Side Story 21
It all started around the time when the commotion with the Holy Dragon settled down.
Holy Dragon Elja Lude is deep in thought in her private room set up in the dungeon.
She’s sitting on her luxurious bed, kicking her feet back and forth.
Her expression is gloomy.
With a troubled sigh, she looks around at the paintings and furnishings in her room.
There’s a painting of a dragon in a gold frame, and decorations are abundant with magic stones and jewels.
Above her, a chandelier made of light magic stones illuminates the ceiling.
It’s exactly what you’d imagine a noble’s room to be.
All of this is courtesy of her father, Harsha Lude.
He insisted, “Even if it’s temporary, how could I let Elja live in a room with bare earthen walls!”
So, through the teleportation gate in the Add Mountains, skilled craftsmen (dragons in human form) were brought from the Holy Kingdom to undertake a massive renovation of her room.
Like Fafnir and other dragons, they inherently love shiny things—gold and treasures.
A room decorated with such opulence perfectly suits their tastes, and even Elja herself was impressed with the result.
However, the initial reaction of Earth and everyone to this room could be summed up with a simple “Wow…” But let’s not dwell on that.
Different strokes for different folks, right?
Even surrounded by all these glittering works of art, Elja’s heart isn’t the least bit lightened.
She hugs her pillow tightly, frowning.
Her appearance alone, impressive as it is, would make a stunning painting.
「…How can I get closer to my beloved Earth…」
Her dilemma, of course, is about her self-declared fiancé, Earth.
Despite having started to live together with the man she adores, their relationship isn’t progressing at all.
In her wild fantasies, she’s already borne Earth three children, built a harmonious home, and everyone is celebrating them (in this vision, Ann is serving as Elja’s maid).
She’s a maiden whose imagination is a bit too wild; perhaps a visit to a mental health clinic would be in order.
「Master Earth could be a little more proactive with me…」
She reminisces about their first encounter in the Deep Forest, where Earth had aggressively licked the scales on her neck, but now, such actions are non-existent.
Well, that’s to be expected. That incident was an accident, and Earth has no such intentions whatsoever.
「If only we had some common interests…」
Raised as a sheltered young lady in the Holy Land, Elja’s values and interests as a dragon couldn’t be more different from Earth’s, who’s lived like a stray in the frontier.
Earth eats almost nothing but magic stones.
He barely touches meat, vegetables, other magical creatures, or even water.
He’s all about the magic stones.
Indeed, the magic stones Earth mines are delicious, so much so that Elja, even as the daughter of a Holy Dragon, has never tasted such high-purity magical energy.
Just one bite, and she imagines her clothes tearing apart in ecstasy.
She tried gifting him special meat and fruits (laced with aphrodisiacs) from the Holy Land, but his reaction was lukewarm.
Instead, due to the “Gluttony” effect, he developed a resistance to aphrodisiacs, and Ann noticed and severely punished her in the middle layer of the dungeon. Shudder.
Then there’s the topic of hobbies.
They don’t match up at all.
Earth’s hobbies include dungeon making and golem crafting.
「I tried my best to align with Master Earth’s interests and even tried making a golem… but this is the result…」
She glances at the corner of the room where a pile of what looks like a pitiful doll or garbage lies.
It sticks out horribly in the luxurious room. It’s actually creepy.
Elja is disastrously unskilled with her hands.
Tres even commented, “What is this— a cursed doll?”
Honestly, it made her want to cry.
「Even if I try to take him out, he refuses to leave the dungeon…」
Elja enjoys aerial strolls and shopping while disguised as a human.
In the Holy Kingdom, thanks to the Pope, she even has a fake title of human nobility and many favorite shops.
Her hobbies are the complete opposite of Earth, the ultimate shut-in dragon.
It’s just too much of a mismatch.
Yet, if you ask her why she likes him, “I just fell in love,” is the only explanation she has.
There’s no logic to a maiden in love.
(Oh dear… what should I do? A date inside the dungeon? No, no, that doesn’t make sense. Maybe chatting in Master Earth’s room… No, no, no, I can’t trust myself to stay sane. What kind of punishment would Ann dole out then…)
Just as Elja’s thoughts began to spiral into a dead end, she receives a thought transmission from Elibel.
『Elja, can I bother you for a moment?』
『Oh? Miss Elibel? What’s the matter?』
『Actually, there’s a message for you from the Holy Land. I’m sorry to ask, but could you come to the surveillance room?』
Elja tilts her head, puzzled.
Ever since she moved here, at Harsha’s insistent request for constant communication, a direct communication magic stone connecting the Holy Land and the dungeon had been installed.
