“You bloody fool!”
Eunius placed a hand on Rudel’s head and ruffled up his hair. His voice was filled with true delight, while there were tears visible in his eyes.
“You really did a number on us. You too, Aleist.”
Luecke delightedly stuck up the thumb of his gloved hand, directing a smile towards Aleist.
However, while being embraced by Rudel, and receiving smiles from the boys…
“Hey, way. Seriously, give me a minute! Rudel, I do think there’s someone else you should be hugging here!”
As Aleist attempted to peel Rudel off, Izumi looked on with a conflicted expression.
“Don’t tell me these two are…” or so Millia even sent them doubtful eyes. Rudel parted, patting his hair in place as he shrugged his shoulders.
“Don’t be stupid. It is only natural I give my thanks to my life’s savior. Mn? Oh Izumi, I see you’re here too.”
A bitter smile from Izumi, upon being treated as an extra.
“I really am happy. Though a part of me can’t rejoice…”
For just an instant. A very brief instant, Izumi directed a look of hostility at Aleist. A chill ran down his spine.
In order to overcome this situation, he hurriedly tried assisting Rudel to understand the situation.
“M-more importantly, about where we are now—”
Rudel slowly stepped down from the stretcher he’d been lying on and stretched out his back. He was confirming the state of his body as he received his weapons Aleist’s harem members had secured.
“Oh, that’s right.”
A look at the battlefield, and even now, Sakuya was fighting the Gora to hold it in place.
The imperial army units reformed, with the forces on both flanks headed their way.
Rudel looked at the imperial army and offered a word.
“Now then… let’s go.”
He was going to fight the minute he revived. Aleist hurriedly stepped in to stop him.
“No, I wonder about that! How about some rest? It looks like more forces are gathering as we speak.”
The one who approached them was Chlust.
“Chlust… you, what about the evacuees?”
Chlust breathed a sigh of relief upon confirming Rudel’s safety. He explained the state of affairs.
“They’re fine. I’ve already handed them off. Joining the reinforcements of the Arses House, I come bearing a force of five thousand. They need a commander. These numbers are impossible for me.”
The reason Chlust deemed it impossible was simply because he had no experience leading so many troops. Additionally, he never received commander training at the academy.
“You’ve all been educated in that field. You have real combat experience to boot. Brother, if you’ll just take command—”
Rudel reached his right hand towards Chlust, opening his palm in the gesture of ‘wait’. And after looking at the sky, he returned his gaze to Chlust.
“I’m sorry, but while I’ve undergone the coursework, I am lacking in experience. I must pass the torch to Major Bennet.”
With the talks suddenly turned her way, Bennet’s hair and ears stood on end as she shook her head.
“Don’t ask the impossible. I have never taken charge of a land force of this scale. Rather, if anyone here is to take the right to command…”
Bennet’s gaze shifted to Rudel, Aleist, Luecke, then Eunius in turn.
— They all averted their eyes.
“Major, I am a dragoon. I lack the experience to command ground troops. I have no idea where to start!”
“Hey, I’m a dragoon too! And wait, you definitely got the education at the academy!”
The reason Aleist looked away was simply because he had no confidence. Having lost his cheat, at this point, even he didn’t know whether or not he had the power to fight.
Eunius looked at Luecke, his gaze speaking, ‘Just do it’.
“It does seem there is a troublesome unit with a magic circle prepared. Good grief, I doubt anyone but me will be able to handle it. I must head off. I leave the rest to you. Now tally ho, Vargas!”
“H-hey, are you serious!?”
“Like I care. Not my problem, not going to deal with it.”
— He scrambled to be the first one off.
Taken aback, Eunius picked up his weapon and started from the spot.
“O-oh, now that I’ve got a closer look, that’s General Rhoshwas’ flag over there. My house’s got a score to settle with that bloke. Yep. I’ve got to go take care of that.”
Later! Said Eunius, leading his men to take flight.
All eyes gathered on Rudel and Aleist.
Chlust looked at Rudel.
(Well, Rudel’s far worthier than me.)
There, Rudel whistled. Reacting to that whistle, Sakuya lifted into the air, and descended beside him.
Rudel cleared his throat.
“It’s that, you know. As long as that black one’s there, it’s meaningless no matter your numbers. So I think someone has to take on the top dragon and bottom giant.”
Once everyone agreed that was a valid point, Sakuya loomed over Rudel, and reached her hand.
Immediately jumping onto its palm, Rudel addressed the rest of them.
“I’m a dragoon, so Chlust, I’m leaving the ground troops to you. Aleist!”
Rudel pointed at the Gora.
