Continues on from Chapter 1 – Ursula’s Visit
Continues on to Chapter 3 – The Holy Forest ~Ecbald Autonomous Region~
Just after eight o’clock in the morning—.
A group of people prepared to have breakfast in the dining room of the living quarters whilst holding a meeting at the same time. With Ash as their leader, those in attendance included Eco, Silvia, Mirabel, Rebecca, Lucca, Jessica, Anya, Celes, Max and Raymond. Incidentally, since Navi did not require food, she abstained from attending the meeting.
Ash quietly peered sideways towards Mirabel. As usual, she had an intelligent expression fitting of her name as the <Argento Magus>. Because of an incident in the morning, she had shut herself away in her room. She had insisted on staying inside even when Captain Ursula showed up, so it must’ve been quite a blow mentally. Ash finally felt a bit relieved to see Mirabel attend the meeting of her own volition.
A dazzling array of various colourful dishes lined the table. Although meals on the ship were usually based on preserved food, this morning was a fresh change of pace. There were freshly baked bread rolls, fluffy omelettes, crispy seared bacon, sausages, a thick soup with various vegetables, and yoghurt with plenty of honey. As for drinks, there was milk tea. In addition, there were also freshly made crepes. Crepes happened to be Eco’s favourite food. Cosette had probably prepared them specially for Eco.
“I didn’t think I’d ever be able to have crepes before returning to Ansarivan…I’m so touched!”
Eco was moved to tears, and the first thing that she picked up and put in her mouth was a crepe.
Eco relished the taste as she munched down, and a joyful expression spread across her face. Seeing her like that, Ash couldn’t help but reach out for a crepe so he could try a bite as well.
“Mmm! This is…!”
The instant that he took a bite, the sweetness and acetic flavour of strawberries melded with the crispy texture of apple slices that overflowed in his mouth. At the same time, the melting cream danced vividly on the tip of his tongue. In amazement, Ash thought to himself that the quality was on par with what one could expect at a store. Cosette and Eunice were still hard at work in the kitchen. Thanks to the assistance of Bright Dragon Crystals, the firepower required for cooking was more than sufficient.
“Where did all of these fresh ingredients come from?”
Ash asked out of curiosity, to which Cosette replied,
“They’re a souvenir from Captain Ursula.”
Ash was surprised because he had never heard Ursula mention this at all. Ursula certainly thought highly and was considerate of Ash given that she silently left all of this behind. After mentally expressing his thanks to Ursula, Ash looked around at everyone’s faces.
“Well, let’s have breakfast…while we also begin to discuss the policy that we will adopt from here on out.”
Everyone’s eyes focused on Ash. Ash first decided to relay the information that he had obtained from Uriel.
“This morning, when we extradited Prince Uriel and handed him over to the Captain of the Lautreamont Order of Holy Dragonars, Ursula…he volunteered an unexpected piece of information to us.”
“Uriel? Can we believe what he said?”
“At first, I also suspected that it was another of his traps, but Uriel genuinely seems to care about the future of the Kingdom in his own way. I think that he can be trusted this time.”
“What did Uriel tell you?”
Rebecca asked with a sharp tone. She almost succumbed to Uriel’s malevolence last night, but she was fortunately safe and steadily recovering from her injuries. Although there was still a long way to go before she’d be fully healed, the <Scarlet Empress> wouldn’t be absent because of such trivial injuries.
“If the status quo continues, it’ll only be a matter of time before a war for the throne ensues.”
Ash’s words plunged everyone at the dining table into silence.
“From our standpoint, we can’t just sit back and wait for such a situation to happen. I believe that the actions we took were correct and I don’t have any regrets thus far about defeating Uriel. However, I don’t want to see our actions lead to continued and pointless civil strife in the Kingdom…that will indirectly cause misery in the lives of many innocent people.”
“That’s correct. I agree with Ash.”
Silvia nodded firmly to express her agreement.
