Tortus Travel Journal ㉒
Due to the Demon King’s Strike Zone is Too Wideee Incident (misunderstanding), the village of dragon race fell into pandemonium for one hour before calm returned at the present time.
Conversely there were people who were losing composure as each second passed.
「To think that the members of Nagumo family would come here……we would pour all our efforts in our welcoming if only we knew beforehand.」
「Our deepest apologies for not even being able to provide any decent hospitality for everyone.」
With the identity of the parents coming to light, after giving another greeting to Hajime and others, the dragon people were acting very humble toward the parents for some reason.
They thought that as a race that put great importance to virtue, everyone of the dragon people would feel something toward the family of the man who opened a forbidden door in their princess and it would show in their words……and yet they were showing this unexpected reaction instead.
Although the reason for that immediately became clear. Yes, the reason could be felt from every single part of their words even.
「Really, our princess must have been a great bother to everyone haven’t she?」
「Everyone doesn’t need to hold back or anything against her! If it looks like she is cutting too loose, all of us in the village will do everything we can to reeducate her!」
「To think that you will accept this kind of princess, uu, I don’t know what to say……even us had never even dreamed that our princess would be hiding this kind of horrible disposition……」
「Is Myuu-chan’s education in her aesthetic sensibility alright? Isn’t the princess a harmful existence for a child like her?」
Their words were extremely straightforward.
Venri secretly told everyone what was going on. It seemed that the emotion of the people in the village toward Tio was split into two factions.
The first was the faction that was still escaping from reality and screamed 「There is no way the dragon race’s princess is a pervert like this! (Tear of blood)」like Ristas-kun.
The other faction was the faction tolerating the perverted princess that said 「Hajime-dono only opened the door. It was princess herself who raised such perversity behind that closed door (faraway look)」.
Ninety percent of the village belonged to the latter faction.
And then all the dragon people had this thought exactly because they accepted their perverted princess.
Is princess doing well in the family where she married into? Aa, I’m worried! Is she troubling all the people of Nagumo family? Even though they have gone to a great pain to accept a princess who has such particular disposition! Also what if she give a bad influence to Myuu-chan……we really can’t apologize enough! Aah, I’m worried! That was their thought.
「E-everyoneee-, enough already! How couldst everyone call me a bad influence for Myuu’s education!」
And so, the princess who was the single focus of the respect and affection of the dragon princess was trembling fiercely in shame by the words of her relatives while losing her composure.
There, a good looking man with dark green hair opened his mouth.
「Then I’ll ask you this instead princess. Which part of a fellow who desire insult and violence to be done on herself while breathing heavily with an ecstatic face can be good for a child’s education in aesthetic sensibility?」
「A-Alois……it’s unfair to answer mine question with another question while looking seriously like that……」
This man was the former main candidate to be Tio’s fiancée. Alois was a dragon race of wind element and he was considered as the fastest dragon among the dragon race if Tio was excluded.
His strength was at the top rank among the dragon race and the people’s trust toward him was also deep. He was also extremely capable as a leader. After Tio went out to marry into another family instead of taking a groom into Clarus family, he was also the one who got recommended to be the candidate of the next chief.
He reached his current position all because he harbored a serious feeling toward the princess and wished to be recognized as worthy to be her spouse. Her had ceaselessly accumulated efforts for such a long time until now with his whole heart directed toward the princess.
The princess came first no matter what. He could do anything if it was for the princess. A Man among man……
Alois-san should be that madly in love for Tio but, he had a serious look on his face right now. It was a serious look that was completely unwavering.
「Disappointed……I don’t feel that at the slightest. Because this too is also a side of the princess. Then the only thing we can do is to accept that side of yours. Even so, this and its influence for a young girl are two completely different matters. A child is a treasure. It’s the duty of adult to protect and show them the way. Am I mistaken?」
「Ah, no, thy art not wrong……」
Their position had completely reversed. Alois-san already had the air of a chief.
In the past when Tio returned home before the final battle, when the cruel reality was thrust before him, he ran away from reality and hallucinated that the a fellow dragon race youth beside him was the princess――he had experienced being a broken man like that but……
It seemed that he had become unbound by the past in various meanings.
The dragon people standing around Alois were also making a gaze that said 「This princess really cannot be helped at all」 toward Tio.
Their expression was already like that, someone who was accepting and wouldn’t abandon a problem child even while their mind was greatly worrying for the child――yes, their expression was like a mother. Regardless of gender or age.
The princess backed away. What in the world happened while I was in Japan!? Where hath the respect and affection toward me gone to!? Her expression seemed to say.
Unable to watch the greatly shaken Tio, Shuu and Sumire smiled wryly while defending Tio.
