The Little Macho Girl

http://ncode.syosetu.com/n1542y/

By: MisakiNaoto@Mibuna

“Macho, won’t anyone buy a macho?”

Leading along several machos, a single young girl tossed out some dangerous words to the town residents passing by.
The macho seller.
On that sudden statement of human trafficking, the townsfolks’ eyes opened wide as they gazed at the girl.

“Macho, does anyone need a lively macho? You can boil and bake them, and if it really comes down to it, they can even serve as bodyguards. Does anyone need such a wonderful macho?”

Minding not the surprised eyes of the people, the small girl desperately continued spinning words to sell the oily, gleaming machos.
So poor she had nothing to cover her feet, she drew her reddening soles together as she tried her very best to sell her machos.
In that cold, cold town, the machos that let off a light steam from their bodies. Even as they imparted all with a somewhat sweltering feeling, the young girl did her best to make an appeal to how good these machos were.

“You can even crush them into medicine, does anyone want a macho?”

At the little girl’s words, a single man raised a small scream.
When those were humans, no matter you looked at it, the girl spoke of grinding them. He imagined the sight much too terrifying and had let out a scream before he had realized it.
That man’s small fear dragged the people confused over this incomprehensible situation back to reality, and they took the action they thought best.

Raising various screams, the townsfolk ran off to the houses and inns where they lived.
In but a moment’s time, that stone-paved road had become devoid of all souls besides the young girl and a large number of machos.
A questioning look crossed the young girl’s pleading face as she gave her head a slight tilt.

“How strange… when they’re such wonderfully raised machos, why did everyone run away?”

The girl couldn’t hold back her wonder. When they were such lovely, lovable machos, she thought everyone would buy them up with delight, but let alone make a purchase, everyone had run away.
There, the girl hit her hands together, her face lightening up.

“That’s right! If I show off the goodness of these machos, I’m sure the people in town will understand!”

The young girl thought this.
Machos were rare in this town, and everyone was scared because they didn’t know what they were. In that case, if she could make them understand that machos were good things, then surely they’d buy them! So she thought.
While that was right, in a sense, that it might seem slightly off is surely your imagination.
But not noticing such a thing, the young girl fluttered her skirt, turning her bodies towards the machos and said this.

“Now, everyone together!”

As the young girl gave a smile, the machos who had done nothing but wait in silence delightfully started to motion.

“Hmmph.”
“Hrnnnng.”

The brilliant plan she thought of. That was posing.
Taking whatever pose they could think of, the machos seemed truly delighted to show off their bodies, but it didn’t seem anyone was coming out.
The girl tossed some more words to the machos.

“More, more! Keep that sweat flowing!”

To teach the townsfolk the wonder of machos, without any room for second thought, she had the machos act more intensely, more heatedly.
“Now how about that!!”

The girl looked at the buildings on both sides of the street, waiting for the townsfolk who fled to come back out.
But no one came.
The young girl bit her lip, she hung her head down.

“This can’t be… If this goes on, I won’t be able to go home…”

The girl had promised her mother she would properly sell all the machos; tears formed in the corners of her eyes as her way grew darker.
If that was how it was going to be, she should have listened to her mother when she said she would accompany her out if she waited a bit. The girl was filled with regret.
Aah, I’m sure the people are eating warm meals right around now. As she thought that, the girl wanted to go home as soon as possible, but if she did, her mother would get angry at her. Even so…
She had resolved herself to sell them, so sell them she would. She decided to make for a certain place.

“If I go there… that’s right, I’m sure they’ll buy them over there.”

At the end of her eyes, that place… the castle where the noble who governed the land lived.
A noble would have a lot of money, and surely he would buy them from her. Yes, what a brilliant idea. Trying to sell such cute machos to the poor, it was a mistake to begin with. She thought as she tread over the steps to the castle.

 

Once the girl reached the palace, the soldier watching the gate called out to her at once.

“Little girl, what’s wrong? On such a cold day, you have nothing on your feet… did you get separated from your mother?”

Armor over his body, a spear a little taller than he was in his hand, he made a perplexed, but be that as it may, a worried face.
To the man, the young girl shook her head.
To the soldier who felt his throat growing stiff, the young girl decided to make her plea.

“Please, a macho, won’t you buy a macho?”
“Ma… cho… macho, by macho, do you mean those machos? The ones behind you?”

The man asked as he pointed to the sweltering somethings raising hot steam behind her. Even when it was winter, those bizarre muscular men stood, nothing but a single pair of briefs per head. But the problem to the man wasn’t something like that. While it plagued his mind, as a man faithful to his duties, he purposely ignored it.

“… Did someone put you up to it?”

The gatekeeper sent a gentle smile as he sought an explanation from the girl.

“No, I came to sell them on my own.”
“… Do you know that the buying and selling of slaves is forbidden in this territory?”

The man’s gentle expression suddenly changed.
Expressionless. That was the word to describe his face.
Even if he was dealing with a child, there were some rules that weren’t meant to be broken. Punishing people for them was one of the roles of the soldiers, and the girl was about to break one of those rules.

“Yes, I know. But what about it?”

She tilted her head as she asked the man.
Hearing those words, the soldier’s expression changed once more.
His eyebrows tilted, strongly gripping the spear in his hand, he asked again with a stronger tone.

“Then why are you trying to sell slaves! Under this frigid sky, don’t you feel sorry for them, leading them around in nothing but a pair of briefs!? As a soldier who protects this territory, I am unable to overlook it! For some reason, they don’t look cold at all, or rather, they look simply sweltering, but regardless, I can’t overlook it!”

Seeing the man angry from the depths of his heart, the girl understood at once.
But that’s a misunderstanding. The girl understood, and she gave him the truth as easy to understand as can be. By her standards, that was.

“You’re wrong! These are not slaves, they are machos!”
“They’re slaves! If you want to be more precise, they’re macho slaves!”
“You’re wrong! They’re not macho slaves, they’re just normal machos!”
“No, I mean, aren’t they slaves?”
“They’re machos!”

Slaves. No, no, machos. This rather pointless bickering went on for some time, until finally, the soldier was the one beaten down by her persistence.

“Understood. Those are machos. Yeah, they’re machos. But little girl, in this territory, selling humans is prohibited. You understand that, don’t you?”

The haggard face of the man dyed itself in a pleasant shade to persuade the young girl.

“Humans…? No, they’re not humans, they’re machos.”
“I can’t deal with this anymore.”

The gatekeeper’s eyes were already teary.
This girl was too stubborn for him to deal with. While he thought so, that didn’t mean he could keep silent on this case of human trafficking. In this instance, shoving her into a warm cell would be best for everyone’s sake.
But according to the girl before his eyes, these machos didn’t have human rights. Just how terrifying of a thought. Simply because they built muscle, she denied them their humanity… a cold greater than winter rushed down the man’s back.

“Understood. So these are inhuman machos.”
“No, they’re machos, but they’re vegetation.”

On the girl’s words, the man tilted his head.
Vegetation? By vegetation, do you mean like grass and trees? The man had neither seen nor heard of any vegetation that could stand and walk on its own feet.

“No, there’s no way such lively plant-life could exist.”
“No, no, they’re vegetation. Look.”

Saying that, the girl gently pulled down one of the machos’ briefs.
Sure enough, beneath was the very proof they were the vegetation she claimed them to be.
Awfully unsuited to its brawny body, a white and lovely flower bloomed.

“You mean they really are plants… no, but still, that’s undoubtedly a flower. And that’s sprouting right up from the macho’s body, meaning…”

As the man gazed intently at the flower growing from the macho’s nether regions, the macho’s face tinted red. It seemed embarrassed. On that scene much too repulsive, the man swiftly took distance from that mystery muscular plant-life and tossed a question to the girl.

“Could it be the macho part is the stem?”
“Yes, it’s the stem. These children grew a bit too much and became machos, so we couldn’t keep them around the house anymore. That’s why I came to sell them.”
“Haha, certainly, with a few tens of machos crowding a house, you might not feel the cold, but it’ll definitely feel cramped… fine, got it. I’ll inform the lord. Could you stay here and wait?”
“Yes, thank you most kindly.”

After that, carrying along warm soup and a pair of shoes, the soldier returned with a smile and good news.
The young girl was finally able to sell her machos.

 

When the war came, the machos she sold had no restraint in unveiling their bodies, becoming the lead act in the battle to protect the territory.
Their efforts named them the ‘Moving Fortress’, and even within enemy structures, those machos would surround allies, and form a castle of their own with their muscular bodies. When the machos stood in file, they were feared as the, ‘Encroaching Wall of Meat’, displaying all-purpose prowess for attack and defense.

And fighting wasn’t the only thing the machos were good for. When injured soldiers were fed the sweat those machos shed… commonly called their meaty juices… they would suddenly stop feeling the pain and all would rejoice.
Macho. Proper name: Mandragora, but in the end, that name was never spread far. They were simply called machos, and they held pride in the fact they were machos.

A country assembled of those that loved muscle, this is a tale set five years prior to the founding of the Great Macho Empire. And only ten years before the world was enveloped in machos…

Posted in misc | Tagged | 54 Comments

Dragoon New Year Special

http://mypage.syosetu.com/mypageblog/view/userid/218376/blogkey/816151/

(TL: Let’s all appreciate that festive time of year this piece was written in. This is part 1 of 2, the second part to be released at a later date. Unlike the EXTRA chapters, this special has absolutely no bearing on the main story)

 

Aleist: “And here we are, at this special event to commemorate the new year! It’s time for our wonderful question corner. This is your host Aleist, the man who’s become somewhat popular these days. Now let’s introduce our special guests. Today’s guests are these two!”

Albach: “I’m the King of Courtois, Albach Courtois.”