“The question is, what can we do to prevent a battle for the throne? It’d be impossible to navigate around the Kingdom in the Escavaron to calm the chaos as that’d be far too inefficient…”
Mirabel placed her fingers against her chin as she tried to come up with a sound plan. Ash looked around at everyone once more.
“Uriel himself said that Oscar is the only person capable of preventing the outbreak of civil war. Moreover, in order for Oscar to succeed the throne as the Kingdom’s first ruling queen, the best way will be to have all of the princes bend the knee to her.”
“I understand what you mean. This means our top priority is to cure Oscar, right?”
Ash nodded in response to Mirabel’s question.
“Yes, what I mean to say is that unless we can free Oscar from the curse of <Galatea>, everything else is just a hollow desire.”
“Did Uriel reveal any information about the drug? As things are right now, there are too many unsolved mysteries…”
Celes anxiously asked. She had barely touched her breakfast because she was so worried about Oscar.
“I obtained some information about the court pharmacist from Uriel. Her name is Kiira Brava Henriksen.”
All of a sudden, a loud noise permeated the entire dining room. It seemed that Lucca had toppled her chair upon standing up. Startled and taken aback, everyone in attendance directed their focus to Lucca. Only when Lucca rode atop Gawain did she display her talent as the <Elfin Dancer>. However, she usually had a quiet nature and did everything rather slowly. No one in the room had expected Lucca to knock over her chair with such force.
“Kiira…where is Kiira!?”
Lucca cried out in a sharp voice that was completely different from her usual tone. Her face was pale, and her body trembled without rest. Although surprised by Lucca’s change in demeanour, Ash calmly replied,
“Uriel doesn’t seem to know where exactly she is either. He only said that Kiira has probably gone to one of the <Three Forests>…”
Lucca hurriedly rushed out of the dining room, as if just that piece of information was enough to narrow down her whereabouts.
“…Ash, quickly go after her. As a leader, it’s also your responsibility to pacify your team members.”
Mirabel urged Ash, who simply stood there in a daze.
“Hmm. I don’t really want you to go…but it seems like an unusual situation given her reaction. Lucca must have some kind of close relationship with that pharmacist.”
Silvia folded her arms and grumbled.
“…Geez, it can’t be helped. Ash, go and bring her back.”
Unexpectedly, even Eco expressed support for Ash to go and bring Lucca back. Lately, Eco seemed much more mature. Perhaps her awakening as Avalon’s Holy Dragons’ Emperor and successful bestowal of a complete Ark to Ash allowed her to relax and calm her mind.
“I’ll be taking your crepes though!”
While Ash was fuelled by emotion, Eco swiftly reached over and snatched all of the crepes from Ash’s plate.
“Hey, I’ve already taken a bite of those crepes!”
“An indirect kiss between us now is…nothing to make a fuss over anymore, right?”
After Eco’s cheeks turned slightly red, she bit down on the crepe that still had Ash’s bite marks on it.
“What does ‘an indirect kiss between us now’ mean? How suspicious…”
Jessica muttered to herself in a low voice. A dark, resentful aura seemed to emanate from her entire body. No, it wasn’t just Jessica. Ever since Eco had spoken those surprising words, the girls in the room had unwittingly filled the room with a tense atmosphere.
“Uh, umm, I’m…going to go and come back soon.”
Finding himself in a thorny situation, Ash hurried out of the dining room.
“Lucca! Wait up!”
The ship’s corridors were both narrow and complex. Ash chased after the silhouette of Lucca’s figure as he continued to call out to her. Soon, Ash arrived at the entrance to the hangar.
The door to the hangar was half ajar. The aroma of Ansal Herb, a favourite of the dragon species, faintly wafted out from within. Ash had a bad premonition.
“Don’t tell me…she plans to ride Gawain away!?”