「Err~, Tio has never bothered or inconvenienced us, really. So please don’t worry like that, everyone.」
「Yes, she is a good wife for our son.」
The eyes of all the dragon people snapped wide open. Their pupils shrink vertically into a slit! It was a total activation of dragon eyes to detect falsehood by the whole village!!
While Shuu and Sumire jerked and trembled, everyone in the village saw through their dragon eyes that it seemed they really weren’t thinking of Tio as a bother and sighed in relieve.
Next one of the female dragon people turned her gaze toward Remia with a gentle expression.
「I’m glad. We all have been in suspense all this time, worrying what if the princess brought any negative influence for Myuu-chan.」
「……Y-yes. Everything is fine you know?」
The air froze. Remia was averting her eyes desperately. She wouldn’t look into the dragon eyes!
「Remia!? What’s the meaning of this!? Art thou saying that I’m bad for Myuu-chan’s education!?」
Princess Tio looked extremely shocked. She hid her lips with her sleeve while her feet staggered.
Remia gasped before she straightened her posture. And then she made her usual ‘my my ufufu’ smile that hid her true feeling and,
「Bad influence? There isn’t anything like that you know?」
She declared so for Tio’s sake.
Tio’s bad influence was seen through by all the dragon people. It seemed that even the strongest Remia Smile couldn’t display its full prowess in the situation where her worry for her daughter and Tio’s honor were being weighed.
Tio fell on her knees after abruptly learning Remia mama’s strong concern here. Tomoichi and others went 「Uwaa」 with twitching expression after getting a glimpse of the darkness of Nagumo family.
There, a messiah jumped forward in front of Tio.
「Waa~~it a second nano! Objection! Nano!」
「Myuu! Thou, art covering for me……」
Myuu stood imposingly in front of the dragon people with Tio behind her.
That figure was like when she protected a devil parent and child from the rampaging Hajime in the demon king’s castle. Tio was moved to tears by the small figure of a hero. The dragon people flinched back.
Amidst that, Myuu puffed out her chest with a huffy indignation and her proclamation resounded through the area sonorously.
「It’s troubling that everyone is underestimating Myuu nano! Something like differentiating good from bad is something that Myuu can proo~perly do nano! Just because Tio-oneechan is an irredeemable pervert doesn’t mean that Myuu will get affected or anything! Myuu guaranteed! Myuu won’t become like Tio-oneechan no matter what!」
「Myuu! Mama was wrong! Mama should believe in Myuu rather than lying like that!」
「……Remia, don’t kick me whilst I’m already a corpse……」
Tio crumbled. In front of her Myuu and Remia, the mother and daughter embraced each other strongly. All the dragon people sent them a rain of praises and applauses 「Oo! What a wonderful parent and child love!」「Myuu-chan too, what an unbelievable strength of will at her age」「Bravo! What a wise child she is!」.
Adol was looking down on her granddaughter amidst that with a troubled expression. Alois then spoke a suggestion to him.
「Adol-sama, everyone has taken a great trouble to visit here. It will be a disgrace for the dragon race to only let them to inspect the village. How about we let them enjoy the traditional cooking and dance of the dragon race?」
「Fumu, a good proposal. Hajime-kun, what do you think?」
When Hajime looked around, Tomoichi and others who were making a conflicted expression at the series of exchange also nodded happily. Especially someone like Kaoruko who had been very interested with the cooking of other world from the start. Her eyes sparkled when she heard the words traditional cooking.
It seemed Yue and others also had no objection, so Hajime nodded and Venri stepped forward.
「Then how about Adol-sama and princess show everyone around the village while we are preparing them? I think we can finish everything if we have one hour.」
「What are you going to do Venri?」
「This is a rare chance so I’ll also join the food preparation. Allow me to show everyone my skill.」
Tio’s head instantly snapped toward Venri when she heard those words.
「Then I wouldst also cook! Jii-sama can show everyone around by himself! Also, the dance too! I wish to put my dance on display too by all means!」
It seemed she was planning to regain the respect and affection of her brethrens by displaying her traditional cooking and traditional dance, or rather she was planning to do that by taking command of the “hospitality preparation”.
But Alois-san spoke a sentence before that.
「Princess, you are joking too much.」
「What do thou mean by thaaatt!!」
In addition, the lightning dragon Elder Catullus who was one of the oldest dragon people and the owner of the vocation “Observer” widely opened his usually slit-eyed eyes in a snap and spoke.
「Princess, I’m begging you please just wait quietly without doing anything!」
「Am I a bomb that art in the verge of exploding!?」
Tio stood up and shouted「I already heard enough mon! I’ll do it by myself mon!」 slightly childishly. Then she rolled up her sleeves and moved toward the building.
