The narcissist that became a dragon’s bride in another world – Ch 5
sorry for the wait! pls don’t hate us uwu
Author: Kiyo Date (伊達きよ)
TL: overd.o.se TLC: Fairy Editor: ThePlanesKeeper
A crystal that doesn’t shine
When evening came and Xiao Ya returned to his chambers after finishing work, he was startled into leaping right back out the room. It wasn’t because he had been surprised by his mirror image that was waiting for him in the entrance way. No, he had unfortunately gotten used to that (it really wasn’t something he had ever wanted to get used to).
What had startled him, was the presence of somebody unexpected in his rooms.
“Lord, Lord Li Huang?”
Facing Setsu across the desk that had a fluttery fabric spread over it (Setsu called it a tablecloth), sat Li Huang. He was sipping tea with a bored face, his elbows resting on the table in an ill manner that was quite unlike his usual self.
“Yes, sorry for bothering you.”
“Master Xiao Ya, welcome back! You must be tired from work. Come wash your hands and have some tea. Here, I made some teacakes. What do you think? It looks just like it’s been made by a confectioner! And it doesn’t just look good, it tastes delicious, too! They are low on sugar, so you can have several of them! Hehe, how persistent of me to go as far to even make sweets out of these foreign ingredients…! Oh, my talents are frightening…!”
As Setsu sank down to his knees hugging himself, Li Huang watched on with cold eyes. Xiao Ya first bowed to Li Huang, and then, not paying any attention to Sestu as usual, took off his hood and went to wash his hands.
“Xiao Ya, you do well to live with this person day after day.”
“Practice, just practice.”
Li Huang looked worn out. There was no telling how long he’d been here, but he’d seemingly had to listen to plenty of Setsu’s ramblings. The cast-iron smile he always wore had crumbled, and he looked absolutely dejected.
“I admire you. I forced an outrageous task onto you.”
“Not at all. His personality is off, but he’s a good person.”
“Hm? Are you talking about me?”
The “outrageous task” had his face right between Xiao Ya and Li Huang the entire time. With a bitter smile Xiao Ya wondered why he only ever paid close attention to words of praise. As if Xiao Ya’s return had relieved him from his burden, Li Huang quickly got up and took refuge on a chair by the window a little bit away from them. He seemed really tired, leaning his exhausted body against the back of the chair.
Xiao Ya watched him with pity, and then turned around towards Setsu.
“Lord Setsu, why is Lord Li Huang…?”
“Ah, we met at the Lu Huang’s riverbank. I told him that I would have my magic power and element examination today.”
“… I was kind of interested, and told him I’d come by in the evening…” A frail voice sounded from the window to finish Setsu’s lively words.
Xiao Ya was astonished. He hadn’t thought that Li Huang would once again become interested in Sestu out of his own accord. Well, but that interest seemed to have withered away at Setsu’s intense hospitality.
“There’s no official business today?”
“Nothing serious. I finished today’s duties a little while ago.”
Li Huang said, tugging the hair that had fallen over his cheek back behind his ear. The gentle waves of his black hair were fine and soft, so even though he tugged them back, they always fell back into his face again. Witnessing this, Setsu clapped his hands together. He’d been struck with some idea again. Having been gripped by a sense of foreboding, Xiao Ya quickly backed away, but Li Huang didn’t know Setsu as well as Xiao Ya did yet. “What now?” he asked at Setsu’s behavior. Xiao Ya wanted to warn him that asking or telling him off was useless, but he didn’t. He stuck to the wall and decided to watch on.
“It looks like your hair is troubling you. Please leave it to me.”
As soon as he had finished speaking, Setsu went around Li Huang’s back, swiftly pulled out a comb from who knows where, and ferociously straightened the loose waves of Li Huang’s hair. The coup de grace was an ornamental string with dainty embroidery* that he used to tie the strands together.
“Wha- What are you..”
“Ahhh, delightful! Mhh, I thought about this the moment I first saw you. A nice wine-red matches wonderfully with your black hair! My eyes weren’t lying to me! Very nice, very nice Your Highness!… Wow, it’s scary how I was able to make a hair tie that suits you so well… I’m… wow… and it looks…!”
Next to Setsu who had interrupted his protest and was now theatrically trembling in awe of his own abilities, Li Huang was trembling for real. It was probably an angry tremble though.
Before this turned into something terrible, Xiao Ya spoke up with an intentionally loud voice.
“Uhmm, well then! Let’s do the magic power and element examination! Yes! Let’s go. Come along, off now!”
“Oh yes! We need to examine my magical powers!”
“… let’s get this over with as soon as possible.”
Xiao Ya frantically begged, and both of them followed his words. Setsu readily, Li Huang grudgingly. Xiao Ya sighed in relief, but when Setsu sucked in a surprised breath at something, he looked over his shoulder.
“…Master Xiao Ya…”
Xiao Ya’s feet stopped when he saw the serious look on Setsu’s face. Li Huang, too, watched Setsu with a wary look.
“…My cakes.. You haven’t tried them yet…!”
“I’ll… I’ll eat them when I return, alright? Alright? Let’s go! Come now! Come on!”
Xiao Ya saw an angry flame sparking up from Li Huang, and pushed Setsu’s back without looking back.
