The narcissist that became a dragon’s bride in another world – Ch 13
this story has not been abandoned. can you believe?
sorry for the month long hiatus. we’ve been very busy with school and work and life. thank you for all the comments you’ve left since the last update. I really like reading them and see what you guys are thinking. okay then: enjoy.
Author: Kiyo Date (伊達きよ)
That is a beautiful rainbow
His grandmother reached out a hand towards Setsu’s face. Her wrinkled hands would always gently caress his cheeks. Her hands taught him that he was something important. It wasn’t until Setsu had started to live with his grandmother, that he found out that touch could convey something pleasant.
Setsu looked up and fixed his gaze on the kind woman. She looked back at him while she was petting his head.
“Hmm, your eyes are so pretty. They look like the sky.”
“…but mother said my eyes are ugly.”
For a brief moment, there was sadness in his grandmother’s eyes, but just as quickly she was smiling again. She crouched in front of Setsu and pressed her forehead against his. Setsu could see her gentle eyes right in front of his own.
“That’s because her mind’s eye was clouded.”
“When it’s cold outside during the winter and you breathe against a window glass, it turns milky and you can’t see what’s outside anymore, right? Just like that. Her eyes were cloudy too, and she couldn’t see your beauty.”
“To understand real beauty your mind’s eye has to be clear.”
As she stroked his head, he looked at her sparkling, black eyes. They looked beautiful to him.
“Your eyes sparkle like marbles, grandma. They’re really pretty! Does my mind’s eye sparkle too?”
“Oh yes, it does…. Setsu, the mind’s eye clouds very easily. You have to cultivate it to keep it clear.”
As their foreheads were pressed together warmly, her hands squeezed his cheeks. Setsu was proud that his mind’s eye was sparkling, and he started to like that little part of himself. Until now he had never thought about whether he liked himself or not. The one deciding on Setsu’s self worth hadn’t been Setsu so far. Only his mother had been able to do that.
His grandma always taught him how to love himself.
The Aviation spell was one of Li Huang’s specialties when it came to sorcery. Both Water and Fire were used for it, which meant that Li Huang’s natural abilities lent themselves very well to it. Water magic was also used to conceal them as they leaped up into the sky.
Li Huang hadn’t used this spell in several years. When he had been young, he used to cast it often to fly alongside his father and grandfather in their dragon forms. But as he had grown older, it had shamed him to imitate what he couldn’t transform into himself, and he had decided not to use the spell anymore.
No matter how much magic he used, he couldn’t leisurely float in the sky like the dragons did. Not even their speed he could match, so he would always be left behind in the open sky by the other two.
Today he wasn’t alone, though. Setsu was right next to him.
“Ahhomygod! What did His Majesty do?! Even though it was the Emperor who did this I must strongly object! This is nothing but frustrating! I was in the middle of studying the language all by myself! Now he just cast some magic on me… unacceptable! I didn’t ask for this at all! Ahhh, I’m determined about my own passions… so unreal!”
“…Yeah, yeah. Let’s have Xiao Ya lift it again when we’re back on the ground, okay?”
Setsu’s barrage of protest had been as strong as the current of the Lu Huang, and Li Huang was all alone to deal with it. As long as Setsu was around, whether it was the sky, the edge of the earth or outer space, one surely wouldn’t feel lonely.
They were talking as they floated in the sky above the castle (It was less of a dialogue between the two and more of a soliloquy by Setsu.) They had entered a cloud so they were surrounded by a thick white mist.
“Yes! It needs to be removed right away. But Xiao Ya is at work right now. I’ll have to keep it until he’s done. Hm… Well I can read the difficult books I haven’t been able to until then. There’s a book about Destined Mate’s that’s just been too difficult no matter how hard I tried.”
“Still eager about studying, hm?”
“Duh!.. I mean.. Right!”
Setsu’s nose was turned up towards the sky. Li Huang turned away his face. When Setsu had struggled more with the language, he had seemed much younger. Now the impression was totally different. Annoying, domineering, self-loving? No, that was wrong. That’s not how he saw him now. Even though that was what he had thought of him in the beginning. For some reason, it was cute to him now.
Based on his way of talking, when they had first met, he had simply seemed like an arrogant person. After the Language Conversion Spell was lifted, he had started to seem younger and cuter. Now that he was back to speaking like his old self, he still seemed cute. There had to be something wrong with him to find this narcissistic behavior cute.
Li Huang was questioning himself. This is Setsu. The real Setsu. And he could speak fluently again. Why did he find him cute?
Li Huang shook his head as if to make it change its mind, and looked up at the sky.
“Setsu, why don’t you look at the sky with me for a bit before we go back down?”
“The sky? We’re in the sky right now, aren’t we?”
“This is the middle of the sky. Ah there we go, a cloud.”
Li Huang tightly grasped Setsu’s hand, which was bigger than his.
Gradually, a dazzling light started to pierce through overhead of them, and the two entered a cloud.
“…This is… wonderful!…!”
Setsu let out in admiration. He was astonished by the clear blue sky and the dazzling sunlight that appeared after they had passed through the clouds.
The white clouds and bluish ground were vast beneath them. If he strained his eyes far, far to the distance, he could even see the horizon, separating sky and land. Setsu stared into the blurry distance that looked like white paint had idly been spread around.
The blue of the sky, the green and brown below, the white clouds, all shone in the sunlight.
“The sky above the clouds is so blue, and wide, so radiant…! Aaah…, it’s like it’s engulfing everything!”
He bent his head around to look at everything at once. One hand still in Li Huangs, the other one clasped to his chest. Above the clouds, the blue was piercing, bright, and beautiful.