However, a command surged out from Alois at that instant.
「Everyone attention! The fourth paragraph of the the third clause of “Princess Countermeasure Manual”!」
「There art a manual to deal with me!?」
The dragon people swiftly moved in a rush. They blocked the path into the building while ingredients and tableware, everything needed for a banquet suddenly appeared in their hands like a magic trick.
It was as though they were saying「We’re sorry princess. We are happy with your feeling but there is no more work to do」.
In addition another group moved briskly toward the village’s exit with adroit movement and formed two lines. They instantly formed a road that was made of human crowd to see off people leaving. Their skill was high. They had properly trained in it!
「「「「「Take care princess! Everyone!」」」」」
「All of thou art going that far!?」
Princess Tio’s tsukkomi echoed in vain.
Hajime and others looked at Tio with twitching face. Liliana who was shaking *puru puru* like a slime was the only one who looked strangely happy. Her gaze toward Tio seemed to say「I found a comrade!」.
「Princess. Please don’t misunderstand.」
「Everyone is still as respectful to you princess just like before. Rather you can even say that our respect and affection toward you has increased even more.」
「It really doesn’t look like that though?」
Princess Tio looked really doubtful. She stared suspiciously at Venri who was whispering into her ear.
「Everyone has accepted the current princess. That’s exactly why they have this thinking. “Princess had never showed any negative side to us before she met Hajime-sama, Could it be that was caused by our excessive respect toward the princess was oppressing her true self?”.」
「Nu, such thing……」
「To go further, we even grieved at heart wondering if we had all been so faint-hearted that princess was forced to perform the act of “the ideal princess of the dragon race”, so much so that princess herself didn’t notice what her true feelings were.」
「How couldst that……however, I wasn’t acting at all……」
「Princess’s prerequisite to be your fiancée――”to be stronger than you”. That is surely a fragment of princess’s oppressed true nature. The princess had appealed to us all this time. “Made me into a damaged goods! Make me listen to you by brute force!”.」
「That wasn’t it though?」
No, my feeling was pure at that time, thinking that if someone is going to be my husband then it wouldst be better if it’s someone stronger than me, Princess Tio wanted to say so, but now that she had realized her true nature as a masochist pervert, even she herself became doubtful of her own words……
「Therefore everyone talked with each other. How should we interact with the princess from here on, what should we do so that princess can be happy, we held a gathering and talked so many times.」
「How couldst that……something like that happened whilst I was absent……」
Now she got it. Her brethrens thought so much about her like that they spent much time discussing with each other of how to deal with her. Then they reached the conclusion of changing themselves instead of changing her. That certainly could be said as proof that they hadn’t lost respect toward her.
Tio was moved emotionally and covered her eyes with her sleeve. A warm feeling slowly accumulated at the corner of her eyes as tears of gratitude.
While Hajime and others were watching that going on with a warm expression, Tio turned her gaze to speak her words of gratitude toward her brethrens――
「Everything is for the sake of dragon race’s future! The dragon race will never yield against the bad rumors! We shall show the whole world that the princess is the only unique case! We all are healthy and wholesome!」
「「「「「We are all healthy and wholesome! The dragon race is healthy and wholesome!!」」」」」
Tio’s emotional tears went「Ah sorry, I’m in the wrong place」 and instantly drew back. A reproachful gaze stabbed at Venri beside her, but Venri’s gaze quietly moved toward the sky far away.
Even while that was going on, Alois was passionately giving out orders. Recently in the continent there had been a very slight rumor going around, “Is the dragon race perhaps a perverted race?”. He was sending out orders to everyone in order to not let such rumor spread out any further, all to protect the dragon race’s future.
「The first step of anti princess measure! Absolutely don’t give the princess any stimulation! I repeat! Don’t give her any kind of stimulation at all!」
「「「「「We won’t give princess any stimulation! Until she return back to Japan safely!!」」」」」
「Japan art not a quarantine facility though!? Or rather, do all of thee think that I’m a toxic substance or something!?」
As expected her tsukkomi only echoed in vain.
Also this first step of anti princess measure was a countermeasure in case Tio came out in public setting.
Even this kind of pervert was one of the wives of the demon king who saved the world. Just like how Queen Luluaria asked them to show themselves in a parade, the possibility of Tio showing up in events like ceremony and the like wasn’t low by any chance.
At that time, if by any chance she started going ‘haa haa’ due to an unexpected stimulation while in front of many of the populace watching……
At this occasion, they didn’t mind anymore if other thought of Tio as a pervert. But, it was a common knowledge that Tio was the princess of the dragon race. The risk of people thinking that such masochistic nature was the racial nature of the dragon race was not non-existent.
