Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 83 (Part 2)
“Luca, look at all these small spirits flying around. They are very beautiful.” I tried to distract him from crying.
The strength of his arms wrapped around me did not loosen, but the sobbing did calm down a bit. I let out a sigh of relief and, when I looked down, I saw purifying essence at my feet.
Was all this the work of Soleil?
But when I looked up at him, the wolf shook his head.
『It wasn’t my doing. This is because the world is rejoicing. And probably it is its way of thanking you. You who defied fate and managed the great feat of changing the future.』
The world… I see, so it changed. The scenario had ended and I was still alive. The Dark Organization also didn’t perish. Lune, who had been playing the role of the last boss, had been saved and, on top of that, Soleil had been restored. I’d been so anxious this entire time, but in the end, we managed to reach a wonderful conclusion.
『Thank you, child of mine. You’ve returned Soleil to me.』
『I am grateful to you as well. Thank you for saving Lune. Thanks to you I did not lose her. And do not fret, my descendant is crying from joy.』
Yeah? If he was crying from happiness then there was no need to forcefully make him stop. Still, Soleil knew exactly what I had been thinking, even though, unlike Lune, he wasn’t supposed to be connected to me.
Still holding Luca in my arms, I turned to look at the two gods and Soleil puffed out his chest proudly.
『Fufu. Just a glance at your face and it was obvious.』
『Don’t put on airs. I was the one who told him.』
I see. It made sense if Lune was the one who told him.
Soleil, who had been rebuked, let out a whine.
At first, I thought Soleil had an unfortunate personality, but it seemed it was just cheerfully high tension.1
『As the god of this country, I wanted to look dignified… Well, it’s fine. It seems we’re getting in your way, so we’ll step aside for a bit.』
No, they weren’t getting in the way of anything. I was just a bit worried that we’d accidentally be crushed. Rather, I was more worried that we were the ones getting in their way.
As I was thinking that, the gods moved away from us, settling down in a place where I could see but not hear them.
Going back to patting Luca on the back, I gazed at the small spirits fluttering around us, and Luca finally looked up. He kissed my cheek and gave me a bashful smile. Adorable.
But his eyes were red from crying, so this time I was the one to hand him a potion.
It might be overkill to give him a potion just because he’d been crying, but he’d cried so much his eyes would probably swell horribly if we didn’t do something.
Luca drank the potion and the redness went down, returning him to his usual ikemen state.
I nodded in reply and Luca squeezed me tight, rubbing his cheek on the top of my head. It was something he always did. Relieved, I let myself burrow into Luca’s warmth.
Haa, it was finally over. I was incredibly happy. Because I was free from the anxiety that had been plaguing me, of course, but more importantly, because I could be with Luca from now on and forever. With every breath I took, the joy built up and up inside of me until I couldn’t take it anymore.
“Luca, Luca… Luca.” I pressed my face against his chest.
“You’ve worked hard, Zagan. And also… Thank you. Because you were here with me, I…”
Even after waiting a while, the end of that sentence didn’t come.
I looked up at him and was kissed. On the lips this time. When our eyes met he smiled happily.
“Hey, I have something for you.”
Luca let go of me and opened his magic bag. He took a small, plain box out of it.
What could it be? The moment I wondered that, Luca got down on one knee.
“Zagan, please marry me.”
The sudden proposal left me shocked. And sitting inside that box was a ring with a beautiful, clear magic stone. No matter how you looked at it, it was an engagement ring. Was this the reason Soleil wanted to leave us alone? He must have picked up on the fact that Luca decided to propose.
“Zagan…? Is it a no?” Luca became anxious when I didn’t say anything or make any move.
He’d just gotten back to looking cool again and now he switched to being a little lame… but I knew all too well that that was my fault.
Out of respect for him, I should have said yes right away or at least showed him that I was happy about it. But for some reason, I couldn’t get myself to respond like that.
I mean, I was going to propose to him. Though the date changed while we were fighting and I couldn’t find the right time to congratulate him, today was Luca’s birthday. I’d prepared a wedding ring for his birthday. But while I was here being relieved that everything was over now, he beat me to the punchline and proposed to me in such a cool way. I was both happy and frustrated.
When did even he get that ring?
Getting down on one knee and popping the question like that?
And, coupled with the beautiful spirits fluttering around us, he looked cool doing it too.
Damn, this ikemen prince.
“Um, Zagan? Why are you sulking like that?”
As expected of Luca – he knew I was sulking even though I didn’t say anything.
