Continues on from Chapter 6 – Ansarivan’s Five Hundred Years Festival
After handing Rebecca over to the medical team to take care of, Ash and Eco headed over to the contestants’ lounge together.
“Hey! Ash! Eco!”
Hearing the anxious voice catching up to them from behind, both Ash and Eco turned around to look back. With a desperate expression, Raymond came straight towards them. Upon seeing that he was wearing a red T-shirt, Ash guessed that he was probably cheering for Rebecca.
“This guy really is heartless…”
At the same time that Ash couldn’t help sighing, he suddenly remembered something important.
“Oh yeah, Raymond! In fact—”
“My <Seikoku> is gone! What’s going on right now!?”
Raymond suddenly shouted, interrupting Ash’s words. It was difficult to imagine that Raymond could actually act so seriously.
“Uh, that’s because…”
Ash hesitated as he could not really explain why. At this time, Eco opened her palm and showed it to Raymond.
“I believe that this should be your <Seikoku>.”
“What are you saying!? If I’m not with Brigid then…?”
“The link between you two seems to have been cut off. I’m sorry!”
Ash put his hands together, and bowed to Raymond in apology.
“This isn’t a problem that can be solved with a mere apology! If something went wrong, what would happen if Brigid lost its life?”
“It won’t happen, Eco shared some of my supply of Astral to Brigid, so it won’t be harmed or lose its life.”
“If that’s the case then it’s a relief, the problem is that I’m not even called a Breeder anymore. If the Academy were to find out, I’ll definitely be expelled!”
“There was actually such a thing…!”
Ash discovered that this was no trivial matter. He certainly did not want to see Raymond drop out of the Academy as a result, all because he had involved Brigid in his battle.
“Anyhow, let’s discuss it slowly in the contestants’ lounge. Just calm down first—”
Just at that time, as if to stop Ash from speaking further—
An icy voice was suddenly heard. Without even turning back to look, Ash could tell from her voice that that person was Mirabel Lautreamont. The maid Eunice followed behind her.
“Headmistress! D-Did you hear our conversation just now…?”
Ash timidly trembled and murmured as he turned around, and Mirabel nodded in affirmation.
“Frankly speaking, I thought that this was going to be a boring event, but you allowed me to see an interesting phenomenon. In fact, I have always been interested in the magic device <Yggdrasil>, but…”
Speaking up to that point, Mirabel directed her eyes towards Eco’s right hand. The <Seikoku> which originally symbolised the relationship of master and servant between Raymond and Brigid was now clearly imprinted on her hand.
“I suspect that what Eco has done to Brigid is similar to the effect of <Yggdrasil>.”
The magic device <Yggdrasil> — it was a method through which an immense amount of magic energy could be transferred, a device which forced a dragon which had not yet grown into a Maestro become a Maestro. The Dark Dragon King Mordred used that function in the past to force Eco into her ‘true form’.
“If my conjectures are correct, Brigid’s Maestro form will only last for a short period of time. If it was done through <Yggdrasil>, then it would be a different matter entirely, and as for the effect that Eco inadvertently produced, I think the effect will wear off sooner or later. So—”
Mirabel stared straight at Raymond. Being stared at directly with an icy glare, Raymond immediately stiffened.
“You’re called Raymond Kirkland, right? I’m not going to appoint you as a Dragonar, and neither am I going to force you to drop out of the Academy. For the time being, let’s just wait and see.”
After finishing what she needed to say, Mirabel leisurely turned around and left. Eunice closely followed her indifferent figure as she left.
“Haha…that’s great, Raymond. Although her Royal Highness Mirabel looks rather cold on the outside, she’s actually a nice person.”
“That is true, but, something like this only happened today because you’re the one who insisted on borrowing Brigid! So you also have to lend Eco to me in return—”
At that time, a monstrous figure suddenly appeared, quickly interrupting Raymond’s words.
It was actually Brigid which had become a Maestro. It picked Raymond up by his collar with its mouth, and then plodded away with heavy steps.
“Wah! I was just joking back then! Just joking! Y-You’re the only one in my heart! I swear that I haven’t thought about choosing Eco over you at all!”
Currently hanging in mid-air, Raymond was taken away by Brigid.
“I will pray for your safety, Raymond…”
After Ash muttered that quietly, Eco shook her head as she shouted
“Is that guy an idiot!?”