That absolutely had to be prevented!
They were in the village right now, so this was the perfect chance for practicing the countermeasures. The heart of the dragon race became one with Alois at the center. There was no way they could carry out the countermeasure in other country if they couldn’t even do it in their own village! A cry of fighting spirit burst out.
For the future of the dragon race! To show the world that dragon race isn’t a pervert you know, it’s just the princess who is a pervert you know!
「Now, have a good day princess.」
Alois said the farewell. His words were polite. However the people taking position in front of the building――especially the female dragon people were shooing with their hands as though to say「Come on, we’ll be busy with the banquet’s preparation, so go away already, go!」without the slightest respect.
The brethrens who were forming two lines to create a path of leaving also radiating aura of wariness as though to say「Why aren’t they leaving already? Don’t tell me……the princess is planning to cause something?」.
Tio’s eyes rapidly died. I don’t know what kind of face to make here……her half smile seemed to say that. She couldn’t say anything.
Hajime spoke to her with unusually concerned voice.
「Aa~, Tio? I’m counting on you to show us around. Come on, the village’s people are also enthusiastic to prepare a welcoming party for Tio’s return here after so long, okay?」
Tio turned around after Hajime urged her. The voices of her brethrens「Have a good day! Princess!」 showered her while she was walking through the path between the lines of people. Just from the appearance of the scene, this was truly like the departure of a royalty but……
「S-somehow it looks like, Tio-oneechan is getting banished nano……」
「Shh~h! Myuu, don’t say it out loud!」
Myuu’s whisper represented the voice of the heart of Hajime and everyone.
Hajime and co were currently strolling inside the forest at the north of the village after leaving the settlement.
The sunlight filtering through the trees was beautiful. The echo of the sound of waves from afar made the atmosphere felt surprisingly refreshing. Although they were inside a forest, there was a small path leading deep inside the forest. Coupled with the cool and clear air, it made them felt like they were exploring a secret hideout somewhere.
……If only the guide Tio wasn’t hunched in dejection.
「T-Tio-oneechan, are you alright?」
「I’m fine. There art no pro――」
*GON* A protruding thick branch hit Tio-san’s head. However she continued walking as though nothing had happened. It felt like her footsteps were accompanied with the depressing sound effect of *tobo tobo*. Her illness was serious.
Myuu looked up at Hajime with a worried expression. Hajime’s expression turned troubled.
His usual trick when Tio got docile was to hit her butt or insult her for the time being. No matter how down she was feeling, such trick promised that she would instantly recovered. It was the wonder drug that was exclusive for Tio.
However. Right now in this situation……Hajime hesitated using that wonder drug. Because, Adol-ojiisan was right beside him. He just fainted while still standing straight and smiling not long ago.
Above all else, this fetish of Tio had brought such dramatic change to her brethrens.
Now then, what should he do now?
Yue and others were also just smiling wryly――except one, Liliana alone was looking at Tio with extremely gentle gaze――it seemed they were at a loss of how to talk to her.
But then, Adol who was unable to bear watching the situation opened his mouth with a wry smile.
「Tio. Cheer up already. It’s not like everyone in the village is hating you. You understand that right? Rather it’s because they can accept you as you are right now that they are――」
「They were shooing me away while saying Shoo shoo, go away already, though. They treated me like a bother though. Even though, I’m a princess.」
「W-well, perhaps their treatment to you has become somewhat rough but, that too is an expression of their lo――」
「They hath even created something like “princess countermeasure manual” before I knew it though. There was the order 『The first step of anti princess measure! Absolutely don’t give the princess any stimulation! I repeat! Don’t give her any kind of stimulation at all!』 like they art facing a monster though.」
「Their group action was really adroit, making it clear that they hath been training routinely though.」
Adol stayed silent and quietly averted his gaze. Umu, the weather is also nice today. Oh, miss small bird, how about resting on my shoulder? He was acting like that. He had washed his hands completely from his granddaughter.
There was no way Adol didn’t know what the villagers had been doing as the chief. It was evident that he was approving the dragon people’s countermeasure against their princess. Rather, looking at her half-baked follow up to Tio just now, it seemed that he was even thinking 「You are reaping what you sow, so it can’t be helped」.
It can’t be helped, Liliana stepped forward with rapid footsteps as though to say that. She would give Tio the best encouragement she could. She lightly tapped Tio’s shoulder *pon pon* and,
A princess is an existence that is treated crudely! Liliana showed a pleased smile that seemed to say that. Liliana’s hand on Tio’s shoulder was like a hammer that that was hitting a stake. Tio’s shoulders were dropping even more in dejection.
