Chapter 11 – The Dragon King
The geography of this world Ruri had been summoned to consisted of a single continent and several islands of varying sizes.
Ruri was currently on the continent, which housed a great number of nations, but there were four among them that were larger than the rest.
One was the Nation of the Dragon King, ruled by dragon demi-humans. One was the Nation of the Beast King, ruled by lion demi-humans. One the Nation of the Spirit King, ruled by Qilins. And last but not least, the mightiest nation of them all, The Imperial Nation, ruled by man.
It was abundantly clear that if these four nations were to go to war, then the continent would be thrown into turmoil. That was why, long ago, an alliance was formed to ensure no such war would ever happen.
The Nation of the Dragon King was a member of that alliance. Nowadays, demi-humans and humans lived there regardless of race, but long ago, it was a nation centered around the dragonkin, who freed other demi-humans enslaved by man.
Demi-humans trumped regular humans in terms of mana and prowess, but they lived in small settlements of their own race and didn’t needlessly involve themselves with tribes outside their own. Closed societies as they were, they went on with their lives, minding the traditions of their own culture. That ended up spelling their disaster.
No matter how capable they were individually, they were vastly outnumbered by the humans and stood no chance. Some were killed, some were enslaved, and some chose to take their own lives as opposed to a life in shackles.
The subset of those who managed to survive and escape sought sanctuary from the dragonkin, the wisest and most powerful tribe in the world. The leader of the dragonkin at the time was angered by the wrongdoings of these impudent humans and freed the slaves to establish a nation to take in and protect the victims.
Thus the dragonkin leader became the nation’s first king. He accepted a wide variety of individuals—demi-humans and humans alike—who were seeking asylum and gave them a place to call their own. Hence why the Nation of the Dragon King in present day was a melting pot of different tribes.
For generations, the nation was ruled by its king, who was the strongest dragonkin among them all. At present, the current Dragon King, whose great power gave him the right to the throne at quite a young age, was of marriageable age. While frequently approached about marriage, not only from his own nation but from other nations as well, the idea wasn’t appealing to him in the slightest and he continued to be a royal bachelor.
Though he ascended the throne at a young age, his ability as a ruler was unimpeachable and he was held in high esteem by his court. He was a diligent worker with a calm personality. He was a capable young leader that was quite naturally thought of as extremely eligible, but it seemed that he personally just wasn’t interested in marriage. The Dragon King’s mind wasn’t focused on women, much to the distress of those around him. They all wanted him to hurry up and pick his queen.
One of the advisors to said king was Chelsie’s son, Claus. He was a man with an intellectual and mild-mannered demeanor—the polar opposite of his mother, who made her rather curmudgeonly attitude clear quickly to all who met her.
He entered the royal office with documents to present to the King. His eyes were greeted by the King’s desk, buried under papers courtesy of the elder members of his court—it was today’s batch of marriage candidates’ portraits scrupulously selected from all those sent from both within and without the country.
“Another day, another stack, I see,” Claus commented with a wry smile. One of the several elderly vassals in a rush to pile the King’s desk with pictures responded with a look of satisfaction on his face.
“We need to have His Majesty actually look at the candidates this time around. And with this many, there has to be at least one person who measures up to his tastes.”
Claus wished they would just give it up already but kept that to himself. The older vassals, motivated to find the King a mate “this time,” had buried the King’s work desk in girls’ portraits.
After the stacking was finished, the elder vassals’ eyes darted around in search of the king, who was nowhere in sight.
“…By the way, where might His Majesty be?” “His Majesty has stepped out into town.”
“Egads, again? I hope this time he at least manages to fall in love out there and brings back a suitable wife.”
“Yes, well… that is quite the tall order.”
The King ventured out into the town on the grounds that it served as a sort of extension to his political duties—saying he liked to survey the landscape of the capital with his own eyes.
He was a fine king that gave careful consideration to his citizens. It was hard for Claus to imagine this ruler, who had a tendency to be too absorbed in his work, would let love hijack his emotions in the middle of business.
“His Majesty should take after the Beast King. Why, I heard that just last month he wed his nineteenth wife!”
“I’m inclined to believe that might be too many in the first place…”
“Fair point. We have to send wedding gifts each time he gains a new wife; he should try walking a mile in our shoes for once. Not only is it costly but the financial and foreign affairs people complain that they need to prepare a distinct and original gift for each new wife.”
The door silently opened in the middle of their conversation, and a man dressed entirely in black entered. His greenish-blue eyes were the only things visible through his hood. He removed it, revealing ebony hair and graceful features.
