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Efina's Investigation < Extra I >
This isn't a lie. This... probably isn't a lie.
Papa's lies... Oh, don't tell him I called him papa. Or he'll flick my forehead!
Anyway, I really couldn't tell papa's lies. When other people lied, this monster-y thing came out, and I chowed down on it. Munch! But they didn't come out for papa. I wonder why?
I got curious and asked him once.
"Why don't your lies make monsters, papa?"
"Listen, Efi. If your lies don't get found out, they're not lies."
Hmm... complicated. But papa told me that I was a dummy, so I didn't have to understand. Wow, papa is so nice!
Oh yeah, I didn't introduce myself. I'm Efina. A dragon! I have the power to eat lies.
I love sweet candy! But sweets don't make my tummy full. But I love them, so I eat 'em!
I first met papa as soon I was born. He said I was born right out of an egg.
And then papa gave Efina her name. Come to think of it, what was papa's real name? It was always a fake name, so I didn't know.
When I was born, even I didn't know what abilities I had or anything. It seems like other dragons know for themselves, though. Must be 'cause I'm a dummy! Yeah, like papa said!
Since I didn't know what I could do, for then, I decided to stay close to papa.
At the first town we went to, the first person he met, papa introduced himself as a "merchant," I think. And his name then was... Greed? I think.
After that, the other person showed him an inn, and we stayed there.
Then he said it was time for "investigation," and we went talking to a bunch of people. Oh, since this town was small, he let me come along!
Then, when we were talking to this one person, pop! A monster appeared! And they were surprised! Papa was surprised! Efina was surprised!
Nobody knew what was what! It was a real mess!
Anyway, I poked the monster to try and figure out what it was. It squeaked and shook.
"What should I do?", I pondered. 'Cause I really had no idea at the time.
"Eat it," papa said.
Huh? Is this edible? Fearfully, I picked up the monster and bit one of the ends.
It was tasty. So this was something I could eat...
"I'm still not clear on what that thing is... but one thing's clear to me."
Papa turned to the person he was talking to.
"You just lied."
A bunch of stuff happened after that, but monsters appeared later too, and papa told me they were monsters that appeared when people lied.
So I was a dragon who could eat lies. The lie-eating dragon! Sounds kinda cool.
But it was kind of strange how I couldn't eat papa's lies. Even though he was telling so many. Did he have some secret?
...If you don't know, you gotta investigate it! So I decided I would investigate papa for a while.
I knew all about investigations, since papa always did them. ...Oh, I gotta take good notes. Or I'll forget stuff.
Earlier, papa gave me a notepad and pencil he said he got as a bonus for buying something. Okay, I'm all set!
Papa didn't have a home that stayed in one place like other people. And he didn't have a car. So he would stay at other people's places, and borrowed stuff.
When I asked if borrowing was the same as stealing, papa said he was just loaning it. But then again, when he talked to people who had cars, I saw him sneakily take the keys. And I never saw him give them back later!
When heading for the next town, if it would take more than a day to get there, sometimes we would sleep outside. When we did that, we got food from places nearby.
I went and got berries and bunnies for him sometimes. Sometimes he ate grass, too.
It was all stuff I couldn't eat, but papa ate anything. Papa was amazing. Sometimes he ruined his tummy, though.
"Can you not eat lies, papa?"
"If I could, I wouldn't be eating this junk," papa said a little sadly, since his tummy was upset.
Seemed like papa couldn't eat lies. Dragons and humans were different, I guess, but how different? I was a little curious.
A different day. This time, I tried investigating different stuff.
Papa had a mean glare. And he had a cut on his left cheek. He told me he got scratched by a cat a long time ago, but I wondered if it was true?
Also, he usually wore clothes that covered up his mouth, and gloves too. The mouth was apparently helpful if he "wasn't vigilant enough," and he said gloves were nice to not leave "fingerprints."
Are you not allowed to leave fingerprints? What are fingerprints, anyway?
He bought new clothes every time we went to a new town. Apparently wearing clothes that matched the town's style made people open their hearts. He said even though it cost money, nothing was better to have than people's trust.
Thinking about it, if a strange guy in strange clothes came up and talked to me, even I might get kinda worried.
Also, when he took his clothes off to change, there were these stitches on his tummy. What were those? A fashion statement? I never got to ask, so I didn't know.
Next time he changed, I'd have to ask. But papa always gets up earlier than me, so I never see him get dressed.
Come to think of it, he'd change his hair or even his eye color too. I asked about that some other day.
He said he dyed his hair or wore wigs. But wigs cost money, so he dyed it most of the time. He'd make it blue, or make it green. Very colorful!
He told me there was some item that let him change his eye color. "Contacts," I think? I told him, I wanna wear them too!, but he said no.
And he said I couldn't dye my hair, either. I guess hair could get damaged. Does your hair say "ouch!" or something?