「As expected, even Tio-san can feel dejected at this kind of situation……」
「Then she should hide her perversity from the start instead of showing it off.」
Shia stared at Tio’s back as though she was watching a strange creature. Kaori secretly replied with a whisper. Then Shizuku secretly whispered her conjecture.
「This is just my guess but, perhaps she didn’t want to hide her true nature to her family and want them to accept her as she is.」
「But, she still wanted them to treat her the same like before as “the princess everyone respected and beloved”, is that it?」
Aiko also added her conjecture. But then she mumbled her words. She swallowed the words that she reflexively almost said. But that action ended up in vain.
Yue-sama easily spoke the words. The feeling of everyone in this place including the parents.
「……Nn~, this troublesome pervert.」
「Tsu!? T-that art horrible, Yueee」
The words of the first wife-sama that gouged into the heart like Gae Bolg made Tio jerked and turned around.
There, she found the eyes of someone who was looking at the garbage dump after some crows ransacked it and made all the garbage got scattered and felt that it was extremely troublesome to clean up the mess. The destructive power was overwhelming when it was coupled with Yue-sama’s blank stare! Haa haah!!
「……Nn. She revived.」
「I see. This is Yue-dono’s, no, the first wife-dono’s true strength……」
「No, rather I think this is mostly because of Tio’s perversity, Adol-dono.」
As expected, it seemed ADol-dono’s heart still hadn’t recovered fully.
Hajime said his tsukkomi to Adol before he cleared his throat. He opened his mouth to change the mood.
「And so, Tio. Where are you leading us to?」
「Goshujin-sama, I wish that thou couldst give me at least a single kind word……」
「I’ll push you off from the cliff later so cheer up.」
「Mine overwhelming gratitude! Haa haah」
Tio finally pulled herself together, or rather she finally put her feeling in order. According to what she explained while going ‘haa haa’, it seemed that she was leading them to the village’s graveyard.
「……I see, your parents?」
Hajime guessed in his mind and asked the question quietly. Everyone starting from Shuu and Sumire gasped and held their breath.
Tio looked back across her shoulder with a soft expression. It was unthinkable that she had just been doing ‘haa haa’. The parents were making a complicated expression while listening to her words.
「It might not be suitable going to such place when everyone come here for sightseeing, but I wish to introduce everyone first before showing the other nice places. Chichiue-dono, Hahaue-dono, art that alright?」
Of course there was no way they would refuse. Tomichi and Shuuzou and the others also nodded readily.
The group continued walking for a while quietly. Then they suddenly came out to an open space. The sunlight that filtered through the trees were gone and the blue sky could be seen from the circle shaped opening.
「Mu, Jii-sama, this art……」
「There is no need for us to hide anymore. I wish to put them in a place where the sun is visible.」
「I see. Indeed.」
Countless gravestones were lined up orderly before their eyes. Sunlight was brilliantly illuminating the place. Coupled with the surrounding trees and refreshing air, this place didn’t have the characteristic lonely atmosphere of a graveyard. A vague hint of holiness could be felt from here.
「Tio, what’s the matter?」
「Originally, there were more trees in this place that the sky was fully covered by the leaves and branches.」
「……Nn~, because this place was a hidden village?」
「Umu. It was a preparation to prevent this village being discovered from the sky. A barrier was laid out around the village to prevent such thing, but the burden wouldst be greater to extend the barrier to also cover the graveyard that was some distance away. But, it seemed that after the final battle, everyone in the village hath put this place in order so the sun couldst be seen.」
「How should I describe it, this place doesn’t really feel like a graveyard in a good meaning……this place is beautiful.」
「The atmosphere is like standing in the middle of a church.」
Following Shuu and Sumire’s impression, Tomoichi and others also looked around while speaking their favorable impressions.
Then they followed Tio’s guidance to walk to the deepest area. There they found two white gravestones that were surrounded by fence unlike the other gravestones. The two gravestones were standing close to each other.
On each of the white gravestone there were the names “Haruga Clarus” and “Orna Clarus” engraved.
「I hath returned, Haha-ue, Chichi-ue. Let me introduce them, mine new family.」
Tio puffed out her chest proudly without any solemn atmosphere at all.
She introduced Hajime and others in turn as though she was giving a report.
Kaori, Shizuku, and Aiko had also become her family, so their parents were also Tio’s family. She slowly introduced every single one of them and explaining what kind of person they were, but her words didn’t only describe their work and character, she even mentioned about detailed virtue that even the person themselves weren’t aware of it. It made Tomoichi and others blushed from realizing that she had observed them that closely.
