A banquet was held.
La Banan had arranged for a certain amount of food to be stocked so that Draco would always be ready to entertain guests. Luckily, today’s fish dish could be made too.
The draconis were well known for their love of fish.
Fish caught in the Lau River are kept in well water for 10 days and then thoroughly cleaned of mud. Grilled fish with herbs was Alunaha’s famous specialty, and that was what was being served.
Draco personally cut up the large river fish that had been carefully grilled. Easily separating the herbs and garnishes that were stuffed inside the belly of the fish was proof of his royal lineage. The distribution of food, that is, how to treat his vassals, was part of the royal education he had received since he was young.
Draco couldn’t decide on what to do with Lana as he concentrated on preparing the food.
She wanted to be his concubine.
A mistress was almost the same as a lover. They were inferior to the legal wife and even a concubine. It was also strange for Draco, who hadn’t even married yet, to have a mistress by his side.
Draco couldn’t take Lana Endelke ga Cranchfiel, a draconis, as his wife because they were from different species.
Draco could only take a troll as his lifelong companion. This was both tradition and to avoid confusion.
It was because of their children.
Draconis and trolls can surprisingly crossbreed.
Their offspring can either be pure troll or pure draconis. They won’t be born as a quarter dragon even though they have parents who are a troll and a draconis.
According to society, if a troll is born then they will be Draco’s legitimate child, but if a draconis is born then they would be Lana’s child.
But it wasn’t simple for royals, who place great value on having pure blood. Even if a pure troll child is born between a troll and a draconis, they won’t be considered as a legitimate child.
The wife of a troll royal is a troll.
She could be his concubine, but Draco didn’t trust her since he had never met her before.
Draco had almost no family to call his own. The only people around him were his vassals with the exception of his grandfather and Elena. Draco wasn’t used to trusting someone unconditionally. He couldn’t decide whether or not he should leave that position open for this beautiful girl named Lana.
“Thank you very much, Milord.”
Lana thanked him respectfully for the food that he had served her.
Her gestures were refined and elegant.
There weren’t many women like her in the whole Demon Realm.
“I hope it suits your palate.”
“You joke. I haven’t had such a wonderful meal in years.”
“… Do they feed you shabby food at your place?”
“No, Milord. They do. lizardmen just do not pay much attention to food.”
Lizardmen; a race that stands upright and looks like lizards. Of course, Shulicia was one of them.
That was the identity of the person who had presented her as tribute to Draco.
They had sent a gift comparable to God as a sign of submission. Draco couldn’t imagine what this meant.
“Did you say that the lizardman’s name is Killick?”
“Yes, I did. <Mossy Shell> Killick.”
Draco had heard that name before.
He was one of the six demon kings. He was said to resemble a tortoise.
Lizardmen are treated as a single species, but they are divided into five categories: lizard, snake, crocodile, tortoise, and gecko. <Mossy Shell> was the Demon King of the tortoise lizardmen.
That was all Draco knew about him. Lizardmen were an unsociable bunch. Individuals can interact with each other, but they surprisingly don’t like interacting through clans or as a race. According to Draco’s grandfather, the previous Great Demon King, the world was theirs alone.
Lizardmen continue to fight within their race and don’t interact with other races.
Whether out of compassion or cowardice, retribution for sacrificing their family creates a chain of retribution, and they continue to fight in chaos without knowing who was fighting who and for what reason. It could be said that there was another Demon Realm within the Demon Realm.
Shulicia didn’t try to say anything. He had to remind himself that he was a slave if they were to talk about lizardmen. That was probably unbearable for him. Draco didn’t want to force him to talk about it.
“Why did <Mossy Shell> send you, Lana? Draconises are sacred to lizardmen.”
“I do not know the reason…”
Lana would immediately speak ambiguously whenever Draco tried to ask anything complicated. Draco didn’t want to push her to answer but it was bugging him.
Killick would probably treat Draco as an enemy if he were to send her back.
At first, he had suspected that this was a part of the <Succubus Princess> Palmyra’s scheme. She could have shapeshifters who are skilled in transforming themselves into a draconis.
But that suspicion had been put to rest for the time being. There was no way that Palmyra’s subordinates, who were only good at shapeshifting, could behave so elegantly. Lana’s every action was so polished.
Draco restrained himself from admiring Lana as he carried food into his mouth.
Even the way Lana brought the fish to her mouth and quenched her thirst with a glass of wine was beautiful. It was incredible how he was ready to fall for the trap, if it were one, since she was beautiful.
He drank his wine in one gulp.
He was drinking fast today.
As he was about to give the order to have more wine poured into his cup, he noticed Dadda casting a complicated expression at Lana.
Draco invited Dadda to his room late at night.
He discussed important matters that he didn’t want anyone to overhear in his bedroom even though he knew he really shouldn’t. It was more efficient to invite only his close aides to his bedroom to discuss things. Conversation went smoother in his room and there were no interruptions. So, why does he believe he shouldn’t do this then? Well, because he didn’t want people to believe that all decisions were being made behind closed doors, but he would rather be safe than sorry with two enemies, Ri Gudang and Palmyra.