What hair and what eyes did papa really have? I decided to ask him.
"What's the real papa?"
"...Talk about a philosophical question. And don't call me papa."
The first time didn't seem like it was enough.
"Your hair and your eye color's always different. What hair and eyes do you really have?"
This time I said it right. Papa went "ahh...", then answered.
"Right... My hair color's about the same as yours. And blue eyes."
The same hair color as me, and blue eyes. I hadn't ever seen papa looking like that yet. Would I see it someday?
"Hey, you actually answered that question!"
"Doesn't matter if I tell you that sort of thing. And you'd keep pestering me if I didn't."
Was I questioning him that much? Oh well. I'd gotten another piece of info on papa!
My investigation into papa went on, and there were still lots of things I didn't know.
First, papa's job. Papa said his job was "con artist."
What kind of job was it? He said it was a job people shouldn't really do. A job about lying.
That's why when he first greeted people in a new town, he'd turn into a doctor, or a lawyer, or a traveler. And so far, I'd never seen those lies get found out.
"'Cause I study the basics," papa said.
Apparently unless you have that kind of job, you're not supposed to lie. Or else you'll get found out.
And also, papa was really good at finding people's lies. I guess since he was good at telling them too?
Hm, what were papa's likes and dislikes? I had no clue. That's probably something he can safely tell me. So I tried asking.
"What do you like, papa?"
"Beer, money, and women."
That was fast.
"Is beer yummy?"
"It's not a food, it's a drink. Anyway, you shouldn't drink it. You have to get bigger before you're allowed to."
Then he brought the cup in his hand to his mouth. Was he drinking beer now?
"I'm already big!"
"You're just a runt."
"No I'm not!"
I'd gotten a little bigger than before. ...A little. Probably.
"Wonder how dragons handle alcohol...?" Papa seemed to wonder to himself.
"So you like money too?"
"Well, you can do most things if you've got a lot of it."
Money's an important thing you need to live in this world. So if you had money, you could eat a bunch of sweets, and get a lot of stuff bought for you.
"I love money too!"
"A-Ah. ...Sounds indecent coming from you," papa scowled.
My words made papa scowl even more.
"No, never mind. It's not a bad thing to love money."
Hmm. I'd have to look into "indecent" later.
"So, why do you like women?"
He looked even more troubled than before. Was the reason that complicated?
"I think most men like 'em."
Hmm. Was that how it was?
If papa said it was true, then it was true. Unless it was a lie?
"I love sweet things!"
It felt unfair only knowing papa's favorite things, so I told him mine, but he seemed to know already.
"I love them, so I want to eat a lot of them!"
"Nope," papa said in a low voice right as I finished talking.
"Why nooot?!" You should always have lots of the things you like!"
"Listen, it's not a bad thing to like anything. But you can't drown yourself in stuff you like. Be it beer, or money, or women, or sweets."
"So how much should I like them?"
"About one a day."
Huh... That seemed kinda unsatisfying.
"Well, I'll put up with it! So I don't drown!"
What papa was saying was kind of tough to process. Would I get it with a little more investigation?
For the time being, I'd finishing writing down what I'd investigated today.
"Hmm... I tried hard, but I still don't really get papa."
Looking over everything I wrote, there were still lots of blank pages. Still lots of investigation to be done.
In fact, I felt like I didn't understand myself that well either. What are dragons, anyway? And I'd never met any dragons except myself.
Would I someday? What "abilities" did other dragons have?
"What're you doing, Efi?" Papa came back from the bath.
Oh no! This investigation was a secret, so I couldn't be found out!
"Nothing at all!"
I hurried to hide my notes under the pillow. They'd never be found there.
"Oh yeah? Get to bed soon."
See? Totally secret. I'm pretty capable, huh!
Every time I learned something new about papa, I got a little happier.
Tomorrow, I think I'll keep at it with investigating. Hi-hi-ho!
"...What the heck?"
While Efi slept, I gently pulled out the thing she hid under her pillow. It was a notebook I'd given her one day.
"Gah, her writing's so sloppy."
Then again, I never recalled teaching Efi to write.
She was able to speak to some extent from the day she was born, but to think she could read and write...?
"No... Guess she was just "pretending" to write."
I went through the pages, but couldn't identify a single letter that looked correct. It was just scribbles.
"Oh well..." I closed the notebook and gently turned the pillow without waking Efi. Then I carefully put it back in place, getting the exact angle and position.
It occurred to me that I probably didn't need to go this far when it was Efi I was dealing with, but she was sharp in the strangest ways.
"I still don't get it..." I sighed.
It had been a while since Efi's birth, but there were still many mysteries about dragons to me.
I'll just stay observant, I suppose. Dragons are rare, highly-valued creatures. I need to treat her with care.
...And I mean, I never know what she'll get up to when I take my eyes off her.
After looking at Efi's face for a while, I went back to my bed. And just like that, I fell asleep.