2-6: Certainly (Part 2)

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Author: Natsuni Kotatsu Original Source: Syosetu Japanese Characters: 3270 characters
Translator: Shurim English Source: Re:Library English Words: 0 words
Editor(s): Silva

Love, my a̲s̲s̲. For a dragon who can give birth without intercourse, love is just an excuse to do the deed. Like I’ll believe that.

“First, I want to ask this child what it wants.”
“Pi?”

The child is clever enough to understand that the conversation has been directed at it. I’m sure it will understand the questions I’m going to ask as well.

“This person here is your parent.”
“…Pi.”

I direct the child’s attention to the Dragon King, and it raises a voice of what sounds like understanding.

“You could live with those guys if you wanted to, you know?”
“I- Illya.”

“I will make the infighting stop. Even if someone else has given up.” I say, looking at the Dragon King while finishing my sentence. His infuriatingly beautiful face tightens up a little. The Kirin’s complexion also pales a little, but I could care less.

“Who do you want to live with?”
“Pi…”

The child looks between me and the Dragon King, showing that it probably understood what I was saying. I didn’t think the child would be able to choose properly if I was holding it, so I let it down onto the table. The moment I did, it slowly inched to one side of the table.

The side where the Dragon King was sitting.

Although problematic, he still is its parent. The child slowly moves towards the Dragon King, who wears a complicated, but unmistakable smile. The parent stretches out a hand, which the little dragon licks.

“I see…” the Dragon King says, casting down his eyes. A certain determination could be heard in his voice.

I guess I should get prepared as well. I’m not going to forgive the b̲a̲s̲t̲a̲r̲d̲s̲ who are willing to get a child involved for some stupid infighting.

“Illya, I’m terribly sorry, but… I’ll be leaving things to you.”
“Yeah, I know.”

The two of us exchange nods, and the Dragon King stands up, stretching his hands out to carry the little dragon.

“Pi!”
“Ouch!”

Hands that were slapped away by the child’s tail.

“Huh?” we all say, almost in unison.

Regardless of our voices of surprise, the little dragon makes a mad dash.

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“Pi! Pi!”
“Ah, jeez.”

The dragon licks at my face right after it jumped into my arms. The next moment, it’s rubbing its cheeks on mine while snuggling into my arms. You just want to be spoiled, don’t you?

Silence fills the room once again. The good atmosphere we had earlier is gone with the wind. In its place, a weird mood fills the room. What was that lick then? A last farewell?

“Ah… well then, about my second condition.”
“Ah, right.”
“I would like the Heavenly Palace’s full cooperation when it comes to protecting this child.”

“Yeah… Yeah. Of course. Whether it’s artifacts, weapons, or power you want, just say it.” The Dragon King says, and a rather serious promise is sealed in an oddly stale mood.

It makes me worry if he’s even able to protect that promise, but it’s probably fine.

“Then, please have this.”

The Kirin hands me the Dragon King’s Earrings. Unlike the Water Dragon’s Earrings, this item allows communication with the Dragon King regardless of distance, as long as you are in a location reachable by wind. Rather than a phone, it’s more like a transceiver.

The last time I used it, I made sure to give the device back, but I didn’t expect it to come back to me in this way. This also works as part of our deal, and it would probably be more convenient if I just held onto it.

“Then, Illya… I’m terribly sorry about this, but I’ll be leaving this child to you…”
“Ah, yeah…”

The deal hadn’t changed the slightest from a couple moments ago, but somehow the atmosphere is different. I’m sure this is how the Dragon King intended for things to go, but I guess it’s still hard to part ways with your own child.

“By the way what’s the child’s name?” I ask.

“Huh?”

Don’t “huh” me.

“And I thought you had named it already,” Ji-n says.
“Who the heck would name someone else’s kid when they know who the parent is?”

The Dragon King laughs, and the Kirin sighs in exasperation.

“How about I leave that up to you, Illya?”
“Are you insane?”
“Of course I’m not. Also, I’m serious. This way, you’ll raise it with love, won’t you?”

Jeez, I can’t tell if this guy is an airhead or if all of it is just an act. I can’t imagine how bad it must be to be this guy’s offspring.

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Just like that, the Dragon King returned to the Heavenly Palace, which was floating above a fairy nation somewhere far away. Perhaps because of the stress, Frank collapsed onto his bed soon after. Maybe I’ll make him a bowl of porridge later.