After sliding into the hangar through the gap in the door, the figures of four Maestros entered his view — Cú Chulainn, Tristan, Lancelot and Arianrhod. The Hydra Rhiannon and Asia Brigid also mingled with the four Maestros. All of them had just finished breakfast and were resting leisurely. The only exception among them was the Maestro Gawain. Carrying Lucca, Gawain had moved to the gate that led to the deck. The gate had a design that was a composite of magic and mechanics, and it would automatically open or close by sensing the intent of a dragon.
Ash sprinted as fast as he could.
“Gawain, make haste!”
Lucca commanded with a stringent voice.
“Lucca’s not acting calmly right now! Stop, Gawain!”
Ash bellowed as he attempted to overpower Lucca’s voice.
Gawain griped as if it was in distress and lowered its neck.
—Now’s my chance…!
Ash seized his opportunity with Gawain’s hesitation and launched himself onto Gawain’s back.
“It’s not like you to act on your own, Lucca.”
“I have to go and see Kiira. I must…see her.”
“Why are you so fixated on Kiira? Please, tell me what’s going on?”
Ash placed his hand on Lucca’s shoulder.
Unexpectedly, Lucca cast Ash’s hand aside, climbed up onto Gawain’s neck and then yelled out with a pleading tone,
“Listen to my orders, Gawain!”
Gawain let out a roar and raised its head. The Bright Dragon Crystal embedded in the gate began to emit a dazzling glow.
The gate slowly began to open, accompanied by a low-pitched mechanical hum. Rays of morning light from outside began to illuminate Gawain’s forelimbs.
Ash clenched his fists. As expected, Gawain gave Lucca’s orders priority since she was its master. The gate was already halfway open. There was no time. Unease filled Ash’s mind. It seemed as though there was an unprecedented hidden past between Lucca and Kiira. If she left like this, it would probably be goodbye and there’d be no chance of meeting each other again.
—I can’t let her leave no matter what! There has to be a way!
Ash instantly made a decision. Gawain’s assistance was absolutely necessary for Lucca to escape. It was during this moment that Ash remembered a saying — ‘to capture a general, shoot the horse first’.
“I’m sorry Lucca!”
After giving an advance apology, Ash exerted strength into both of his arms.
Although she rarely displayed much emotion, Lucca couldn’t help but exclaim in surprise. That was because Ash suddenly embraced Lucca without saying a single word. It was the so-called ‘princess hug’. As a result, Lucca’s body also left Gawain. The only person sitting on Gawain’s back now was Ash.
Just as Ash expected, Gawain was confused by the sudden change in rider. Ash then used his special talent as ‘The Boy Who Can Ride Any Dragon’ to exert dominance over Gawain.
“No! I must go to meet Kiira…fly, Gawain!”
Although Lucca was held in Ash’s arms, she still refused to give up.
Gawain let out another roar, and the gate continued to open up as it responded to Gawain’s will. A cold wind poured into the hangar.
“Tsk! Sure enough, it’s going to put its master’s orders first, huh? No, it’s too early to give up!”
Ash recalled his experience with controlling many dragons in the past and deepened his consciousness into Gawain’s psyche.
Gawain growled in anger, unwilling to give in.
“Kuh. Gawain is pretty tough…”
Ash already had a taste of just how difficult Gawain was compared to other dragons during the training camp. Back then, Ash constantly challenged Gawain with perseverance, and he ended up with some serious injuries. However, Ash had grown a lot since then. Moreover, he could even handle Avalon’s Holy Dragons’ Emperor, Eco, perfectly.
“Take this, more—”
Ash focused all of his energy and continued to penetrate Gawain’s psyche with his thoughts. He imagined himself as a tree with roots pushing downwards, slowly cornering Gawain into a dead end. Suddenly — Gawain’s body twitched.
It let out a growl that sounded distinctly different from before. It was desperately trying to fight against Ash’s intervention.
However, this only served as proof that Ash’s attempt at control was having an effect. Ash then decided that this was an opportune moment.
