Second Older Sister
The Royal Capitol Skycastle is located on the northern part of the Almerian continent, and as such it has many specialties unique to its colder climate. It is especially known for its fruits, dried fish, and distilled liquor. The area around the city is perfect for growing grapes, so besides selling the grapes themselves, they’re also great as raw material for alcohol and are widely cultivated. In addition, the sea to the north has an abundant amount of various different types of fish, and their preservation techniques had been adequately refined to keep them. You can drink the grape wine with it as is, otherwise the locals more often distill it so that it can be drank on a regular basis.
And then to wrap up the specialties there was also the cooking liquor for use in cooked dishes.
“I would like to try using it the next time I cook up some shrimp or snails from the western fishing village,” Frau said while smelling the alcohol.
Bizon gave Frau a smile and answered,
“Gurre’s place actually handles grape wine there. I’ll be sure to introduce you later.”
“Big Sister Gurre?”
Reeve repeated aloud a name she hadn’t expected to hear, so Bizon gave her an explanation.
“Yes, Gurre married into the Stewart House which is the main house responsible for managing Skycastle wine in the market.”
Gurre was Reeve’s second older sister. She moved away back when Ferdinand was still in charge of Lorenburg tea, marrying into the Stewart House in order to try and expand the family’s connections.
The girls continued on in this way with Bizon and Mebett acting as their guides, picking up souvenirs as they traveled through the market before turning back to Sir Chaffee’s home. By the time they got back, Sir Chaffee and Duke Marsfield had returned as well. Along with two other guests.
“Nice to meet you everyone from Warren. My name is Stewart, a lower noble in the Royal Capitol.”
“It’s nice to meet everyone, and it’s been much too long Reeve. My name is Gurre, Stewart’s wife.”
The man was quite slender, giving off a more meek impression. The woman on the other hand was quite lovely and bore a striking resemblance to Reeve’s mother, Lux.
“Well then everyone, let’s all head inside,” as the wife in charge of the house hosting them, Bizon took the lead, guiding everyone into the dining room. And so the dinner party began.
“But the Chaos Dragon’s breath really was something terrifying though.”
“It was the second one that sent a chill down my spine. I never thought that that Hero would end up smashing the castle!”
“And now they want the cost to fix all that damage to come from the grape wine sales. I have a headache just thinking about it.”
Sir Chaffee, Duke Marsfield, and Sir Stewart were recounting the funny story that had occurred at the castle to Bizon and Gurre. The two women were amazed at first, then they laughed, and finally frowned in the end.
Mebett in the meanwhile had taken a seat between Reeve and Ellis, explaining this and that about life in Skycastle.
“Big Sisters, how long are you going to stay here?”
“Ah, we’ll head back tomorrow after buying some more souvenirs.”
“In that case let me lead you around tomorrow too please!” Mebett asked loudly, sounding like she was already have a great time.
Frau was spending the meal talking to the servant who had been put in charge of the night’s meal. Claire and Katie were once again fighting over some of the fruit that had been brought to the table.
“By the way, I heard Mr. Stewart was in charge of the wine and distilled alcohol in the market,” Ellis suddenly mentioned.
The truth is that as tourism has increased in Warren, so too has the demand for alcohol. The main type of alcohol they can bring is the rice wine from Wheat Grace, and while Lily Garden and Freedom Promenade could make do with just grape wine and fruit liquor, the demand for distilled liquor in Gentleman’s Street had created a shortage. Also, according to Frau, Skycastle had a wide variety of different types of alcohol with a wide variety of prices to match, so if each store in Warren were to handle a different brand, it would be possible for the various stores to plan out and provide their own various types of drinks.
“Yes, it’s mostly wine, but I am in charge of the market for any alcohol made in Skycastle and the surrounding area,” Stewart answered with a smile.
“In that case would you mind hearing this proposal I have from the Warren Council?”
Ellis finally brought up the real issue that Maria and the other council members wanted her to ask about.
It was a proposal for regular deliveries between Skycastle and Warren. Namely, a trade between Skycastle’s alcohol and Warren furniture such as the showers and toilets. Carriages would travel between the two cities, carrying cargo in both directions for the sake of efficiency.
“Shower and toilets?”
Bizon took on the honor of proudly answering Stewart’s query.
“It’s a couple of revolutionary facilities developed by the Dragon Maiden’s Jet Black Lady Claire! We might be in the middle of a meal, but would you like to see?”
Stewart and Gurre had their interest piqued at Bizon’s words, so they rose up from their plates and followed her out of the room. After some time had passed, they did eventually come back with flushed faces.
“And everyone already knew about this?”
Everyone smiled and nodded at Stewart’s question. Reeve, however, didn’t move, and her face suddenly looked a little green.
“Yeah, I have some set up throughout my castle. Both the shower and the toilets are comfortable!”
“I heard there were some set up in Mother and Father’s house in Wheat Grace as well………..according to Grandpa Ferdinand at least.”
Duke Marsfield and Bizon added on some unnecessary information to just make the situation worse.
Gurre took this time to savor that feeling of being the only one left out before pointing a very kind, gentle eye towards Reeve. A chill ran up Reeve’s spine. She tried giving her older sister Gurre an excuse as sweat began flowing down her neck.
