‘I’m telling you to get out there already! You damn brutes!’
‘This has nothing to do with me!’
‘Cut the crap! The moment you overlooked it, it was your responsibility, fool! If you’re the boss of the dragon stables, then take some damn responsibility!’
‘Now ain’t that overbearing!’
On standby outside, Rudel and the others could hear the sounds from the dragon stable. To those that could hear their voices, they picked up on Bram’s bitter cries.
Even to those who could not, they heard Mystith’s roars of rage and Bram’s sorrowful whimpers.
The other gray dragons were also letting off cries reminiscent of screams, but none of them tried to go outside.
‘Waaah, so Sakuya’s a no good dragon after all.’
“That’s not true! You’re a splendid partner.”
While Rudel comforted a depressed Sakuya, in the next instant…
‘Quit your complaining and get out there, dammit!!’
Perhaps Mystith had reached the end of her patience as a large amount of water flooded out of the dragon stables. Just like that, the building was blown away as if it had been detonated.
The surrounding area was beset by a wave of water that flowed from the stables.
Rudel was also soaked up to his ankles. But there, it seemed that the building wasn’t the only thing blown away, the gray dragons were also blown off, now sprawled out over the ground.
For Bram alone, Mystith had grabbed him by the tail and dragged him out.
‘Good grief, causing me so much trouble… Sakuya, I brought him, so get ready for a duel.’
Seeing Sakuya’s delight, Rudel pat his chest in relief. But Cattleya standing to her side had a stiff expression on her face.
With a cramped smile, Cattleya grabbed Rudel’s shoulders, turning him- body and all- towards the place the dragon stables once stood.
In that space, nothing more than a few pillars remained. The water Mystith produced had washed away the walls, the tools and the roof, along with everything else, it seems.
Seeing that scenery, Rudel was impressed. In that situation, Mystith managed to instantly manifest a single strike of water with such destructive power, and he sent her his honest admiration.
“What do you think when you look at that?”
“Mystith-sama is amazing! Ow! … Lieutenant, if you’re going to hit me, please tell me your reasons.”
Seeing Rudel’s face that showed he really didn’t understand, Cattleya’s eyes grew teary as she lowered her second fist onto Rudel’s head.
While Bram was already in tatters, he was forcefully dragged by Mystith out before Sakuya.
Bram knew Sakuya’s situation. It’s precisely because he knew, that he understood just how dangerous this match would be.
His opponent Sakuya was a goddragon of all things, and she had undergone Mystith’s tutelage. Speaking to her quality as a dragon, she was the sort of existence who would surpass him a mere few years after her birth.
He was truly pissed off at the gray dragons who looked down on and teased Sakuya.
‘I definitely don’t think I’m at fault. You get where I’m coming from, right?’
As if clinging on to his last hope, Bram brought Sakuya to the negotiations table. But his opponent was one who had been brought up by Mystith.
There was no way talks would go through.
‘Yeah! But if I don’t beat you, they’ll make fun of Sakuya, so I’m sorry!’
‘No one’s going to make fun of you again! These yellow bastards don’t have the guts to pick a fight with the gal who blew away the training grounds!’
Right, when Sakuya blew away the training grounds, the gray dragons had realized. That if they picked a fight with her, they would die…
Even the red dragon Bram feared her. If a gray dragon tried fighting her normally, there was no way to win by normal means.
Suddenly turning timid, the thought crossed Sakuya’s mind that if she wouldn’t be made fun of, she wouldn’t have to fight. She sent a glance towards Rudel and Mystith.
There, Rudel was having both his shoulders grasped by Cattleya, having his body violently shaken left and right as he received a lecture. But his face was turned towards Sakuya, and he clenched his right fist to encourage her.
It was clearly a pose telling her to fight. Bram wasn’t expecting much, but when he looked at Mystith…
Punching the air, she fired Sakuya up. He didn’t expect the slightest from his own contractor, but still, he sent her a pleading glance.
“Why are you so off-point!? How can you look at that scene and say with a straight face the dragon is amazing!?”
She was too busy with Rudel, not even paying the slightest mind to Bram.
‘So my contractor is the worst of all.’
The red dragon’s shoulders dropped, but he considered seriously fighting the white one before his eyes. Despairing that there was no one to save him, Bram hardened his resolve.
‘Sakuya won’t lose!’
‘Dammit to hell!!’
Turning desperate, Bram turned towards Sakuya. He had been challenged to a fist fight, and as long as Mystith was there, if he unleashed a breath attack, he would be killed.
And if he had Sakuya lift the breath ban, he would probably be killed.
If he tried to bring it to an aerial battle or ran from the spot, Mystith would chase him down. Be killed by Mystith, or smacked by Sakuya… those two choices stuck deep into the dragon Bram.