“I command you in the name of the <Avalon Knight>! Trust me, Gawain! If you truly care about Lucca, then stay here and don’t leave!”
Gawain raised its back. Since Ash was holding Lucca with both arms, the best that he could do was rely on his legs to stay rooted to Gawain’s back so as not to be thrown off.
“Relax! I’ll definitely protect Lucca!”
Upon being moved by Ash’s show of determination—
Gawain retreated from the gate and knelt down on the spot. The gate that was half open automatically shut, restoring tranquillity to the hangar.
“Are you okay, Lucca?”
Ash jumped off from Gawain’s back with Lucca in his arms, and then allowed her to stand on her own feet again.
“Ash, you’re so pushy…”
Lucca muttered as she lowered her head slightly.
“Also, being held in a ‘princess hug’ like this…it doesn’t make me happy at all.”
It seemed as though she was sulking over it. Although she usually looked unfazed about most things, she was still a maiden at heart.
“I’m sorry Lucca! But it seemed as if you’d become completely irrational…and I couldn’t stand to just watch you leave.”
“…Are you worried about me?”
“That goes without saying! Please don’t try to shoulder everything by yourself. If it’s something within my ability, I’m willing to lend a hand — besides, I made a promise to Gawain just then.”
When Ash directed a glance at Gawain, it decisively responded with a mighty roar.
“Although this might bring back some unpleasant memories, can you please tell me what happened to you in the past, Lucca?”
Ash gazed at Lucca with a solemn expression. Lucca’s lips trembled, but after a while, she finally lifted her face as if she had made up her mind.
“As I am now…my mind is a mess. I don’t have the confidence…that I can explain it clearly.”
“Is that so…?”
It appeared that the shared past between Lucca and Kiira was indeed a sensitive subject for her. It’s probably best to give her some time to sort out her feelings — just when Ash thought that, Lucca made an unexpected request.
“Ten o’clock tonight…come to the deck.”
“I’ll be waiting for you…”
After Lucca leaned into Ash’s ear and whispered so, she briskly dashed away.
Ash returned to the dining room by himself.
“Did you talk to Lucca?”
Silvia was the first to ask.
“Yeah, I had a good talk with her. Although she almost rode away on Gawain, I was lucky that I managed to catch up in time.”
“She was going to run off alone? It’s not like Lucca to do something like that…”
Rebecca mumbled in relief.
“So? Ash, did you ask about the relationship between Lucca and Kiira?”
Mirabel calmly asked.
“Uh, my intention was to give her some time to sort out her feelings. I believe that she’ll be able to tell me.”
Ash deliberately avoided mentioning that they had agreed to meet on the deck tonight. After all, if he simply stated that, he felt as though Eco, Silvia, Jessica and the others would probably insist on tagging along.
“Very well, we’ll leave Lucca to Ash then. The question now is…in order to cure Oscar, what can Avalon’s Holy Dragons’ Emperor Knights do to achieve that goal?”
Upon hearing Mirabel’s question, although everyone appeared to nod in agreement, they all had sombre expressions. Ash himself had no idea what he could do to save Oscar. The so-called narcotic — it was an inhumane drug that was derived from human lives. The method for preparing an antidote was unimaginable, and the existence of an antidote at all was also doubtful. Was the most convenient method to locate Kiira after all? However, trying to find Kiira within the <Three Forests> was a task as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack.
Unfortunately, everyone present probably shared the same thoughts as Ash. The dining room was shrouded by a heavy silence. Suddenly, Mirabel raised her head, and the expression in her eyes appeared deeply serious and calm.
“I have a suggestion, if everyone is on board…there may be other people in the Ecbald Autonomous Region who are familiar with the narcotic <Galatea>. With any luck, we might run into someone who knows how to make the antidote.”
“Aneue, that’s an excellent idea!”
Silvia passionately clenched her fist.
“I also agree!”
