I Became the Hero’s Bride – Chapter 12 – Side story: A dance to connect the heart
Ed: Hungry Panda
TN: Friendly reminder: This. Is. NOT. YAOI. (EN: Definitely not yaoi)
This couldn’t be happening. There was no way I’d be disgraced like this. There was no way that I would be looked down on and ignored with cold stares and belittled like this.
I was the main character.
This was a world for me, a stage prepared solely for me.
They were side characters, nothing more than stepping stones.
Nothing more, so how did it…
“What’s this. It looks like you’ve called in a clown, not a hero.”
A cold mocking voice. I pulled myself out of my thoughts. But my head still swam as if I was falling through the endless abyss. The king was in front of me. The surroundings were filled with the on looking crowd. Everyone was staring at me. The gazes, mixed with taunts, stifled my breath.
I realized one thing then and there.
“I have never seen a hero as disgraceful as you. Get out.”
In the end, I hadn’t changed a bit.
I couldn’t stand it any longer. I ran out then and there. I just wanted to run away. Hide where no one could see me. I heard people jeering at me as I ran past. Those sounds followed me all the way till I ran out the ballroom.
Hot tears clouded my vision. I hadn’t changed a single bit. Even after being summoned to another world, after becoming the hero. I was still the wimp Park Minwoo, the kid that was ignored and shunned by all.
I wasn’t the main character.
This was not a stage built just for me.
This was ‘reality.’ A cold heartless reality that had no main character, side character, heroines, harems, light novel developments or anything of the sort.
This was not an anime.
This was reality.
As I blindly ran onwards, I found myself in front of a fountain with no one else around. The surroundings were filled with beautiful plants and flowers. It seemed to be a garden. I couldn’t take my eyes off the harmony wrought by the fountain’s streams and flowers under the gentle moonlight. It was a place so beautiful that it took your breath away even amidst sorrow.
I sat down on the fountain and caught my breath. Fear enveloped my entire body. What’s going to happen to me now. Would I have to live alone in this foreign reality. How would I survive if I was chased out of the castle now? I, who can’t use magic, hopeless with a sword, no redeeming traits, just what can I do?
If it was going to be like this I would much rather never have come here in the first place. If it was going to be like this, even if my parents said they had no son, even if I was bullied at school it would have been better if I had stayed.
It was at that moment as I was wetting my face with tears and regret.
“Here you are.”
I turned my head.
Someone came within sight of my tear-blurred vision. As I wiped my tears away with my hand the figure came into view. Elegant eyes that seemed to have been crafted out of moonlight, beauty that the flowers would bow their heads to, different from me, unlike me, the beautiful boy that was loved by all.
“Clarice… why are you here?”
My voice was quivering enough that it surprised even myself.
“I followed Hero-nim here because I wanted to apologise.”
“Yes. Wasn’t this ball originally Hero-nim’s public welcome? But… Father was disrespectful to Hero-nim, so I came to apologise in his stead.”
Welcome. I scoffed at myself. So it was. It was a welcome for the hero. But at the same time, it was a public execution for the one with no qualifications to be a hero.
Clarice bowed his head. At his hypocritical behaviour I felt a surge of anger.
I grabbed Clarice by the lapels and threw him down. Being light and frail, he was as easy to manhandle as he looked. Ignoring Clarice’s pain, I mounted his small body. Holding his shoulders down so he couldn’t resist, as if to get everything off my chest I venomously yelled.
“What makes you think I don’t know you’re mocking me right now?! You’re one and the same as the rest of those royals to begin with! Do you think, that I wouldn’t know that you see me as a retard like your old man!”
“Kk! Hero-nim, le, let me…”
“You! What do you know about me! You, who’s only ever been sweet-talked by others! Do you think I came here to be ridiculed?!! I’m a hero! I’m the main character!! But why! Just why…”
Clarice, with surprised eyes, stretched his hand out to me. The memories back when I was beaten by delinquents resurfaced and I screwed my eyes shut and hunched over.
“Why are you crying?”
There was no pain. A warmth surrounded my cheeks. I opened my eyes. Clarice’s face was wet. I realised that that wetness was my tears.
Shame came over me like the rising tide. I unconsciously backpedalled away from him, caught my heel on a rock and landed hard on my butt. Clarice came close to me again. I couldn’t think of running away anymore and burst into tears like a child.
“I didn’t want this… I wanted to live a wonderful life like anime, light novel protagonists…”
Clarice hugged me. Ironically, his embrace was so warm, I only cried louder.
“If you are alright with me, will you let me hear Hero-nim’s story, what made Hero-nim so sad? It might feel better if you share it with someone.
Clarice pulled out a handkerchief from his breast pocket and wiped my face. Facing him from this close distance my mind zoned out. Clarice looked at me in that state and simply smiled.
I thought that maybe, just maybe that Clarice was genuinely worried for me.
We sat on the fountain side by side. I looked up at the night sky and started talking. The world I was born in. where I lived. The path I walked. Looking back as I was talking, I realised that I had lived a truly pathetic life. But Clarice didn’t laugh or mock me. He simply turned an attentive ear, and listened.
Clarice’s behaviour then, seemed to say that my life wasn’t completely worthless, that it was worth listening to… Somewhere down the line, I’d completely opened up to him.
“That’s the end. The reason I came over to this world wasn’t because I wanted to save or help you, but to simply play hero like a comic. Then I’d get fame, fortune, and women. Sounds foolish, right? I only realised just now that I was such a moron. Thanks for listening to me. Oh, and… I’m sorry for knocking you over before.”
As my storytelling ended, I stood up. I still felt sad, but like he said, I did feel just a bit better.
I thought it was an answer to me knocking him down.
“It’s not foolish.”
