Left to watch over Rudel, Enora would be alone with him until Cattleya returned from giving her report.
Even when it was a man and woman together, and they were by a lake in a forest, a place with all the conditions together, there was absolutely no sensuality to it at all. No, since Rudel was wearing nothing but a wrap around his waist, perhaps he was exuding a hint of sexuality.
But he was grappling with a few child dragons and playing around.
Peeking at that scene from a little away, Enora was using a tree stump in place of a chair. There were a number of bags on her dragon’s back, and one of them contained ample emergency rations.
Her only worry was that Rudel was a man. But if she was told the man before her eyes would assault her, she had no choice but to doubt.
Of all else, he was living quite a free lifestyle, either playing with dragons or preparing meals. Within all that, he only ever called out to Enora twice.
“Procure some food supplies.”
“I’m going to sleep.”
That was it. While Enora had been wary at the start, after the first night went by, she understood that was a futile effort on her part. She had confidence in her looked and body, leaving her in a bit of disbelief.
(Could it be I’m not as charming as I thought I was?)
While she seriously began mulling over how to associate with men, Rudel was making a truly nice smile as he played with the dragons.
Wanting to make him think of exactly what he had perpetuated, Enora called over to Rudel.
“Hey you, is it really alright for you to play around like that? You’re already a dragoon with responsibility, right? You don’t have the time to play around here.”
While her phrasing was a bit thorny, it was the truth.
But Rudel’s standards were always a bit off. As expected of an oddball who revered Marty, his thoughts could be said to be closest to Marty’s.
That wasn’t all. Rudel and Sakuya had a promise to keep. In order to fulfill their promises to the black fog, Rudel’s priorities were different from the other dragoons.
“No problem. Right now, Sakuya is training. If my dragon isn’t here, I’m no more than a single knight. So I’ve decided to wait here.”
“And I’m telling you, in that case, you could just wait obediently at the lodging house. You’re causing trouble to all of us.”
“… When your partner is doing their best, would you be able to sit still and rest?”
When you’re playing around, what do you think you’re saying? Thought Enora as she let out a sigh.
“We’re knights. We have an obligation to follow our orders.”
“You do have a point. But before being a knight, I am a dragoon. If my partner Sakuya is working hard, I’ve decided to wait for her.”
(It’s the same no matter where you wait.)
Fed-up, Enora gave up on persuading Rudel and looked up at the sky. The tree branches and leaves got in the way, and she couldn’t quite see it, but the light streaming in was beautiful.
Looking back on herself, she saw she rarely ever had the opportunity to spend her time in such leisure.
She had trained to become a dragoon, and at the academy, she had polished herself. Even after becoming a knight, she had worked desperately to build up her ability.
Up until she obtained a dragon, she really was busy. And even after that, what followed were busy days of training and investigating Rudel… this was truly comfortable.
Feeling a sudden sense of drowsiness, she accepted it and let it come upon her.
A young Enora stood stock still before her. In the darkness, her father’s voice flew at her from all directions.
“How many times do I have to say it!? If you can’t do it, then you’re not sleeping tonight!”
“As if you could become a dragoon if you can’t even do that!”
‘… It’s not like I wanted to become one.’
‘I’m telling you, I don’t know this Cattleya person. Don’t compare us!’
“Cattleya caused a problem. Good grief… even so, she should be glad she got off, just with being sent off to the border.”
“Cattleya isn’t returning from the border. With this, we can finally have some relief.”
‘… As I was saying, who the hell is Cattleya!?’
“You’re going to the dragon dwellings again? How old do you plan to become before you can contract a dragon!?”
“Hah, when I thought you’d finally become a dragoon, Cattleya’s a lieutenant.”
‘What is it? What isn’t to your liking!? If you like Cattleya more than me, then you could’ve just said it from the start! I worked hard! I did my best, and yet…’
A younger form of herself began to crouch and weep before her eyes. Enora looked over the scene, gritting her teeth.
Her own form she didn’t want to see brought in her irritation.
When she grabbed her child self’s arm to pull her to her feet, that child’s face was no longer crying. It simply returned an intense glare.