Ciel: “His wife, Ciel Courtois.”

Aleist: “Even so, we’ve gathered quite the extravagant faces. Personally, I have no idea how I’m supposed to be treating you.”

Ciel: “Oh? That’s quite a weak statement from our popular (lol) black knight. You need only prostrate yourself before a woman as you always do. Even if it’s a new year special, is this really anything new? Though this is precisely why you’ll always be no good.”

Aleist: “… A harsh statement right off the bat, my Hp’s already hit 0.”

Albach: “My apologies, black knight (lol).”

Aleist: “Please stop. Stop with the (lol)s… hah, anyways, getting back on track, here’s a question for his and her majesty. ‘Do you have any dissatisfactions within the palace? And what do you think of Princess Aileen and Captain (lol) Fritz?’ they ask.”

Albach: “Dissatisfactions, is it? Well, I have quite a few, but my biggest complaint is the fact my wife is one of your capture targ—Aleist: “Hahaha! What could this man be talking about!? We don’t need those sort of meta statements! And I’m definitely not laying a hand on her!””

Ciel: “You mean it in the, here’s a big red button, you better not push it, sort of way? You’re not my type, kid. The only one I love as a man is Albach.”

Albach: “H-honey!”

Ciel: “Dear!”

Aleist: “… Enough. For now, can we leave the complaints at that?”

Albach: “Very well!”

Ciel: “There are so many I can’t narrow down an answer. So let’s go onto the next one. Look, just get on with it already, Mr. Popular (lol).”

Aleist: “Next is Princess Aileen and Fritz. Personally, my honest impression is that she’s way too different from how I imagined her. I thought she would be kinder. I think she’s quite the selfish princess.”

Ciel: “Good of you to say that right in front of her parents. I’ll remember this. Well, personally, I do think Aileen’s recent actions are intolerable.”

Albach: “I’m just glad Fina is so earnest. How about it, Aleist-kun, won’t you take one of them?”

Aleist: “I already have my fill. The best times in life are the ones where you can still envy something like a harem.”

Ciel: “I can’t think that as a statement from a wimp who hasn’t lain hands on them. More importantly, that royal guard captain? His status is much too low. I originally intended to fill that slot with Rudel of the Arses House, but…”

Albach: “While I have much to think about it, if he shows his devotion as an earnest knight, and does his work, I’ll evaluate him for it. I heard his capabilities are considerable, so if he diligently stacks up his training, they’ll stop saying he boasts an empty title. You should be careful of that too, Aleist-kun.”

Aleist: “You two seem to have it down. I thought it would be something more muddled, but it looks like I can take a breath of fresh air.”

Ciel: “… There’s no need to jump the gun on the first move.”

Aleist: “Following on, ‘How do the women think of Rudel as a member of the opposite sex?’ is the question. When I’m the host, they ask about Rudel… eh? What’s this?”

Ciel: “Then first off, let’s call in our daughters. Dear, go get them.”

Albach: “Very well!”

Aleist: “She’s working you hard.”

Albach: “…… You’ll be like this too someday. No, you’re already one of us. Now’s your last chance to have a laugh over it!”

Aileen: “Father, is something starting?”

Fina: “Father, mother, and Mr. Janitor too. Good day. (I don’t want to moovve.)”

Aleist (rubbing his eyes): “Huh? Fina-sama, did you just say something?”

Fina: “No, nothing in particular? (Get master in here, master! Let’s start the year off with its first petting!)”

Aleist: “So here’s a question for the two of you. How do you think of Rudel, as a member of the opposite sex?”

Aileen: “That’s quite an unpleasant question so early in the year. I hate him.”

Fina: “I feel in his debt for all the time’s he’s saved me, and more than anything, I do believe he is a wonderful person (Fluffadise fever!! Should I tell you just how much I need master, here and now? If I call it love or affection or some shit, I’m sure they’ll accept it, and master’s from an archduke house… here it is. It’s my win.)”

Ciel: “Is that so. Okay. Goodbye.”

Aileen, Fina: “…”

Albach: “Wouldn’t it be fine to ask them more?”

Ciel: “Does it really matter to a noble whether they like someone or not? Well, as it stands, Aileen for Aleist-dono and Fina for Rudel-dono, I guess? That sounds safest to me.”

Albach: “Then moving on. Please enter.”

Sophina: “Pardon my intrusion.”
Mii: “Pardon my intrusion. Urrgh, how nerve-wracking.”

Aleist: “Huh? Wasn’t I supposed to be the host…”

Ciel: “We have too many characters. Let’s get this done with quickly. How do you two think of Rudel as a member of the opposite sex? Do you want to be embraced, or do you hate the thought of even touching him? Pick between the two.”

Albach: “Now that’s quite extreme.”

Aleist: “You’re at full throttle, first thing in the year.”

Ciel: “Oh? By embrace, I mean a hug. Just what could you have been imagining, you silly people?”

Aleist, Albach: “…”

Ciel: “This is a pain, so let’s just write the question somewhere in the room. Do you want to be embraced or not, hang it up, and if their faces turn red, we just have to push it from there. Now what’s your answer?”

Sophina: “No, even if you ask if I want to be embraced, I can’t quite… I wouldn’t hate it, but with my age…”
Ciel: “So you want to be embraced. Alright, next!”
Sophina: “Eeeeeh.”

Mii: “A hug? I’m fine with that. He does things that go beyond that to me on a regular basis.”
Ciel: “So you already have been embraced. Looks like this kid is OK too.”

Aleist: “If you take that out of context, it’s way too extreme. Ladies, the exit is that way. Now onto the next ones~.”

Cattleya: “Pardon my intrusion. Ah, the marriage interview woman’s back.”
Lilim: “This is quite the high-class gathering.”
Enora (face bright red): “… What’s with that question?”
Bennet: “Do I want to be embraced by my subordinate, you ask?”

Aleist: “Here we have the flowers of the dragoons.”

Albach: “One of them’s already beet red. No, the second one’s turning.”

Aleist: “Cattleya-san and Enora-san, looks like. The two of them are surprisingly maidens, after all…though they look like they’d play around, it really is a mystery.”

Cattleya: “You just laughed, didn’t you. See me out back later.”

Aleist: “… My apologies (sweat).”

Bennet (tail wagging): “By embrace, you mean being held in his arms? Then we’re always embracing each other every day (in combat training) That kid is always so intense (and serious in training), so I’m always worn out.”

Cattleya (irritated): “…”
Lilim (fiddling with hair): “… Tch…”
Enora (face bright red): “Eh? Ah, eh, whoah.”

Aleist: “I don’t know how to begin to describe this air.”

Albach: “But aren’t you a little too used to it?”

Aleist: “If you’ll let me have my say, something of this level is cute by comparison… hah.”

Ciel: “As the wolf girl said, this is about hugs. You two with the red faces, just what could you be imagining? Meet me out back, I’ll be asking you later. There is no escape… well then do you think it’s alright to be embraced?”

Cattleya (face bright red): “W-well, I wouldn’t hate it.”
Lilim (serious): “I wouldn’t mind going further!”
Enora (face bright red): “I-I’m fwinnth!”
Bennet (tail wagging): “Totally fine!”

Ciel: “The wolf girl is so pure it’s hurting my heart. Well, let’s continue on.”

Aleist: “In that case, let’s bring in the next ones!”

Erselica: “Pardon my intrusion.”
Lena: “Pardon my intrusion!”

Albach: “What’s this? Isn’t this question a bit too extreme for family? Then let’s just be upfront. What do you two think about Rudel? Tell us whether you like or hate him.”

Erselica: “Hah? He’s my brother, for argument’s sake. But I like Chlust more.”
Lena: “Hmm, my brother is my eternal goal, you hear. While I like him, at the same time, he’s my greatest rival! The first one to perfect the art of petting dragons will be me!”

Aleist: “Huh? Rudel already got initiated into the secret arts.”

Lena: “… Eh?”

Aleist: “As I was saying, he got initiated into the secret arts. And he even obtained a pair of demon eyes.”

Ciel: “Isn’t he already beyond the realm of humanity?”
Albach: “Demon eyes of all things. Now that’s a powerful item that tickles a man’s heart.”

Lena: “…………….. I’m going to go training.”

Aleist: “Hah?”

Lena: “I’m going to train and work out a new way to pet dragons! I won’t let it end like this. Then I have no choice but to put my all into it! I can’t keep my brother waiting forever!”

Erselica: “Hey wait, Lena! … W-well then, everyone, I apologize for this discourtesy, but I must be taking my leave!”

Albach: “And they’re off. I’m glad they look in good health.”
Ciel: “I can’t wait to see what happens at the academy next year. There’ll be a few new air holes in the headmaster’s stomach.”

Aleist: “Yeah~, I hope the headmaster who looked after us keeps a good watch over his health.”

Ciel: “Is that the line of one of the problem children? Aleist-dono the Playboy (lol)?”

Albach: “You fit the (lol)s way too well.”

Aleist: (They’re playing with me.)

Aleist: “Moving on!”

Izumi: “Pleasure.”
Millia: “… Beg pardon.”

Aleist: “The main act has come out!”

Albach: “You look happy, but are you sure you want to hear it?”
Ciel: (Grinning)

Izumi: “Do I want to be embraced by Rudel? You want me to answer that question?”

Aleist (slight glance at Millia): “T-that’s right.”

Millia: “… You’re really asking that so early in the year? Aleist, is your head on right?”

Aleist: “It’s not my question! This is a question from the readers! It’s something everyone wants to know!”

Ciel: “Creepy. He’s so desperate it’s creeping me out.”
Albach: “I’m not sure what to think about shoving the blame onto the readers.”