“That reminds me Setsu, you’re not afraid of heights are you? You’re feeling okay?”
“Okay? I feel amazing! Ahh, I had no idea the sky was so perfectly clear and blue above the clouds!”
The higher they went, the bluer it got. Li Huang didn’t notice his own smile spreading across his face, when he tore his gaze away from the actual sky to look at its reflection in Setsu’s blue eyes.
“Your Highness, there’s the castle… and there, a town? Ahh, I see. That’s the famous Imperial City, right? That big river is the Lu Huan! And then that building is…? Oh, amazing! It’s like looking at an elaborate miniature model!”
Setsu smiled all the time, but to see him this gaping in excitement like this was a rare occurrence. Laughing and pointing at this building or that town below to ask Li Huang their names. He didn’t seem concerned about being correct. Instead he was just enjoying the moment.
While Setsu was so carefree and happy, Li Huang couldn’t help but feel an eager, happy feeling boil up inside him. He wanted to see Setsu smile more. More, more, more. After looking down briefly, Li Huang firmly grabbed Setsu’s hand.
He called out to Setsu who had been looking at the ground below happily, and weakened the spell in one, big drop. When Setsu let out a surprised cry, he held his hand firmer still as they plunged into the clouds below. There was a lot of water inside. When Li Huang held up one hand, the water all collected in one, big blop.
The surrounding mist disappeared in the blink of an eye, and the two of them reemerged in the sunlight again.
Li Huang threw the water mass he had created up in the sky like a ball. It leaped above them, like gravity had no hold on it, and suddenly burst open.
Little droplets scattered around, sparkling all over the place, and creating a little rainbow in the sunlight.
The rainbow was only visible for a few short seconds. But its seven-colored phantom had firmly burned itself into Setsu’s eyes and heart.
Without saying anything, Setsu kept looking at the spot where the rainbow had disappeared. He had become perfectly still. Anxious, Li Hunag asked him:
“…Setsu? Sorry. I shouldn’t have done that out of nowhere. Did I frighten you?”
“…no, it’s not like that. That was absolutely beautiful. Too beautiful…”
Setsu had turned his head at Li Huang’s words. He slowly squeezed his chest, opening and closing his mouth, and opening it again, hesitating.
“…A thing of such beauty… leaves me without words….”
He chewed on his red lips. A sight so beautiful it made his chest tighten, and couldn’t be described by any words that he possessed.
Li Huang felt this was unexpected as he watched Sestu. He felt astonished. He had expected Setsu to respond with a thousand and one flowery words spewing out of him without reservation. Astonished, and also very attracted to this honest and “at a loss for words” Setsu.
Setsu was always honest. He freely admitted how much he liked himself, when there was something he wanted he said so, and when there were things he couldn’t do, he was honest about that, too. Yes, he was boastful, but the things he boasted of weren’t untrue, he didn’t do it to exaggerate, Li Huang realized. The thing he liked about Setsu was he wasn’t a pretender.
The people surrounding Crown Prince Li Huang always lied. To his youthful face, many people only flattered him, only to turn around behind his back and call him a fool and a halfwit for not being able to turn into a dragon. There were so many that Li Huang had become fed up with it. But Setsu was different. He was a weirdo full of praise for himself, but he didn’t lie to himself. And just like he didn’t lie to himself, he didn’t lie to others either. To Li Huang, Setsu was something rare, something that he had never encountered before.
Li Huang’s eyes opened wide at Setsu’s words, and his face crumpled up with laughter.
“…Just that is enough. I can see what you feel just by looking at your face.”
Li Huang wanted to do it again to excite Setsu more, but he didn’t. He just stayed by Setsu’s side, fixing his gaze at the spot where the rainbow had disappeared without a trace.
“…You can appreciate beauty because your mind’s eye is clear, right?”
For some reason Setsu reacted very startled to Li Huang’s mumbled words. Li Huang wondered if what he had said had been too abstract, and rushed to clarify himself.
“I mean, um, ‘mind’s eye’ sounds a little pretentious perhaps. I’m talking about a mindset. You see, if there’s no room for beauty in the heart, nothing will seem beautiful to it, right? That’s all I meant…”
Due to his embarrassment Li Huang had been fast talking, until he weakly cut himself off in the end. When he was with Setsu, whatever he thought just popped out of his mouth for some reason.
In the end he hadn’t been able to properly bring his meaning across, but it was truly what he had thought. Not all people were able to equally appreciate beauty. And that wasn’t just the case for beautiful things either. Whether fun things were fun, and tasty things tasted good, all depended on one’s heart. Li Huang for example, found the aviation spell quite boring. There was no room in his heart to enjoy it.
The reason why he was feeling so light-hearted right now, and why he was enjoying it in this moment, was surely because he was doing it together with Setsu. The way he saw and felt things right now was so different from his usual self.
“A long time ago I learned that from somebody.”
Setsu muttered. At the unusually quiet voice, Li Huang turned to look at Setsu’s face.
It looked like he was about to cry. And yet, his expression was happy as well. Li Huang felt his breath taken away. He had never seen Setsu like this before.
“Your Highness? Is something the matter? You look like a pigeon that was hit by a peashooter.”
It seemed Setsu wasn’t aware of the face he was making. He looked at Li Huang suspiciously. Li Huang was thinking of what to say. In the end he just shook his head without saying anything,
“…no, it’s nothing. Well…Should we go back down now?”
“Yes, alright. Thank you so much for this wonderful time, Your Highness! I have to go to the library next.”
Li Huang nodded with a wry smile as he watched the enthusiastic Setsu.