Claus and the elder advisors promptly saluted. “Welcome back, Your Majesty.”
“Quite,” the Dragon King said with a curt nod. As soon as he saw the top of his work desk occupied entirely by portraits of women, he grimaced.
“What is all of that?”
“Naturally, they are pictures of your marriage candidates. You should look through them to see if any meet with your approval, and you needn’t pick just one—you may select as many as you’d like. In terms of pedigree, appearance, and mana, any of these girls would be perfectly suited to become your queen.”
Glancing at the elder vassals, their hearts filled with hope, the Dragon King silently stood before his desk and held his hand out toward the portraits.
As soon as he did, the stack of portraits atop his desk went up in flame. Then they turned to ash and blew sadly away out the window.
“Aaaah! What are you doing, Your Majesty?! The girls we painstakingly selected for you!” “No! All of our hard woooork!”
“I said I didn’t need it, did I not? The Dragon King is chosen for their strength, not their lineage, so there’s no need to go through such ridiculous efforts to find me a breeding partner.” “Even so, it’s a fact that powerful individuals bear powerful children! If you are so opposed
to the idea, just bring anybody back; it doesn’t matter who! I bet you still can’t think of anyone,
The elders underestimated the Dragon King, assuming he wouldn’t have anyone in mind, but the Dragon King made no response, causing their eyes to widen. Even Claus, who was watching all this from the sidelines, gasped.
“…Could it be that you do have someone in mind, Your Majesty?”
“…No one I would take as a partner, per se. Just someone that I’d like the chance to talk to a little more.” While he didn’t exactly affirm the elders’ suspicions, they now knew that he had someone he thought of romantically. This news was enough to bring joy to their faces and raise
their blood pressures in anticipation.
“Zounds! This is wonderful news! Where might they be now?!” “What tribe are they?”
“How strong is their mana?”
“Everyone, I implore you to remain calm…” Claus was concerned over the elder dragons getting too excited for their own good, but they shot him a look with their crazy eyes.
“How can you expect us to remain calm?! Who are they? Where are they?” “No clue.”
“Like I said, I have no clue,” the Dragon King reiterated, going on to explain the incident that had occurred in the back alley of the royal capital. He told them about the girl getting chased by a couple of thugs. How he was planning to save her until she defeated them both before he even got there.
“We exchanged a few words, but I didn’t learn her name. I only know that she has lovely platinum-blonde hair…” said the Dragon King, looking at the hand that had touched the hair of the girl in the alley—as if recalling its silky smooth sensation on his fingertips.
“Oh-ho, that coloring is quite rare. Quite impressive, Your Majesty.” With a hunch and a sly smile, the elders turned around and pointed straight at Claus.
“All right, Claus. Deploy all soldiers immediately to search for this platinum-blonde girl and have her subdued… I mean, bring her back to the castle in a subdued manner! We must not show any disrespect for our future queen!”
“Do not let her escape by any means!”
“Wait, wait, wait, I never said that I was interested in her as a member of the opposite sex,” the Dragon King replied, flustered. The elderly vassals were speaking as if they were going to welcome her as his bride right away.
“Oh, come now. Finding attraction after sharing only a few words means that you felt something real for that girl, does it not? That is how dragonkin operate, after all. Why, it takes me back to the good old days.”
“Yes, me as well.”
The Dragon King racked his brain, faced with them speaking as if everything was set in stone. “Please, this isn’t a matter to employ the soldiers for.”
He had only a passing interest in this girl, and if word were to get out that he had used soldiers just to track down a woman, he was positive that everyone would look at him in a, let’s say, less than impressed light. He would be so embarrassed that he wouldn’t be able to go out in public.
Picking up on his liege’s train of thought, Claus stepped in to assist him. “I suggest we recall Joshua. We do not need any more intel gathered in Nadasha, after all. Since the girl in question has distinctive coloring, he can scout her out right away; soldiers won’t even be necessary.”
“You do have a good point there.” That suggestion seemed to sit well with them, and the Dragon King breathed a heavy sigh in relief.
“…A good point, but we’d be in a predicament if she were to abscond on us in the meantime.”
“Perhaps we should go in search of her as well?”
“All right, we’ll strike while the iron is hot!” The group pumped their fists into the air with a rousing cry and scurried out of the office, leaving Claus to stand with a wry grin as the Dragon King breathed yet another sigh—a sigh filled with weariness.