Celes raised her hand in agreement. It was as if her lone eye had focused upon a glimmer of light that shot into the darkness. Ash aside, the others also nodded to express their agreement.
“It doesn’t seem like anyone has an objection. So, once maintenance of our systems is complete, let’s set off for the Ecbald Autonomous Region.”
“What’s the estimated time for repairs?”
Upon hearing Ash’s question, Mirabel paused to think for a moment and then replied,
“Let’s see. If progress is fast enough, we’ll be able to take off early tomorrow morning.”
And with that, the morning meeting came to an end.
“…It’s almost the agreed time.”
After flipping shut the cover of his silver pocket watch in the darkness of his room, Ash slowly raised his upper body. The agreed time of his meeting with Lucca drew closer every minute. In the end, Lucca stayed in her room and never came out. Even so, Ash had faith in Lucca so he didn’t try to coerce her into speaking before their meeting. And then, the shadow of night took over…
Beside him, Eco lay sprawled out on the bed sound asleep. If they were still sleeping on their small bed in Apollo House right now, Ash probably would’ve been kicked off the bed long ago. Fortunately, the bed in this room was sufficiently large, so there was plenty of room even despite Eco’s poor sleep habits. However, Ash somehow felt that the frequency of Eco’s nibbling seemed to have increased. Ash couldn’t help but feel a little guilty about sneaking out of the room as he gazed at the innocence of Eco’s sleeping face, but it couldn’t be helped as he had made a promise to Lucca.
Ash tiptoed as he left the bedroom so as to avoid making any noise. He walked through the dimly lit corridors, illuminated only by nightlights as he made his way to the deck. Everyone was likely asleep. After all, their life on board the ship essentially followed the same pattern as the student dormitories. Somewhat nervously, Ash opened the metal door which led to the deck. The cold outside air rushed inwards accompanied by the sound of grinding metal.
As soon as Ash opened his mouth, white breath slipped out of his lips. Upon taking a step outside, he found that the outside world had been enclosed by the cold night. A slender crescent moon hung high in a corner of the night sky, emitting a hazy glow. Without having to search, Ash immediately took notice of Lucca’s figure. Bathed in the mysterious moonlight, Lucca stood quietly at the edge of the deck. She turned her head and looked back upon taking notice of Ash’s arrival. Her limbs faintly glowed as if a backlight shone behind her. This was none other than the beauty of a fairy.
“Aren’t you cold?”
Ash couldn’t help but feel a little worried upon seeing how Lucca was dressed. Lucca was only wearing a set of thin pyjamas and a single jacket on top.
“This temperature isn’t considered cold for Ecbald people. Come and sit here.”
Lucca answered Ash’s question straightforwardly and then invited him to sit down. An Ecbald-style rug was laid out under her legs. Placed on top of it were a variety of herbs, a mortar, a magic stove and other utensils that looked like they would belong in a pharmacist’s workshop.
“Can we…talk while drinking some tea? I think…I’ll be able to speak more calmly like this.”
After nodding in agreement, Ash sat down on the rug.
“When I was five years old, in the Ecbald Forest…an infectious disease broke out. Herbal medicine didn’t have any effect at all…and many Ecbald people died of the illness. My parents were no exception—”
Ash was shocked to learn that Lucca had such an unimaginable past.
“It was the Henriksen family that took me in afterwards when I became an orphan…”
“Henriksen? Is that Kiira’s family?”
Ash involuntarily leaned forward.
“Yes. The Henriksen family is well-known…aside from me, there were several other orphans who were accepted.”
“So, Kiira’s parents took you in as an adopted daughter…”
Lucca shook her head in disagreement with Ash.
“Not as an adopted daughter. I was only hired as a child servant.”
“But…I hardly ever felt as though I was ‘at work’. That’s because my only responsibility was to play with Kiira.”
“What was Kiira like as a child?”
