*This chapter is told in third-person perspective, set in a place different from our protagonist.
Geyser Dragon’s den is called Dragon Emperor’s Fortress, a humongous fortress-type dungeon.
Normally, a dungeon arises due to stagnated mana that once flowed around the world. The highly compressed mana distorts time and space to create a mysterious labyrinth.
However, Geyser Dragon’s fortress is made up of his own mana, a fortress dominated by him and him alone. Moreover, its scale is so big, it’s enough to emerge as the world’s number one.
Such an extraordinary place is created not by nature, but by a single life form. This is one of the myriads of things a dragon, the most feared creature in the world, can do.
And he who ascends the throne is considered the strongest dragon. The most exceptional of the most exceptional, he has the right to command and punish any dragon.
The Geyser Dragon, also known as the Dragon Emperor.
And no living being can ever slay him.
Glintz Dragon Dalper is Geyser Dragon’s 34th son.
Every living dragon on this earth is Geyser Dragon’s child, with Geyser Dragon himself being the only exception.
Currently, the Dragon Emperor’s illegitimate children are in the middle of a succession struggle to determine who will become the next generation’s emperor.
Every dragon must do their best to accomplish the trial given to them, otherwise, those who fail to do so will be mercilessly stripped of their legitimacy as candidates for succession, never to return to the fortress.
Glintz Dragon Dalper was trembling with fear as he went to see his father, Geyser Dragon, the only being these seemingly fearless dragons feared, for an audience with him.
And the reason Dalper is afraid to have an audience with him is that he still came back despite failing the trial he was given.
Different trials are given to different candidates.
This trial for this dragon and that trial for that dragon…each is given entirely different trials, and their mission is to surpass the rest of their rivals.
Dalper wasn’t able to accomplish his.
In other words, he’s in a dilemma, so it’s only understandable that he would cower in fear.
There’s a great variation in the difficulty of each trial, from being so easy it could make you yawn to being so impossible not even the best dragons could do it.
The only explanation for this disparity is because of the fickle behavior of Geyser Dragon, the organizer of these trials. However, it’s safe to say that the trial given to Dalper was exceptionally easy.
All he had to do was to steal treasure from a lowly, insignificant race.
When Dalper first heard the details of the trial presented to him, he jumped for joy.
It was as if he had already succeeded before he even began. What trial would be given to a dragon entirely depends on their luck, so Dalper was grateful for his good fortune.
There were candidates who were given absurd trials, such as challenging a Lifeless King, the only other threat that could rival the dragons, or finding something that no longer existed in the world.
Without looking back at the less fortunate candidates, Dalper proceeded to pass each trial with ease. He was even proud that he was one step ahead in the race.
Alas, his luck finally ran out.
“I rested on my laurels for too long!” were the words of regret that echoed within Dalper’s mind.
His opponents were satyrs, a therianthropic race. But to Dalper, humanoids on earth were the same as trash that perishes the moment you breathe fire on them.
He could’ve attacked their settlement and killed them all in one fell swoop before taking their treasure, but no. Instead, he decided to be playful and take his time since he was given a simple trial.
He had this plan of confronting them with his demand first, then sealing their way out to cut their supplies so that they would gradually starve if they refused.
Dalper enjoyed seeing his weak prey suffer bit by bit.
In order to make sure that they would refuse, he made additional demands, such as asking for the lives of all their children.
He wondered when they would throw in the towel.
He slowly tortured the satyrs as if to suffocate them, hoping they would give in, toss away their dignity and pride and come crying to him.
Surprisingly enough, it took a lot of time, considering a dragon’s prowess.
Little did he know, that was the biggest mistake he committed.
The next thing he knew, he had already failed the trial.
He shamelessly flew back to his father, the Geyser Dragon.
“There’s still hope!”
He strongly believed that if he explained the circumstances that led to him failing the trial, maybe Geyser Dragon would reconsider and give him another chance. Hence, he fled back home.
He desperately blabbered, knowing that his future depended on his justification.
“…Thus, I am certain that my failure was not due to my own carelessness or inadequacy!” he says in desperation. “Everything was caused by my sister, Grinzel Dragon Veil’s interference!!!”
The direct cause of Dalper’s failure was indeed Veil, a fellow dragon, who sided with the satyrs and retaliated against him.
Although they are from the same race, there is an obvious difference in their individual powers.
Veil, who had always emerged as the strongest candidate to succeed Geyser Dragon, threw her own brother, Dalper, out of the village with a single kick.
“Sis Veil is unfair! If her interfering actions are pardoned, this entire selection process would be thrown into chaos! It could lead to a heated rivalry or a great war that could involve all dragons! Please punish Sis Veil accordingly!”
Dalper gambles on this one chance that could turn things around for him.
However, it also ended in failure.
“Who said no interference is allowed?”
“Who said anything about candidates not permitted to sabotage others?”
A hefty voice that seemed to shake the entire Dragon Emperor’s Fortress echoed throughout the audience room.
“Interference is fine by me. Such an element of surprise is what makes things more enjoyable for me. Besides, as the trials progress, the last two dragons will fight to the death. An internecine feud is bound to happen sooner or later.”
“Um, Father? …Father?!”
“My…nth son? I don’t remember, oh well. You weren’t able to accomplish the trial I gave you. You’re off the candidate list. Thanks for everything, kid.”
“Father, please wait! It wasn’t me who did wrong, it was my sister Veil! Please give me another cha-”
Other than Geyser Dragon, no dragon was in sight.
The only other creature there with him was a monitor lizard as huge as a mountain.
The giant lizard is none other than Dalper. Except now, he has been reduced to a mere beast after having been stripped of his magic and intellect characteristic of a dragon.
The Dragon Emperor, Geyser Dragon, holds the life of every dragon and has the right to kill them as he sees fit.
And just like now, he can take away their power and intellect and turn it into his own.
This way, the Dragon Emperor can maintain his power for eternity.
The monitor lizard, once known as Dalper, is examining his surroundings whilst restlessly flicking the tongue from his snout, an action indicating not a shred of intelligence left in him.
“How long are you going to stay in my sight?”
Although he was his son, Geyser Dragon didn’t show any remorse.
After Geyser Dragon bellowed, Dalper, the monitor lizard, ran away at full speed.
Former dragons who have lost their intellect are called Lesser Dragons and act solely on their instincts to wreak havoc. Eventually, they pay the ultimate price by getting exterminated by the human or demon race, which is why every living dragon today is all sons and daughters of the Geyser Dragon only.
Geyser Dragon’s siblings all lost in the last succession struggle, and after losing their intellect and magic, they perished as inferior species.
And because dragons are the strongest race, it was providence that a second one wasn’t needed.
Dalper’s excuses weren’t worth noticing, but there was one thing that still grabbed the Geyser Dragon’s attention.
“Grinzel Dragon Veil, huh? I wonder what she’s up to.”
I have mentioned this in the About section of my blog before, but if you find any mistake in the chapters, I highly encourage you to bring it to my notice in the comments, be it crucial or not. I do fix them ASAP. Readers who have been around for some time now know this and that I’m the sole person behind this casual project, but still commit enough time and effort to update regularly and at least give readers something “decent” translation-wise. We’re only human and we’re bound to make mistakes.