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Chapter 31: The Dragon Pearl
It was immediately after we had more-or-less decided on how to deal with Nasha’s forgery of the letter from the Crown Prince.
This time, it was Sigurd who told me of the Ancient Dragon Kharis’ words when he asked for a way to save Julieta from her fate as the Sacrificial Priestess.
Morino seemed to have heard of this matter from Sigurd already. This time, while looking up information, he pulled up the documents from the royal archives regarding this.
“The ‘Pearl’ that His Grace Kharis spoke of, must no doubt be the ‘Dragon Pearl’.”
“Well, that is plausible.
“The Dragon Pearl that you speak of… is it the part of His Grace Kharis’ soul that The Hero Palcemith snatched away?”
The item called the ‘Dragon Pearl’ was the most important item in the ending branch of the otome game [The Dragon and the Sacrificial Priestess]. The ‘Dragon Pearl’ was a part of ancient dragon Kharis’ soul that the first king of Palcemith had snatched using [Quistacis: He who Controls Dragons] that was now in Jolga’s hands. In a life and death battle, by losing a part of his soul that could be said to make up half of his body, the ancient dragon Kharis’ power halved. It was then that it was possible for humans to seal him in the underground lake for the first time. That was its history. It was an anecdote that every single citizen of Palcemith knew.
And depending on whether you acquired ‘Dragon Pearl’ or not, the heroine’s ending with the hero would be [True End] or [Good End].
For instance, in the Crown Prince route, in the [Good End] that the player got without acquiring the ‘Dragon Pearl’, the villainess noble Julieta would be swallowed as a sacrifice by the ancient dragon Kharis. But he would reawaken ten years later and demand for another sacrifice. The heroine would become the newly enthroned King Vikram’s wife, but having to reign as the queen without any backers, her palace life was a never-ending source of worries. Though she would have three children with the king, they would all be girls. She was unable to bear a successor. Out of the three princesses, one would later be offered as the Sacrificial Priestess to the ancient dragon Kharis. King Vikram would later take in a concubine, and the prince born to them would succeed the royal lineage… Or so the epilogue went. The ending left an unpleasant aftertaste.
And in case of the [True End], where the heroine acquired the ‘Dragon Pearl’, she would return it, that constituted a part of his soul that could be said to make up half his body, back to the ancient dragon Kharis, who had been sealed in the underground lake for long. With his seal released, ancient dragon Kharis escaped the underground lake. After that, he followed the holy maiden who liberated him, the heroine who became the King’s wife. With the Dragon staying back, the blessings to Palcemith remained unchanged. With a strong backer like the ancient dragon Kharis, the heroine consolidated her position as the queen and gave birth to the Crown Prince. She lived the rest of her days in happiness… This was the changed epilogue.
No matter who the capture target was, the plot was the same, with slight changes here-and-there.
“I looked up past literature but I haven’t yet gotten a clear answer. It’s just that, even though it is called a ‘Dragon Pearl’ it might not look like the ‘Pearl’ we imagine it to be.”
“Do you mean… that the ‘Pearl Choosing’ was originally to return the ‘Dragon Pearl’ to His Grace Kharis?”
“Yeah… that was its original significance.”
“Are you serious?”
Lutora, who had believed the ‘Pearl Choosing’ to be a mere facet of a ceremony, was surprised to hear Malacia affirm the secret.
The ‘Pearl Choosing’ that Lutora spoke of, would be performed by the Sacrificial Priestess the day before she would be sacrificed. It was a custom for the Sacrificial Priestess to choose one out of the huge number of ornaments present in the royal treasury. That ornament would be worn to the ceremony the following day.
They could not injure the remaining half of the dragon’s body and it wasn’t desirable to keep it away from the ancient dragon Kharis, who resided beneath the royal palace. Therefore, Sage Asbal disguised the ‘Dragon Pearl’ that the Hero Palcemith had obtained as an ordinary ornament, and he hid it inside the treasury in a corner of the royal palace. Then he left behind the words:
If there ever came a Sacrificial Priestess who sees through the guise of the ‘Dragon Pearl’, it is a sign from the heavens. It indicates the time for a new bond of trust between the ancient dragon Kharis and the kingdom of Palcemith… Or so he said.