“I’ll take on the black dragon up top. You take care of that black thing.”
Aleist hurriedly refuted it.
“No, I don’t have any power any—”
“Don’t worry. Sakuya told me at the entrance to the world beyond. You’ll be just fine. Now onward, Aleist!”
With a large flap of Sakuya’s wings, Rudel was set for the skies. When Izumi jumped up to chase after him, Sakuya carefully caught her and placed her on her back.
Hearing he would be fine, Aleist looked at the gora, only to find it was coming right at them. Now that Sakuya was gone, it seemed Aleist was the first on its list.
“Wait a second!!”
In Aleist’s dismay, his faithful nightmare Heath drew close.
“Y-you… where have you been?”
Breathing a sigh, Millia gave it to Aleist.
“Aleist, get a grip. If you don’t do something about that, we’ll all be in danger! Hey, I’ll help out, so just hurry.”
Aleist nodded. Bennet shrugged her shoulders.
“You have my cooperation. I’m sure it’ll be hard for the black knight alone. Still, we’ll need just a bit more manpower.”
To Bennet’s words, Aleist—
“If we had just… one more dragoon.”
A new dragoon made entered the stage from directly overhead.
“Did you call?”
There, the man boasting the number one aerial technique in the dragoon brigade, Keith, looked at Aleist with a glint in his eye.
“It’s a request of my dear Aleist-kun. Yep, how about I lend a hand.”
Bennet’s face twitched.
“Keith… where have you been this whole time?”
High in the sky.
Around were the dragons fighting against the black wyverns.
Soaring through the wide sky filled with tempestuous dogfights, Sakuya was delighted to have Rudel riding her back.
‘I thought I would never see you again!’
Rudel gently stroked the back of the delighted, crying dragon.
“I’m sorry. But it’s alright now.”
Having died once and come back, Rudel made a bit of a liberated face. Izumi took a look at him and posed the question out of curiosity.
“Did something happen?”
Rudel closed his eyes, he recalled what had happened at death’s door.
“I made Sakuya mad.”
To the dragon’s Sakuya’s confusion, “A different Sakuya,” Rudel said, opening his eyes wide to look at the sky. Before his eyes, the form of a wyvern coming at Sakuya, it’s large mouth ajar.
Holding his right hand forward, Rudel produced a sword of light, put a spin on it and fired it at the wyvern.
Receiving the blade, the wyvern’s head was blown off, as it turned to black smoke and faded away.
“A dragoon is complete with human and dragon. Why did I send you away? She asked.”
Izumi smiled just a little sorrowfully.
“I see. So she helped you out.”
Rudel issued orders to Sakuya.
“Sakuya, a dragoon’s true domain is the sky. Let’s show those imperials the power of a true dragoon.”
When Sakuya roared, the wyverns in the sky directed their hostility towards Rudel.
The one directing it most was the vile serpent.
Approaching Sakuya, it opened its large mouth and breathed its breath.
‘You really are obstinate! I’ll send you to the other side, however many times it takes!’
Laughing at the dark dragon’s words,
“Now that would be troublesome. I wouldn’t want Sakuya scolding me too many times. And I’m a dragoon. Now that my partner is here, you’ll soon learn I’m a bit different.”
Issuing orders to Sakuya, he exchanged breath for breath.
When Sakuya used her four wings to suddenly turn, the vile serpent gave chase.
‘You can’t run away!’
When the dragon opened its large mouth towards the back Sakuya showed, Rudel laughed.
“Run? Far from it.”
Holding his right hand straight out at the dragon, Rudel produced a number of extra large swords around them. Rotating them, he hammered them at the moment before it could fire a breath
The serpent’s head was enveloped in smoke. However, it didn’t seem to take any major damage.
‘Is that all you’ve got!? Get them!’
As the surrounding wyverns began advancing on Sakuya, the swords Rudel produced were fired off towards them.
They pierced, exploded, and disintegrated wyverns into black smoke.
“Is that all you’ve got?”
On Rudel’s provocation, the vile serpent opened its blood-red eyes wide.
‘You blasted irregulars!! …!’
The serpent opened its large mouth and spread its wings to exclaim. But It was then the surrounding dragons all turned to fire on it at once.
And as it endured, a blue dragon approached from right above.
‘You’re top’s wide open!’
Lowering a fist from overhead, she slammed the serpent into the ground head-first. While it was an attack with all of her might, the wounds from butchering any a wyvern stood out on her body.
Mystith cinched it with a pose. And… so did Lena on her back.
Spotting her, Rudel was dumbfounded.
“What are you doing, Lena!?”