Millia (averting her face, cheeks a bit red): “I don’t hate him. I’ll accept an embrace (hug) from him anytime.”

Aleist (hugging knees, staring at wall): “…”

Albach: “Now this is quite the reaction.”
Ciel: “No doubt about it! This girl has a thing for Rudel-dono (lol). Oh? Now where might our little black knight be (lolol). Putting that aside, how about the other girl?”

Izumi: “Me? I love Rudel, so that’s not a problem. But a hug is a bit… well, in my culture…”

Ciel: “That’s a questionable answer. You like him, but you can’t hug?”

Izumi: “Yes, that’s about right. If I cause any misunderstandings, it will only bring trouble for Rudel.”

Ciel: “How modest. If only Fina had this level of modesty…”
Albach: (If only you had this level of modesty…)

Aleist (dejected): “Then is that the end?”

Ciel: “What are you talking about? We still have the real act left to go.”
Albach: “Sure enough, I guess you could call it the centerpiece.”

Aleist: “Was there someone else?”

Sakuya: ‘How terrible for you to forget me!’
Mystith: ‘Hey, what do you intend to do, keeping a lady waiting?’
Heleene: ‘Mama, you’re being too intimidating.’
Aunty: ‘I’m technically a woman (female) you know.’

Aleist: “Are the dragons counted among the women?”

Albach: “Well, in this case, I’m curious to see how the dragons think of the human called Rudel. Let’s go with that as the question.”

Ciel: “Taking it in turn… let’s start with the white one, then the big blue one, her daughter, and finally the giant dragon.”

Sakuya: ‘Sakuya really loves Rudel! She loves Izumi too! She likes Millia maybe (?) But Aleist is no good!’

Albach: “The dragon hates you, Aleist-kun.”

Aleist: ”Dammit, she still holds a grudge over the past. When she lost her memory, why is that the only thing she remembers?”

Ciel: “I do think Flan von Brains was terrible. But if I had to say, your brain’s always filled with a shade of pink, Aleist-dono. Girls that cute, and seven of them at that… the number ever increasing.”
Albach: “You think he’s going to wither sometime soon?”

Mystith: ‘Am I next? Let’s see… he’s an understanding human who respects Marty. And I’ll praise him as Sakuya’s contractor.’

Albach (looking off into the distance): “… That’s the problem in and of itself.”
Ciel (looking off into the distance): “Yes, as long as that wasn’t there, I’d raise both my arms in delight… why did it have to be Marty Wolfgang of all people…”

Aleist: “Next is… who might you be?”

Heleene: ‘Me? I’m Bennet’s dragon.’

Aleist: “Oh, the wolf girl’s dragon? That wolf girl Bennet’s quite the popular one. It seems even the author couldn’t tell that was supposed to be her treating Rudel as a grunt. I wonder if there’s a reason for that.”

Heleene: ‘… Make light of my contractor and you’re dead.’

Aleist (Groveling): “My apologies!”

Mystith: ‘So how is it?’

Heleene: ‘Wait, mama, don’t rush me! He’s my contractor Bennet’s precious subordinate. Everyone always dotes on that girl, so she can never get the sort of subordinate she wants. If my contractor’s happy, then that’s enough for me.’

Aunty: ‘I don’t have anything to say in particular. Well, in regards to how he saved Sakuya, as a fellow gaia dragon, I am thankful.’

Aleist: “This is ending on a somewhat dubious note.”
Ciel: “If we have any other questions, we can just answer them when the time comes. Dear, I’m thirsty.”
Albebach: “I see, then I’ll go get you something. Aleist-kun, would you like anything to drink?”
Aleist: “While I appreciate the sentiment, I think I should be the one to go. We will be having a brief intermission.”

Posted in Dragoon | Tagged , | 35 Comments

Dragoon 117: The Superior and the Mission

 

Failing asleep from their fatigue after the major cleanup, the three dropped by Bennet on the next day.

It was decided that either Izumi or Millia would clean up that house that hadn’t been properly prepared. Based on how their meeting with Bennet went, one of them would go back.

The Beretta townscape the three of them walked down was lined with hurriedly constructed buildings of brick. But they couldn’t see any buildings that extended passed two stories.

The same held true for the inns.

(This is a puzzler. I have to secure a place to sleep soon.)

She knew that staying with Rudel for too long would surely cause him trouble. Izumi mulled over who she should consult.

It was there that a building that could be classified as splendid for the town came into sight. At the sight of young soldiers having a friendly chat, Izumi felt like holding her head.

“Oh, good morning. Did you sleep well last night.”

“Yeah, more importantly, where’s Major Bennet?”

On Izumi’s reply, the young soldiers looked at Rudel, Millia and herself, discussing something amongst themselves. While she could guess the contents of their discussion, she didn’t have the time to worry about that now.

“She’s doing paperwork at the desk in the back.”

After giving thanks to a young soldier with a reddened face, the three of them made for Bennet.

In the station, there was one desk put aside for the dragoons to use on rotation. Normally, that would never come to pass, in a settlement without anything, granting the dragoons an exclusive desk was plenty.

The knights on duty at the capital would never be able to bear this sort of treatment, thought Izumi.

Izumi looked at Rudel’s superior before her eyes and submitted her forms. But more than that, looking at the female knight before her, she thought.

(She’s… kinda cute.)

Taking the paperwork, Bennet tucked it away in her file before confirming their future course.

“So you two are this man’s inspector. I don’t mind if you keep watching, but there are times we’ll be flying around on duty. And you should think that doing work is normal around here.”

“Would that work be outside of our mission?”

As Millia looked down and asked, Bennet hummed a note.

“A new recruit who’s only ever sat back and done their duty at the capital need not stick their mouth into the way of the outskirts. While I haven’t the authority to issue you orders, if you do nothing but keep watch over that guy, that alone will buy you a bad rep in these parts.”

Millia saw how busy Beretta was, and perhaps she realized just watching would definitely make her unpopular as she shut her mouth.

When Izumi proposed they would participate in work on rotation, Bennet said, ‘That so,’ before handing Rudel a comprehensive schedule.

(She’s surprisingly attentive and good at looking after others. And she’s cute.)

Izumi noticed she was being mindful of them.

“Well, just do your best out here. You should take this opportunity to learn that the same way of doing things doesn’t work everywhere you go… Rudel, I’ll be having you break rocks with Sakuya. I’m going out of my way to personally supervise a newbie like you. Give me results.”

“Yes ma’am.”

Seeing Rudel taking his job seriously, Izumi felt relieved. It seems even Rudel wouldn’t suddenly go on a petting spree. No, while Izumi herself was relieved that she had sealed Rudel’s petting, she felt uneasy whenever she thought he might unveil a new technique.

Starting with petting, onto massages, embrace, and lotion… even when she sealed all of them, Rudel brought forth his magic eyes out of nowhere. So while she was wary, it couldn’t be said she was going too far.

More importantly…

Izumi looked at Bennet’s tail when she talked to Rudel. Running contrary to her expression it was delightedly waving about. That gap looked cute as well.

(The way it feels like she’s pushing herself is also cute.)

Sure that Millia was holding the same impression, she looked to the side, only to receive a mildly irritated impression. Millia was staring intently at Rudel and Bennet.

Every time Rudel gave an earnest reply, Bennet’s tail would wave. Even if they were told the titles of superior and subordinate were swapped, surely no one would hold any doubt.

(She really is cute, though.)

For a while longer, Izumi watched over the girl doing her best to play the part of a superior.

Outside town, in the rockface opposite the harbor, Rudel was smashing rocks with Sakuya.

They would be used as materials for the port, but after being smashed, the stone would have to be processed. For that sake, it was necessary to break them down to an adequate size.

As Rudel issued Sakuya orders, Sakuya punched the rocks with her large arms and destroyed them.

“Fool! Do it like that, and they’ll end up too small. Having them too big is no good, but if they’re too small, then it takes an unnecessary amount of mana to mend them!”

Under Bennet’s orders, Rudel was learning his job in Beretta. Carrying materials, patrol of the area around the port city, and helping out with construction, there was much to be done. As long as you ignored their consumption, the convenient dragons were indispensable lifeforms for construction.

“This is hard. The work’s too detailed for Sakuya.”

Taking Sakuya’s large build into account, it was definitely a difficult job. But Bennet hummed a note.

“Oh, then will you choose your own work? It is only natural for us to be able to carry out whatever mission need be done. The way you are, you’re not even half a dragoon.”

“That is…!”

While he tried to say something, Rudel swallowed his words. Sure enough, being particular about his missions was usually something he should never do.

Bennet called her own dragon and had it smash rocks to the right size to set an example. After the destruction, unlike with Sakuya, the leftover fragments didn’t scatter about much.

“If the development goes steady, then this place will also become a part of town. If you cause too much destruction and spread debris around, it will make our jobs more troublesome in times to come. I do believe the development plans were included in the documents I gave you.”

“My deepest apologies.”

Having not thought that far ahead, Rudel apologized to Bennet. Certainly, the plan included the port’s construction, and a description of the town’s expansion.

“… Well, so be it. Right now, Elrond is off buying supplies, so I’ll be teaching you for a while. Know that training is also part of your duty, and don’t lose focus.”

“Yes ma’am!”

While Rudel continued his work, to the side, Izumi watched his exchange with his cute superior officer.

As a special inspector, Izumi’s duty was to make sure her eyes never left Rudel, if possible. While the two of them were earnestly doing their job, from a watcher’s perspective, it couldn’t help but look like a pleasant scene.

Bennet’s tail was happily waving left and right, and on top of that, Sakuya was learning how to chop rocks from the water dragon. A dragon opening up its palms to chop stone into blocks was a peculiar sight indeed.

(They look like they’re having fun.)