Putting that aside—

“What do I do…?”
“Pi…”

Since the dragon child isn’t really an obstacle to my work anymore, I’m back to working at the reception counter. However, there isn’t much to do as of now, and I’ve taken the chance to worry about a certain something.

“What’s wrong, Illya? Worried about something?’
“Ah, Eriize. Yeah, a bit.”
“Pi.”

Eriize chuckles a little.

“Would you look at that. It’s completely attached to you. So what’re you worried about? Is it about this little guy?”
“Mhm, actually…”

Just when I was about to explain, the guild’s front doors opened up.

“Welcome to the guild.” the two of us say in unison.

It’s already a conditioned reflex at this point. By the way, the tired welcome was mine. If it was some white guy who was reincarnated, maybe they would have said something friendly, like “Yo, George. I took a huge s̲h̲i̲t̲ this morning. HAHAHA.” Well, it’s not like I get many complaints about my service.

“Morning Eriize, Illya. It’s been a while.”
“Sup, Eriize and Illya? Also is that… the rumored dragon!?”

Katia and Olivia greet us while walking towards the counter. Just like people from the city, they don’t seem afraid of a dragon that’s used to the company of humans. Both of them approach the dragon child, reaching out to pat its head. A smile spreads across their faces as the little dragon leans into their hands

“Ahaha, it’s so cute. What’s its name?”
“I haven’t decided yet.”
“Wait, is that what you’ve been worrying about?
“Yep.”

I initially thought about naming the little dragon Hina1, but I thought that might be weird once it grew up. Plus, I don’t know whether it’s going to lean towards being a girl or a boy yet, which is another problem.

“I have been thinking about naming it Haku2, though…”

Untainted white. A pure, white background on which everything is judged equally. I want the child to stay this way, a selfish desire of mine.

“I think that’s good!”
“Yeah, it’s a beautiful white dragon after all. It fits nicely, doesn’t it?”

Surprisingly, Katia and Eriize respond in agreement.

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“You are its parent. I’m sure it’ll be happy with whatever name you give it.”
“Yeah, yeah.”

Urged on by everyone in the dining hall, I ended up just deciding on the name. Katia, who had almost no qualms about the name, smiled as she gave the little dragon another pat on the head.

“Nice to meet you, Haku.”
“Make sure you really protect Illya, yeah? “
“Pi!”

Everyone in the hall breaks into a smile, and I can’t help but smile dryly myself. I’m betting none of them think that this little dragon understands every word they say.

“Ooh! How reliable!”
“Illya can rest assured, can’t she?”

While the Hall got rowdier by the moment, Ridi peeked her head out of the kitchen to ask me a question.

“Speaking of parents, what happened to yours Illya?”
“They’re alive. Probably.”
“That’s good. You should probably go see how they’re going once in a while, yeah?”
“I guess you’re right…”

I give rather ambiguous answers to her questions, ending the conversation. From an outsider’s perspective, parents that abandon their children are still at the very least family, so I’m sure York or someone would tell me if something happened.

It’s fine if they don’t, though.
But, a family, huh…?

“Pi?”
“No, it’s nothing.”

While I caressed Haku’s head, I remembered something.

In my previous life, my family was as normal as they got. They weren’t much to brag about, but there also wasn’t much to complain about. There was a while where I did think about the what-ifs. What if I was born into a more wealthy family, with parents who had connections in high society?

However, when I missed a digit when ordering things for my company and almost got fired, or that time when my colleague on childcare leave pushed their work on me, it was my normal family that was there for me.

It was then I thought, thank god I was born into this family.

I’m sure this child will one day leave my side to find their own place. However, I’m sure there will be difficulties to overcome, and hurtful experiences along the way.

If you have no choice but to work as a killer, or if your guilty conscience makes you afraid of figures of power, or if you’re betrayed by the closest of your friends…

I think it’s fine to run away.

Even if someone laughs at you behind your back, as long as you are alive and well in the world, know that you can redo things again. So when that time comes, it’s nice to run away knowing that you have someplace to return to…

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“Let’s get along, Haku.”
“Pi!”

And I want to be that place for this child.



References

  1. TL note: Hina means chick (as in the offspring of birds and in this case dragons) in Japanese.
  2. TL note: Haku means white in Japanese.

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