“Sorry big sister Gurre, it just slipped my mind. Only, a little, now……….”
Gurre made a small, scornful laugh.
“You always were like this. Important things always slipping your mind. Never sparing a thought to those people you always forget. Well then everyone, I just need to step away from this wonderful meal for a moment and have a small chat with my foolish little sister.”
“Hey Gurre, let’s stop for today, hey, everyone else too”
As Reeve’s begging turned into babbling, Gurre grabbed Reeve by the ear and forced her to her feet.
“Who do you think you are, doing this to Reeve you damn, stupid hag!?” Su-chan poked his head out from under his wings while hanging over Reeve’s chest to try and pick a fight with Gurre. However Gurre wasn’t perturbed in the slightest.
“My my, what a cute Guardian Dragon. I’m Gurre, Reeve’s sincere older sister. How about I teach you how to watch your mouth while I’m having my talk with Reeve. Sister Bizon, I’m going to borrow your other room for a bit.”
And so Reeve and Su-chan were dragged away by Gurre who had yet to drop that small, bright smile of hers. Bizon went ahead and offered a small explanation with a laugh as Ellis and the rest were left too stunned to ask themselves.
“Gurre has always lectured Reeve since she was young. That little sister of ours and Gramps………Grandpa Ferdinand would always spend time together, so we had to be strict with her sometimes. They won’t be back for about an hour.”
Steward alone was nodding his head, quietly repeating, “Yep yep,” to himself. Everyone else offered their silent sympathies, knowing he had gone through some hardships of his own.
“We got a little sidetracked, but how about it Stewart? If you’re interested, we’ll send an emissary from the Warren Merchant Guild immediately.”
“Yes, please do so. The Royal Capitol is an old city, and as such, it’s sewer system is honestly saturated. If it’s this mechanism, we’d be able to start up a new industry collecting and cleaning those waste boxes too. Thank you very much.”
And so with the business out of the way, the girls were able to sit back and enjoy talking to everyone. After an hour Gurre came back in, looking neat and proper with a disheartened Reeve and Su-chan trudging in close behind. It was a peaceful end to the day for the girls.
But in Skycastle’s downtown area. Peach and the other two idiots were having fun at their favorite store.
“Seriously, what is a Dragon Maiden anyway? Boasting like that, ah I feel irritated.”
“Don’t be like that Peach. The Hero will find another dragon again eventually.”
“C’mon Peach. If you become a Dragon Maiden, you won’t be able to play with us anymore.”
“No, at that time the dragon can take human form, and all four of us can play together. The dragon could take the form of a man, or a woman. Either way would be fun.”
As the three’s conversation slowly started to take a vulgar turn, a stranger suddenly took an interest in what they were talking about. He grabbed a bottle of fine liquor and took a seat with the three idiots.
“It sounded like you guys were talking about something interesting there. Let me in too.”
“Well, aren’t you a good man. Please, by all means.”
“That’s some good drink. Well take a seat.”
“Welcome to the table.”
And so the talk of dragons and maidens carried on until the man drew close to Peach’s ear and spoke in a soft voice.
“In that case, what would you do if there were a free dragon in this city right now?”
By now the high-class alcohol was really starting to affect Peach, and she gave a very loud answer.
“Ah, I’d form a contract with them right away. The dragon would get stronger from the contract too.”
“Actually, I, am a free dragon.”
The man’s words were more intoxicating for Peach than any wine. Dams and Cliff were already finished and had moved on to having fun asking out the shop’s women servers.
“Can you show me?”
Peach slapped the other two to get their attention, bringing their alcohol ridden minds to focus, and then they all followed the man out of the store.
The four eventually came to a vacant space where the strange man turned around and made his declaration.
“I shall now show you my true form. If it is to your liking, let us form a contract.”
And as he said, the man slowly changed shape.
At first the three Brave Party members thought he was just a black horse, but then they saw the wings on his back and recognized the head as that of a dragon’s.
“I am the Nightmare Dragon. Peach, name me Nightmare Dragon, and then kiss me.”
Peach unsteadily approached the waiting dragon. Then, “Nightmare Dragon,” she mumbled the dragon’s name, and gave it a kiss. In that instant, Peach’s mind was completely overtaken by someone else’s.
“Oi, Peach, what’s wrong!?”
Dams and Cliff noticed there was something strange going on with Peach and tried to rush to her side, but then someone grabbed them from behind, holding their arms behind their backs. The last thing they felt was the unpleasant sensation that something had just entered their bodies.
The next morning, Peach’s group visited the castle with the dragon in his horse form at their side.
“I am the Dragon Maiden Peach.¹ I come with the Guardian Dragon of Skycastle.”
The guards knew Peach as a member of the Brave Party and immediately left to report that there was a Guardian Dragon inside the castle. The King gave them orders to, “Bring them in secretly.”
And so Peach’s group was allowed into the castle to the knowledge of only a very select few people.
1. So when Peach say I here, she uses 我 (ga). The same way that the dragon was referring to himself earlier. In Japanese it’s an archaic way of saying I, used more by older men in formal settings.