In the first round, Rebecca’s Ark was shattered, and Cú Chulainn also suffered serious damage to its body. Not only was the venue in uproar, the arena itself was also riddled with holes from Rebecca’s magic bullets, so repair work was necessary. Thus, it was decided that the second and third rounds which were originally scheduled on the same day would be postponed until the next day. In the evening — after the entrance to the arena had been closed, and after he had been relieved of his tasks as a member of the organising committee, Ash decided to visit Rebecca. Not entirely sure about the particular reason why, Ash felt that going alone to visit her would be more appropriate, and so he secretly slipped out of the Academy by himself. His destination was the hospital, the news of Rebecca’s hospitalisation there was released by the Academy. On the way to the hospital, Ash bought a bouquet of flowers from the florist in the shopping district. After about ten minutes’ walk from the florist, he finally arrived at the municipal hospital. It was a pure white building, with the mark of a red cross on it. This hospital was also the only general hospital within the city of Ansarivan.
“Woah…what’s going on!?”
In front of the hospital’s entrance was a crowd of male and female students in uniform who clogged up the entire area. Everyone carried gifts or bouquets of flowers for visiting patients, and the scene was very lively. It was obvious that all of these people were here to visit Rebecca. Aside from the students, there were also many who appeared to be news or magazine journalists, as well as those of the general public who came to join in the with the lively atmosphere. There were probably more than a hundred people present. Security guards had lined up to form a wall, and they worked hard to stop the invasion of visitors. Ash was once again able to experience just how popular Rebecca was. But, he also felt that it would be extremely dangerous for him to show his face outside as the one who had defeated Rebecca.
“If someone recognises me, they might try to catch me and beat me up…”
Ash could do nothing but helplessly give up on trying to visit her, and was ready to turn around to leave. At that time, his arm was suddenly pulled by someone.
Ash was dragged away from the hospital by someone just like that.
“You wouldn’t happen to be Rebecca-san, right!?”
Ash sped up his pace as he spoke to the person in front of him. The girl running in front of him was wearing the Academy’s uniform. Exposed below her skirt was a pair of beautifully contoured legs wearing black tights. Despite wearing a hat to cover her eyes, her waist long red hair was still highly conspicuous. The two of them passed by a park as they ran, and so the young girl invited Ash to sit on a bench to rest for a while. After they sat down side by side, the girl lifted the brim of her hat away slightly. Revealed underneath the brim of that hat were a pair of bold and round emerald eyes that seemed to sparkle. This feeling was almost like having a private tryst with a stage actress, and Ash couldn’t help feeling butterflies in his stomach as his heart began to beat out of control.
“Rebecca-san, it really is you!”
“Phew. We shouldn’t need to be afraid of being found now that we’ve escaped here.”
Rebecca’s attitude seemed unperturbed.
“U-Umm…shouldn’t you be staying in the hospital?”
“Everyone seems so anxious, but it’s really no big deal. Fortunately, I had the protection of my Ark, so my body doesn’t have any serious problems, but I still need to be hospitalised for three days to undergo some complicated checks. Anyway, I happened to see you wandering around outside when I jumped out of the window from the ward, so I was quite surprised.”
“So that’s how it was…it’s good that you found me, otherwise I would have gone home.”
Ash smiled wryly as he spoke, but he immediately tensed with a solemn expression on his face.
“It was I who broke Rebecca’s Ark…I’m sorry.”
“Haah…when you were in the basic course, were you actually listening in class? An Ark is a crystallisation of magic, as long as Cú Chulainn remembers the design, it doesn’t matter how many times it’s regenerated.”
“Y-Yeah. Then I’ll be relieved.”
“It’s just that Cú Chulainn is a very prideful dragon. Next time, it’ll work hard to design a third type of Ark which can withstand the power of Excalibur.”
Ash felt admiration towards Cú Chulainn’s ambition.
“U-Umm, this is for you—”
Ash shyly handed the bouquet of flowers over to Rebecca. After all, this was the first time that he had ever given flowers to a girl, even though it was just a courtesy for visiting a patient, he still felt highly embarrassed nonetheless. Because the flowers were casually selected, Ash didn’t know what the name of the flower was. He simply saw that the colour of the petals was a bright red, so they probably suited Rebecca’s appearance.
“Thank you. I’ll place them in the best position in the ward for decoration.”
Rebecca smiled elegantly, and then accepted the flowers.
“A-Ash, would it be convenient for you to chat with me for a bit?”