As a result, deciding that closing in held the highest chance of his own survival, the red dragon charged straight at the gaia dragon subspecies.
Before the certain-kill combo, Bram was sent flying by the first strike. It was only by the miss of the second blow that Sakuya and those around noticed the first had blown him away.
Blown away by a blow from her left hand, Bram was left with his upper half stuck into one of the dragoon facilities. But appearing after he heard the explosive sound of the facility’s destruction, Alejandro was frozen with his mouth wide open.
“W-Who did it!!”
Come so far, the training ground along was a huge problem. On top of that, it wasn’t just the dragon stables, the building next to it was half-destroyed.
But what surprised Alejandro most was the gray dragons who were in the stables.
They were all lined up before a single water dragon. That much was fine.
But therein lay the problem. The water dragon went down that line of gray dragons, smacking each of them hard in turn. The gray dragons were so fearful they didn’t even think to escape.
They were hit one after the next, collapsing on the spot. The country’s valuable war potential was being rapidly chipped away.
It was a scene Alejandro couldn’t comprehend. No, a scene he didn’t want to comprehend.
Crying out the captain’s name, Alejandro ran off from the spot.
Charged with the responsibility of the dragon stable and neighboring building’s destruction, Rudel was put to cleaning up the building’s remnants.
To Rudel’s side, Sakuya was helping out as well.
Generally speaking, Dragons boasted powers greater than human. Used no differently than heavy machinery, Sakuya was practically a flying bulldozer.
The work was proceeding quicker than expected.
‘When Sakuya won, why does she have to clean up?’
After she had finally achieved victory, Sakuya was dissatisfied she had to tidy up as punishment. But there was no helping that one.
The other dragons were bedridden. They weren’t in a state where they could be put to work.
“You destroyed it, so there’s no helping it. But you were really cool today, Sakuya.”
‘Sakuya is an amazing dragon!’
As Rudel praised her, the word speed went up. Happy from the praise, Sakuya swung her tail around, hitting the half-destroyed building, and increasing the amount of rubble.
If he was ever given such a mission, it would probably best to let her calm down a bit before going to work. Rudel thought over the future as he soothed Sakuya, who had grown depressed again.
(We went too far. But, well…)
Looking at Sakuya’s mood go up and down, Rudel’s face slackened.
He did feel some responsibility for destroying the stables and adjacent building, but if he showed it on his face, Sakuya would feel down again.
While she was a goddragon, Sakuya had one large flaw.
A soul much too young.
Despite being a newborn, Sakuya was born with abilities that ranked her highly, even among the dragon, a terribly dangerous notion.
(I guess I have to support her up.)
The reason Mystith showed excessive care towards her wasn’t only because she had made a contract with Sakuya before she was reborn a dragon.
She understood that Sakuya’s future would be important to the dragon race.
She placed restraints on the gray dragons because they were a bad influence on the girl. In that sense, Bram was the same.
This was a tragedy brought forth from the fact that Bram didn’t truly understand Sakuya’s value.
Mystith didn’t want to suddenly make Sakuya boss of the dragon stables either. But in the dragoon brigade that currently only had young dragons, she determined that Sakuya’s upbringing would be impossible.
Mystith’s teaching of Rudel wasn’t completely due to his adoration of Marty.
For Sakuya who would one day stand at the pinnacle of dragons, she wanted him to be a worthy partner.
Rudel understood it as well.
But he also understood that even if he scolded the current Sakuya for destroying the building, it wouldn’t have an effect.
Little by little, over the course of time, he would have to teach her.
‘… I broke it again. Rudel, I’m sorry.’
‘It’s fine. No problem… be careful next time (now then, what am I supposed to say to the palace).’
For better or worse, the dragoons often ran into these sorts of problems. They were the link that bound the country to the dragons.
They served to mediate between the palace and the dragon race. And that meant there was trouble to be had between the palace, and the dragons who boasted a different sense of values from humans.
Destroy buildings in the enemy camp, don’t destroy the country’s buildings.
With an order as simple as that, a dragon wouldn’t understand what was being said. While they had intelligence, it was the dragons who lived in a world separated from human common sense.
If they obediently listened to human orders, then the dragoons wouldn’t be necessary in the first place.
(If I want to make sure the top brass don’t direct their dissatisfactions at Sakuya… then that’s probably the best way to go.)
Continuing on his rubble removal work, Rudel decided to direct the higher up complaints towards himself.
“… I never thought we’d be meeting again so soon.”
“It has been a while, your majesty.”
The one Rudel kneeled to was Albach. Albach hadn’t even considered he would be calling Rudel back in less than a week.
You could also say he didn’t want to think about it.
Unable to use the audience chamber, he called Rudel to an informal meeting in the room the authorities would usually use for meetings.
Destroying one dragoon facility after the next, he had raised a true crisis where their valuable dragons would be unusable for a number of days.
