Chapter 3… I bet you should be doing sth else e.e…
Author: Kiyo Date (伊達きよ)
“From a childlike body to an adult one?”
“Right. Since the imperial family has dragon blood, their lives are seven to eight times longer than that of an ordinary human. From birth until they are in their 100s, they live in the body of a child. As their minds and bodies mature, they change to an adult form. This change goes hand in hand with them gaining the ability to transform into a dragon.”
“Hm? But the boy… who isn’t really a boy… His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince is 150 years old, and he’s still…”
On the day of his summoning, Setsu and Xiao Ya had sat across from each other in a room without Li Huang. It was Xiao Ya’s room.
“…Yes, that is correct. That was the reason for your recent summoning.”
So Setsu had been told. He gratefully sipped the tea that Xiao Ya had poured him.
Xiao Ya had given a brief explanation of the country. And of Li Huang. And after that, why Setsu had been summoned here.
“Even 50 additional years after he turned 100, Lord Li Huang still cannot transform. To tell you the truth, a case like this has never occurred before, and even the scholars that research the Imperial Family and their dragon form are at their wits’ end.”
“Above all, it is Lord Li Huang that is the most troubled by this. Since birth Lord Li Huang’s magical powers have been strong, and as he is both wise and courageous, honest and stern, he has no other shortcomings. He is outstanding at everything, and everybody had great expectations of him as a most splendid emperor, but..”
“Woah… Almost like me!”
Setsu, who had been silently listening so far, raised his eyes in surprise. Xiao Ya ignored him. Engaging Setsu would surely lead the conversation astray.
“But no matter how old he turned, he couldn’t transform.”
‘No doubt he’ll turn into a truly magnificent dragon.’
‘I wonder what color he’ll be.’
‘A wonderful emperor will be born!’
‘Lan Huang will have peace for hundreds of years.’
is what everybody said, but when Li Huang never transformed, the voices turned dark and heavy with disappointment.
“As their expectations had been high, their disappointment was great as well. At one point they were even suspicious of his ancestry.”
‘When will he transform?’
‘Maybe he doesn’t have the strength to do it.’
‘Does he really have royal blood?’
One couldn’t say that the people who gossiped did it in bad faith. In this country, peace was embodied by a dragon emperor. Since the creation of this world, the founder’s bloodline had been unbroken. Emperors turning into dragons was what made Lan Huang Lan Huang. In the minds of the people, there was no value in an emperor that couldn’t transform. Even in Li Huang’s mind itself.
Setsu listened in silence, a hand on his chin, not sharing his thoughts.
“It is not as though Lord Li Huang let the days go by idly. He tried all possible means to change into his adult form. …That is why he searched for his destined mate.”
Not understanding the correlation, Setsu tilted his head in puzzlement.
“Why the destined mate? What even are “Destined Mates” in the first place?”
Because Setsu’s questions were only natural, Xiao Ya started by roughly explaining the country’s origins first. The story about the two dragons creating the world in five nights and five days.
“And the legend of two connected souls, ‘Destined Mates’, in imitation of the two creator dragons, has been passed down within the imperial family.”
The two dragons had been mates, and because of them, Lan Huang had been born. And legend had it, that the imperial family, who were the dragon’s descendants, each had their fated mates, a Yin to their Yang, just like the dragons had.
“Even though I say ‘legend’, it actually isn’t rare for members of the imperial family to find their Destined Mate. There were ones that found them without even looking, ones that found them by chance after searching for them for many years, ones whose marital partner turned out to be their Destined Mate… There have been many different examples.”
“I see… But how do you recognize your Destined Mate?”
“If I say “by their soul” it might sound strange, but it’s something close to that. I will explain it to you in detail…Firstly, everybody carries the Five Elements inside their bodies.”
The Five Elements were Water, Earth, Gold, Wood, and Fire. They were the foundation of all magic in Lan Huang, where all inhabitants had magical powers to a greater or lesser extent. Although people mainly only embodied one element (two in Li Huang’s case), it didn’t mean that they had no connection to the other elements at all. Humans were created of all Five Elements, but only one of them manifested as their magic powers.
Take Xiao Ya as an example. His element was that of “Wood”, but he also had the other four elements in his body. If you expressed it in numerical value with 10 being the highest number, “Wood” was at a 9 or higher for Xiao Ya. The other elements only had low numbers like 5s or 6s. For that reason, he was only able to use “Wood” for his magic.
“A partner who, like Yin and Yang, perfectly fits the distribution of elements inside the body, no, the soul… That is what the “Destined Mate” is.”
“I…I see…No, hold on. I don’t really understand yet. Give me a pen and paper please! I really need to understand this!”
Setsu complained, as if not understanding something annoyed him. Even though Xiao Ya thought it wouldn’t be a problem if Setsu just listened to him attentively, he still handed him something with which to write.
Setsu smoothly drew the shape of a person, and wrote “Water, Earth, Gold, Wood, Fire” at its side. Since the Language Conversion Spell had been cast when Setsu was summoned, the characters Setsu wrote now were readable to the people of Lan Huang, and Setsu too, was able to read characters that people from Lan Huang had written.
“These Five Elements are individually distributed, right?”
“And, if somebody has the value of 5 for all of them, a person that also has 5 everywhere is their match?”
“Simply put, yes. Within the Five Elements are Elemental Pairs that oppose each other. The ratio of distribution is quite complicated and not easy to put into numbers… In any case, the opposing pairs supplement each other and become one. It is said that there is only one such partner in the world.”
Xiao Ya drew another inverted human shape next to the one Setsu had drawn, and connected the two of them with an equals sign. Two people that complement each other to become one perfect shape.
“This is what “Destined Mates” are.”
Setsu nodded. Apparently he was understanding now.