The tone of Rebecca’s voice seemed slightly hesitant. And for her, who was usually quite calm, she seemed to wriggle and fidget with her body at that time out of unease.
“T-Talk about what?”
Rebecca’s appearance, lovely rather than beautiful or dignified, made Ash feel restless.
“Well…as the Student Council President, I have always been quietly watching your actions. Your performance has repeatedly exceeded my expectations, and you’ve overcome a countless number of difficulties. Currently, it’s already a fact that you’re the knight of the Avalon’s Holy Dragons’ Emperor Family. You’ve really grown a lot, and now, no one will see you as a ‘problem student’ anymore, and even if there are people who hold such a bias against you, I won’t forgive them.”
After Ash revealed a puzzled look, Rebecca let out a long sigh.
“Actually, why don’t I feel confused? Am I caring about you only with my identity as the ‘Student Council President’? Or am I looking forward to things from you as a woman? I’m feeling more and more confused about it myself.”
—As a woman.
The charm which was hidden in that sentence made Ash’s heart skip a beat.
“I can certainly understand the situation that you are in quite clearly. Eco, Silvia, Lucca, Jessica…everyone has a good impression of you and shows favour to you. If even I were to jump into the liveliness and commotion, it may make people think that I’m being childish. To begin with, showing my fancy towards you in such a direct manner like them doesn’t seem like something I’ll be able to do…”
Ash was barely holding onto his rationality, and he held back his urge to put his arms around Rebecca’s shoulders.
“I think that you also should have noticed, which is why you deliberately came alone to visit me, right? You probably came to ask me about the matchup from the ballot, right?”
“I didn’t want to ask about Rebecca-san’s plans…but I do hope to know the truth.”
“The truth is as you imagine. In order to fight against you in the draw, I made my move during the selection. But the only thing that I meddled with was the tournament matchup. The result which led to the split group activity in Fianna Forest was purely by chance. In regards to that, you absolutely must believe me.”
“Of course I believe you.”
“…You really are kind of heart, it seems that I was still not able to correct your overly naïve attitude. Having said that though, if gentle kindness is your charm, perhaps keeping it that way isn’t a bad thing.”
After Rebecca stood up, she turned around to look at Ash.
“It’s almost time I went back to the hospital.”
“Then I’ll go back to the Academy.”
Rebecca slightly bent over her upper body, and then looked up towards Ash’s face. It was the first time that Ash had seen Rebecca do something so adorable, and his heart began to race so fast that it felt as though it was about to burst. Only then did he see Rebecca reveal a devilish smile, as she asked him a question which made him incredibly embarrassed.
“Did you see my body?”
“T-Th-That was something that couldn’t be helped!”
Ash felt extremely embarrassed, and steam was about to puff out of his ears. That scene then began to clearly resurface in his mind, and the efforts that he had previously made to try not to think about it all came to naught. Like a beautiful statue that God himself had crafted, her naked body could only be described as perfect… After Rebecca placed her hands on her hips, she resolutely said
“Listen, Ash. The only one person who can savour the aftertaste of my naked body is you.”
“Wah! What are you saying!?”
Seeing Ash panic exaggeratedly with his arms flailing about, Rebecca couldn’t help letting out a slight giggle.
“Haha, sorry. I was half-joking there.”
“Only half of that was a joke!?”
After Rebecca’s face was lit up with a cheerful smile, she casually fiddled with her proud red hair. Then, a serious expression returned to her face. Just from the change in the expression of her eyes, Ash couldn’t help tensing up slightly.
“I have to stay in the hospital, so I’m leaving the Five Hundred Years Festival to you. I’ll definitely be discharged from the hospital before the final round, so I’ll be watching your battle from the VIP gallery.”
Rebecca pretended to inadvertently lean towards Ash. When their bodies came close enough that they were in contact with each other, and in the instant that Ash was startled, a pair of soft lips swiftly kissed his cheek.
“You have to let go to allow Oscar a hit, and then steal victory from her.”
By the time that Ash realised he had been kissed and stared blankly ahead as if he had woken up from a dream, Rebecca had already left this sentence behind, and unconcernedly left. A gust of autumn wind blew through the desolate park.
“Rebecca-san, she…kissed me…?”
The touch of Rebecca’s kiss was still vaguely left behind on his cheek. All that Ash could do was stand in the same spot, motionlessly.
“The Avalon Knight Dragner I” is closed.
(Parts 1 to 2) (17/10)