If saying it to the dragons Mystith and Sakuya wouldn’t get anywhere, then there was no choice but to summon the contractor Rudel.
One of the authorities made a bitter face, placing his documents on the table to question Rudel. But his face was tinted with just a bit of fear.
“Just how much collateral damage to you intend to create in half a year?”
“… My apologies.”
“An apology isn’t going to cut it! The dragon stables your dragon destroyed, the adjoined facilities, and even the training grounds. They were all amenities with some good money invested into them!”
As one of Courtois’ elite forces, the dragoons did have a considerable budget sent around to them. But no matter how they cut it, the facilities Rudel destroyed weren’t the sort of thing the dragoon brigade’s annual budget would be able to cover.
On top of that, the dragoons were a knight brigade Courtois couldn’t do without.
The kingdom had no choice but to supply the funds.
“If I may. Let’s give up on the dragon stables. They’re dragons, after all, so it shouldn’t be much of a problem if you have them camp out.”
At Rudel’s proposal, the authorities held their heads. They wanted to raise their voices and cry out, ‘That isn’t the point!’…
In fear of Sakuya and Mystith, despite everything, they were still holding themselves back. Originally, they wanted to tack on a reason and have Rudel restrained in the palace as soon as possible.
But the problem was Sakuya, who had been trained by Mystith. Mystith had past precedent of destroying the palace, and accepting Sakuya, who could be called her disciple into the palace was out of the question to them.
That being the case, if they pulled the Marty-worshipper Rudel away from Sakuya, there was no telling what would happen.
The country’s upper brass was unable to meddle.
Albach endured his urge to let out a sigh as he reported to Rudel.
“Rudel, the country’s funds are not unlimited. I’m sure you know that. From now on, please hold back on… please refrain from any destructive activities. Of course, when on a mission, you can wield those powers as you see fit.”
They were dealing with dragons, so a level of damage was expected. But Albach remembered Sakuya was no trifle. When cleaning up the half-destroyed facility, she had made it a full-destroyed one.
Rudel’s perfect etiquette only irritated the authorities more.
They wanted something more to scold him on, but he was perfect in that regard. In truth, while he did have a few strange parts to him, if looked at as a knight, Rudel was the ideal.
The crown and authorities lamented that he looked up to the wrong individual.
Once Rudel left the meeting room, Albach folded his hands over the table. And worn out, he lowered his head.
His form, based on how one perceived it, could look as if he were praying.
“Wolfgang… even in death, you torment Courtois all the more…”
While the higher-ups of Courtois despised Marty, surprisingly enough, his military achievements were on a legendary level. But not only did his unprecedented behavior balance out his achievements, it actually brought him into the negatives.
Alongside Mystith, he had defended the country from Gaia Empire invasion time and again. From the fear of that time, Marty’s name was famous throughout the empire.
Within the Empire, Marty was called the ‘Demon of Courtois’ and held as a symbol of fear. Nothing but trouble to his surroundings, and rightly feared by his enemies.
That was the man called Marty Wolfgang.
After Rudel returned from the palace, an evaluation exam was held.
The time to show the results of the past few months had come around, but the surrounding atmosphere was completely different from last time. All the dragoons had called their partner dragons to their side.
They were ready to run away at a moment’s notice.
“You’re doing good, Sakuya!”
‘My hovering is perfect!’
While Sakuya cried out in glee, she was unsteadily swaying in the air. It was still shoddy, but she displayed ample competence.
Following on from that was shooting, but in that, only sturdy frames were built. The disposable targets were draped over them. On top of being cheap to produce, they were cheap to maintain.
Oldart’s desperate thoughts had somehow kept it within budget.
Everyone was sure those would be destroyed as well, pitying Oldart’s efforts.
“Great work! Six out of ten. That’s just barely a passing grade!”
‘I did it! I did it!!’
Delighted, Sakuya roared on the spot, and the surrounding dragons roared along. It wasn’t the scornful roars they had used to that point, they were honestly singing praise.
The tattered dragons were praising Sakuya. This was proof that Sakuya was the new boss, their way of showing there was no one who would go against her.
But Bram and Falk’s injuries were more severe than expected, and they were still in treatment. This fact became an even greater factor preventing the gray dragons from going against Sakuya.
The dragoons around were making dubious faces.
No, to be more precise, they were happy that Rudel and Sakuya managed to pass without any collateral damage. Some part of them was simply struggling to accept it.
“So they can do it and succeed the proper way.”
At the words Luxheidt muttered, everyone in the training grounds loud from the roars of dragons nodded.
They were happy that Sakuya managed to clear the exam without incident, but they had been expecting some more exorbitant actions.
They had been enthusiastically preparing to cope with whatever they threw at them, but they ended up clearing it the normal way.
With this unexpected turnout, they felt just a little lonely.