While the two of them had their dragons smashing stone, they carried out training themselves. When Bennet told Rudel to come at her, Rudel cut forward with all his might.

Izumi thought that looked bad, but Bennet lightly responded, throwing Rudel into the ground. Despite her small body, the way she handled it could only make one say, as expected of a dragoon.

But after she had won, when Rudel sent her eyes of admiration, “Get to your feet already, fool!” the girl in question said, her tail violently wagging.

Next to that, Sakuya- who was unable to skillfully smash stone- tried to break it apart with her breath only to be smacked on the head by Bennet’s dragon.

(I do feel sorry to say it, but…)

“Your attacks are following a pattern. You won’t even be able to scratch me that way.”
“Kuh!”

Accelerating with wind magic, Rudel desperately rushed in to capture Bennet, but dodging by a paper-thin margin…

‘I mean, I can’t do it! Hey, that hurts!’

Her chops still not going well, this time, Sakuya tried to strike it with her tail…

(I wonder what it is. It just looks like they’re enjoying themselves.)

Driven off to an area close to the border, Chlust grimaced as he received a report from his subordinate.

“Captain, are we in hot water?”

What the unshaven man reported to Chlust was a meeting between high officials of the countries of Courtois and Gaia. Even if it was diplomacy under the veil of secrecy, Courtois was a noble society, and it was often the case that its high officials were of nobility. They disliked rough treatment, and it was difficult to think they would go all the way to the outskirts just to put on airs.

The man who was Chlust’s subordinate reported what he heard from his trusted men.

… It was information Chlust wanted to think was impossible.

“When I thought they had quieted down, it couldn’t be…”

The black ogre incidents were no longer breaking out. But as long as he stayed on the border, he could tell the enemies was growing more active whether he liked it or not.

The air was one thing, and it had been so quiet it was contrarily creepy.

And about the contents of the high official’s discussion, the unshaven man was making a pale face. Chlust thought his own complexion was also leaving him, but as he was before his subordinate, he changed his train of thought.

“… Could you tell the official’s face? Or their characteristics?”

“Nothing. Everyone was wearing robes and hiding their faces. If the way they talked and their documents didn’t prove their status, we would have moved to take them in as suspicious individuals.”

But his subordinate seemed relieved they hadn’t done so from the depths of his heart. This was home ground, and there were plenty who were used to concealing their bodies, it could be called a spot of good luck that their foe didn’t know the area.

That was just how powerful their guards had been.

If he knew their names, then Chlust was the second son of an archduke. He thought he would be able to find out their faction, but it didn’t seem it would go so easily.

“Whatever the case, we have no connections to the center right now.”

“What do we do, captain? Won’t it blow sky high, the way things are going?”

The reason his subordinate- usually so lively- panicked to such an extent was simple. A high official of Courtois had exchanged documents with a high official of the Gaia Empire. What’s more, they seemed used to it.

The few words they exchanged were clearly bizarre.

‘The princess is on board.’
‘As long as you accept our conditions, we’ll play along with you farce.’
‘Hmm, making a hero of a commoner, the thought makes me want to vomit. I’d rather he became a hero post mortem.’
‘… I pray you come to a decision before our preparations are complete. Tell them to understand, it’s too late once it’s all begun.’

Princess, hero, commoner, and too late once it began… on these words, Chlust couldn’t help but remember those two.

The fact he was in a place like this, at the very least, he thought those two were involved. In a good sense, of course.

Chlust was aware that if he had continued to hate Rudel, his current self wouldn’t exist. He could recall well the faces of the two who had created the opportunity.

(Is this for certain… but at this rate…)

Even if he noticed, he understood it was futile to report the fact to the higher-ups. For better or worse, they lived in noble society, and having been once oppressed, Chlust could understand. If it was a truth, it would be hushed up, if it was a lie, they would boldly punish him.

No, it was more probable they would erase him the moment he reported it.

His stay in the outskirts was a long one, and it plagued him that his information on the palace factions was outdated.

To add onto that, the outskirts were optimistic. No matter how the empire invaded, they were certain that with its dragons, Courtois would never lose.

“… Don’t tell anyone about this matter. Order your men not to leak the information.”

“Then what will we do!?”

“I’ll look into it. If I report to the wrong man, then it wouldn’t be strange if the entire unit is erased.”

The man fell silent. He realized he had stuck his head into a troublesome matter, but Chlust felt an even greater sense of crisis than his subordinate.

(Who do I rely on? My house is… I can’t even get in touch with Erselica, so that’s not happening.)

Once his subordinate left the room, Chlust scratched his head and thought.

(I’ve always reported the suspicious movements on the Empire’s side. I can’t think the higher-ups don’t know. Then did they know and plan to abandon us from the start?)

From the reinforcement of war potential around the border, Chlust had felt relief, but now he had a bad premonition.

(Our forces are being reinforced. But…)

The map of the area affixed to one of the room’s wall had memo sheets stuck all over it. It was a map that collected all the incidents on the border over the past few years.

He confirmed the war potential on Courtois’ side.

(There won’t be a problem if it’s a skirmish? No, the empire’s been tormented by our dragons for many years. It’s unthinkable that they’re not taking the dragons into account so late in the game. Our side is looking down on our foe too much.)

Getting together the reports on the black ogre, he had found one that suspected they might be an experiment from the empire. But his superior had laughed it off.

Even if that was true, Courtois had dragons, so they knew it wouldn’t be a problem.

(I can only gather info for now. And I have to inform someone of this fact…)

While his brother’s face came to mind, recalling Rudel’s present situation, he shook his head. As the white knight, Rudel stood out too much. And he wasn’t in a position of power.

“First, I have to establish casual contact with Erselica. I need as much information on the palace as possible.”

Looking at the map, Chlust scanned for the name of a port town. On a memo next to it, the town’s fighting force was listed out.

When there were three powerful dragoons stationed there, there were no other decent reinforcements. On that mismatched treatment, Chlust feared for the safety of his brother who had likewise been flown off to the outskirts.

“I hope I’m just thinking too much.”

Feeling the calm before the storm, Chlust felt something contrived in his brother being sent to the outskirts during such a period.

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Dragoon 116: The Academy and the Superior

 

At the port of Beretta stood a woman loosely wearing the knight clothing of a dragoon.

Issuing orders to her water dragon, she was having it carry construction materials.

The female knight’s gray hair was conspicuous, but more than that, her standing form was dignified. Her eyes were sharp, and her gold pupils almost looked as if they were radiating light.

To add to that, the ears twitching atop her head were adorable. And as she stood a head lower than all the people working around her, dignified as she stood, she looked adorable herself. An additional problem lay in her tail. That thick, fluffy tail was swaying left and right. It was truly adorable.

Right… the female knight pretty much looked like a young child.

“Are you Major Bennet?”

Rudel had been informed of her appearance, so he was able to find her without hesitation. The documents spelled out that she was an adorable female knight.

“And you are?”

“Ma’am! Today forth, I have been stationed in this town, my name is Rudel Arses!”

Looking over Rudel, she walked up to him. While her air was imposing, the closer she got, the more Rudel had to tilt his head downwards to look at her.

“I’ve received the report. It seems you’ve perpetuated quite some foolishness at the capital. I was wondering what sort of face someone stupid enough to be suddenly flown off to the outskirts would carry about, but you’re quite the looker… I hold a firm belief that my subordinates’ failures are to be corrected by my fist. If you want to maintain that pretty face of yours, then you’d best off not anger me.”

With Bennet glaring at him, Rudel answered without fear. Confirming his salute, “At least your salute is first rate,” she praised him.

For some reason, her tail was moving happily from left to right.

“While our mission here is important, more than that, you will learn to adapt to the environment. If the construction doesn’t go anywhere, we will bring trouble to all the brigade members who sent us here. You dragon was a gaia, was it?”

“Yes ma’am! She’s a gaia subspecies. Her name is Sakuya!”

Keeping a firm expression, Bennet hummed.

“I didn’t ask for her name. But I’ll commit it to memory. I’ll have you lot carrying cargo… and so? Where are your inspectors?”

Looking at the Major and her wagging tail, Rudel explained that they were unfastening the cargo. As a new settlement, there were many materials and tools Beretta was lacking in. Being able to carry such a large load of goods, Sakuya was a valuable means of transportation.

“Put Sakuya on standby outside the town. Don’t let her dig holes outside the designated spaces. For now, me and Elrond will be doing the work. I can’t leave detailed work to your dragon.”

After saying only that, she ordered him to return to the lodging house and rest for the day. Rudel recognized her as a captain who looked deeply into her subordinates.

(Looks like it’s going to be rough, but I’m sure this person will be alright.)

He recalled how Luxheidt told him to pray he wasn’t given a no-good superior. Even if they were strong as knights, there were plenty of dragoons who couldn’t take command. It was a gathering of strong-willed knights. Rudel felt relieved his superior didn’t seem to be the hopeless type.

Returning to her work, Bennet finished carrying materials before straddling her water dragon ‘Heleene’ to patrol the area.

Alone in the sky, she pressed her forehead to Heleene’s back, shaking a little. Her tail was moving exceedingly violently.

‘What’s wrong, Bennet?’

“Listen to this! They finally sent me a decent subordinate! When everyone asks if I’m pushing myself, or tells me I’m cute, today’s grunt was all prim and proper, he’s the ideal subordinate!”

Unlike how she acted before Rudel, Bennet raised her face in delight. Short in stature and youthful in appearance, Bennet’s greatest worry was being made light of by her men. In truth, they simply recognized her as a cute commanding officer, but the leader the girl idealized was an existence held in fear and awe by those under them.

And yet, when she did her best to become a commanding officer, no one feared her.

