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Chapter 6: The Dragon Priestess
At the venue, a shriek resounded once again; followed by an angry bellow. But well, seeing such a young lady dressed to the nines with a beautiful dress and hair collapse in vomit foaming at the mouth was a sight to behold.
Nasha rushed to her sister’s aid. The Crown prince and his entourage all took their weapons in hand, ready to attack us.
“You bastard! What did you do to Melia!?”
I turned to face Malacia, still maintaining a look of composure on my face. The sword Sigurd swung down, was parried by the shield of the Temple Knight I had summoned.
A lough laugh rang out as if to ridicule the tense situation.
The expressions of all present stiffened…and there attentively looked at me, the former Prime Minister Anderheim.
“At last! At last, you have been freed, Julieta! You and I, both have been freed from that hateful duty!”
The former Prime Minister hugging his daughter while overwhelmed by emotions, without a shred of concern for the new Dragon Priestess who lay unconscious. I must seem insane.
In the meanwhile, the court doctor and healers rushed to Melia’s side.
Propped up by Nasha, Melia recovered her consciousness under the magic cast by the healers. However, it seemed as though she was tormented by intense nausea and tremendous pain. Her soiled face was pallid.
“Head Priest Malacia, what is the meaning of this…!?”
Despite the Crown Prince’s relentless pursuit and the tip of the rapier pointing at him, Malacia was undaunted. On the contrary, his lips curled upwards. Like that time when he spoke to the believers, he narrated to the Crown Prince with frightening calm.
“It is nothing of concern. It is only because Miss Melia became the Dragon Priestess.”
“Then why is Melia in such pain!? You must have poisoned her!”
“…Your Highness. With all due respect, that is impossible. As the Crown Prince aren’t you mistaken in thinking that the Dragon Priestess; who is guaranteed a high standing; has a role that is only in name?”
As expected he thought it was a role only in name.
The Crown Prince’s face was dyed with astonishment.
“The Dragon Priestess, just as the oath says, has the duty of supporting His Grace Kharis till the day the Sacrificial Priestess offers her flesh and blood to His Grace. It isn’t done by simply serving at the shrine. Acting as the bridge until the Sacrificial Priestess offers herself, the Dragon Priestess must pledge most of her Mana to His Grace Kharis. Miss Melia’s ill-health is due to an extreme deficiency of Mana.”
“…I never heard of this!”
Hearing Nasha, who supported Melia shout, Malacia let out a sigh and lightly shook his head.
“Of course you haven’t. The fate of those who become Dragon Maidens has been passed down by word-of-mouth; a hidden sin. Just because you were selected to become the Sacrificial Priestess does not mean that you can uncover the secrets of the Dragon Priestess.”
“Isn’t that strange!? Then why was your daughter unaffected?”
Lutora’s finger pointed straight at me.
In addition to his rude behavior, he seemed to have forgotten to be careful with his choice of words. But he had raised a valid doubt.
I had been waiting for that sentence. With impeccable timing, I lifted the veil covering Julieta’s face with both hands.
Facing Julieta head-on, Lutora was dumbfounded.
Incomprehensible gibberish escaped his lips.
“No way she is…”
“Ah, how beautiful…”
“It is as she is the darling of the spirits of moonlight.”
“As expected, she is the descendant of Sage Asbal after all…”
Words of praise and sighs of amazement spread like ripples.
Honorable nobles, thank you for making the correct assessment.
From under the veil appeared a beautiful Julieta in natural makeup. Her fine silver hair was pulled in an updo with a string that had pearls strung together. Eyes that sparkled like jade occasionally peeked through her trembling eyelashes. The slightest blush resided on her snow-white cheeks and her tiny lips were tinted a pale crimson. The slender arms gripping her father’s shoulders were smooth like porcelain. Her closet tightened around a waist thin enough for one’s hands to wrap around.
She would not pale in comparison to Miss Nasha, who stood beside the Crown Prince. Rather it was apt that she get a better assessment, being such fragile beauty.
When one sees a thing of beauty before their eyes, they forget all reason and position. It was exactly that situation now. Pressing Lutora; who seemed to have lost his reasoning; for answers, I continued to speak.
“Lutora Milca Oswein. Do I need to answer your question? No doubt, my Julieta also went through the same pain. She could more or less endure it having served a long time as the Dragon Priestess. Despite her ill-health, she did not faint like Miss Melia. However, she was tormented by her duty as the Dragon Priestess to an extent that she always had to hide the true color of her face under thick makeup.”