“She’s the same age as me, and even her birthday happens to be on the same day. She always smiled and had a cheerful personality…she was also adventurous. She was a girl who enjoyed hunting more than herbs…”
While Lucca ground some herbs in the mortar, her eyes reflected a nostalgia for the past.
Kiira always took Lucca’s hand and they went on adventures in the forest every day. Although Lucca was only one of many servants, was poor at communicating with others, and wasn’t the best at doing work — Kiira adored Lucca the most. Lucca was also quite confused at first, but she gradually dropped her identity as a servant and treated Kiira like a friend. Before they knew it, the barrier between the young mistress and the servant had completely disappeared. Kiira genuinely longed to become a Dragonar—.
“…Please have some tea.”
Lucca poured some herbal tea into a bowl and then offered it to Ash.
“Ah, thank you.”
After Ash sat up properly, her took the bowl and placed it against his lips. The fragrance of ginger and lemon spread through his mouth. With just a sip, he felt his body start to warm up from the inside. Although the tea that Lucca made had first-class medicinal effects, its appearance and taste was often rather peculiar, except on this occasion tonight. It was so good that Ash wanted to drink it on a daily basis.
“It’s delicious. What kind of tea is this?”
Perhaps not expecting praise from Ash, Lucca seemed a little embarrassed, and it took a while for her usual expressionless face to return.
“It doesn’t have a particular name. It’s herbal tea that’s been passed down from generation to generation in the Henriksen family. As a servant in that house…the first thing to learn was the brewing method for this tea.”
Lucca clenched a small fist on her lap as she cast her eyes downward.
“This herbal tea…it was also Kiira’s favourite drink.”
Perhaps this herbal tea was a symbol of friendship between Lucca and Kiira. Ash set the bowl down after drinking the rest of the tea.
“…When Kiira and I turned seven, we received a notice from the palace.”
“A notice for the <Orphan Ceremony>, right?”
Lucca raised her head and gently nodded.
“Kiira had a grand dream.”
“To become a Dragonar?”
“Becoming a Dragonar was only a prerequisite for fulfilling her dream. Kiira’s dream was to dance the ‘Twin-Winged Oratorio’.”
“I’ve never heard of that one. What number dragon riding dance is it?”
“The ‘Twin-Winded Oratorio’ is a special case. It belongs to number zero.”
“Zero? What kind of performance is it?”
“Only a few adults know the details about it.”
“I’m only sure about one thing. The dance requires two Dragonars…”
Ash glanced up upon hearing Lucca’s words.
“I see. No wonder it’s called ‘Twin-Winged’.”
Even the dances numbered from one through to three that Lucca had performed solo allowed people to witness the amazing speed with which she moved through the air. As such, if two people were to dance through the skies simultaneously, failure was inevitable unless the pair were in perfect synchronisation. Upon hearing this, a thought entered Ash’s mind.
“…I get it now. The person that Kiira wanted to dance the ‘Twin-Winged Oratorio’ with was you, right Lucca?”
A shadow was immediately cast over Lucca’s expression. Looking closer, her shoulders constantly trembled. It looked as if she was desperately trying to resist an undeniable truth. Ash recalled what happened during his first meeting with Lucca. Back then, Rebecca had clearly said,
—Lucca is currently the only Ecbald person studying at the Academy.
“The only person who gained the favour of the Mother Dragon was Lucca, and not Kiira, huh…”
Lucca silently nodded as she revealed a dejected expression. A biting cold wind swiftly whistled across the deck.
After escorting Lucca back to her room, Ash returned to the entrance of his own room. Frankly speaking, he was worried about leaving Lucca alone, but…
—I’m okay now.
Before they parted, Lucca had lifted her spirits and straightened her ears as she declared that. If confiding in me about her past can make her feel little better, then that’s for the best…Ash thought to himself. Ash carefully opened his bedroom door so as to avoid making any noise. The moment that he opened the door, a pair of eyes greeted him on the other side.
In fright, Ash slipped and his rear slammed onto the ground.