Izumi was just as surprised. But Lena sent Rudel a wing, as she raised one arm in greeting.
“I, Lena Arses have from today onward become Mystith’s partner! Best regards, bronin!”
‘That’s how it is.’
Mystith’s acceptance did little to alleviate Rudel’s confusion. But this wasn’t the right place to sit and dawdle.
“I-is that so. There’s plenty I’d like to hear, but that thing comes first.”
Looking down, there was the form of the serpent rising off of the ground. It seemed to be feeling it in the head as it birthed a large new batch of wyverns from its body.
Mystith sounded vexed.
‘Tsk, it multiplied again. I’m not losing to the likes of them, but there are too many. Just approaching the black one’s a pain.’
Rudel looked at the ground.
“Mystith-sama… could you leave it to me and Sakuya? We’ve developed that quite a bit?”
Upon hearing that, Mystith readily nodded.
‘Well why not. But that whelp called us lizards. You’ve got to hammer it home.’
Izumi thought back.
“Rudel, don’t tell me, what you used in Celestia…”
The sinister serpent that rose towards Rudel. As if to invite it in, Sakuya soared higher and higher into the sky.
“Come, I’ll take you on.”
‘Step aside, lowly side character!’
The serpent fired its breath into the sky, but Sakuya avoided on Rudel’s orders. Distancing themselves from the battlefield of dragon and wyvern, they turned to face their challenger.
Breaking through the clouds into the endless sky above.
The two dragons faced off.
‘You never stop getting in our way. If you’ll come back upon death, this time we won’t let even ash remain!’
On the serpent’s vigorous roar, Sakuya slowly took her stance in the air.
“Let me teach you something nice.”
“Don’t make like of a dragoon. Just one knight and one dragon but… put them together, and I’ll teach you just how troublesome we can be.”
‘Sakuya and Rudel are the strongest!’
With Sakuya’s roar, the serpent lunged at the two, Sakuya opened her four wings wide, and Rudel unleashed the power of the white knight.
“I couldn’t show it on land, but here it won’t be a problem. Sakuya, we’re going all out.”
As the light overflowing from Rudel enveloped Sakuya, symbols began to surface over her body.
Apart from her four wings, another pair made of light…
Forming an armor of light to protect her, giving off a divine light. Further behind the wings, a golden circle formed.
Izumi looked at that form, containing her hair swaying from the breeze as she muttered.
The white dragon wore golden armor, and pinned down the serpent coming at them with both hands.
The serpent was surprised. It noticed Sakuya was different than she had been a moment ago.
Sakura roared as she got in a right hook. Reeling back, the serpent disappeared into the clouds, firing a breath off from within them.
A number of golden shields manifested around Sakuya to obstruct it.
The serpent burst out of the clouds, raising its speed to circle around in an attempt to catch Sakuya off guard.
But Sakuya immediately reacted and followed suit. With Sakuya right behind it, maintaining an exact distance and giving chase, the serpent was put on the rung.
‘C-curses. Curse you!!’
It stopped, turned, and fired a breath, but elegantly avoiding it, Sakuya’s sure-fire special—
‘One, two, finish!’
Left, right, tail, three consecutive attacks smashed into the dragon. The impact greatly shifted the clouds and changed their shape. Cracks raced through the serpent’s skin they had never managed to pierce, as dragon blood was shed.
The serpent flared at Rudel and Sakuya. It seemed it was unforgivable for a dragon to bring the smackdown.
Izumi seemed to understand those feelings just a bit.
“Well, it certainly is a little unfair.”
Rudel looked at the vile serpent, folding his arms.
“Playtime ends here.”
It was then that the serpent burst into laughter.
‘I see. The exchange stone. Aleist used the powers residing in his body as compensation to bring you back!’
The laughing dragon looked at Rudel, pointing a finger. While it was unknown how it looked into it, it seemed to know the means through which Rudel was brought back.
Rudel made it short, preparing for his next attack.
‘Then it was a mistake to pull me away. You should have remained. Right around now, the gora will have run them all down. As long as I hold you here, victory is our—’
“… Unfortunately, that’s not happening.”
Interrupting the serpent’s words, Rudel informed it.
“The three who remained on ground, Aleist, Luecke and Eunius are my dear friends. We fought at the academy time and again, and I went through great pains each time.”
Rudel slowly pulled his sword, directing its point at the serpent.
“Don’t you dare make light of them. Even if Aleist loses inexhaustible mana and talent, and a great deal else… what he built up won’t fade away. That guy is strong. He’s the man I’ve recognized.”
The serpent roared and came at Sakuya.
Sakuya spread out her six large wings wide, to meet it.