‘… When you’re just afraid. You’re scared your father will choose Cattleya, right? I mean, no one ever looks at you. Even when you try looking like that, you don’t even have the confidence to back it… weakling. You’ll never triumph over Cattleya.’
“W-what do you know!!”
Flying into a rage, Enora opened her eyes.
Hearing Enora’s pained voice, Rudel headed over to find she was having a nightmare.
Enora’s wind dragon had left the area to find food. The child dragons were following behind Rudel.
Peering into Enora’s face, she looked to be in pain.
“She’s having a nightmare. I better wake her.”
Just as he placed an arm on Enora’s shoulder, she opened her eyes. Her gaze moving left and right to probe out the surrounding situation, her breath was exceedingly rough.
Her usual form of leisure was nowhere to be found.
Seeing Enora was awake, Rudel retracted the hand he had extended to her shoulder. With rough breath, Enora had her torso leaned up against a tree.
She stood from the spot to look at Rudel. Out of breath, she confirmed Rudel was there.
“Hah, hah you… you used to be engaged to Cattleya, right?”
“Yeah, I definitely was engaged to her. What about it?”
There, perhaps her leisure had come back as Enora unfastened a button at her bosom. Getting her breath in order, she showed off her body even more charming than usual.
“Hey, do you want to go out with me?”
Cattleya had conducted problematic behavior exceedingly ill in nature towards Rudel. But there were rumors going back and forth between the female dragoons.
Rumors that Cattleya had a thing for Rudel. While she didn’t know where that rumor had come from, to Enora, snatching up what Cattleya wanted was a good feeling indeed.
The fact she was suddenly seducing Rudel was surely because she had just gotten up, and her head wasn’t working normally.
But Rudel’s response was exceedingly light.
“That’s not happening.”
A foolish voice came from Enora, who was trying to emphasize her chest. After confirming that Enora was okay, he took along the dragon children and headed back towards the lake.
In her panic, Enora yelled at his back to hear out his reasons.
“Why’s that!? You’re not interested in me? Or are you not interested in women!?”
Rudel turned, and matching his movement, the child dragons turned as well. Making a bit of a reluctant face, Rudel answered.
“You sure are a rude one. I like women, and I do lust after them. But I don’t have that sort of freedom.”
“That’s a lie! When you won’t even fulfill your obligation as a knight, why are you only diligent when it comes to that!?”
“Hah, you are definitely appealing. But when you don’t even particularly like me, going out is just strange. If you’re after money or status, you should give up on the Arses House.”
As Rudel turned his back uninterestedly, Enora looked on dumbfounded. After a while, she glared at Rudel with intense frustration.
Her clenched fist was shaking.
(You mean even this guy… even this sort of guy is making fun of me.)
Around that time, Cattleya was reporting to the vice-captain.
“Why didn’t you bring him back!?”
To the vice-captain who slammed the desk in a display of anger, she gave a response that seemed earnest on the surface.
“Sir, when he did not have his dragon, I thought it pointless to have him return. Recruit Rudel’s and his dragon have set the dragons’ dwelling as their point of reunion. It was in my best interest to refrain from moving him and causing a possible panic…”
“No excuses! In that case, you just had to take Rudel along to search for his dragon. Return at once and find them!”
The reason Alejandro was so panicked lay in the grand gesture he had shown the authorities of taking responsibility for the search. Through his hostility towards Oldart, he had dug his own grave.
“But with nothing more to go by than ‘the north sea’, such a search would surely prove difficult for us alone.
“I’ll send around the necessary personnel. Wait… the north sea, you say?”
“Yes. I believe that will be too harsh on the new recruits. All the knights in possession of water dragons are currently away on missions.”
In the north sea existed the sorts of monsters that would prey on dragons. With their slender, snake-like bodies, those one-horned monsters boasted visages of extreme ferocity.
Called the Pent Caesars, they were the monsters that ruled the north sea.
If dragged into the water, even a dragon could become a meal. The only ones who could contest them one-on-one were the water dragons who could display their power within the water.
Even so, outrunning them was often the most they could hope for.
It was an exceedingly dangerous land.
“So Bennet and Keith are on missions… we can’t remove them.”