As Morino ran his eyes through the ancient text, he read out a line. Malacia nodded, saying, “It is exactly as the Shrine says.”
“Generations of Sacrificial Priestesses have no doubt challenged the Pearl Choosing ceremony in these thousands of years, but all became food for His Grace Kharis.”
“In that case, we have to find the special characteristics of the ‘Dragon Pearl’. By hook or by crook.”
“Yeah, I’ll gather information as well. Lord Anderheim, my apologies, but I will be making a commotion around the mansion for a while today. Please forgive me.”
“Isn’t it for Julieta? I don’t mind at all. If I can do anything to help, I’ll gladly cooperate. Just tell me.”
I have safely switched over to the [Partnership] stage.
Actually, in relation to the ‘Dragon Pearl’. the system was a little troublesome. Of course, I had cleared the game multiple times, so I already knew. But as Morino said, it wasn’t generally known what ornament the ‘Dragon Pearl’ is disguised as. It was necessary to investigate it, moreover, its correct form changed depending upon the capture target.
That was the reason why I went to the point of exposing Julieta and Malacia to the danger on purpose. To create an opportunity for Sigurd to hear the ’Dragon’s Oracle’. Seeing the gentle gaze Sigurd had given to Julieta, and Julieta’s own feelings of affection towards Sigurd, I knew that if Julieta’s fate followed the events of the game then she would no doubt be in the Sigurd Route.
Whether it was really that or not, Sigurd and the others should look for proof, just like the capture targets did in the game. I wanted that proof.
“Then, Head Priest, Lord Anderheim, I shall temporarily return to the royal palace.”
“Then, I will visit the infirmary to check on Amy and the others. I’ll bring Cain and Abel to the Shrine on my way back. Later, Malacia.”
“Understood. Take care.”
“Ahh. Sigurd, I’ll leave it to you.”
After Lutora and Morino left the reception room together, Jolga stood up and patted my head.
“I’ll also try chatting up to the ‘suspect’ that I spoke of just now. Anderheim, while I don’t think there are any assassins around the mansion, please try to avoid stepping out. I’ll send a guard from the Knight Order as reinforcement later.”
“Sigurd is staying back. I’ll be fine. Now, go quickly.”
Jolga left the room with a chuckle. Sigurd left the room as well saying that he wanted to check on Julieta. Thomas placed the now-empty tea stand on the trolley and pushed it back to the kitchen. Left in the room were only me and Malacia.
Seeing no indication of a third person, I messily took off my shoes then threw myself down on the couch.
Frankly speaking, I was at my limit.
Particularly, my waist.
Sitting down on the single-seater sofa beside the couch, Malacia let out a small laugh seeing me groan as I hugged the cushions. Seeing my haggard figure, he must have guessed that Jolga slept with me last night.
“The Knight Commander acted faster than my expectations.”
“Geez. Your dog can properly ’wait’, his father is like this. Shouldn’t it be the opposite normally?”
“Haha, that’s because he’s a well-trained puppy. You need determination to take a beast like me.”
“Yeah, right… I’m reconsidering my opinions of you. You did well not losing your reason being messed up by him.”
“That’s a matter of experience. It’s fun once you get used to seeing a man shaking his hips, gasping on top of yourself. But really, Commander Jolga is a lucky man to have taken Lord Anderheim’s virginity.”
“I’m not confident that I can reach that point in a month’s time. Well, I’ll just leave that to Jolga…”
“A month’s time. Ah, it will come, right? The long-awaited circus.”
A month later.
A famous circus troupe would arrive in Palcemith to perform.
The circus troupe toured the Yugena continent, presenting their beast shows, splendid acrobatics, and comical performances many times to greatly entertain the masses.
…But that wasn’t the only amusement the circus brought along.
“Do the performers know? “
“Ahh… somehow, it’s all according to plan.”
“My goodness. I’m looking forward to it.”
That day would be the turning point that would decide Jolga’s and my fate.
By that time, I have to teach Jolga well.
The pleasure of enjoying the show that was me.
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