However, the moment she said 「Yaegashi family art a family of shinobi」, Shuuzou immediately corrected her 「We aren’t ninja, Tio-kun」, followed by Koichi 「There is no way ninja exist in the modern era, Tio-kun」, and then Kirino 「We are only managing a shabby dojo and security company you know, Tio-kun?」. It seemed they had no intention of conceding that. They were troublesome ninjas.
Tio looked toward Shizuku who was groaning 「Nn-」, but Shizuku carelessly replied 「Just call us a gathering of oddballs who are good with acrobatics」. As expected, even their daughter considered them troublesome ninjas.
Also, only Liliana’s introduction 「She is a princess of a kingdom. A terrifyingly black princess who worked her knight commander like a slave until she fell ill」 was crude like that.
Liliana raised a protest and in the end she introduced herself. It seemed Tio-san plainly disliked Liliana’s 「Comrade♪ Comrade♪」comment before this.
After the introduction of everyone ended, Shuu and Sumire stepped forward. They kneeled before the gravestones and straightened their posture.
「Nice to meet you, Haruga-san, Orna-san. My name is Nagumo Sumire. I’m really blessed to be able to receive a lovely daughter-in-law like your daughter.」
「Nice to meet you two, I am Shuu, Tio’s father-in-law. Please don’t worry. We guarantee your daughter’s happiness. If our son make her cry……no, he has made her cried a lot in a different meaning, and his treatment of your daughter is also quite horrible but……」
「Wait a second, dear! Know the right time and place when mentioning something! Just because Tio-chan is a pervert who can’t choose the right time and place for her act doesn’t mean that you can also do the same!」
「N-no, Hahaue-dono? Rather Hahaue-dono’s words stabbed mine heart far deeper just now. It made me felt slightly good though……haa haa. Even though I’m in front of Chichi-ue and Haha-ue-. Nn-.」
When Hajime who looked like he was enduring a headache muttered that, Aiko activated the soul magic to stabilized the mind that she was good at. The two of them were at the same beat.
Casting “Soul Repose” to the living daughter in front of the graves of her parents……although it was just a magic’s name, Tomoichi and others turned really complicated. Adol’s eyes were watching at the far away as though to say 「I’m not recording anything in my memory」.
「A-anyway! Even if our son is making your daughter cry, we firmly promise your daughter’s happiness! So please rest assuredd!」
「Tou-san, you fumbled your word.」
「Sorry I stutte――」
「I’m not going to do the “I stuttered” exchange with you.」 (TN: A reference to Bakemonogatari. How Hachikuji there sometimes fumbled her words)
Hajime let out a sigh at the desperate state of Shuu papa who was about to blow his fuse. Even so he also kneeled beside his parents and closed his eyes quietly. Then with all his heart,
「I’m going to make her happy. Forever and ever. I swear it to the two of you and all of the dragon race.」
He said that. Tio’s breath was caught in her throat and she gulped, while 「Hou」 slipped out from the mouth of Tomoichi and the other men. Kaoruko, Kirino, and Akiko let out 「My」 with a slight blush, while Adol smiled happily and closed his eyes from feeling deeply moved.
And then Yue, Shia, Kaori, Shizuku, Aiko, Myuu, and Remia looked at each other before they also kneeled before Hajime and his parents. They closed their eyes to offer their prayer, then Yue softly spoke as everyone’s representative.
「Our happiness is together with Tio. We promise.」
「Yue……all of thee too……」
Tio’s voice trembled slightly. She was hiding her face with her sleeve because she didn’t want her face that was turning slovenly from embarrassment and happiness to be seen.
「……Tio. You have really obtained a lovely family.」
Adol very gently caressed the head of his granddaughter who was unable to form any words.
After that, actually the plan was to show them around to other places too until the time for the banquet began but……
Somehow, everyone found it hard to leave from this graveyard that was enveloped in a peaceful joviality,
「Chichi-ue and Haha-ue, and also many of the people who died in the great persecution loved to sit in a lively circle together. How about all of us also talked for a bit until it’s time?」
Tio also proposed that, so in the end they spent time there until the banquet started.
They talked without running out of topic. There was also this feeling, as though there were a lot of people around them having fun. They were feeling such atmosphere enveloping them.
Most of the graves in this place didn’t contain any remains of the departed people. Only the remains of people who died after moving to this hidden village were buried here. There wasn’t a single remain of the people who died in the time of great persecution.
But, this was the place where their soul returned. It was a place that was created with such hope.
That was why, surely……
Like that the conversation that sounded like a report to the dead continued. Tio also talked about the story of the first generation Clarus and the mausoleum where he was enshrined, and how before the final battle she obtained a way to transform into her dragon god form. It was at that timing that Venri came to call them.
