C250: A Dragon’s Secret

At any rate, we can’t just abandon her now that we’ve discovered her.
We have to deal with a new dragon, Seidour.

“Oh? Are you sure? The wine isn’t ready yet.”

I’d be concerned if a wine full of dragon essence were actually ready.
You can’t drink it unless you’re prepared to become immortal or some sort.

The one I drank was still relatively insipid, so it didn’t make me immortal.
So, I trust that this is for the better… Right?

Anyway, I asked Seidour to climb out of the wine bottle and transform into her human form so that we could converse easier and explore the ambrosia fruit she was after.
Her human form is as beautiful as her demeanor suggests–tall, and has a well-proportioned body.

“…”

I couldn’t help but compare her to Veil’s human form.

“Hey, Veil, she calls you her big sister, right?”
“Is there a problem with it?” asks Seidour.

None.
I push my thoughts into the back of my head.

Back to the ambrosia in question.
They said it’s already extinct.

When I pat the soil with the Hand of Supremacy active, plants from other worlds that shouldn’t exist here can also grow.
That’s why it should be theoretically possible to sprout an extinct plant…

“Still, can we really bring something unknown to fruition?”

As my first attempt, I’m not quite sure how it will turn out.
It’s a plant I’ve never seen before, so I won’t be able to judge whether it’s a success or a failure, even if it sprouts and bears fruit.

“Hmm… What should I do?”

When it comes to fruit, the dungeon orchard is the place to be, so I went there to think while looking at the fruit trees.

“Oh my. What a lovely dungeon with all these colorful trees.”
“I know, right? Master remodeled my dungeon!”

Says the dragon sisters, Seidour and Veil, who came along with me.

“Do you mind if I go look around? It’s not every day I get to visit a dungeon like this.”
“Look around as much as you like! Realize how great me and my master are!” boasts Veil.

Seidour takes her word for it and looks around.
However…

“Kyaaaaa!!!”
“What happened?!”

I suddenly heard a scream, so I rushed toward its source.
That was definitely Seidour.
It’s rare for a dragon to scream!

“What’s wrong? Did something bad happen?!”

I helped Seidour back on her feet after she fell bum-first on the ground.

“I-I found it!”
“Huh?
“Ambrosia!”

What?!
But isn’t ambrosia supposed to be extinct?!

Seidour’s trembling finger points to a tree full of red fruits…

“Apples?”

Yes, apples.
To me, it’s an ordinary fruit.

“You’re saying that’s the ambrosia? Where I come from, it’s called an apple.”
“I’m sure of it! Father told me all about an ambrosia’s features before I departed!”

Tell me that sooner.
But how is it even possible for a plant that has vanished from this world to be thriving under a different name in my world?

“We have plenty of them growing in this dungeon orchard, and we eat their fruit every day. So…”

I pick one of the well-ripened apples and wipe it clean with a hand towel.

“Please, have one.”
“What?! But I have to give this precious fruit to Father!”
“There’s more where that came from, so don’t worry.”

Seidour looks reluctant for a while, but she eventually makes up her mind and takes a bite from the apple.
I feel like the snake that gave Eve the forbidden fruit.

“It’s delicious! This is exactly what Father would choose for his trials!”

Maybe I’ll bake her an apple pie when we get home.

“I’m at a loss for words! You didn’t need to grow ambrosia; you already have them! As expected from my sister’s master. So… Um…”
“You’re free to take as many as you want.”
“Thank you so much! I’ll never forget this! I’ll be sure to return the favor someday!”

Seidour reverts to her dragon form and is about to fly away.
But…

“Wait a minute.”

Someone stops her in a calm voice.
It’s Veil.

“If you take this, will he really recognize this as ambrosia?”
“Pardon?”

Veil looks at the apple in her hand and says, “Isn’t this just an apple? If he says it’s just a variety that looks like ambrosia, how will you prove it’s not?”
“Er… That’s…”
“If he says you failed your trial, your magic and intelligence will be taken away, and you’ll be turned into a Lesser Dragon on the spot. If you return thinking this is enough, you’ll be a huge lizard before you know it.”

Veil is in a more serious mood than usual. What’s going on?

“I heard a rumor floating around recently…”
“A rumor?”
“About Father not intending to use the trials to determine his successor.”
“What do you mean, Sis?! Isn’t Father giving us various trials to determine the new Geyser Dragon?!”

Huh? What?
A serious discussion?

“Why does he need to decide the successor in the first place? Father’s rightful successor is supposed to be Brother Alexander, the Grauglintz Dragon.”
“That’s because Brother Alexander had a falling out with him!”
“Father is already old and powerless to resist the young and aggressive Brother Alexander. Isn’t that why he’s using us?”
“Using us?”
“What I’m saying is that he wants us to undergo his trials under the guise of choosing a successor, and as punishment for failing them, he will turn us into Lesser Dragons and take away our magic and accumulate it for himself to oppose Brother Alexander!”
“No… So, you think the trials and the selection are a farce?!”

I have no room to interrupt their conversation, so I decide to sit down and have tea.

“But… If that’s the case, why is he putting us through these trials? If he wants power, he can just forcefully take it from us!”
“He may be a Geyser Dragon, but that doesn’t mean he can take other dragon’s power by force. That’s why he uses the Oath Spell.”
“O-Oath?”
“It’s a curse that is enforced on those who break the promises they made. That way, he can effortlessly drain us of our power in the name of punishment.”
“He uses the trials as a dummy to get us to make an oath unknowingly, and then he uses that to take away our power? Is that really Father’s real goal?!”
“That’s right… Well,” mumbles Veil. “…Or so a pseudo-corpse living nearby speculates.”
“All those were mere parroting?!” I interject.

Thank goodness.
I was able to insert a tsukkomi at the end.

I thought it was a very serious deduction for Veil, but it was Sensei’s all along!

“Thanks to Master, I got acquainted with that pseudo-corpse and was able to ask him a lot of questions. Come to think of it, I can recall several occasions.”
“True, multiple things make sense if we go with that theory. If so, even if you pass the trial, there’s a perfect chance that you’ll fail if he finds fault with it!”
“Especially your trial. You’ll be turned into a Lesser Dragon if you go back with it, no doubt.”
“Urk…”
“The best thing to do here is stay put and wait for Brother Alexander to make his move,” says Veil.

I don’t really get what’s on, nor do I dare to, but the world of dragons seems to have it rough as well.

Seidour, who was told a harsh truth, is stumped.

“S-So, if I go back to Father, I’ll fail regardless of my results? But if I don’t go back, where should I stay…”

She ponders for a while.

“I-I’m going to stay inside the wine bottle a little longer!”

And she darts off.
I guess she was thinking of postponing the conclusion by staying inside it.

“Do you want to eat some apple pie before you do?”
“Yay! I do!”

And so, another dragon came to live on our farm(‘s brewery).
Or rather, another recluse…

But even if we were to complete the rich dragon wine, we wouldn’t know what to do with it, would we?

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