“Hm… It’s embarrassing if I say so myself, but there’s an issue with my genitals, to say the least. I’ve never gotten into the mood for it. I don’t even get morning wood.”
“What’s morning wood?”
“Wow! Sunbaenim, you were impotent? Is that why you weren’t interested in me? Don’t worry. I’ll give you some secret elven aphrodisiacs. You’ll be up and ready with that!”
Kunette’s innocent question and Reisha’s eagerness caused Rivelia to finally speak up.
“There is no need for sexual intercourse.”
“… I’m sure a grown woman such as yourself is aware of how to make babies?”
There was a hint of red on her cheeks as Rivelia answered Isaac.
“A dragon will bring the child.”
“Ah! Of course. Dragons bring you children.”
“… Will we get a spot this time of year?”
Reisha quickly caught onto Rivelia’s train of thought, and Kunette folded her arms in contemplation. Isaac took a breath of his cigarette.
“Sounds like one of those myths where a crane brings a child or you pick up the child from under the bridge. Aren’t you guys too old to believe in such things?”
“No. Dragons really do bring you babies.”
“Babies come from dragons.”
Reisha and Kunette spoke with certainty. Isaac’s eyes slowly drifted towards Rivelia. When their eyes met, Rivelia nodded.
“… Dragons will bring the baby.”
Isaac was in no position to argue, since this was a world where magic was all you needed to solve any problem. If they said so, he’d have to go along with it.
“Do as you wish.”
Isaac waved his hand in defeat. Reisha jumped about with glee and Kunette grabbed her cheeks in embarrassment. Reisha aside, Isaac knew Kunette was an absolutely stunning woman in her human form, but her current bear form gave Isaac the impression that a child was giving birth to a child, making it feel repulsive. He spoke to Rivelia.
“So what made you do this?”
“I assume you didn’t bring this topic without a reason… Hm, is it the successor problem?”
Rivelia’s entire body jolted upwards; Isaac’s muttering had hit the mark.
“Ah. I did hear that nobles in Pendleton had been pushing bachelors onto you.”
“… I have no thoughts on marriage.”
“Are you going to live as a virgin all your…”
Isaac was knocked aside in an instant. Isaac grumbled to himself, something about Rivelia resorting to violence more and more frequently as time went by. He sincerely thanked the Queen for leaving behind a defensive coat for him.
“Can’t you just choose one of your vassals or relatives to become your successor?”
Isaac asked, which Kunette and Reisha rejected.
“We can’t have that.”
“We can trust Rivelia, but we have to consider what will happen afterwards.”
Isaac was convinced by their arguments and nodded. The position of Duchess of Pendleton carried the backbreaking burden of knowing and keeping the crucial secrets of this world. If some no-name noble managed to win the war for succession and claim the seat of Pendleton, it was going to be problematic for the non-humans.
Rivelia was the sole person with direct lineage to the previous Duke Pendleton and currently single. Everyone within the Pendleton nobility would be frantically eyeing for the position of the Duke of Pendleton through marriage. And with the irrefutable argument that a successor was needed, the pressure on Rivelia grew exponentially by the moment.
And unlike Wolfgangs, no non-humans were allowed to join her family. Central would reject a proposition like that in a heartbeat; the Pendletons had to remain purely human. Not to mention that Pendleton’s vassals would never approve of such a thing. Central would have to intervene.
If the previous Duke Pendleton was still here, he would have little difficulty resolving the problem. Although he was overprotective, he was very good at his job. But with his death, Rivelia’s sensitive successor problem had been thrust to the forefront of not just the Pendletons and the Empire but even to Central.
It didn’t matter while Rivelia was alive, but she was no immortal. She was going to die eventually, so preparations had to be made.
Central suddenly became a marriage agency, searching for a suitable candidate for Rivelia. But other than the current Emperor, Mazelan, Central couldn’t find other suitable candidates.
But the unification of the Empire and Pendletons was unthinkable. So the next name in the candidate list was Isaac.
“I have no interest in intervening with this world, so I don’t care what happens from now on. But as a male, it still makes me sad that I will live and die a virgin.”
“… Shall we look for a cure?”
“I told you, you just need to take the secret elven aphrodisiac!”
“What’s a virgin?”
Isaac could feel the embers of his smouldering sex drive begin to crackle, watching Rivelia ask mid-blush, Reisha boldly proclaiming the effects of elven aphrodisiacs, and Kunette innocently cocking her head. But in an instant, his mind calmed down.
“I was the same while I was in Isaac’s body before. It must be a psychological issue, not physical. And I have no plans on fixing it either. I guess it doesn’t matter. There was the rumour that you become a wizard if you remain a virgin for 30 years, maybe I can hope for that.”
When he finished his train of thought, he realised that there was a possibility that maybe this body—unlike his previous one—was capable of swordsmanship or magic. But he had no plans in practising either art at this point. He was going to live in peace with the spare life he received.
“… I think I saw an anime with a character like this.”
“Really now? I guess my race is quite famous.”