Besides, he could use this as an excuse to not invite Lana to his room tonight.
“You know Lana?”
“I do. I have met her once or twice before.”
Dadda continued while kneeling in front of Draco who was sitting on the bed.
“Do you know why we werebears were forced to leave Pazan, Milord?”
“As I recall, it was because of Gwab’s violence?”
It was an old story. Draco only heard about it through the grapevine.
There were a lot of things he had to know and remember when he was in the capital.
But he did remember feeling that it was strange.
Being forced meant that the city was taken away. Not only the Demon King, but also his subjects would be left out in the cold. Would such an important decision have been made just because the Demon King had been violent?
“I knew it would be told like that. Is it possible for the city to be taken away just because Gwab-sama, the Demon King of the werebears, acted a bit out of line?
“… No. The previous Great Demon King was a thoughtful man.”
Draco thought about this again and thought it was strange.
Why were the werebears chased out of Pazan?
Of course, the previous Great Demon King wanted the <Succubus Princess> Palmyra and her shapeshifters away from the capital, but was that reason enough to expel Gwab from Pazan?
“Milord, the reason is a disgrace to the werebears, and I ask you to keep it to yourself.”
“What? Say it.”
“… Gwab, the werebear’s Demon King, was about to abolish the Barbarian King and assume the title of the Ancient Dragon Lord.”
Dragon Lord. The person who rules over all those who have scales.
There were many who believed they had inherited dragon’s blood in the southern part of the Demon Realm such as the lizardmen and the mermen, and a Dragon Lord was appointed in ancient times to unite them.
The <Northern Overlord>, the <Eastern Dark King, and the <Western Beast> and the <Southern Dragon Lord> have supported the Great Demon King for many generations. The Dragon’s Lord’s authority was comparable to that of the <Northern Overlord>, the first of the Big Four.
The Dragon Lord’s lineage died out and the <Southern Barbarian King> was appointed to replace the Dragon Lord, but there were many who didn’t recognize the <Southern Barbarian King> as a representative of the Great Demon King who ruled the south. In particular, the lizardmen consistently refused to recognize the authority of the <Southern Barbarian King> and even started skirmishes with the successive Barbarian Kings.
“The <Southern Dragon Lord> is a position that has been held by the draconis for generations.”
“You are correct. Gwab-sama wanted to marry the only survivor, Lana, to obtain the Dragon Lord position.”
It was an old tradition for the bride to bring her land and people with her, but they belong to the wife. Even if they were passed on, they would be passed on to the children of the wife.
Draconis can have children with trolls, but he had never heard of them successfully having children with werebears.
“Gwab-sama hadn’t planned on doing that at first since he didn’t touch her after they had married.”
“Then, how was he going to get the position?”
“He was going to adopt a werebear child and have them become his and Lana-sama’s child. Then, that child would be able to inherit the Dragon Lord title.”
“That’s ridiculous. Lana would have to be heir presumptive for that to happen.”
“Yes, she is.”
Dadda bowed respectfully and Draco had no idea what he was talking about for a moment.
“What do you mean, Dadda?”
“Lana-sama has the blood of the Dragon Lord Ga Cranchfiel and is the heir presumptive.”
A survivor of the almost extinct draconis and is from the Dragon Lord’s bloodline. Something like that was possible. But…
Dadda didn’t move an inch.
“… So, that was why the werebears were chased out?”
Abolishing the Barbarian King and re-establishing the Dragon Lord. That was an action that went against the order of the Demon Realm.
If that were to happen, whose orders would the lizardmen, who have been rebelling against the Great Demon King, follow? That was a difficult question, but that was what made this a big problem. In the worst case scenario, this could lead to a large-scale war that could split the southern part of the Demon Realm into two.
“What happened to Lana after that?”
“She went missing in the confusion that ensued when the werebears were chased out. Gwab-sama looked for her for a long time.”
Draco could understand why the werebear’s Evil God, Edward, had abandoned Gwab.
He was imprudent and foolish. How many people would suffer if his plan had been put into motion? At minimum, it would have been a fierce battle with tens of thousands of troops. Was it alright to spill that much blood for the ambition of a single person?
This was probably the reason why Evil God Hirano hadn’t told them the reason why Edward had been angry at the werebears.
“Then why did <Mossy Shell> Killick offer Lana to me?”
“I do not know. That is beyond my knowledge as a werebear.”
Draco didn’t know how Lana had come to be under Killick’s care.
Did Killick know who Lana was?
Was it possible for Killick to offer his god and queen to Draco?
He lacked information.
Draco thanked Dadda for confining in him then dismissed him. Then he shook the small bell on his bedside table.
No sound came from the bell. More precisely, no sound that could be heard came from the bell.
“You wished to see me, Milord?”
Chunon, the dark elf, appeared shortly after.
“Chunon, there is something I would like you to look into.”