“Lord Li Huang’s Destined Mate wasn’t to be found in this world. After researching in ancient manuscripts he found out that many generations ago there had been a single occasion of an emperor’s Destined Mate that came from a different world. And when he took a gamble and cast his net to another world, he caught you in it, Lord Setsu.”
At the wording of him being caught in a net Setsu couldn’t help but consider the imagery of a fish hanging in a fisherman’s net. Not really beautiful. Setsu shook his head at this peculiar thought. Not knowing what was going on in Setsu’s head, Xiao Ya rushed to apologize when he watched Setsu’s now slightly pale head shake.
“I’m sorry. For you, Lord Setsu, it must have been frightening to be suddenly summoned like that… However…”
“In the past, everybody in the imperial family has found their Destined Mates when they were approximately 100 years of age, about the time they changed into their adult forms. Thus, Lord Li Huang assumed that finding his destined mate might be the key to maturing, and he desperately searched for you.”
“Is that so?”
He understood the situation now. Everything that had happened was so that Li Huang could reach his adult form. But even though they had met, seen each other’s faces, and talked, Li Huang’s body had shown no signs of maturing. Having thought that if only they met, he could finally grow into his adult body, and even reaching into another world for this reason, Li Huang’s despair was deep. This must have been the reason for his cold demeanor towards Setsu.
“Hhh..” Xiao Ya sighed.
Of course he felt bad for Setsu who had been summoned so abruptly only to be abandoned right away. But he also understood Li Huang’s mental agony, and so he hadn’t had the heart to criticize Li Huang for his behaviour.
“Hm, I see.”
Setsu nodded, deep in thought. Xiao Ya didn’t know what Setsu was agreeing to, but his satisfied smile was very beautiful anyways. Watching his face, Xiao Ya had a strange feeling in his chest. An unpleasant premonition.
“So you’re saying that it would be good if His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince could become an adult?”
“Yes that is correct. He hasn’t been able to do so for many decades now…”
“How pitiful! Maybe another ten or twenty or one hundred years will pass! Ha ha he he. However, it won’t take that long, because I, the Destined Mate, am here to help!”
Xiao Ya’s face twitched, as Setsu oddly stressed the “I” part. The unpleasant premonition had been accurate. He was unable to make heads or tails of it, but apparently he had fueled this young man’s inspiration.
Well, it was something to be grateful for. Li Huang had clearly said Setsu would be sent back to his own world at the next double full moon, the night when both moons in Lan Huang’s night sky reached their full size. When this happened, magic power swelled to its greatest potential, since magical power was influenced by the waxing and waning of the moons. The last summoning, too, had been successful because it had been a double full moon night.
The next double full moon would be in approximately one hundred days.
Would Li Huang meet Setsu again until then? Yes, there might be a meeting. In case that the Destined Mate might still conceal the power needed to transform Li Huang into an adult.
“Now, before that I first need to know more about this country, and I also have to research the dragon’s form. Ahh, so many things to do… Ah! Hold on!”
His face full of motivation, Setsu suddenly turned pale. Xiao Ya was confused at this sudden change.
“U-uhm. Is there something amiss?”
“It’s night now right?”
“Ah, uh, yes”
Of course it was pitch black outside the window. The two moons were shining in the sky. Trembling with fear, Setsu pressed both of his hands against his cheeks.
“The time difference!”
Xiao Ya tilted his head at the unexpected words. But Setsu vigorously sprang up from his chair without paying Xiao Ya any attention.
“In the world I came from, morning starts right now! But it’s night here! Aaahh, my internal clock will go crazy! A disruption in the daily routine is a disruption for body and mind! It’s bad for the skin too, it’s bad!”
Setsu was just blankly staring at Xiao Ya, covering his face with his hands and groaning. What on earth was a time difference or an internal clock?!
“It can’t be helped. I need to match my lifestyle to this world. I’m sorry Master Xiao Ya, I’d like to go to bed now. Please let me wash up and brush my teeth, too.”
“Ah, uhm, alright. The washroom is over there. You can sleep in the room over there.”
“Thank you very much. Goodnight then. Thank you for telling me this story.”
“Uh… yes. Goodnight…”
Xiao Ya was taken aback by Setsu putting an end to their talk so abruptly, but reflexively lowered his head as well when Setsu elegantly bowed his head, getting ready to retire to his room.
“I will see you again tomorrow.” Setsu said, smiling sweetly when he lifted his head and turned his body.
When his body pivoted, his golden hair lingered for a brief moment longer than the rest of him. Usually you wouldn’t have been able to catch this momentary discrepancy with the naked eye. However, in the space around Setsu, time seemed to flow slowly, almost as if everything happened frame-by-frame. He was a sight that burned itself into people’s eyes.
This Destined Mate’s narcissism was outrageously deep; a personality, the likes of which Xiao Ya had never seen before, to put it bluntly. But there was no doubt that he was extraordinarily beautiful. Xiao Ya noticed that he was captivated in spite of himself.
He blinked several times in order to get rid of the image of blond hair that had been etched into the back of his eyes, when Setsu who had been heading to the washroom turned around again.
“Er, it’s pretty repulsive to sleep in the same clothes for two nights in a row, so could I please borrow some nightclothes? Silk would be nice but it doesn’t have to be that luxurious. To be honest, silk is what is best for my skin but since I’m staying in your room as a guest, I’ll take anything you give me.”
The beautiful golden hair was instantly erased from the back of Xiao Ya’s eyes. No matter how lovely this appearance was, this is what his insides looked like.
With a bitter smile, Xiao Ya went to the closet to get some sleep-wear. He knew there was only one set of the requested silk clothes. Surely Setsu’s face would light up again and be as beautiful as that of a goddess when Xiao Ya told him…