When they returned to the settlement, the dragon people looked strangely happy. They welcomed the group with a very warm gaze. There were even a lot of people among the elders including Catullus who were moved to tears.
「Aa, the people in charge of watching the princess must have told them what happened in the grave. There were a lot of them around us at that time after all.」
Shia said so while her rabbit ears were flapping.
Hajime and Yue and others had also noticed that, but as expected they became slightly embarrassed when the people around them wordlessly expressed 「Thank you very much for treasuring the princess like that. Please take care of her from now on too」toward them. Their expression and gaze had said it even more eloquently than any words.
Even so the one who was the most embarrassed was Tio. She was hiding her face with her sleeves. Today was a day where she often hid her face in embarrassment like that.
「I told you princess. Everyone is cherishing you greatly.」
「U-umu. It seems so.」
Venri whispered while looking toward the village square once more. The place had been tidied up and decorated to a degree that was unthinkable to be done in just one hour.
The place that looked like a kabuki stage where usually high ranked people like Adol were standing on when there was an assembly had been decorated for the dance show. Several beautiful carpets and a feast were lined up at the open space in front of it.
It was clear from a glance that everyone had put their all to prepare this.
「Then princess, let’s also go there.」
「Mu? Venri, go where?」
Tio looked puzzled. Venri chuckled while speaking.
「What are you saying. Didn’t you mention it yourself. That princess will also dance.」
「Nu-, I didst say that but……art that alright?」
「There is no reason why not isn’t it? The preparation is finished. As expected, the first dance should be offered for Haruga-sama and Orna-sama. That’s how it should be.」
Looking closer, there was a group of women on standby carrying fans, ornaments, and tools to arrange the hair. Surely a kimono for dancing show had also been prepared inside the room.
Alois and Catullus came toward them at that moment.
「Princess, please forgive our rudeness before this. It has been decided after nearly two months of discussion that a treatment of that degree should be alright for the princess now that you have been liberated from various shackles. What do you think?」
「I was seriously feeling dejected from that!」
「Please rest assured princess. Alois and us too are also very seriously on our guard toward any harmful rumor about us dragon race that might spread.」
「I couldst not argue anything back about that! Forgive me!」
Tio averted her gaze with a huff. Then she told Hajime and others 「I wouldst go for a bit! Go enjoy the feast ahead of me!」 before she stared walking angrily toward the women who were on standby with the dancing equipments.
Alois and Catullus looked at each other and,
「Venerable elder. It seemed that we were correct.」
「That seemed to be the case.」
They said that and nodded to each other with expression of understanding.
Adol laughed cheerfully while patting Alois’s shoulder.
「It will be hard but, Alois, I shall depend on you as the next chief.」
「As someone who doesn’t have the name of Clarus, this burden is heavy to be honest but……I shall devote myself diligently. Now then, Hajime-dono, everyone, please go to the center. The princess’s dance is number one among the dragon race. I ask everyone to watch it from the special seat.」
Once for a period of time Alois’s gaze toward Hajime was also harsh just like Ristas-kun, but now respect and goodwill could be felt from him like a servant who was serving the main house.
As expected, the people of the dragon village had already completely reached a conclusion and acceptance about their princess’s fetish and also about Hajime who made that fetish bloomed.
And so the banquet began.
The traditional dishes were delicious. The conversation with the dragon people who wished to hear about Japan was also fun. A peaceful and lively time passed.
And then Tio’s dance.
Her beautiful figure that was dancing lithely and gracefully made Hajime held his breath. Yue, Sumire, and others were also watching with their gaze fixed on that sight. All of them without exception forgot to even put food into their mouth during the dance. They were entranced by the performance.
The gorgeous sleeves flapped like butterfly wings. The fans that had flower petals drawn on them made them hallucinated as though there were really flower petals dancing in the wind.
Verni and Adol narrowed their eyes in satisfaction. Alois and others were quietly shedding thears.
……Perhaps, they were moved. It didn’t seem like they were crying because they recalled their princess of the bygone days and saw the gap with her current self.
And so, after Shuu and Sumire gave a loud applause in excitement and Kaori and others also bathed her with praise, Tio also joined them in the feast……
Before long, the banquet came to an end with strange feeling that was like a mix of calmness and exaltation enveloping everyone.
Hajime and co returned back to the continent through the gate while the dragon race saw them off in great cheers.
Only Adol and Venri came together with them to continue with their work in the continent. They teleported to the previous place, the foot of the mountain that was the former site of the dragon kingdom. There they said farewell to each other with reluctance.