“Lady Julieta took over the reins of the Dragon Priestess when she was seven… When she first began her duties, she too fell to illness many times, just like Miss Melia now. At that time I was but a mere Priest. I felt vexed and miserable at being able to do nothing but pray.”
“Hm, I see…”
Well, it was no doubt a lie.
The trick was simple. I requested the Ancient Dragon Kharis to bestow a negative status effect on the ring that was the symbol of the Dragon Priestess. In the game, when the heroine chose the Crown Prince route, there was a situation where she had to attend a feast no matter what. At that time she did not know if she would be poisoned by someone. Thus, Kharis bestowed a detoxification effect on the hair ornament the Crown Prince gifted her. I took a hint from that scene.
If he could bestow a detoxification effect on a hair ornament, surely he could also do the reverse.
Listening to the counterattack I had thought up of, Kharis was amused and promised his cooperation. He easily materialized it.
The effects bestowed on the ring were: Nausea, Pain, Anaemia, Fever, Confusion, Suspicion, Hunger, and Ferocity. The negative status effects were to the level that one would be suspected of demonic possession if they happened to contract it.
After we adjusted the ring such that it would only activate when “Someone other than Julieta wore it”, we entered the banquet.
To add in a false fate to the [Dragon Priestess] who was only in name.
The effects of the magic cast on her had weakened, and Melia once again covered her mouth with her palm. The healers panicked and once again cast healing magic. Although she somehow was at ease again, the fact that it was only a drop in the bucket was evident to all.
“N-No…! Don’t. Want. Dragon. Maiden…!”
Holding the teary-eyed Melia, Nasha gave me a pointed stare.
“Melia quits being the Dragon Priestess. Now hurry up and remove the ring!”
Malacia once again sighed, as if he wished to say something.
“The Dragon Priestess is different from the Sacrificial Priestess. It is a seat that cannot be left vacant. As Lady Julieta has served as the Dragon Priestess once, she cannot take up the seat again. If Miss Melia says she wishes to resign as the Dragon Priestess, please find a person as your replacement and get their approval to be the Dragon Priestess.”
“S-Somebody! Anybody! Will you help Melia!?”
As a stand-in for Melia who had lost her voice, Nasha raised her voice and asked the people around. But no noble would present their daughter after seeing Melia in such a state of frenzy. The young noblewomen attending the banquet slowly stepped away from Nasha’s side. Their parents too came closer and attempted to shield their daughters, hiding them from Nasha’s gaze.
“…If no one wishes to take over, Miss Melia shall continue to serve as the Dragon Priestess. You, please take Lady Melia to the shrine. She will have official duties starting tomorrow. Please request the ladies-in-waiting to purify her.”
On acknowledging Malacia’s instructions, the Temple Knights took the powerless Melia from Nasha’s arms and carried her. Placing her on a stretcher, they quickly took her out of the venue.
“Don’t take her away! Your Highness Vikram! Morino! Stop them!”
“We can’t, Nasha…!”
The Crown Prince bit his lip in despair, while Prime Minister Morino clenched his hand so hard that his nails dig into his palm.
“The Dragon Priestess belongs to the Shrine. The Head Priest has more powers over her than the Royal Palace. As Melia is the Dragon Priestess, she has to stay in the Shrine.”
“I, I never heard of this!!”
“…You’re saying that again?”
Malacia’s tone seemed to say he had had enough of that line.
“The duty of the Dragon Maiden is beyond imagination. That is why, till now they had never been revealed to the public and only the one who would become the next Dragon Priestess would be told of it. If it wasn’t so, just like Lady Melia Just now, there would be no contenders for this position. Well, now it can be kept a secret anymore.”
“No way…You tricked Melia!? To get a substitute for Lady Julieta…!?”
“…How scandalous! To begin with, Lady Julieta became the Sacrificial Priestess as your substitute. She couldn’t possibly continue to also bear the painful burden of the Dragon Priestess.”
As Nasha shook her head, a tiny shadow stepped in between her and Malacia, cutting off her words.
Spreading his arms as if to shield Nasha, Morino quietly looked up at the Head Priest.
“…I still have another thing to ask, Head Priest.”
Morino’s voice was strained as he made it obvious that he was making his next move.
As Malacia gladly gestured him to continue, Morino took out a tiny glass vial.
The glass vial was the size of a finger and was filled with a light purple liquid.
Submerged at its bottom was a flower with round petals, blooming.
Hasr: Today on the Japanese side of the internet, I saw someone giving the English names of game terms. They TLed petrified as stoned…Oh, Japan…
Also we got another TL for this series~
Welcome Aby! She’ll be doing Ch 8 and 9~