Let alone fear, she bit into the upper ranks of the dragoon brigade popularity contest and was treated as a mascot. While she was adored by her subordinates, she ended up giving off an unreliable impression. She thought that was why her subordinates never stayed long.

Truth be told, since she led along a valuable water dragon, she was issued a number of special missions, making it hard to affix set subordinates to her. While she knew about that, Bennet was sure it was because she was unreliable.

“Alright! I’ll do my best tomorrow!”

‘… That’s all well and good, but you’d best not get too enthusiastic and fail. Around three times back, that made them call you hopelessly cute for a while, right?’

“T-that was just because I slipped up and broke a plate, but for some reason, they kept treating me like that all the way after…”

As Bennet failed to be honest, her tail powerlessly drooped limply over Heleene’s back.

‘B-but now I’m a splendid commanding officer! From tomorrow, I’ll become his dignified commander!’

‘Yeah, yeah.’

Feeling Heleene’s disbelief, Bennet strengthened her own resolve to do her best.

Elsewhere, in the Arses House mansion, while it was a little early, a package came in from the Halbades House.

Erselica had the servants break the seal on those gifts sent to commemorate her matriculation and present them to her. The sent goods were high-class-looking tools that would be necessary at the academy.

“Luecke-dono of the Halbades House, was it? I heard he got along well with Rudel.”

On her mutter, the surrounding servants seemed to have difficulty answering. Erselica was quite displeased with those servants’ attitudes.

When her beloved Chlust was chased to the outskirts as if to drive him away, a majority of them had stopped speaking ill of Rudel in the shadows, turning their tongue to Chlust instead. A portion of them even started coming out to say they thought Rudel-sama was the more worthy heir from the start.

Erselica couldn’t forgive those servants.

Many of the servants who looked after Erselica urged her to write letters to Rudel, and even if she wrote up a letter to Chlust, it wouldn’t be sent.

(Will I be able to become a good actress for their comedy?)

Rudel- who she had mocked- was now so famous there wasn’t a soul in Courtois who didn’t know his name. On the streets, they were calling him the demon lord.

The Arses House that had oppressed such a man was now ruled by quite a dubious air. Within all of that, a package from the Halbades House had been delivered. The atmosphere of the mansion lightened up a bit.

“Oh! This one’s for me.”

As she untied the goods sent to her, before she noticed it, her stepsister Lena was there. That girl who usually wore around the clothing of a man, Erselica looked on her enviously. Honest to herself, and it looked as if she was living free as could be.

While they would never even talk in the past, at this point, they would exchange a few words if they met on the premises.

“You look happy. Even so, isn’t that box a bit too big? What did you get?”

She folded her arms as she interrogated Lena. Lena tore off the wrapping and opened the wood crate to find a spear inside. For something sent to a lady, it was an item that made one question the sender’s sense.

However…

“Whooooh! A new spear! What’s more, it’s perfect for me!”

Handing the box off to the servants, Lena started swinging the spear she took in her hands. Erselica could feel the wind raised as she spun it around.

“L-Lena-sama! It would be troublesome if you swung that around in a place like this!”

Apologizing to the panicking servants, Lena looked at the spear. Erselica didn’t have the skills to tell if a spear was good or not, but it looked to be better than the ones held by the soldiers protecting the mansion.

“To be so happy after receiving a weapon, what does that make you as a lady?”

“The one I’ve always used’s been growing old, and it’s short so this one is just right. I’m sure my brother had some input.”

Saying Luecke-san was easy to understand, Lena read through the letter inside the box. The craftsmen who prepared the spear had a shop near the academy, so go there with it, the letter read.

(Are they going to fine tune it for Lena? This is surprisingly troublesome.)

To Erselica who had never held a weapon in her life, it was a talk that made her head hurt. To that point, she had polished herself to be beautiful. And that was in order to find a good family to marry into. But the Arses House had begun to wane even more than before.

When the surroundings would no longer draw close to her, it was decided Erselica would attend the academy. She was told to go and seduce a rich nobleman.

Otherwise, the house wouldn’t hold up, her mother said.

(If you stopped wasting money, we would recover in no time.)

While she had much she wanted to say to her mother, she was still a daughter of the Arses House. Erselica had never even considered marrying someone she actually liked. No, she did her best not to think about it.

“You’re going to the academy too, right? And yet, that Luecke-dono of the Halbades House is a little strange to send you a spear. Or could it be he thought that was more than enough for the child of a mistress?”

Even she knew she was saying something terrible. But Erselica wasn’t skillful enough to suddenly change the attitude she had always taken towards another.

Stroking back her straight, blond hair, she focused her emerald eyes on Lena.

But Lena didn’t seem particularly mindful of her cynicism.

“Perhaps. And brother told me that I can get all the necessary writing implements for cheap around the academy, so that’s enough for me.”

Seeing Lena’s smile, Erselica felt she had lost again. These feelings had become a daily occurrence.

One of the servants cautioned her.

“Erselica-sama, Lena-sama is also the master’s daughter. I’m not sure you should be taking that attitude…”

“You’re right. I’m sorry, Lena (What’s with this. You all used to mock her for being the child of a mistress.)”

Erselica understood the servants’ true intent; they didn’t want to invite in the rage of Rudel, who doted on Lena. For both Erselica and Lena who were to be married off, to the servants as well, they were tools to bring money into the Arses House.

If they were both tools, then offering favorable treatment to the one most liked by the next head was only natural. Just as Erselica once was…

(This really is miserable, Chlust.)

Arriving at the lodging house of Beretta, Rudel and co. were confused to find it wasn’t a lodging house at all.

The young soldier who led them gave an explanation before Rudel, Izumi and Millia.

“My apologies. The construction isn’t making any progress, so the buildings for the knight brigade end up being something like this…”

What stood before them was clearly a private house. The ones who used to live there moved to another house for various reasons, and it was abandoned as a vacant building. That house on the slightly larger side was granted when they heard three people were coming. For knights living alone, they would be given smaller houses.

“.. I’m a man, and these are two ladies. Isn’t there anything you could do?”

Rudel felt this was going too far, but the young soldier indirectly told them to deal with it. The nervous man would only say it was impossible.

“An official lodging house will only be prepared after the knight brigade main headquarters are constructed, so… and it’s far from most of the houses of the other knights, so there shouldn’t be a problem if you make a ruckus.”

“That’s nothing but problems. No, in the first place, why are you averting your eyes?”

After looking at Izumi and Millia, the young soldier’s face turned red as he averted his eyes, Rudel thought the man was making some sort of misunderstanding and ordered him to look up so he could correct it.

But the day was reaching its end, and worn out from a long and tense voyage, Millia said the place would be fine.

“Even if we make a ruckus at this hour, I doubt anyone’ll be able to solve the problem. In that case, we’ll put up with it a few days. I want to sleep soon.”

“You’re right. Today was quite tiring.”

It wasn’t just riding by dragon back, on that trip that was almost like a constant roller coaster, the two women made bitter smiles through their pale faces.

Hearing that from the female camp, Rudel reluctantly accepted. After accepting the keys, he entered the house. Finally, the young soldier said something important as he ran away.

“They said to clean it, but we’ve been busy and… the tools are there, so you’re better off cleaning before you sleep. Then see you tomorrow.”

“He fled.”

Rudel stared over the room dumbfounded. Expanding before him was a room layered in dust. While it was minimalistically furnished, those pieces were also smeared in dust.

“T-this is a bit…”

The disastrous state of all the rooms left Izumi bewildered. It seems there had been an order to clean up, but if the order wasn’t carried out, it was meaningless.

“… The worst.”

With scornful eyes, Millia prepared a cloth and mask before breathing out a sigh. Unable to forgive this filth, it seems she was up for cleaning.

A former member of Aleist’s cleaning platoon, Millia was a valuable fighting force on this front. Izumi also went outside to prepare the cleaning utensils.

“They did say the inn was full. So this was the reason.”

When the knight at the station told them there were no openings at the inn, they had tilted their heads. But at this point, the reason had become clear, and Rudel was cleaning as well.

“We should’ve taken Aleist along.”

While half in jest, Rudel was also half serious.

“Achoo!”

Finishing up work (cleaning) for the day, Aleist was surrounded by female knights as he returned to the lodging house.

“Captain, do you have a cold? In that case, do you want to drop by my room?”
“Hey, why are you inviting him so naturally?”
“Ah, then should I go over to your room?”

On that scramble over Aleist among the female camp, the man in question gave a bitter smile as he denied it, saying it wasn’t a cold.

(Is someone gossiping about me or something?)

If gossip really could make him sneeze, then Aleist would be sneezing nonstop throughout the day. Even if he hadn’t the intent, he was called the number one playboy in the capital.

No matter how he denied it, no one would believe him. His fiancés were on the verge of surpassing seven, and his platoon was made up of all women. What’s more, at the very least, they looked at him favorably.

It wasn’t a mistake.

(Hah, even so…)

Looking around, the Millia he loved most wasn’t there. Under Izumi’s request, she had become Rudel’s special inspector. Whatever the case, even if he rejected the proposal, someone higher up the chain of command had permitted it.

(Even when the paperwork said she needed her direct superior’s permission.)

Aleist couldn’t understand why, but Millia was going further and further away. Looking up at the sky, he prayed for her safety.

(I hope we meet again.)

“Captain, are you listening?”

“Eh? Y-yeah, I’m listening. I think so too. (What were they talking about? Well, I’m sure it’s the usual complaints about the job.)”

Aleist’s cleaning duty platoon was building up frustration that they didn’t have any missions as knights. From the point of view of Aleist, who had nonchalantly devoted himself to cleaning, he had begun to believe that if he didn’t have to fight, then maybe this was for the best. He had no complaints.