And so they left the room and headed towards the ritual room, which had all the necessary tools for the examination. First Setsu, then Xiao Ya pushing him with a hand on his back, and lastly Li Huang, who wasn’t hiding his irritation anymore. Setsu was being noisy on the way as well, which irritated Li Huang, but Xiao Ya did his best to mediate, and somehow they managed to arrive without anybody getting injured or any big fights happening.
“Well then Lord Setsu. Please hold this crystal in your hands.”
They were in a room similar to the one Setsu had been summoned to, spacious and dim. The only light sources were burning flames. A light draft made the flames, and thus their shadows, flicker against the walls and floor.
Setsu looked at the crystal in front of his eyes, sucked in a breath and reached out his hand.
When it was covered with a person’s hands, the transparent crystal would respond to their magic and element and change its color. A magical instrument like this one would be expected in a fantasy book or manga. The color was of course related to the Five Elements. If your element was Water, it would turn blue, Fire was red, Earth brown, Gold yellow, and Wood green. The color’s intensity was dictated by the quality of magical powers. The deeper the color, the greater the holder’s magical abilities.
“What if it shines golden?”
Setsu muttered to himself, and stopped his hand before it touched the crystal. Of course the other two had heard his words too, but they pretended as though they hadn’t. To them the result didn’t matter and the sooner he’d touch it, the sooner it would be done. There was the sound of Li Huang’s foot tapping on the floor. He had his arms crossed. Next to him Xiao Ya gave a wry smile.
“Any color will be fine. As long as we know that you have magical abilities, you’ll be able to learn magic. If you do have magic powers like you predicted, Lord Setsu, we’ll start your training tomorrow, alright?”
“Alright.” Setsu grasped his hands together tightly and looked at the crystal once more.
How something that just looked like a simple mineral could change its color and shine was extremely mysterious to Setsu. Even when he had asked, Xiao Ya had only replied “That’s just the way it is”. Magic was more ambiguous and uncertain than Setsu had thought.
He snapped his eyes shut to empty his head, which was too full with thoughts. He took a deep breath that filled his lungs with air. Then he slowly let out a long, slow exhale. He imagined his tangled thoughts being flushed out of his body together with his breath.
He opened his eyes and took the crystal that was placed on a pedestal into his hands. “…Hm?”
A strange floating sensation took hold of his body. Even though there was no wind, his hair started flowing gently. It frightened him how his disheveled blond hair made it seem like there was no gravity, but the other two that were looking on weren’t perturbed. It seemed as though this was something normal.
Slowly, the crystal started to change its color.
“Gold… gold…beautiful gold…! Show yourself…gold…!”
As Setsu’s small voice sing-song chanted “gold, gold” like a prayer, the transparent orb began to turn muddy.
An intense and deep earth color snaked itself through the crystal like a muddy maelstrom. As though dirty mud had been poured into clear water, it rapidly expanded, and in the blink of an eye, the crystal had turned brown.
The hand that held the crystal was shaking, and Setsu turned pale from the shock. Li Huang’s and Xiao Ya’s expressions quickly changed as well.
“… I cannot believe it!”
“What the —!”
The three different shouts overlapped.
Setsu raised his hands skywards and fell to his knees. Li Huang and Xiao Ya rushed over to push Setsu away and peered at the crystal.
“Good lord! Brown of all things… brown is supposed to be suitable for me?! Argh, gods… I believed you would bestow a prettier color onto me..! Gold…or, at least blue or red, blue or red…!!”
The other two watched on dumbfounded, as Sestu stretched his hands even higher towards the heavens. They looked at the crystal, then at Setsu, and then at the crystal again.
“Lord Li Huang… this…”
“Yeah. It’s the first time I’ve seen this, too. Brown… and so deep at that… Look at this, even though he’s not touching it anymore, the color still won’t fade.”
Still showing the brown swirl, the crystal wasn’t turning transparent again. This was definitely proof for strong magical powers.
“Lord Setsu possesses the Earth element? It can’t be!”
“It’s hard to believe but… the crystal doesn’t lie.”
Li Huang and Xiao Ya both stared at the crystal. Then they looked at Setsu who was prostrated on the floor, and had started to bawl his eyes out.
They looked at each other. Both of them showed a whirlwind of emotions on their faces. Wonder, shock, suspicion, delight, confusion. It was a complicated mix of many things.
A dry laugh spilled out from Li Huang’s throat.
“Ha… You think he can really become a Master of Earth Sorcery?”
Xiao Ya couldn’t answer anything, and only let his gaze wander between the crystal and Setsu. But Li Huang hadn’t even expected a clear answer. He looked at Xiao Ya, who was speechless, and let out another short laugh, putting his hand on his delicate chin in consideration.
“…Lord Li Huang, how should this be dealt with?”
“…Let me think for a bit.”
Li Huang shook his head at Xiao Ya’s mutterings. He himself had summoned his Destined Mate here, but he had never expected it to turn out like this.
There hadn’t been a wielder of the Earth element in thousands of years. How should he explain to people that now there was somebody that came from a different world, and that was also his Destined Mate? How to proceed from here?
The matter of him not changing to his adult form still wasn’t resolved, and now there was this absurd problem on top of it all. Thinking about the future, Li Huang sighed heavily.
First he would have to explain a whole lot of things to this troublesome guy. Li Huang looked down at crying Setsu, and let out an even heavier sigh.