After spectating (participating in?) the Martial Swimming Competition, I came back to the farm I call home.
“Ahh, it feels nice to be back on land.”
I, a terrestrial being, realized soon after I returned from the sea: being able to breathe freely is the best!
The air is delicious!
Breathing is fun!
Realizing this feeling is one of the things I gained from my underwater trip.
“That was so fun, Master!” exclaims Veil, the dragon.
She also came to watch the tournament, but her presence felt more like dead air during the latter half.
It’s amazing to witness how a tournament can conceal a dragon’s presence, but Veil seemed to enjoy watching the games with Ardheg and Miss Mary.
When Platy started acting like my helper once I participated midway, Veil took over and watched Junior for us, which was a huge help.
In a way, Veil is more used to handling Junior than we are as his parents.
“I was burning with excitement! They were just petty fights done by a petty race, but it was still thrilling to see them fight for victory! Whoosh, whoosh!”
Veil starts shadowboxing in her human form, as if she’s really pumped up.
Do people shadowbox out of excitement in other worlds too?
Veil has been itching for a fight since we left the Mermaid Kingdom.
I was so scared she’d turn back into a dragon out of sheer excitement.
“Master! I’ve realized once again that the essence of life is struggle! Fighting is what makes an individual superior to others!!!”
She really just blurted out something violent on the fly.
“That’s why I’m going to fight and live a life worthy of the strongest dragon!”
Now she’s being hasty!
A dragon like you is oblivious to the repercussions it will bring to your surroundings once you start fighting!
There’s a high probability you’ll destroy everything!
“Besides, who do you even intend to fight?! Not many beings out there can defend themselves from a dragon!”
Only fellow dragons can.
She’s not going to pick a fight with Alexander or Ardheg by any chance, is she?!
“No. I’ve had enemies for a while now, so I’m going to settle the score with them.”
“I should’ve crushed them long ago, really. But I put it off for a variety of reasons, and I must say that my ferocity as a dragon has dulled!”
“I’m totally fine with that, though!”
The hatred in Veil’s tone seems to overflow, leaving me baffled as to what kind of opponent could make this dragon so hostile.
“Today is the day I’ll crush them and give myself peace of mind! I’m going to unleash the fighting instincts those mermaids have reminded me!” she says, darting off.
I can’t possibly leave her be after what she said, so I run after her.
“W-Wait! Where are you going?! And aren’t you going to revert to your dragon form?”
Thanks to this, I had no choice but to keep running after her, wearing myself out from the sudden exercise.
“I just came back…from underwater… And now I’m… running out of breath again!”
Where we arrived was at…
“The mountain dungeon?”
It’s a dungeon near our farm that has Veil as its guardian.
This is where she was headed?
“Who are you going to fight in your territory?”
“Think, Master! I’m sure you know the intruders that have been living in my dungeon lately and acting as if they own the place!”
As I tilt my head in puzzlement, I hear a buzzing sound from within the dungeon.
“Lord Saint! It’s Lord Saint, guys!”
“It’s nice to see you again, Lord Saint!”
“Did you come to see us?” say the colorful fruits.
Wait, fruits can talk?
I’ll have to explain the mystery behind this.
Here in the mountain dungeon, I plant fruit trees as part of my farming activities.
Its stable climate and slopy terrain are ideal for growing fruit.
In this way, the fruit trees prospered to the point where it became a dungeon orchard. Then, at some point, spirits began to possess them.
Tree spirits are a product of this fantasy world and are said to coexist by taking advantage of the characteristics of the trees they are attached to.
I was surprised when I first saw them, but they’re harmless, so I let them stay.
In fact, they manage the growth of trees they possess and help us harvest more fruit.
That’s why most of the fruit trees here are now possessed by spirits…
And they’re the same ones approaching me right now.
King Caca, the cacao spirit. Perciemon, the persimmon spirit. Ringo, the apple spirit. Almikan, the orange spirit. Mamalemon, the lemon spirit. Strong the Budou, the grape spirit. Sonna-banana, the banana spirit. Verinice the berry spirit. Chris-chan, the chestnut spirit. Plumperor the plum spirit. Momochitanba, the peach spirit. Sakuranbo, the sakura spirit.
Anyway, there’s a whole lot of them.
I don’t know how or why, but their appearance is the spitting image of the fruits themselves, floating toward me.
And I’ve become their favorite person.
“Thanks for taking care of the trees, everyone. Is everything okay?” I ask.
“Everything’s fine! “There is no problem in the orchard you’ve cultivated!” “We’re taking care of it as best we can! “Long live Lord Saint!”
Their immense loyalty pleases me.
The mountain dungeon is becoming more and more lively, but…
“There you areeeeeeeee!!!”
Suddenly, Veil spits fire in her human form and attacks the tree spirits.
Wait, she can breathe fire even in that form?!
“What’s wrong, Veil? Are you in your rebellious phase or something?!”
“That’s not it! I told you, I’m going to defeat my enemies!!!”
“These tree spirits are my enemies! A nuisance invading my territory! Today is the day I destroy every last one of them!!!”
Come to think of it, there has been recent trouble between her and the tree spirits.
Veil owns this dungeon.
I set up the dungeon orchard with her consent, but I didn’t consult with her about the tree spirits.
The monsters that spawn in the dungeon are useful to Veil as food and provide an extra layer of security, so she tolerates them.
However, the tree spirits are fundamentally different from monsters, and they seem to be perceived differently.
“They live here without my permission and, above all, have no respect for me! I can’t let them stay here any longer!” says Veil.
She makes a good point.
But the tree spirits’ reply is…
“Wow. Talk about rude. We do have permission!”
“We got it from Lord Saint!”
It’s not enough to get permission just from me…
However, I am the creator of the dungeon orchard and the owner(?) of Veil, who rules this dungeon.
But at the end of the day, she’s the dungeon guardian, so I hope they show some respect to her, too.
Well, it seems Veil has been trying to control the tree spirits every now and then but got sidetracked after Junior came.
So, her decision is to finally get serious and resume total control over her dungeon.
“I’m the guardian around here, so bow to me! Otherwise, die!!!” says Veil.
“We, the tree spirits of the dungeon orchard, pledge allegiance only to Lord Saint.”
“One cannot serve two masters!”
Why are they loyal only to me?
“This is an act of aggression on our dungeon orchard!”
“No, it’s not!”
This has been Veil’s territory from the very beginning!
“We have no choice but to ask our representative to make his appearance!”
“Yeah! I’m sure he’ll be able to fend off this vicious invading dragon!”
A representative of the tree spirits?
I heard nothing of the sort.
This so-called representative enough to rival a dragon deserves to be called…
The king of fruits.