The appearance of monsters in the coastal waters of a trade city had the two knights who possessed water dragons off on a mission.
Taking the underwater battles into account, it wasn’t possible to remove them from the mission. Alejandro couldn’t understand why Sakuya had brought her feet all the way to the north sea.
“How could this be.”
As Alejandro thought, Cattleya made a proposal she thought was safe.
“We’re not currently in any danger. Why don’t we dispatch someone to keep watch on him and establish periodic contact? As long as we can hold him in place, it shouldn’t be a problem.”
“We cannot call Rudel back?”
“He doesn’t seem to have any intention of moving.”
Hearing Cattleya’s answer, Alejandro slammed his fist against the desk. It was because the former captain and vice-captain knew this side of him that they had chosen Oldart as captain.
But when it came to comprehensive ability, it was said Alejandro was the higher of the two.
“… Let the new recruits watch over him on rotation. No, wait, Cattleya, you take some responsibility and keep watch.”
“Yes sir (Tsk, he wants to push it onto me).”
It was decided then and there that Cattleya would take responsibility to keep watch over Rudel. But skillful with her words, Cattleya managed to push responsibility onto her superior Lilim.
In the north sea, Mystith was bestowing unto Sakuya her sure-fire plan to defeat the boss of the dragon stables.
The north sea was exceedingly cold, abundant in all forms of sea life, and famous for their taste. But it was also famous for the appearance of Pent Caesars. Those ferocious monsters who would mercilessly scarf down any enemy that would dare tread on their turf.
‘Now there! One, two, finish!!’
Matching Mystith’s voice, Sakuya smacked her left fist into the pent caesar that leapt out of the water, and next she smacked in her right fist.
Finally, she took a turn, hammering in a powerful blow with her tail.
After ingraining the art of hovering into herself, she was now training on those sandbags called pent caesars to overcome the fear of fighting the boss.
‘Put more force into it!! And you have to aim for the vitals! Eyes up, the next one is coming.’
‘These guys look scarrryyyy!!’
Sakuya complained, but Mystith trained her harshly.
‘If these guys can surprise you, you’ll never be able to take on the boss of the stables. No this time get those fists and tail in faster, more precisely! Like this!!’
A pent caesar leapt at Mystith from the water. But without any excess movement, Mystith plunged in her fists, finally using her tail to deliver the final blow.
She nonchalantly showed a fine-tuned art of putting in two attacks with her tail.
As she blew it away, she went the pent caesar onto land. Over there were the piles of pent caesars that had been taken down by the two dragons.
‘Your arms are long and your fists are large. Even your tail is hard, so as long as you grasp the trick, it’s simple. Once you use this to sink the boss, you’ll become the new boss!’
‘Boss sounds like a pain. I want to take it easy with Rudel.’
‘Don’t be so soft!!’
‘And even if I can do hoovarin (?) my breath doesn’t hit, and I can’t fly in formation… they’re going to make fun of Rudel.’
The pent caesar that jumped out at a depressed Sakuya was split in two by a shot of Mystith’s compressed water laser.
After it fell, she let out a sigh and made a promise to Sakuya.
‘I understand. I’ll tag along in that ‘formation flying’ of yours, so for now, just concentrate on this. Your breaths will start hitting their mark eventually.’
‘Leave it to me! I’ll choose a few from my turf… I guess they won’t stand out much? In that case, I’ll bring some good-looking ones from the other turfs with me.’
In the other turfs, there were plenty of dragons who wouldn’t even try to move if Mystith called out. While they obeyed her only once, when the undead dragon’s soul was released, apart from that, they didn’t get involved.
‘If you bring them, will I be able to fly in formation?’
Sakuya didn’t really understand the whole flight formation thing. But it was something she heard from Rudel, so she only recognized it as something she could ask him about later.
What’s more, she was convinced Mystith knew what it was.
‘Leave it to me! I’ll give you a splendid flight formation!’
(TL: The word 編隊飛行 (Hentaihikou) literally means formation flying, but here, Mystith is using 変態飛行 (Hentaihikou) bizarre/pervert flying, clearly demonstrating she does not know what she is talking about.)