Chapter: 9 The Most Powerful Onmyoji Unravels the Ecology of Dragons
“What do you mean, Seika-sama?”
Yuki mutters in bewilderment.
It’s clear what this means.
This dragon was in the middle of raising a child.
It probably laid the egg in the last few days, when the frequency of flight had decreased.
The reason it had been acting strangely for a year was to prepare for egg-laying. It attacked stray livestock because it could not build up strength with the magic of the land alone.
That explains everything.
The problem is.
Why is this dragon raising a child? ……
“That monster is a male, isn’t it ……? Then does that mean that there’s a female, a mating pair?”
“No, that shouldn’t be true.”
How could there be another dragon like that and no one would notice?
“Then why …”
I’ll mention one possibility.
“… Sex change”
“This dragon has become a female.”
I’ll explain to Yuki, who may not understand.
“Many fish change sex depending on their environment. I’ve heard that a male can become a female and a female can become a male as well.”
In Rome, where having a fish tank in one’s residence was once a status symbol and fish breeding was popular, a renowned naturalist kept detailed records.
“One of the conditions for a sex change to occur was the absence of the opposite sex around. Perhaps this dragon changed sex somewhere between the death of its mate and now. Perhaps that was the cause of the change a hundred years ago, when the territory became smaller and more docile.”
Although I have never heard of terrestrial beasts changing sex, many of them change the sex ratio depending on the temperature at the time of birth and other factors. The sexes of living creatures are, in fact, quite fluid.
“No, but, Seika-sama…”
Yuki bites down.
“Even if It’s a female, it still has no mate, right? How did it have a baby?”
“It’s actually not uncommon for a creature to reproduce only with females.”
I’ll explain again.
“There have been several instances of snakes and lizards that have been kept by people that have laid eggs and hatched, even though they had no mate. Not only that, there have even been creatures without males.”
“Oh, there’s such a thing?”
“I had crucian carps swimming in the pond at my house, didn’t I? At first it was just one fish.”
It was an accidental discovery, but I was surprised when I noticed it.
“That wasn’t for eating?”
“That was the plan at first, but now I see that it as no wonder that they reproduce only with females. It’s more advantageous to reproduce in pairs, but in some environments, that’s not an option.”
Yuki gave a distracted sigh.
“Seika sama’s hobby has come in handy.”
“Hobby … well, but what should I do?”
Now I know why it was acting strange.
But I can’t say the problem is solved.
One could say that they should wait until the pups leave the nest, but past records indicate that spawning occurred several times.
How long will it take for all the pups to leave the nest?
And then there is the problem of the pups that have left the nest.
One hundred and fifty years ago, the country was independent, but now that it’s a vassal state, would the empire be willing to let the dangerous dragon’s children leave the nest as they are?
Surprisingly, the prince’s idea of defeating the dragon seems to be the best one, but I’m not sure it’s possible with that mercenary group….
I’m not sure I’d want to be a part of it.
As I was looking at the eggs and worrying about them, …… I suddenly noticed a mark on the sand.
It seemed to be the mark where the egg had rolled.
I had an idea.
“……The Prince said there’s never been a case of a human hatching a dragon’s egg, and now I know why …….”
“It’s a rolling egg. You have to roll a dragon’s egg.”
I explain again.
“Chickens and other birds generally do this, and if you don’t turn the eggs around from time to time, the hatchlings will stick to the inside of the eggshell and die. Conversely, you can’t move the eggs of lizards or turtles, but in the case of …… parenting dragons, the eggs seem to be more like birds than lizards. So, something like this……”
I slowly roll the large egg along the trail of sand.
“’You must roll it regularly. The reason the dragon eggs on the market don’t hatch must be because they neglected to do this. And for what it’s worth, they don’t do this during transport.”
“The legend of Queen Astiria hatching and raising dragons now has some credence. All we had to do was know how to do it. But just rolling it by chance probably wouldn’t have worked, so there would have been a big element of coincidence. ……”
“Seika-sama …… is talking like an otaku ……”
Yuki mutters in exasperation, to which I reply with a retort.
It’s fine. She can say what she wants!
“… Oh, that’s right. By the way …”
《Fire phase —- Flame Homura no Jutsu》
Flames burst forth from a few pieces and began to heat up the pile of rocks that served as the nest.
The areas exposed to the fire gradually became red hot
“Huh? Seika-sama, are you going to make steamed eggs?”
“No. Look closely. It’s just warming up the rocks. The sand on the rocks keeps the eggs from getting too hot. If you heat the rock pile with a flame like this, it will keep the eggs warm for a while after they leave the nest. That’s how the dragons hold their eggs.”
“Why do you know that?”
“Some of the stones were brittle and cracked. It was evidence of repeated red heat. I mean, they were still a little warm.”
Besides, I had heard that on the far southern islands of Khmer (Cambodia) and Champa (Vietnam), there are birds that warm their eggs with the heat of the earth.
This is similar.
Suddenly I noticed that the dragon was much quieter.
I looked, and saw that the dragon was staring at me with eyes behind stern scales.
I don’t sense any hostility there anymore.
I fly a Hitogata.
“Seika! What are you doing? ……”
With the Hitogata, to which a spell is attached with dispelling technique, the asbestos web is returned to the phase.
The unleashed dragon shook slightly, but there was no sign that it was about to lash out or attack.
It just stare at us.
Suddenly it roared, and the dragon spread its wings wide.
Then it used that air pressure magic again and flapped its wings into the sky.
Both Yuki and I stared in amazement as the dragon flew away.
“…… what was that?”
“Well, I don’t know. ……”
I felt like I was being told to watch the eggs properly.
– *Flame Homura no Jutsu
A technique to create a flame from the air. Efficiency is low because there is no combustion material.