In order to match his subordinate’s conversation, he merely showed sympathy.

“In that case, today’s the day you make it clear who you like most in the platoon!”
“It’s me, isn’t it, captain!”
“Stay out of this, washboard! It’s me, right Aleist?”

“…”

Aleist was holding a rom-com of his own in the capital.

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Dragoon 115: The Outer Reaches and the Academy

 

“I’m sorry, you even carried my luggage.”

High in the sky, Izumi rode aboard Sakuya’s back, calling out to Rudel’s back.

They were on the way to Beretta, in the outer reaches of the kingdom, and Izumi was accompanying Rudel to his station as a special inspector.

“Don’t worry about it. A weight increase of this extent is meaningless to Sakuya.”

‘I-it’s easy.’

Izumi’s heart ached, seeing Sakuya let out a considerably pained voice. As a subspecies of gaia dragon, Sakuya had a merit of being able to carry large loads of cargo. Even a normal gaia dragon’s loading capacity was incomparable to the other dragons.

For that reason, when they flew from the capital, they were ordered to take a large load of supplies with them.

They were headed to a land that had only begun to be set up, and the town’s present state was one where more goods were insufficient than not.

A blue sky spread far and wide to bless their departure, but Sakuya was pained by the luggage fastened onto her. They had to put in a number of breaks on the way, and Izumi wondered whether the load was simply too great.

(A number of custom tailored bags on her back, two shoulder bags per side… those bags look custom made as well…)

By the way, Izumi and Rudel’s personal bags were strapped to her neck. It was pitiful to look at her, but Rudel was constantly calling out to Sakuya.

“Do you want to rest, Sakuya?”

‘S-still fine.’

“Don’t force yourself. We still have time before I take up my post, so you can take it easy.”

‘Sakuya will do her best.’

Watching Sakuya desperately move her wings, Izumi stroked her back.

“…… I apologize for ruining the mood, but I’m here too.”

Izumi and Rudel turned to find Millia sitting with an irritated look on her face. Right, Millia had been scouted into becoming Izumi’s subordinate.

From the start, it was impossible for one person to fulfill the inspector role, and she had to choose someone. So Izumi had called out to all her acquaintances. But once they learned the job was keeping watch over Rudel, her friend and acquaintances all declined.

(No, I know the real reason, but…)

What’s more, they were declining out of good will. In order to leave Izumi alone with Rudel, they had acted out of virtuous intent.

Only one…

Only Aleist volunteered and pleaded to be her subordinate. That was probably because of Millia.

(We’re really not like that.)

Breathing a sigh, Izumi felt a little worried that the subordinate she finally managed to obtain was Millia. She thought she would decline, but contrary to her expectations, Millia promptly accepted the position. While Izumi knew she hadn’t given up on Rudel, it wasn’t her place to caution her on that matter.

(I hope nothing goes wron… no, I guess that’s not happening.)

Aleist already wanted to run away from the palace… she recalled his face when his subordinates, the female knights, forcefully dragged him back.

Whether he wanted to become a special inspector because he hated cleaning duty, or if he wanted to chase after Millia. Izumi noticed he was acting on both reasons.

(That Aleist is definitely causing a problem.)

“Do your best! Do your best, Sakuya!”

‘Aaaah! My wing is cramping!!’

In contrast, this side was somewhat heartwarming, thought Izumi. Even when there was a woman behind them who followed through conflicted emotions, Rudel and Sakuya were the same as ever.

… Wing is cramping.

“Wait! That’s bad, you should land at… nwaaaaaaaah!”

Izumi’s cry resounded across the sky.

In the end, they arrived at port town Beretta the next day.

Arriving just barely in time, Rudel left the unloading of the luggage to Izumi, hurrying to the knight station alone.

Even if it was called a port town, it was originally a place without anything. Migrants who volunteered from the capital and major cities were working hard to establish a port.

In such a situation, it was impossible to prepare a station for each individual brigade. In that land where everything was held in insufficiency, defense was left to a platoon of knights from the outer reaches, and two dragoons.

Walking down the path lined with brick-lain houses, Rudel gazed at the mismatched townscape as he made for the station.

On top of the simple-made houses, the paths were exceedingly bad. The people he passed by were making somewhat enervated faces.

(Is the situation worse than I thought?)

Both the Kingdom of Courtois and the Gaia Empire were countries you could say were based around magic. That meant that if you used magic, the work that a single person could do grew immensely. The craftsmen all made use of some sort of magic, spreading its grace.

But at the same time, the cities that had existed for ages had their hands full with simply maintaining their side. Magic was convenient, cities would grow with ease. But thinking of maintaining them, each city had come to its limit.

It was for that purpose that new lands were being claimed, and a port town was set up to obtain marine products.

But from what Rudel could see, it didn’t look like it was going so well. This wasn’t simply due to the difficulty of land cultivation. While they could use magic, in the end, that was naught but the power of man. And this was a land that had been uninhabited to that point.

There were monsters that saw it as their home, and the mana reserves of the people would be chipped down in combat. Unlike the tempered knights, even if a layman could use magic, that had its limits. Despite that, if an enemy came out, they had no choice but to fight for their lives, and looking at the result, their plans weren’t going through.

After arriving at the station, Rudel presented his identification papers to the soldier on watch.

It seems he was someone recruited on site, his service was sloppy.

“U-umm… You’re a knight, are you? What business have you come for today?”

“I’m supposed to be stationed here, starting today. For now, could you let me meet the person in charge of the area’s dragoons?”

“No, um…”

Rudel grew anxious over whether this nervous soldier would be alright, but from the back of the station, the soldier’s superior came out. He was probably the leader of the knight platoon.

His body was on the plump side, but his eyes were considerably sharp.

“You didn’t hear!? My apologies. Bennet is off overseeing construction at the harbor, so if you want to see her, you better head down there. Ah, and I’ll take your paperwork.”

“… Is that alright?”

Rudel had some resistance to handing his forms to a knight of a different jurisdiction.

But the other side laughed.

“Those sorts of regulations don’t pass through over here. We’re in charge of all paperwork.”

Handing his forms to the knight giving a dry laugh, Rudel made for the harbor. Even without a guide, he decided he’d be able to speak as long as he went towards the spots under construction.

The town itself wasn’t too big, and he wanted to get a good look over it.

“Master should have arrived around now.”

Now a fifth year, Fina looked out the corridor as she muttered.

Her guard Sophina sought confirmation on the dragoon matter.

“This is just as you’ve planned, isn’t it? Did you station those water dragons beforehand in preparation for this?”

Before it was decided Rudel would go to Beretta, Fina had shuffled around the jobs of two water dragons. Officially, it was for the sake of the settlement that wasn’t growing as planned.

“Perish the thought. Even I can’t read that far ahead. If I could, my Fluff-fluff Land would already be under construction… master, if only master would move according to my plans.”

Only Sophina could understand she was truly vexed.

(If only she wasn’t like this.)

“Well, I did change their positions, but if you ask how much meaning that action held…”

Fina had prepared numerous anti-empire measures, and the dragoon dispatchment changes was only one of them. She stationed the proficient ones close to the empire’s border.

With no authority of her own, Fina could only use her father Albach. But even Sophina could keenly sense the weakening of Albach’s political power.

When she wanted to prepare for the empire as soon as possible, Albach was unable to move. If Fina didn’t move herself, it seems they wouldn’t even get any decent information. The kingdom was done for, the fact she occasionally thought so was Sophina’s secret.

“I was sure you simply intended to send a female knight of the wolf tribe over to Rudel.”

The individual Sophina brought up in jest was a woman of the wolf tribe contracted to a water dragon, ‘Bennet’. While there were numerous feline demi-humans around Fina, there weren’t any of the dog or wolf tribes. That’s why Sophina said it as a joke.

Honestly, she never thought such a thing. It was certain that woman was a proficient dragoon… however.

“O-of course not. There’s no way that could be true. Now let us hurry to my next class.”

“… Princess.”

“What is it? Do you intend to make me late, Sophina?”

“Your next class is that way.”

As Fina turned right at the T-shaped hallway, Sophina pointed towards the left passage. Expressionlessly and silently, Fina walked down the path Sophina instructed.

Confirming her surroundings, and seeing there was no one around, Sophina ordered her subordinates to fortify the area. Those female knights surrounded their guard target Fina.

And… Sophina grasped both Fina’s shoulders to ask.

“So how is it really?”

“… Hmm, looks like I can’t lie to you.”

Giving up, Fina began reciting the truth. It was just as Sophina had considered as a joke.

“Female knights of the wolf tribe are exceedingly valuable. There are few to be found among all the knights of Courtois… without getting her in his hands, do you think master could ever become the king of fluff? No, that’s impossible. In order to make my master the fluffmeister, Iiaaaaiaa!”

Around the end, Sophina started shaking Fina back and forth, her subordinates didn’t stop her. What irritated her was largely Fina’s use of the term fluffmeister.

(This girl definitely thought it was clever the moment it came out of her mouth.)

Her glasses misaligned, her breaths short, Sophina shook Fina. It was a scene to make one’s blood curdle.

“Do you think this is a fluffing joke!? The one who said we’re in an important period was you, princess. Get a grip already!”

Once the shaking stopped, Fina remained expressionless, but to Sophina, it looked like her face was more prim than usual. When she thought she was going to make an excuse…

“You must change that way of thought, Sophina. It isn’t that I am handing a fluffy to the fluffmeister, the fluffies are leaping into my master’s hands. I never really thought he would be going to the wolf tribe’s place, but this must be fate. Fluffadise is telling my master to become the fluffmeisteeeeeEEer!”

Sophina shook her back and forth once more, she continued shaking her until just before class was to begin.