「Take care of your health. Restrain yourself so that you won’t trouble everyone too much. Do you understand princess? I heard that the food in Japan is really delicious, but you must not drink and eat too much. Keep in mind to always strive for an orderly life.」
「I-I get it. Don’t keep treating me like a child forever.」
Tio pouted sullenly at Venri’s nagging, even so anyone could see that Tio also looked slightly happy. They watched her with a warm gaze.
「Hajime-kun. Perhaps I don’t need to say this once more to you, but please take care of Tio.」
「Leave it to me. When it become easier to travel between worlds, I shall invite everyone to Japan next time. Please look forward to it.」
Hajime and Adol exchanged a firm handshake. Yue and Sumire and others also exchanged words with Adol and Venri, shook hands, and then they finally departed……
It was at that moment.
「Oh? Can everyone hear that?」
Shia’s rabbit ears were twitching.
Hajime and others tilted their head. They didn’t really hear anything but……
Oh? Certainly they could hear something? It sounded like an echo though the mountains so it was difficult to hear, but certainly some kind of sound was reverberating……
「Oh? What could this be? My arm is feeling terrible goosebumps……」
「Shizuku-chan!? Are you alright!? You are looking really pale!」
「Shizuku!? What’s wrong!? You are shaking like you have been thrown into Schnee Snow Field!」
「Yaegashi-san’s ponytail is……curled up like a dog’s tail!?」
「Nuuh, what’s with this ominous presence!」
「Adol-sama! Could it be, a monster!? I heard that there are still monsters that ran away from the holy precincts hiding in the north mountain range-」
Hajime and Yue looked at Shia. Shia let out an 「Uwaaa」 and her expression became creeped out. It seemed her excellent rabbit ears had already grapsed the true identity of the approaching “ominous presence (lol)”.
Myuu and Remia anxiously leaned close to Hajime. All members of Yaegashi family pulled out a ninja sword from who knew where. Kirino stepped forward to cover Kaoruko and Akiko. It was at that moment.
Shizuku jumped. It seemed she had realized the true identity of this presence.
「Wait a second Hajime, what’s going on!」
Sumire immediately hugged Shizuku while asking. Hajime showed a twitching expression.
「Seriously? ……Well yeah, she was tossed to the northern mountain range, so the possibility of encountering her here isn’t zero.」
「……Hajime, the hero? He should be with her.」
「W-what is that girl doing even after Kuzeri scolded her like that……she left Kouki-san behind again――」
Lliana’s worry was immediately erased.
――S-stooopp, stop alreadyyyy! Shiitt, just what’s wrong with you! At least cut off the ropeee, don’t drag meeee-
「Hajime-san. I can hear the hero-san’s scream though.」
「There is no reason to send her back if Amanogawa is together with her. Perhaps she is forcefully dragging him with her with that thinking. What tenacity.」
「Hajime! Please! Let’s teleport right away! Hurry! Super hurryyyyy!」
「Shizuku-chan-, calm downnn」
「――”Soul Repose”! “Soul Repose”!!」
The voice of stepsister (Soul Sister) that was looking for Onee-sama was approaching near with terrific momentum. This wasn’t the speed of human! Shizuku was absurdly scared!
The last mountain was going to be passed by already while they were talking. There wasn’t even a second to waste!
「Hajime-kun! Leave this place to me and go ahead!」
「No, Adol-san. Please don’t say unlucky thing like that.」
Even while Hajime was saying that, Shizuku’s panicked state and the ominous presence of a Soul Sister searching for her Onee-sama that alarmed even the chief of the dragon race also pushed him into action. He prepared the compass and Crystal Key in a bit of hurry.
「NOOOOOOO-! HAJIMEEE, HURRYYYY!」
「Ah, oi, Shizuku! Don’t pour magic power from the side――」
The gate opened. To the next destination of sightseeing that had been originally planned from before.
However, the coordinate was slightly shifted due to the tiny panic that Shizuku caused, and because she clung at Hajime, he dropped the Crystal Key at his feet. Because of that the gate was opened below them like a pitfall.
As the result, Hajime and others all dropped down simultaneously together with a scream WAAAAAAAAAAAAH.
――You, calm down!!
――Adol-sama! Amanogawa-dono looks like he is going to ascend to heaven-
While listening to such voices.
A scream burst out from their destination.
「Are you alright!?」
「Damn you-, villain――wait, Nagumo Hajime!? Also, ee!? Why are you all!?」
Such voices that were filled with confusion also resounded.
It seemed they had safely arrived at the next destination――the empire.
However, they arrived by falling right above Emperor Gahard.If you find any errors ( broken links, non-standard content, etc.. ), Please let us know so we can fix it as soon as possible.