But, it’s usually only Harsha who uses it, and most of what he asks is trivial, like “How’s Elja doing?” or “Is Elja eating properly?”
The only other use is the occasional status updates exchanged among her attendants.
「Did father get lonely and send another message? Honestly…」
Elja is fed up with her father who contacts her almost daily.
She wishes he would let her be independent.
Can’t I just block father’s calls?
Sighing, Elja heads to the surveillance room.
Upon arriving at the surveillance room, Elja finds Elibel and several skeletons waiting.
「Sorry to keep you waiting. Is it another message from father?」
Without much of a greeting, Elja asks Elibel directly.
But contrary to her expectations, Elibel shakes her head.
「No, it’s not him this time. It’s a rather youthful voice.」
Elja gets a bad feeling.
And just as that feeling hits her, a voice emanates from the brilliantly colored sphere.
『Elja!? Are you there!? It’s me, Pororo!』
The moment she hears the voice, Elja involuntarily scowls.
To be honest, aside from her father, it was the last voice she wanted to hear.
「Pororo… What do you want?」
Elja asks as coldly as possible, trying not to convey any emotion.
『Elja, I’ve been worried about you! You haven’t returned to the Holy Land for days! You, living alone outside the Holy Land… I’m so worried I feel like my heart’s going to burst!』
Elja feels dizzy at his words.
「…What I do and where I choose to live is none of your concern. Is that all you called for? If so, goodbye.」
『Don’t be so cold! After all, I am your―――』
With a click, Elja cuts off the communication, turning off the brilliantly colored sphere.
「…He seemed like an acquaintance. Was that okay?」
「Yes, it’s fine.」
「May I ask what kind of relationship you had?」
「…It’s okay, isn’t it? It’s all in the past anyway. His name is Pororo. He’s one of the dragons living in the Holy Land, the same Holy Dragon species as me. And―――」
She pauses for a moment and then continues.
「…He was one of my ‘former’ betrothed candidates.」
Elibel’s eye sockets flare up for a moment, but Elja, oblivious, goes on with her story.
「Yes, as the only daughter of Harsha Lude, the leader of the Holy Dragons, I had several… let’s call them betrothed candidates lined up. Of course, I turned them all down. That dragon who just called was one of them. Among the candidates, he was one of the better ones, though a bit too persistent for my taste. And besides, compared to Master Earth, other dragons are just―――」
Elja blushes at her own words, the very picture of a girl in love.
“Ah, I see,” Elibel nods, looking straight at Elja with a seriousness that makes Elja flinch.
Elja responds, bracing herself for what’s to come.
Inhaling softly, Elibel said.
「Suck it up!!!!」
Elja is taken aback by the sudden, unreasonable outburst.
「Shut up! Just suck it up! Happy couples should just dieeeeee!! Don’t mess with me!! What’s this betrothed thing anyway?! Don’t fumg;khsd;gjzpdjgpzjg;jsdfg;sd」
「What are you doing?! Calm down, Miss Elibel!? What are you even saying… stop, don’t touch me… don’t undress―――aaaahhhhh!?」
A scream echoes through the surveillance room.
Elibel, who in life had cycled through hundreds of matchmaking attempts only to see them fail, was a true single deity.
How could she not resent Elja, who could choose any partner she wanted?
No, she couldn’t.
The surveillance room quickly turned into a battlefield, and until Ann arrived to intervene, the sorrowful single deity wreaked havoc.
…It was said that the skeletons were just trembling in a corner of the room…
But the incident wasn’t over yet.
The next day, everyone gathered in the deep surveillance room.
They were focused on a creature displayed on the screen.
A large hole at the entrance to the Eld Desert dungeon.
Hovering above it was the figure of a dragon.
Red scales with a mane of green.
And the long, slender body of a dragon, much like those of Eastern legend.
It’s a very familiar scene, one they had just witnessed not too long ago.
And the dragon in the footage shouted loudly.
「My name is Holy Dragon Pororo!! Earth, the Earth Dragon! Can you hear me? I challenge you to a duel! As two beings who love Elja, I want us to fight a fair and square battle!!」
Silence fell over the room… Everyone turns to look at Elja at once.
Elja’s face contorts as sweat streams down her face.
Earth and everyone in the room all have the same thought.
―――Ah, another troublesome one has shown up.
Sub29: Hey there! If you enjoy the content and want to stay updated with all the latest, make sure to follow my channel on WhatsApp! Click here to follow
November 2023 Patron: GoatBeards