Meanwhile, the teachers who surrounded the headmaster in the staffroom held bouquets of flowers in their hands as they directed smiles.

“Put a stop to it, people! What you are trying to do is a violation of school regulation!”

But only for the headmaster putting up resistance, his face was pale as he refused their proposal. Of course he would, the banner draped over the staffroom read:

‘Congratulations on Your Third Term as Headmaster’

Normally, headmasters would swap out after two terms, at longest. And yet, his surroundings were informing him his third one was set in stone. The headmaster couldn’t understand.

(Why? They were normal up to yesterday, were they not! I was already preparing to pass it on!)

He recalled his preparations to hand over the role, the preparations he had carried out thinking these would be his final days. By the graduation of the generation of super problem children, he had returned to those nostalgic school days of times passed.

A minor problem was the fact Fina was a surprising problem child herself. In the dead of the night, she would let out strange sounds as she did paperwork, and she would skip class to wander outside the academy. Apart from that, it was the same as before… no, thinking of how there were fewer intruders in the girls’ dorm, it could even be said it was more decent than before.

And yet…

“Hahaha, what might you be talking about, headmaster! There is no such regulation in the academy.”
“All our staff have been deeply moved, working under such a wonderful headmaster.”
“It was a unanimous decision.”

While everyone was laughing, their eyes were not.

“There’s such a thing as a tacit agreement! And I told you I was ready to retire!  (These guys are lying. Why. What exactly happened to them!?)”

The headmaster looked at his aid, the deputy headmaster. The man was at an age where, if he didn’t become the next headmaster, he wouldn’t have another chance. The headmaster knew, when his own second term was decided, the man had been quite vexed. But now, “I’ll do my best to support you,” he muttered with a smile.

“… Did something happen?”

The headmaster looked at a weak-willed teacher. That teacher had caused a problem before, and he had stuck up for her. So he knew she wouldn’t lie to him.

As the surroundings returned to silence, the truth the headmaster’s stare drew from that teacher was a dreadful one indeed.

“T-the list of next year’s freshmen has come in.”

“I’m sure it has. For young nobles, they get their enrollment forms done nice and early. It shouldn’t be a problem for it to finish up around this…! It couldn’t be.”

“My deepest apologies! I… I saw it. Rudel-dono’s sister of another mother, I saw the devil… I saw the Rudel-dono in her!”

The staff members spoke of their memories from when Lena once came to the academy. The form of a brother doting on his sister was heartwarming, but the problem lay in her statements.

‘I want to fight Eunius-san.’
‘The academy is a place to pick fights.’
‘Do you think I’ll be able to destroy a facility too?’

The teachers’ dramatized memories spread along with her finalized enrolment. The appearance of Rudel-female-version had brought a complete change to the peaceful staff room.

As a result of the urgent discussion that followed, talks came to the idea the headmaster would do something about it. It was a result of the headmaster’s ability to handle things needlessly well.

“Ah, it’s impossible for me,” The deputy headmaster went as far as to say, refusing the headmaster seat in its early stages.

“D-don’t mess around with me, people. No matter how you look at it, you shouldn’t put your guard up before you even meet her. She might actually be an honest and good kid.”

“Even if she’s an honest and good kid, I don’t want another problem child. And I could tell! That child gave off the same feeling as Rudel-dono and the others.”

Everyone nodded.

Driven to the brink, the headmaster looked at the papers spread across his desk. There was a document permitting his continued service; it had already received the palace’s seal, and all he had to do was sign.

“Calm down! First, let’s sit down and talk!”

“We’ve received the palace’s approval. All that’s left is your decision. Our will is unchanging!”

A few hours later, an exhausted headmaster signed the forms. In that staff room where his was the only dark face, the other staff members rejoiced and blessed him.

In the academy, Fina’s graduation and Lena’s enrollment were drawing near.

Posted in Dragoon | Tagged | 45 Comments

Dragoon 114: The Knight Brigade and the Outskirts

 

The unveiling display over, the new knight recruits were officially recognized by the knight brigades they were enlisted in.

Even if they had left the academy, the work environment wasn’t kind enough to fully recognize new hires. That held the same for knights who had piled up experience. The knights who were stationed to elite units had to train themselves up from square one once more.

From brigade to brigade, the necessary skills differed.

As a dragoon, Rudel had to learn how to handle a dragon. There were some things he could never obtain from Mystith’s partial wisdom. No, perhaps it was more accurate to say what she couldn’t teach him was the majority.

A man specialized in techniques no longer necessary in the modern era, that was the dragoon called Rudel.

But Rudel had the fundamental techniques pounded into him by his superior officers, and now he stood in the training ground, before the captain and vice-captain of the brigade

Around, the term’s newbies and a few veterans took part.

Before the new recruits, Oldart mixed in some jokes with his usual smile as he explained.

“I see you’re making some nice faces. With this, you’re a member of our oddball squad. But this charmer in his prime is a separate story, so don’t group us together!”

“… Oldart, no one cares, just get on with it.”

Alejandro’s forehead twitched at his captain’s joke as he offered some words of caution. Rudel and the other recruits had already been informed what they had been called for.

One on one battle with a veteran dragoon.

This was largely to have the recruits feel upfront what their current selves were lacking. What’s more, the veterans who kept close to the king consisted of nothing but competent ones.

Those newbies would suddenly be put against those with top-class abilities.

“This is why people who don’t get jokes are… well then, we’ll go ahead and announce your opponents! But first off, Rudel!”

“Yes sir!”

As Rudel replied, taking one step forward, Oldart continued on with an unpleasant look on his face.

“I really, really can’t stand it, but your opponent is me. I don’t want to fight that giant girly and a battle junky like you, but this is part of my job description, so I’ll reluctantly take it on. Follow me! … Everyone else, confirm your opponents with the vice-captain.”

Ordering Rudel to follow, Oldart walked out of the training grounds.

Chasing after his back, Rudel started to question it, and seeing his expression, Oldart breathed out a sigh.

“Why am I the only one fighting in a separate place? That’s the face you’re making. Listen here, you and your girly are special, so we’ll fight in a place where the collateral damage doesn’t matter.”

“Is that true? Then I can fight seriously without paying mind to my surround–”
“Idiot! Are you trying to kill me!?”

Seeing Oldart seriously reluctant, Rudel made a regretful face. He had been given the chance to fight the active captain of the dragoon knight brigade. Surely Rudel wanted to have a serious match.

“I’m already at that age. If I was just a little younger, I’d be able to give it my all.”

“That’s unfortunate. I wanted to fight a serious captain.”

“… Why do you look so disappointed? It’s that, you know. In my golden days, I really was amazing, you hear. I was ridiculously strong; around the time I first enlisted, my superior told me I’d be the next captain. Even if I can’t go all out, I’m not going to lose to you.”

“Is that true?”

“No doubt about it. You really should be thankful I’m a charmer in his prime. If I was a little younger, in my energetic, popular days, I’d be sending you right to the hospital.”

“I’m already used to be carted off to hospital rooms, so I’ll be fine!”

“… T-that so.”

Rudel took his lie as fact, but if he was chosen as next chief when he enlisted, then Oldart would have to have been appointed captain much, much earlier.

“Hey, I might joke around a bit, but you really are easy to fool. You should learn to doubt others.”

“About what?”

“Look! Like if I was selected as the next captain, then the previous captain must have been in service for a long, LONG time! I’m waiting for you to say something out. It’s an obvious lie!”

“Lie… so you were deceiving me!”

“You’re late to the party! Ah, I don’t like this guy.”

In that case, perhaps his strength is also a lie, Rudel began to doubt. You couldn’t say Oldart was high in stature. And rather than Alejandro, who gave off the air of a seasoned warrior at a glance, his face was well in order, and he was usually joking around.

The captain was required to be apt in negotiations with the higher-ups and to have an affinity for paperwork. For that sake, there were rumors that he might fall short in ability, that the vice-captain was the real power behind the organization, and the captain was to be a dragoon skilled in governmental affairs.

Considering that possibility, Rudel felt he would have preferred to fight the vice-captain.

A few hours later, Rudel was being chased by Oldart over the backwoods distanced from human habitation.

“Hey, what’s wrong.”

Straddling his grey dragon, even in aerial combat, Oldart gave off an air of leisure. The giant Sakuya was unaccustomed to flying. If she was on the run, she’d be easily caught up to.

“Kuh!”

Turning towards Oldart and his dragon approaching close behind, Rudel stuck out his left hand and produced his shields of light. Their numbers climbed to several dozens, impeding Oldart’s path.

But that didn’t change the speed he gave chase.

He followed, avoiding them as if it were only natural. The shields in his way were destroyed by a small consecutive firing of his dragon’s breath. He closed in using only the minimum necessary movements.

“Those are some convenient shields, but humans aside… they’re less than paper before a dragon. And that’s no good. You’ve taken your mind off your dragon. The way you’re going…”

Cautioned by Oldart, Rudel noticed and shouted orders to Sakuya.

“Sakuya, ascend!”

‘Wowowhoah, I-I can’t!’

Rudel had been too mindful of his rear, and through the link that connected their minds, Sakuya had grown negligent of what was in front of her as well. By Rudel’s mind being too taken by the rear, Sakuya had been unable to discern where her own consciousness was directed.

As a result, Sakuya was just about to collide with the slope of a mountain. Noticing just in the nick of time, she got off with just her scales scraped along the mountain crags, but because of that, Sakuya’s speed had fallen as she swayed unsteadily in the air.

Before Rudel and Sakuya full of openings, Oldart went on the offense.

“No good. No good at all.”

Flying as if to draw a circle with Sakuya at the center, Oldart’s dragon finely tuned its altitude as if made sport of Rudel and Sakuya.

