs. The magical power it excluded was so heavenly, everyone in the vicinity could barely hold their knees—
—the creature was laughing.
“Hahahahaha—!! See? Told you! There’s no way an outcome this unbelievably desirable would happen without a catch—but you, you fell for it, and in such a majestic way, too—!! Our supposedly intelligent Emperor is actually dimwitted in romance—!? Fugyaaa—!!”
Hadith basically slammed the divine creature onto the floor. He then stood up from his chair and unsheathed his sword, pointing it—
“—behold! Today’s dinner is a grilled dragon skewers!”
“Come on! Give me a break! I finally appeard here from another dimension after all this time!”
“I see. Do you have nothing else to say? Are those your last words?”
“—aah, wait, wait, I just remembered—‘beautiful, crystal-like, purple eyes’—I have to commend you for thinking that one up on spot! You did a good job on that!”
Hadith flushed red, and immediately tried to stab the creature which escaped his sword by slithering like snake.
“—you’re the one who urged me! You said that was my chance to finalize the courtship, once and for all, that I mustn’t miss it!”
“Is it wrong, though? After all, you only have your good looks—don’t you think so, too, Little Miss?”
While she was still wide agape at such scene, the godly creature arrived at Jill’s feet. He perched on her shoulder and stared straight at her.
“You can both hear and see me, right? That’s actually amazing, I’m surprised. You must be upset, too, in a different way.”
“I, I’m quite surprised, to be honest.”
“Don’t hesitate. You can scream all you want. Or tremble. Or faint.”
“—she can withstand both your and my magical powers just fine, mind you. It’s only natural, since she possesses quite an abundance amount of magical power. More than anything else, such phenomenon shouldn’t be so strange for her.”
Hadith sheathed his sword back as Jill calmed down.
“’Strange phenomenon’—!? This Great Dragon is being treated like a ‘strange phenomenon’—!? That’s why, people these days…”
“Umm, are you perhaps, the Dragon God—Rave?”
Before their antics could start again, Jill asked.
Hadith sneered. “No matter how much it looks like a snake, such is the fact.”
“Who are you calling a snake!? I’m a mighty dragon! The Mighty Dragon God Rave!”
…in all honesty, Rave looked like serpent with wings.
…so, he’s real and not just a folk tale? …I’ve heard of his legend…
It was said that this continent—Prathi—came into existent after a battle between Kratos—The Goddess of Love and the Earth—and Rave, the mighty Dragon God who ruled the vast sky.
Both of them bestowed godly powers to the royal descendants of Kratos and Rave. Such was the myths regarding the kingdom, passed from generation to generation over the thousand years of conflict involving the human race.
The Kratos Kingdom was bestowed with an abundant of magical power from the Guardian Goddess—as such, it was natural for people to have varying amounts of magic, from lesser to greater. In said kingdom, those with strong magical powers were often born.
On the other hand, the Rave Empire bred dragons rather than those with powerful magic. Jill didn’t think the existence of God was completely false because there were other minor differences that couldn’t be explained—such as the difference in crops each kingdom produced.
However, it had been a thousand years since this kingdom came to existence—
—as such, she never thought that its God would still remain here.
Rave sat on Jill’s head.
“She can see and talk to me. That’s perfect. But her age… Hadith, you are nineteen, right? What about this Little Miss, here?”
“She’s ten years old. Our age difference is only nine years, it’s not unusual. It’s still within common sense.”
Jill unintentionally uttered. Hadith folded his arm and stared back at her.
“I said, it would still be within common sense. My mother’s age when she married my forty year old father was sixteen.”
“B-but, I’m still ten years old! H-how am I going to bear an heir for you? It would be an issue, here!”
“…bear an heir…”
Hadith mumbled, repeating her words, before his cheeks suddenly were dyed red.
“W, we’ve just met… well, certainly, it’s an important topic to discuss, but, in such broad daylight…!”
His appearance, as he tried his best to avoid her gaze, felt somewhat amusing.
…wait, why did Jill get reminded of the time when a blushing maiden confessed to her, instead—!?
“You’re still young. You don’t have to act like an adult. We should talk more, drink tea together, exchange letters, and take our time to get to know each other, only after that—!”
