The mysterious dragon
The mysterious dragon is an unofficial name for the unidentified, golden dragon that appears in Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation. The details of the creature are never outright explained, but fans have pieced together several clues to hint at the dragon's identity.
Within the title itself, the dragon appears twice at Murdaw's Keep to fly the cast over the untrekable crags and into the castle itself. In both instances it is called forth by Milly playing a melody on her ocarina.
A golden dragon resembling the DQVI dragon appears as a flying mount in the game.
The dragon appears carrying each member of the DQ6 cast into battle at the start of their finishing moves and features directly as the focus of Milly's, assailing the enemy monster team with fiery breath.
The dragon is speculated by fans to be the missing body of Ashlynn, based on several facts in the game:
- Ashlynn is first discovered as a disembodied phantom like the hero, Carver, and Ashlynn and must be given Dream Dew to manifest a solid, visible form, but her body is never recovered. While Ashlynn's people, the Sorcerians, mention that they used their power to separate body from soul to evade their own bodily destruction fifty years ago, Ashlynn's body is not specifically confirmed to have been destroyed.
- Ashlynn, as the Acolyte and descendant of Ashmerelda, is uniquely powerful among the Sorcerians and is noted to have been powerful enough to deflect the binding seal of the Dread Fiend (presumably Gracos) and escaped, though her amnesia is speculated to be a result of the clash. It is unknown if her power had any effect during the original destruction of Sorceria.
- One NPC even notes that, even among the Sorcerians who have the power to transform, Ashlynn's power and lineage are so strong that she might have the power to transform into anything, and specifically suggests a dragon.
"We Sorcerians have the power to detatch our souls from our physical forms. If we're blessed with enough magical might, we can even transform our bodies. Ashlynn the Acolyte has the blood of Sorceress Ashmerelda coursing through her veins. I bet she could turn into anything...even a dragon!"
- Ashlynn has a unique aversion to the Isle of Murdaw and refuses to disembark onto the island, claiming that doing so "doesn't feel right", despite having no such problem when encountering Murdaw's false manifestation in the dream world. This aversion is never explained but does ensure Ashlynn never appears alongside the golden dragon in the game.
- A notable change in the Nintendo DS remake is that the dragon will never reappear at the cliffside camp after Murdaw's death and Ashlynn rejoining the party, despite freely doing so in the original SF version. The full reason for this change is unknown, but it likewise ensures Ashlynn and the dragon do not appear together.
The fan theory, accounting for these facts, is that the dragon is in fact the long-lost body of Ashlynn under the Morph spell, which cannot be learned by any of the party members in the game and is only known by certain monsters and Sorcerian NPCs. How this situation came to be is unknown.
Also of note are pieces of information from sources external to the game, including the following:
- Yūji Horii, in an interview following the release of the Super Famicom game, mentioned that constraints on time and his own availability during development prevented the finishing of a storyline involving Ashlynn, the dragon, Rubiss (who made the ocarina that summons the dragon), and Milly (who owns the ocarina).
- Horii also stated during an appearance on the May 27th, 2014 airing of DQX-TV, a program based on the tenth game, that the hints indeed allude to Ashlynn and the dragon being one and the same. He further elaborates, explaining that the dragon, Rubiss, and the ocarina were to have been more fleshed out in the final product but this was set aside due to time constraints with the game's development and his simultaneous obligations with Chrono Trigger.
- The novel version of DQVI strongly implies Ashlynn and the dragon are one and the same by having the hero see the dragon's eyes when glimpsing of Ashlyn's reflection in Ra's Mirror.
Connections to the Zenith Dragon
Despite Dragon Quest VI having no official appearance of the Zenith Dragon, this dragon bears a striking resemblance to the gold-bodied, black-horned design of the Zenith Dragon from the original releases of Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen and Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride. Also noteworthy is the fact that it retained its original appearance after the Zenith Dragon received the silver-bodied redesign in remakes and the Monsters series.
Later games have strengthened the connection to the point of implying this dragon to be Dragon Quest VI's incarnation of the Zenith Dragon outright.
- The Dragon Quest Monster Battle Road features the mysterious dragon in Milly's finishing move, which is titled "Master Dragon".
- Both Dragon Quest of the Stars and Dragon Quest Scan Battlers have made use of the original orange-bodied, black-horned design for the Zenith Dragon, highlighting the original resemblance between them.