“Sakuya, steady and brace yourself. You can brush off a few attacks, right?”

‘Yeah!’

The two had decided to wait for Oldart’s dragon to make a move, but unlike his past fight with Enora, this felt faster. They were surely going slower than a wind dragon, and in truth, the captain’s dragon boasted relatively average abilities as a gray dragon.

But ever since the fight with Oldart began, Rudel had been unable to go on the offense.

(He isn’t fast. This person… the captain is skillful.)

While Rudel prepared all the techniques he had to cope with the onslaught, Oldart showed a smile from atop his dragon.

“No good. The way you’re going, I can’t even give you a fifty.”

Evaluating Rudel’s actions, Oldart issued orders for his dragon to begin its attacks. All the attacks that hit Sakuya were low in output, but they were pinpointed at her vitals.

Unable to properly beat her wings, her stance was easily crumbled.

As Sakuya fell, squirming through the air, Rudel leapt down. There, Oldart descended with his dragon.

While the match had been settled, it seems they were going to continue. But it wasn’t dragon on dragon. This would be a land battle between Rudel and Oldart.

“Back there, you should’ve used the mountain to protect your rear. And the narrowness of your field of vision when you’re being chased… looks like you’re not ready for real battle yet.”

Oldart laughed as he pulled the sword at his waist, so Rudel pulled his blade as well. Both of them had been wearing the robes of the dragoon brigade, but thinking it would be a hindrance, Rudel threw his robe down.

“Let’s go.”

Watched over by Sakuya, dizzy from her fall, Rudel challenged the captain to a match. He swiftly circled around to the captain’s back, but perhaps his movements had been read, as Oldart lightly stepped to the side to dodge him.

Growing irritated, Rudel used his instant movement, but Oldart hummed a tune as he dealt with those blows.

“Your emergency stops are still unpolished. When you get used to it, they’re too easy to deal with. Well, I guess this is what you can expect from a student’s level.”

Catching Rudel’s sword with the one handed sword in his right hand, he instantly stepped in to seal off his movements. From his left hand concealed in his robe, he thrust out a dagger, stopping it just short of Rudel’s throat.

“I-I admit defeat.”

Rudel, who had been a bit in doubt over his opponent’s abilities, shed a cold sweat as he looked at the laughing captain.

“Oy, oy, don’t look at me like that. You’re making me blush.”

“Honestly, I never thought you’d be this strong. As a member of the brigade, I deeply apologize for doubting my captain.”

“Uwah… he ignores my jokes and hits in with pure honesty. That’s the sort of thing you’re not supposed to say even if you think it. A charmer in his prime is weak to stabs at the heart, you should treat him with care.”

The two of them conversed as they sheathed their swords, and even now Oldart looked full of openings. Rudel still seemed perplexed over his own loss, so Oldart took a seat on a rock that went about up to his knees. Stroking his chin, he began answering what Rudel was probably questioning.

“Now then, about your evaluation… to be totally honest, spec-wise, it would be easier to count your ranking in the dragoon brigade starting from the top. You’ve surpassed me as well.”

As Rudel corrected his posture where he stood, Oldart told him to take a seat as well before continuing on. In order to find out what he was lacking, Rudel was directing him with serious eyes.

“However! … Your performance is lower-middle class, at best. Do you know the reason?”

“No idea!”

On Rudel’s words without any fabrication, Oldart nodded.

“Alright! I want to caution you on not giving it any thought, but I’m sure you’d have done better if you already knew. Why don’t you try thinking over it yourself fo… no, wait, you really should stop using your head after all.”

Covering his face with his right hand, Oldart breathed a sigh as he informed Rudel of what he was lacking.

“It’s simply that your combat techniques are shoddy. And your field of vision is too narrow. Those two points. You were so focused on yourself you hadn’t the mind to spare for your little girly. While you’d usually be fine, when backed into a corner, the cracks start to spread. You instantly try to do something about it yourself and fail as a result.”

Oldart used the shields of light he put up to impede his path as an example. Those were pretty much useless before a dragon. If he wanted to, he could have rammed straight through them and proceeded on.

And it wasn’t as if everything ranked lower than taking on dragoons. If he took on troublesome monsters, then there were enemies who were fearsome in their pure bulk.

“You’ve no leisure in battle. Sure enough, the girly has plenty of things she’s no good at, but if a mid-tier dragoon was controlling her, I’d have no choice but to change my approach. That’s just how powerful that girl’s weapons are. You should trust in your partner a bit more.”

‘… Rudel, Sakuya is working hard too.’

Seeing Sakuya worry for him, Rudel recalled he had definitely tried to do it all on his own.

Oldart informed, not using the terrain, and having Sakuya, who wasn’t good at flying, be on the run was a mistake. Rudel nodded as he listened to those words.

“For your field of vision, just try to have a bit more leisure. There’s no point in panicking. There’s a possibility you might mistake your decisions. Look around a bit more, and think of the power difference between you and your foe.”

Unlike his usual attitude, Oldart was saying some earnest things, and to Rudel, he looked like a true charmer in his prime.

Patting off his robe as he stood, while it was still early, Oldart proposed for them to return.

“Now then, let’s end the lecture there and go back. It’s been a while since I last trained, and my hip is…”
“Please fight me again!”

“… Eh?”

When Rudel pleaded for another fight, Oldart’s face stiffened.

“I understand that I have things I am lacking. But rather than understanding it in my head, I think it would be better for my body to remember it. If I fight you again, I’m sure I can climb to greater…”

“Ah~, no, I really am tired, or rather… eh? You’re serious?”

“Yes!”

‘Sakuya will do her best too!’

Having recovered, Sakuya stood and roared to answer Rudel’s expectations. Oldart and his partner gray dragon were making truly reluctant faces.

It had already grown dark when an exhausted Oldart returned to the training ground, leading along a tattered Sakuya and Rudel.

Having been informed by the veterans on their areas to work on, the new dragoon recruits were conversing over the stations they would be appointed to the following day.

They were comrades who had trained together, and while their ages differed, they spoke with the smiles of colleagues.

“Saas, you were stationed in the trade city?”

On Luxheidt’s question, Saas nodded cynically.

“I’ve no complaints I was stationed at such an important point. Besides the fact my job’s mainly hauling cargo.”

Dragons were able to fly through the sky, and due to their high maintenance cost, they would have to take on jobs like these. The more were sent to the outskirts, the more terrible their financial circumstances became.

It was laughed that the reason dragoons were stationed in trade cities with plenty of people and adventurers was to scrape together spare change. But it was also true there was no safer transport of goods than by dragon.

“It’s us dragoons’ greatest worry, after all. By the way, Enora is… from how depressed she looks, I doubt it’s the outskirts.”

Everyone looked at Enora, who had grown dark, before shifting their gaze towards Rudel, who rejoiced over being sent to the far off reaches of the kingdom. While it was all and well for him, Luxheidt knew Enora had proposed she would follow Rudel.

(So her old man declined.)

“I’m going to be stationed right in the capital… hah.”

By the problems Enora had caused, at this point, it seemed her relationship with her father had improved a bit. But even so, Enora’s trip to the outskirts wasn’t granted.

With a wild dragon obeying her, Enora was a valuable addition to the dragoon brigade. Thinking of her future, they wanted to nurture her in the capital with care.

And yet, Rudel was making a perplexed face.

“Enora, you don’t like your station? Well, there will be a transfer in a few years, so just place your hopes on the next one.”

It was natural if they hadn’t gotten the positions they wanted, but with the man in question not noticing the underlying problem, the air grew awkward. Those around looked at Luxheidt, so he shrugged and sent out a lifeboat.

“But Enora, you have it hard, making a contract with a wind dragon. You’ll be flying all over the place, carrying messages and doing urgent missions… you might have to send some messages to the outskirts as well.”

But Enora didn’t perk up. Her main problem was the new position that had been created. From the high knight brigade on the verge of dismantlement, an officer had been sent to keep watch over Rudel. She would follow Rudel to the outskirts. What’s more, she was a classmate, a girl who got along well with him at the academy.

It would be stranger if no problems occurred.

“Right, I might go from time to time. But if the two who are always together become lovers… I don’t think I’ll be able to recover.”

(This girl is a pain. Well, she’s easier to talk to than before, but the gap with her appearance is amazing.)

While she gave off an air as if she might play around, Enora’s wholeheartedness left her surroundings perplexed.

“So Rudel, where exactly on the outskirts are you headed?”

Giving up on cheering Enora up, Luxheidt smacked the question into the person he was most curious about. The only one he was interested was Rudel, who had determined to be interesting.

“It’s a recently set up post. They started constructing a port there a few years ago… The town’s called Beretta.”

“Beretta, eh… as I recall, the place is dangerous, so they have other dragoons dispatched as well. It’s a port town, so two water dragons, and one gray dragon.”

Rudel looked through the documents on his new workstation and offered a correction to Luxheidt’s explanation.

“No, since I’m being stationed, one of them’s being taken off. It’s just two water dragons now.”

The area’s development wasn’t getting anywhere, so to put it all in order, the kingdom had invested its valuable water dragons into it.

Luxheidt thought the empire’s current state of affairs was dangerous. The information coming in was scarce, but still, he felt a sense of danger.

However…

(Is being stationed in a place like that a condition to be a hero?)

While he felt sorry for him, he also found Rudel’s deployment to be interesting.

“They say it’s a pretty place, so if I ever get a day off, I might go and see.”

As Saas called over, Rudel rejoiced and said he would show him around at that time. Luxheid tactfully turned that talk towards Enora, giving her a chance to go to the outskirts to see Rudel.

Seeing Enora’s delight, Luxheidt thought.

(She really is easy to please.)

Posted in Dragoon | Tagged | 33 Comments