“…umm, forgive me for this may sound impolite, but… those ideas sound unbefitting of you. May I ask, where did you get such ideas?”
“…Un. In this case, books aren’t enough to serve as references, I see.” Rave stuck his tongue out. As such, it could be concluded that the Dragon God was partly responsible for this.
Holding his head, Hadith suddenly lowered his face.
“’Unbefitting’, you say… in short, I’m different from what you expected, is what you’re saying?”
“…I see, so the marriage proposal was indeed a lie…”
His sorrowful voice pierced Jill’s conscience.
Instantly, her heart was moved by kindness—meekly, she added;
“Would you rather it not be a lie…?”
“I wish—…no, I understand, already. For a girl below the age of fourteen, possessing unusual magical talent, to just appear and confesses to a cursed Emperor like me—everything is too convenient! I let myself be fooled—what a stupid Emperor I am…”
His eyelashes quivered sadly. His gaze had turned gloomy. His golden eyes looked ready to well up with tears at any moment—…
She was consumed by guilt. It felt terrible. “Uh oh…” Rave muttered on Jill’s head.
“He’s utterly dejected. It’s because you casually courted him, Little Lady. You should take responsibility.”
“W, why me—!?”
“Of course, after all, this idiot is pathetic—both his mind and body.”
“Rave, stop blaming the girl. I’m the one at fault. Indeed, it was really stupid of me to get so worked up over a ten years old girl’s confession… besides, no matter how hard I try, it’s doubtful I’ll ever attain happiness…”
With both hands on the table, Hadith dissuaded himself with a miserable look on his eyes.
“I—I was overjoyed. It was the first time someone had ever told me that they would make me happy for the rest of my life…”
—I said that. I certainly said that.
“More than anything, I should be thanking you. I’m happy—I was happy, thank you for letting me dream such a happy dream.”
“…I… I’m but a child who spouts careless things? Hence, it’s also my fault, so…”
“I’m truly indebted to you. I shall repay you one day. I’ll never forget your name.”
Hadith smiled with wavering eyes.
“The Saber Family resides in the outskirts, right? I shall never forget. Never.”
“Wait—!? I’m vaguely sensing something, here—! What do you mean by that—!?”
“As of now, it’s not important. First and foremost, you’re returning to Kratos.”
For a moment, his golden eyes shone, full of resolution—and she obviously didn’t imagine seeing that.
…at this rate, my hometown will be desecrated by the Rave Emperor!
That was when she recalled something important—
—even if she managed to return to Kratos, there would still be Geraldo.
“—you have to know that I’m truly happy.”
She lifted her face. Hadith was smiling—his eyes were gentle and clear as he said,
If the one she courted was instead, Geraldo, would he be this happy?
From now on, onwards, she wondered if anyone would ever be that happy because she proposed to them.
Jill Saber, I think you truly must take responsibility—everything up to now was caused by you, after all!
She couldn’t make any excuse, nor deny the truth any further.
For her own benefit, she had carelessly proposed to him—such was the truth. Afterwards, when she didn’t need him anymore, she tossed him aside—wasn’t that what she was trying to do just now?
—then what’s the difference between me and Geraldo?
The Emperor is not a bad person. The Emperor is probably not a bad person. Surely, he shouldn’t be a bad person. At the very least, he shouldn’t be entirely bad…
“—Kill them all.”
Thankfully, that’s still six years from now… good, time is aplenty! Yes, after all, love is war—or so I’ve heard somewhere! So what if he loves little girl—!? So what if he falls into darkness later—!? What’s the problem with all that—?!
He’s suspicious, but he probably isn’t as bad as a certain Siscon—! That’s right, I can still rehabilitate him, in fact, I should make a strategy based on that—!
“You can take the rest of the cake home as a souvenir.”
—uhuh, he’s a good person, no doubt about it.
“I retract my previous rebuttal! I would like to marry you, Emperor!”
Gasshan—! The cup Hadith was holding fell to the floor and shattered.
***T/N : WHAT–!? The Emperor is some kind of a purehearted lad–!? Then I’m in your care, Author-san! I’m sorry for ever doubting you!