But it wasn’t.
“I think Hero-nim is amazing.”
Clarice stood up and faced me. I was speechless at the resolve burning within his beautiful eyes.
“I think that Hero-nim is amazing to still try so hard despite living such a lonely life.”
“Wh, what do you mean. Me try hard?”
“Hero-nim has said you tried to play a hero out of a comic, but so what? You say you came over for fame, fortune and women but what’s wrong with that? To Hero-nim, that was your effort to change your dreary reality.”
Clarice put a hand over his heart and continued.
“If that had been me, I would never have been able to do it. Like Hero-nim says, if it was me, who’s only ever been loved and protected by others, I wouldn’t have even been able to try to come to a foreign world and change reality. Because of that, Hero-nim, who can make such a brave resolve, is-”
A smile curled the corner of Clarice’s lips.
“an amazing person.”
I couldn’t respond to the words I heard for the first time in my life. Clarice bowed to me.
“We should be the one apologising instead. On behalf of the kingdom, I apologise for our disrespect to the person we called for help.”
No. I wasn’t a person great enough to receive Clarice’s apology. A hero in name only that couldn’t do anything. That was me. Maybe if I was a proper hero to begin with then today wouldn’t have happened either. Just as I opened my mouth to explain, a massive noise burst out from above us.
Both of us simultaneously turned our heads up to the heavens. I couldn’t help but let out a noise of appreciation. Bright fireworks of all colours were lighting up the starry sky. Fireworks. The surprise that this other world had fireworks was there and gone, I only lost myself watching the fireworks light up the world.
“It seems like the ball is over.”
I looked towards Clarice. Clarice’s face was glowing all sorts of different colours in the light of the fireworks.
“It’s Hero-nim’s welcome ball after all. It seems to have been shut down after Hero-nim ran out.”
“Is that so….”
I felt both sorry, yet relieved at the same time.
Clarice reached his hand out. As I simply blinked, not knowing what was going on, Clarice smiled.
“Would you like to dance with me?”
“Although it’s embarrassing to say this, but I was watching over Hero-nim the entire time. You didn’t dance even once at the ball.”
I awkwardly averted my gaze. An idiot hero in name only, fat and short to boot, there were no women who wanted to dance with me.
“This ball is Hero-nim’s welcome, but does it make any sense that Hero-nim doesn’t dance?”
“…And you’re telling me to dance with you for that reason?”
I’d unconsciously clenched my fist. I thought this was simply out of pity. As if he’d caught on my discontent from my voice, Clarice’s face hardened.
“Not for that reason.”
Clarice’s voice tailed off, as he fidgeted with his fingers before saying.
“If not now, I don’t think I’d ever have an opportunity to dance with Hero-nim…”
A firework burst into colour. Maybe because it was a red firework, but Clarice’s face looked quite red.
“Do you know the saying? That a dance can link the hearts between people. I want to connect my heart to yours, Hero-nim.”
Another firework went off. It wasn’t just Clarice that was red.
“W, wait, hold, you, just now, just what?!”
I was horrified at the answer out of left field. He did look extremely feminine (to the point I mistook him as a princess when I first saw him) but to think he would like men…
“I, I didn’t mean anything untoward! I just want to be able to support Hero-nim! So, I thought that I could help reduce Hero-nim’s sorrows if we danced together…!”
“I get it! Calm down! I’ll dance!”
It was the first time I’d ever seen Clarice, normally so elegant and calm, flustered like this. To the point where I wondered if he was the same kid who had been so maturely reassuring me.
“But we’re both boys. How’s this going to work out?”
“I’ll take the female part. Has Hero-nim learned the male part?”
Clarice would be taking the female part. I thought it suited him extremely well.
“I did, but I crammed it so not that well.”
“It’s alright. I’ll lead, so you can just take it easy.”
Clarice’s hand came out again. I stared at the hand for a while, thought it over, and took it. Not like I had anything to lose.
Fireworks went off again for the however manyth time.
We slowly matched our steps. Hand in hand, we slowly drew circles on the grass. My dance skills were crude and unrefined. A waltz so error-ridden you simply couldn’t bear to watch. But Clarice didn’t get angry. He simply smiled gently like the moon and led me along.
At some point I realised. His hands in mine, our eyes looking into each other, at the gentle steps, of Clarice’s genuine feelings. His gentle kindness.
There was no spectacular background music from an orchestra.
It wasn’t an extravagant place like the ballroom.
A time with only the two of us with no one else. A waltz with just the two of us.
Taking the fountain as our music, the moonlight as our lighting, the flowers as our audience, we danced.
Replying to Clarice’s feelings, so that I could reciprocate in kind, I enjoyed this moment.
At some point, I was smiling.
“Now that I think about it, I’m late with my greetings.”
At the end of our number, as I was dealing with my embarrassment, Clarice said to me.
I stopped breathing.
“Thank you so much for coming to this world.”
Clarice smiled brightly.
All kinds of thoughts swirled around my head. My mind blanked so I could do nothing but stare at Clarice. I didn’t know what to think. But… one thing was for certain.
At this moment.
I genuinely wanted to be a hero.
This is a side story of the past.
The setting is that Minwoo at the time was a chubby wee fatty (lol)
But now that I’ve written this, this completely reeks of BL;;;; aagggghh;;;;;
Remember. NOT. YAOI. (EN: I’m having doubts after reading this…)
I nearly misassigned Clarice as a ‘she’ and ‘her’ several times in this chapter. (Reverse) trap games are real lol
Raw comments on this chapter (approximate):
20% Thanks for the chapter
50% Lol the flag was already raised/this was already BL lol
20% The king was a wise man to make this ship possible
That one random who went “a man’s alright just as long as it tastes good, right?”