When I still didn’t respond he got up and took my left hand.
“Say, is it ok if I put this ring right here?” He asked, planting a kiss on my ring finger.
“…I got one too,” I told him sulkily.
“Eh?” Luca looked at me, eyes opened wide in surprise. So I took out the box and showed him the two rings inside.
“Happy birthday Luca. Let’s get married.”
Since it was already decided that the two of us would marry, I didn’t bother posing it as a question. I didn’t wait for the stunned Luca’s response either.
“Since it’s your birthday, I’ll put the ring on you first.”
I took one ring out and placed the small box in Luca’s right hand. And while I was at it, I also moved the box he’d been holding into the same hand. Now that his left hand was free, I slipped the ring onto his ring finger.
Mn, perfect fit. I was glad it was the right size. And the simple, thick band suited Luca’s large hand.
As I nodded in satisfaction, Luca who’d been staring at the ring with a shocked expression, broke out into an incredibly happy smile.
“Thank you, Zagan. I’m so happy. This is the best birthday present I could ever get.”
I didn’t get to propose first, and I don’t know if I managed to look cool doing it, but as long as Luca was happy, I was satisfied.
“Now it’s my turn to put a ring on your finger,” Luca declared, taking both rings meant for me out of their respective boxes.
The empty boxes were stuffed back into his bag by a tentacle and at the same time he took hold of my left hand and slipped the wedding band on and after that the engagement ring.
Though the ring Luca prepared had a clear magic stone embedded in it, it was a simple thing with no other adornments. The fact that he knew my tastes so well made me happy, but also a bit embarrassed.
Like the rings I bought, Luca’s ring was also made of orichalcum. Since both the magic stone and the orichalcum boosted fighting ability, he must have had it made with the thought I’d be wearing it regularly. Of course, the size was also perfect.
“Thank you, Luca. I’ll treasure it for the rest of my life.” I thanked him as I carefully inspected the ring, and I was pulled into a gentle hug.
“I was really worried if you, as a man, would want to receive an engagement ring. I’m glad that you like it though.”
Now that he mentioned it, it might be a bit strange for a man to be wearing an engagement ring. Both Luca and I were men, so the idea of getting an engagement ring had never occurred to me.
Well, being an adventurer, it didn’t really matter how many rings I wore. But since Luca was a prince, he had to pay attention to his outward appearance…
Anyway, all that’s left is to fill out the marriage documents and submit them to a government office, and then our marriage will be finalised.
I couldn’t wait for the day I became part of Luca’s family.
“Fufu. Zagan’s smile is so cute.”
I was looking at the rings while wrapped in Luca’s warmth when he peered at my face and kissed the corner of my eye.
Did he not kiss me on the lips because it was hard to do so in this position?
I tilted my face up and looked into Luca’s blue eyes. He broke into a smile and slowly brought his lips closer to mine. As I closed my eyes I could feel his breath and then our lips met… for a second.
“O~i, Luca! Onii-sa~n!”
We heard voices calling to us from afar, so the passionate kiss ended up just a peck. I was slightly disappointed but that was ok because from now on we’d have plenty of opportunities to touch and be touched.
Luca loosened his grip on me and I turned around to look. I could see our friends crossing the bridge that Cindy had built.
Noel and Nina, who noticed us first, were running our way, and slightly behind them were Miranda, Camilla, Bennett, and Cindy. Behind them was Orobas who was leading Noel’s horse and next to him was… Count Brady.
“Nii-sama! I’m glad you’re safe, nii-sama!”
I hugged Noel who had jumped into my arms.
Ehehe, she grinned while looking up at me.
This morning as well, my sister was cute.
“It’s super pretty here. Are these spirits? Ah, happy new year~ Happy birthday to Luca as well~!” (Nina)
“Ah, yes, that’s right. Happy New Year and happy birthday. It seems we’re going to have a party later tonight so I’ll give you my present then. First, since we stayed up quite late, we should get some sleep.” (Noel)
I see, so this odd energy was because Noel had stayed up all night?
Now that I took a closer look, she had panda circles under her eyes. Even though she was tired, she stayed up this whole time because she was worried about us, huh?
“Happy New Year. The two of you have worked hard.” (Luca)
“Noel, I’m glad you’re ok. Nina, thank you for staying by her side.” I thanked Nina while patting my sister’s head.
As I did, Noel smiled up at me and Nina scratched her cheek, perhaps feeling shy.
