I don’t know why, but Ai has been weird recently.
We were eating dinner together one evening when I first noticed it.
“… Excuse me, Ai?”
“Yes? What is it, Mentor?”
She was staring at me. Really, really staring at me.
“… Is there something on my face?”
“Eh? Oh, yes.”
When I asked that on reflex due to her gaze, Ai stood up from her seat, walked around the table, and stretched her arm up around my neck, and went toward my lips.
“There was meat fat… on your lips.”
Ai’s face as she said that had reddened to the point it wouldn’t lose out to my scales. Although I felt that she shouldn’t have pushed herself to do that if she found it so embarrassing, I could only feel love overflowing from my chest.
“Err, thank you.”
“No, it was nothing.”
However, we both ended up feeling so shy that we couldn’t look the other in the eye. After formally becoming a couple, this is how we’d been spending our days. Just looking at each others’ faces caused us to feel embarrassed.
It was to the point that even I began to wonder if I was still a high school student.
… But there was something strange. If that’s how it’s been for us, why was Ai staring at me so intently?
＊ ＊ ＊
I came to notice Ai’s gaze on me frequently from that day forward.
I’d just suddenly notice her intently gazing at my face. Then, when I’d notice her, she’d quickly turn her face away and avert her eyes like she hadn’t been doing it. So I decided to pretend as though I didn’t notice.
While doing that, I realized that she wasn’t just looking at my face. Sometimes she would stare at my side, others at me from behind.
It might just be that she’s simply looking over to me as her partner, but I can’t help but get the feeling there’s some sort of intention behind her stare. Moreover, whenever I shift my focus to her, she always averts her eyes for some reason. It’s gotten to the point that she’ll pretend that she wasn’t looking my way at all whenever I try to look at her. In truth though, my senses as a dragon are so keen that nothing Ai’s done has escaped my notice…
What in the world is causing her to go so far?
“Ai, is there anything that you would like to tell me?”
A day came when I just couldn’t bear it and finally asked for my wife to tell me.
After opening her eyes so wide they practically formed perfect circles, Ai looked around for a moment, her pupils swimming like a fish through water, before seeming as though she’d decided on something and looked at me.
“What is it?”
Seeing her adorably cute gesture and hearing her start as though she was going to say something from her heart, I started to smile.
“Umm… is doing it tight… okay?”
However, what Ai followed up caused me to react strangely closely to how she did a moment before.
“I guess… not?”
“No, umm… of course it’s fine… I think?”
I was panicking, but I somehow managed to force out a response.
With that, Ai’s eyes practically sparkled as she hugged my foreleg tightly.
That all-to-soft feeling caused my whole body to stiffen reflexively.
Let alone the two bulges pressing against me, be it her supple arms around my foreleg, her gentle stomach glued to me, or the feel of her legs just barely touching me, she was so soft that I couldn’t describe it.
—So soft that I found it hard to believe such a soft being could exist.
The me up until now would have died out of embarrassment, I’m sure of it. Now, however, is different. She is my proper, official wife. My wife. In other words, it was alright for me to enjoy this softness to its fullest.
The moment I tried to get a grip of the nerves in my arm, Ai separated from me all at once.
No way, did she read my thoughts? This world has magic, so it might be possible.
Just as a chill was going down my back, Ai looked up at me.
“Can I… for this arm too?”
“Eh? Oh, yeah, sure… but…”
When I nodded, Ai seemed to be delighted and clung to my other arm. I don’t see what’s so different between my left and right arms though?
She wanted to hug other body parts after that, like my hind legs, my torso, my tail, even the spines that grew on my tail. My heart was beating loudly at first, but then I noticed something midway.
She was measuring me.
“… Ai, what are you measuring the size of my body for?”
Eventually, the happy-yet-mysterious period finished, so I asked Ai that. It’s not like I could wear clothes as a dragon.
“Err… that’s secret.”
Putting a finger to her lips, that’s all Ai said in response. Seeing her act so adorable about it, I couldn’t find it in pursue it any further.
“You’ll tell me sooner or later, won’t you?”
“Yep! I think I’ll be finished with it by next week, too!”
She said finished with it. She definitely seems to be making something.
“Alright. I’ll be looking forward to it, then.”
Noticing that I realized by how I answered, Ai let out a small quip and put her hands up to her mouth.
I couldn’t help but smile.
＊ ＊ ＊
“Here is it, Mentor.”
It had been three days after that when Ai said that and took me to what she wanted to show me.
We were heading to the northern end of the village, toward the cave we were using as an ice house. And for some reason, I started feeling nervous.
If it was for something that could be worn like clothing, she wouldn’t have to bother bringing us so far out to a place like this. But it was still something that she needed to measure me for.
Perhaps it was a picture? Like a mural. Maybe she had to confirm my size to paint it properly?
“Umm, I tried drawing a picture, one of Mentor and I.”
Confirming my guess with that, she brought me behind the ice house and pointed at it, embarrassed.
What I saw there was… how to put it? It was a very, very avant-garde picture.
“Do you like it?”
Ai looked up at me with expectant eyes.
“Let’s see… it’s amazing! This, how can I say it—it looks like you worked hard on it.”
At the very least, the huge, decently red shrimp was probably me.
“Yeah! I did my best!”
It was about as big as I was, so it was easy for me to imagine just how hard it must have been on her to make.
“Nina’s in it too, here! I tried adding some of her hair that fell off to it too, I think it came out well.”
“Oh yeah, I see her.”
Aaah, so that’s Nina? I thought it was some insect…
So that tactile feeling is hair?
“So then this one is?”
I pointed at the person standing on the opposite side of me in the picture.
If that one was Nina, then this one should be Ai?
“Yeah, that’s Ken!”
What the!? I just mistook Ken for Ai!?
“I see, Ken huh… good job.”
“Ah, whoops, sorry. That’s Darg.”
You can’t tell either!? I just said you did a good job though!?
“So where are you in it, Ai?”
When I dared to asked that, Ai pointed at my mouth—at least, what looked like it was my mouth area.
I’m eating her!? Ai, you have me eating you!? Seriously!?
I took a peek back to her and saw her looking at the ground in embarrassment, her hands on her blushing cheeks.
Eh, what’s with her reaction? No way, Ai wants me to eat her…!?
“I was painting myself in, but I kept getting embarrassed. I mean, me kissing you.”
Right!? Definitely! Not the eating stuff!
No but really, it looks like I’m about to stick my fangs in you. Is that alright?
If future generations of humans see this, won’t they interpret this as someone’s daughter being offered up to the dragon as a sacrifice.
I mean, Ai actually was someone offered as a sacrifice, but still.
Well, although it’s a mural, she probably did it on the outside of the cave in consideration of me not being able to go inside.
Since it was drawn outside rather than inside, it’ll eventually be weathered away from the wind and rain.
… After coming to that realization, I suddenly saw the image as something dear and precious that I didn’t want to lose.
“Thank you, Ai. It is an amazing painting.”
When I said that from the bottom of my heart, Ai nodded in glee.
“Let’s get Nina and everyone to see it too!”
“It’d be better if you didn’t.”
Which is why I said that from the bottom of my heart as well. Nina doesn’t exactly understand concepts like discretion or compliments.
Ai asked me, puzzled.
“… I’d like to keep it as something just for us.”
Surrounded by trees and rock walls, it was in the middle of nowhere. Not even Nina would take the trouble to come to a place like this.
“Just for us…”
Muttering that, Ai smiled.
“Yeah. It’ll be our secret, Mentor.”
The truth would stay a secret to Ai herself. While vowing that, I nodded.