“…You’re back rather late, aren’t you?”
With a ‘pah!’, the door was yanked wide open and Eco appeared in her pyjamas. In her hand was a portable lantern powered by dragon magic which she held up in front of her chest.
“Eco!? Why aren’t you asleep?”
“Don’t keep treating me like a child. There are times when I get up in the middle of the night as well.”
“I see…fine, let’s not mention that. We’d better be off to bed. If you stay up late, you won’t be able to get up tomorrow morning.”
Ash walked into the room after placing his hand on Eco’s head. In fact, he had already been struck by a bout of drowsiness as soon as he made it to his room door. However, such a simple desire went unfulfilled.
Eco unexpectedly grabbed him by the collar from behind.
“You snuck out of the room in the middle of the night, went somewhere and did something with someone…I haven’t heard what that is yet, you know? Although I can just ask Navi about it later, shouldn’t you tell me in person?”
Ash resigned himself and explained what had happened to Eco.
“—In any case, that’s how it is.”
Eco’s expression grew more serious as Ash talked.
“And then? What happened after Lucca formed a contract with the dragon race?”
“Lucca’s life reached a turning point. After receiving a larva, she became appreciated by the village chief and was adopted by him.”
“Ch-eef…what is that?”
The young Eco didn’t seem to be familiar with that word yet.
“Well, the chief is like the king of the Ecbald Autonomous Region. But the chief isn’t the same as a king as the role isn’t hereditary.”
“In other words, the girl who was originally just a mere servant in the Henriksen household became something like a princess overnight.”
“Don’t you think that evoked some complicated feelings for Kiira?”
Ash nodded firmly.
“I think so. Lucca said that Kiira acted cold and hostile towards her afterwards that. Moreover, she suddenly became interested in narcotics…eventually, she even stole the strictly controlled forbidden book of the Ecbald Tribe — [Encyclopedia of Narcotics] and then left their hometown…”
Supposedly, Kiira Brava Henriksen was still listed as a wanted criminal in the Ecbald Autonomous Region. If Kiira had also received a larva back then—. Or if both Kiira and Lucca had failed in the selection—. Perhaps the friendship between the two of them wouldn’t have been torn apart like that.
“It’s a really sad story and the Mother Dragon probably didn’t intend to destroy their friendship…”
“Huh? What are you talking about!?”
Eco was suddenly infuriated, and Ash retreated in fright.
“If they were really friends, then even if Kiira lost in the selection process, she should have wished the best for Lucca!”
Ash felt as though he had been slapped with a wake-up call as soon as Eco sharply highlighted a key point.
“You’re right. Isn’t that what a friend should be like?”
Of interest now was what kind of motive Kiira Brava Henriksen intended to pursue. Uriel’s words briefly flashed across Ash’s mind.
—Just as I wanted a particular drug…Kiira also had a drug that she wanted to produce. And in order to make it, six hundred and sixty-six lives had to be sacrificed.
What kind of impact would the drug that was made at the expense of six hundred and sixty-six lives have on the world? Ash couldn’t even begin to imagine. Even so, there was just one thing that he could assert.
“Whether it’s for Lucca or Oscar — or even for Kiira, we have to prevent a tragedy from happening.”
Ash clenched his fists resolutely.
Eco blushed as she stared at the side profile of Ash’s face. And then, she pressed her hand against her chest as if she was confirming the thump of her own heartbeat.
“…Eco? What’s wrong?”
Finding her behaviour inexplicably odd, Ash drew closer to examine Eco’s face, but—
“N-Nothing! It’s not like you were just a little handsome or anything…I don’t think that at all!”
Eco made her escape by diving into the bed, grabbing the blanket to pull it over her head.
“The Shackles of Convention ~A.S.B.~1365.12~” is closed.
(All 5 of 5 parts) (30/10/20)
Continues on to Chapter 3 – The Holy Forest ~Ecbald Autonomous Region~