“You’re welcome,” she replied, averting her gaze.
And while that was happening, Miranda, Camilla, and Bennett arrived. Behind them, Orobas was handing the reins to Cindy. When he noticed my gaze, he gave me a nod and then slapped Count Brady on the back before heading towards Soleil and Lune. It seemed all the magical beings were gathering over there.
“Miranda, Camilla, I’m glad to see you’re unharmed.”
“It wasn’t that big of a deal. Well, there were a lot of them. But the only thing I had to do was hack at the monsters while protecting Camilla. Camilla’s amazing though – so amazing it’s mind-blowing. She used a wide-range attack to freeze the surrounding monsters and any who stumbled closer she burnt to a crisp. There weren’t even any materials left.”
“However, I’m too physically weak to protect myself. I’m useless if there’s no one to lay their life down to protect me from frontal attacks or flying magic attacks while I charge my staff with mana. Miranda didn’t let a single hair on my head be touched. She is a great warrior, right?”
“Of course I didn’t – you’re my precious friend. So? How come you guys were fighting in the air?”
“Hm? You noticed? I thought it would be too far away to see.” (Luca)
“Um, well, it was far away, but I could see a lot of purifying essence being generated. And after I finished everything I needed to do, I asked Mr. Dragon to take me to the castle and I ended up seeing Luca-san flying with sparkling wings… everyone else joined while I was staring.” (Bennett)
“Ufufu. Nina-chan and Camilla-chan had binoculars with them so we got to observe your fun-looking fight closely. It was fun to stay up late, wasn’t it?” (Cindy)
I was glad that all the girls were ok and, of course, I also heard their harmonious chatter, but I kept my mouth shut. For some reason, my eyes kept being drawn to one person.
His gaze was fixed on the ground, obstinately refusing to look my way.
Perhaps noticing our stalemate, Noel walked over to him. As he was about to object, she pushed him… she pushed Count Brady on the back.
“W-wait, Noel! M-m-my heart’s not ready yet!”
“I won’t wait. You had sufficient time to prepare.”2
“Kkkuuuh. I can’t stop her! When did you get so stupidly strong?”
“I’ll send you flying, Father!”
No Noel, you shouldn’t force him. I didn’t expect to come face to face with him this soon either, so I was lost about what to do.
Pushed by Noel, Count Brady arrived in front of me. Was he staring at me because he couldn’t avert his eyes at such a short distance? And his eyes had gone blurry. Was he not saying anything because the words just wouldn’t come out?
At some point, Luca and the others stopped talking and were looking at the two of us. I wished they would just ignore us and keep talking.
I couldn’t just keep my mouth shut the entire time so I opened it.
“It’s been a while… Father.” I hesitated slightly, wondering what I should call Count Brady. After all, I was no longer Ciel. However, I didn’t want to make him, whose eyes were moist with emotion, sad after seeing his son for the first time in fifteen years.
He cleared his throat, lips trembling as more tears welled up in his eyes.
“Ciel… you’ve… grown up.” A nostalgic voice called out to me. Calling me by the name he’d given me.
His voice sounded tearful, and tears spilled down his cheeks as if he couldn’t hold it in anymore. Perhaps it was because I wasn’t used to seeing my father cry, but for some reason, I could feel the area behind my eyes heating up as well.
“I guess I can’t pick you up in my arms anymore.”
The last time he did so was when he sent me to the Great Forest. The several-day carriage trip from the capital to the forest was spent with just the two of us. It was the first time I’d ever left the mansion and my first time seeing the streets of the capital. It was also my first time seeing my father’s majestic figure as he fought against monsters to protect me.
On our journey there, he taught me a lot of things. He taught me what I needed to know to survive on my own.
When we reached the Great Forest, I was full of excitement thinking I would finally be able to live freely, but Father didn’t seem to feel the same. He’d been incredibly anxious, checking the contents of the magic bag over and over again and even giving me his precious dagger.
And when it was time to part, you picked me up in your arms as you cried.
Unlike fifteen years ago, we were now about the same height.
I looked at the ground, unable to hold back my tears. Father too…
Which was when he sniffled and pulled me into a crushing hug.
“Ciel, thank you… for living. I’m so… so glad… that you are alright!”
I never thought I’d be able to see him again. Because I was Zagan. Ciel Brady didn’t exist anymore. Still.
“Yes… I’m also happy… to be able to meet Father again.”
Feeling the familiar, gentle warmth of my father that hadn’t changed in all these years, tears came pouring out.