Isaac reached for his cigarette. Opposite to him was a miniature dragon, stretching its long legs and flying its long beard in the air. It was a dragon—not of western design but Asian. As if to reinforce that image, it held an orb in each hand and one in its mouth. Clouds resembling cotton candy floated around its body, blasting lightning and thunder. It may have been majestic and mysterious to behold if the dragon was large, but its tiny size made it almost adorable.
“A dragon huh… They did say that, but I didn’t think you really existed.”
“That’s understandable. We are a race that resides in the heavens, not the middle world. Ah. Don’t worry. We never cared for what happens in this world.”
“Heaven… I thought this place was hell to you guys?”
“Ah. We are a special kind of a race. We could end up destroying the balance in heaven if we only stayed there. So we occasionally visit the middle world and hell to expend our power before returning.”
“Even without a Gate?”
“You could call that our race’s special ability.”
“So what’s the occasion?”
Isaac asked the dragon, who had fluently answered all questions despite having a giant orb in its mouth. The dragon flew up to Isaac’s eye level. It then extended the two arms.
“Can you touch these for me? Ah, the one in my mouth too.”
“We sometimes resolve the requests in this manner. We get to expend our power, while the middle world and hell get what they want.”
The dragon silently urged Isaac to proceed. Isaac first touched the orb in the dragon’s mouth.
A sharp pain rang through his body, followed by a splitting headache.
“… What the?”
“Ah, do not worry. We merely took a fragment of your soul.”
“… It gives me bad vibes.”
Isaac grumbled as he touched the remaining two orbs the dragon held, now frowning because of the ringing headache he was left with.
“So what do you do with those?”
“This is one of our most frequent requests. When a man and a woman of different races join together but cannot have a child due to biological reasons, they can ask us to make the child for them.”
“… That thing about dragons bringing babies? I thought it was just a joke?”
“Nonsense. We combine the fragments of the souls from both the man and woman, nurture, and give birth to it. You could call it a true treasure between the couple.”
Isaac was dumbfounded by the explanation.
“So the dragon nurtures the Yeo-ui ju and gives birth to a baby? What is this, the birth of a legend?”
– Next station is Port City, Port City is the end of the line. All guests, please check your belongings…
“I’ve finally arrived.”
As he exited the platform, Ivel stretched to ease the exhaustion that had been mounting throughout the long journey. It was a long, tiring trip from Gabelin to Port City on the regular train that stopped at every station rather than the express train.
Ivel did his best to ignore the tempting smell wafting from the restaurants and takeaway shops in the bustling plaza at the front of the train station. He immediately headed for the cheapest place to stay—a place he had looked up while in Gabelin. He passed a happy looking family. A bitter smile appeared on Ivel.
He was honestly jealous. He had never experienced that. His father would only drown himself in alcohol regardless of the time, and his mother would always nag at him. His house was always noisy.
Eventually, Ivel assumed his mother had had enough. She never came back after leaving the house. Yet this father of his didn’t even try to look for his mother. A scumbag who disregarded his two siblings and only drowned himself in alcohol.
Thankfully, it seemed that the man had some wealth saved up at least. They were by no means starving, but Ivel thought he’d end up like his father if he stayed with him, so he studied.
And it seemed his two siblings were much more talented than he was, who received permission to enter College while he only managed to enter Campus. They were geniuses.
The moment Ivel received his letter of admission from Campus, he reported his father to the authorities for smoking Choyu leaves, which were designated an illicit drug by the Department of Law. Following that, he immediately headed to Campus with his siblings without looking back.
Since then, he had purposely cut all ties with home. He didn’t want a single coin from that man, so he didn’t even visit during holidays.
Just thinking about that man soured Ivel’s mood. He frowned and hurried his footsteps, when he felt his personal Communicator which he received from Campus ring. He answered.
A shrill shriek echoed through the Communicator the moment he answered. Ivel took the communicator off his ear and sighed.
“Irei, you are all grown up now. You should be more modest…”
-That’s not the problem! Where are you now? You’re at Port City, aren’t you! So mean! You should have taken me with you! How could you go alone like that!
Irei’s disappointment was palpable through the Communicator. Ivel tried his utmost to console her.
“I’m sorry but I’ve only come for my graduation thesis. I don’t have time to play with you. Maybe after you graduate…”
-Hing! There’s no one at home either…
“What? Why did you go back home?! I told you not to associate with that man ever again!”
Ivel shouted out. Irei responded with a dejected tone.
-But… I wanted to see dad…
“Well I guess he’s gone off and died elsewhere, seeing how he’s not at home!”
-Hmph! Don’t say things like that! You don’t even know anything! Oppa, you dummy!
Ivel looked grumpily at the silent Communicator. He then placed it back in his pocket. Ivel didn’t understand what Irei saw in him. It seemed she still visited that man during the holidays even after enrolling into College.
Ivel wasn’t worried about Ike, his younger sibling. He was a perfectionist through and through, to a point Ivel wondered if they were actually related. But the innocent Irei might fall to that man’s coaxing and end up with his debt, making Ivel worry for her every night.
- 1EDN: A Yeo-ui ju, written as 여의주 or 여의보주, is a cintamani. It is a wish-fulfilling jewel in both Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Source: Wikipedia