Two days had passed since Ash and Lucca began their training.
Eating a crepe upon the deck of the magical ship Escavaron, Eco whined despondently like a sullen creature.
Cosette’s mood was the exact opposite of Eco’s, as she hummed a tune while hanging the laundry up to dry. It was certainly a maid-like idea to use the deck of a magic ship as a drying area. A large expanse of forest was situated beyond the Escavaron. The bright sun shone over them once more today, giving off a vibe that was nothing like winter.
“It just feels like…”
Despite the beautiful scenery laid out in front of them, Eco appeared somewhat gloomy. Even now, Ash and Lucca were alone. Naturally, Eco had faith that Ash wouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity…he was unlikely to anyway. Their current priority was to cure Oscar and prevent an imminent crisis, namely, civil war in the Chevron Kingdom.
I don’t think Ash and Lucca will develop an improper relationship…right? But, they’re going to spend ten days in a specially enclosed space with no interaction but between themselves. Ash is a gentleman, but he’s still a healthy young man. In that sense, it would be stranger if nothing happened between the two of them at all…Eco couldn’t help but feel restless as soon as such thoughts surfaced in her mind.
“Hah…even if I’m worried, it’s not like I can charge into the <Inner Sanctuary> to find out — uwah!”
Eco was startled by something that suddenly obscured her vision. A moist cloth had covered her face, and the scent of detergent could be smelt from it.
Seeing Eco’s limbs stiffen in fright, Cossette helped to peel the cloth from her face.
“Pwah! Ugh, and here I was wondering what that was!”
“Ufufu, I’m sorry.”
Despite giving a verbal apology, a wide grin remained on Cosette’s face. Eco suddenly frowned. The piece of ‘cloth’ that Cosette held in her hand had caught her attention.
“Hold on, Cosette! Is that Silvia’s underwear!?”
“It is indeed. What’s the matter?”
“Let me see it for a bit!”
“Certainly. Here you go.”
“W-What…what is this!? There’s too much lace! Does Silvia normally wear this kind of underwear?”
“Yes, that’s right. However, Her Highness used to prefer more conservative styles in the past.”
“A-Are you saying…this is because of her relationship with Ash?”
“It’s a possibility, ufufu.”
“—Hey, what are you two whispering about over there?”
It was as if the devil had heard mention of itself. Upon arriving on the deck and seeing Eco and Cosette holding her underwear whilst having a discussion, an irritated expression immediately spread across Silvia’s face.
“Hey! Isn’t that my underwear!?”
“Silvia, you came at the perfect time! Would you care to explain the meaning of this flashy underwear?”
Eco seemed to exude a dark aura from her entire body.
“No, wait. I’ve found an even more elaborate pair of knickers here, you know!?”
“Hey…are you trying to change the subject?”
“No no, it’s not like that! You can see for yourself!”
In the direction of Silvia’s finger — there was a pair of bright red panties which immediately drew their attention. Eco gulped and widened her eyes as she examined the underwear. Indeed, that pair of panties had even more lace than Silvia’s, and it was styled with a pattern of red rose petals. Moreover, for the rear area…there was almost nothing but a string.
“S-Such underwear is way too vulgar!”
Just staring at it caused Eco to blush. Regardless of the situation, she would never dare to put on such alluring underwear….
“Hey, Silvia…the colour of that underwear is as red as flame. Do you think it belongs to Rebecca?”
“Hmm, the President is also the first person that came to mind.”
“—The two of you certainly are examining it quite carefully. That underwear is indeed mine. Is there a problem?”
At that moment, the person in question appeared again. Confronted by the sudden arrival of Rebecca, both Eco and Silvia positioned themselves as if they were facing an enemy.
“Rebecca, could you please explain to us!? Don’t you think that it’s a bad idea for the Student Council President to wear such provocative underwear?”
Eco pointed straight at Rebecca’s nose as she sought to rebuke her.
“I also agree with Eco, President! What is the meaning of this underwear!?”
“Why, of course, it’s underwear for decisive victory.”
Rebecca’s confident and unwavering reply almost caused Eco to trip over backwards.
“A-Against whom is this underwear used for decisive victory?”
Silvia was sweating profusely as she continued her in-depth inquiry.
“Fufu. That’s a secret.”
Rebecca maintained a smile as she exuded a calm demeanour from beginning to end. With that, it became clear which of the two sides had the higher ground. With just a smile, Rebecca had sealed the mouths of both Eco and Silvia, leaving them without a chance for further questioning.
“Leaving that aside, it’s almost time for afternoon tea. Eunice-san is calling for everyone, so remember to come to the dining room later.”
After explaining that, Rebecca swiftly turned around and departed. As soon as her figure disappeared from the doorway, Silvia immediately whispered in a low voice,
“Although she said it was a secret…there aren’t any boys aside from Ash whom the President currently fancies, right?”
“Leaving you aside…if I have to compete with Rebecca as a woman, I don’t feel like I have much chance of winning.”
“Eco! Are you just ignoring me or what? I must admit that I am also no match for the President…but to begin with, Ash is to blame for being too frivolous! Just when did he win over the heart of the President when she’s so out of his league?”
“I guess it was during the preliminaries for the Dragonars’ Gunnar Bout?”
“Hmm. That makes sense…something wasn’t quite right then.”
Perhaps due to the appearance of a common enemy (?), the two of them began to talk with even more vigour.
“Now now, you two should go for some delicious tea and snacks first.”
With a wry smile, Cosette hurried the two of them along.
Mirabel alone stayed in the Escavaron’s cockpit. When she casually checked her pocket watch, she realised that it was almost teatime. This meant that Eunice would soon come to see her. Should I wait for Eunice, or should I head to the dining room myself — just as Mirabel thought about such trivialities…
[—Good afternoon, Mirabel-sensei.]
With a slightly static noise, an unexpected foreign call was suddenly received. Displayed on the monitor was a young girl with bright blue hair that curled around her face. She wore a large papal mitre on her head and held a sceptre with a winged cross in her right hand. Her eyes were shaped roundly, and the left and right side glowed like jade and sapphire respectively. Even through the display, the sacred aura that the girl exuded could still be felt. She was the ruler of the Holy Espada Agency, Raquel IV.
“Your Eminence? Is something the matter?”
Although the other party was an adorable nine-year-old girl, she was still the Pope after all, so Mirabel stood up to show her respect.
[Yes. Although it’s not a matter of great urgency…information obtained by the Church indicates that the situation in the Chevron Kingdom is reaching a trigger point. There are approximately a hundred princes who were previously restrained by Prince Uriel’s dominance, but they’re now steadily ramping up their military forces.]
“Is that so? Although this was within our expectations, I didn’t think they’d act so swiftly…”
[Indeed. Just in case, I also issued a statement to strictly forbid any fighting for the throne before the mourning period is over, but…it doesn’t seem to have been effective. At least for now, no one has taken any bold militaristic actions, but political conflict within the palace seems to be in full swing. However…this is fairly commonplace if you look at the history of the Kingdom.]
Although it was difficult to imagine such words coming from a nine-year-old child, it was not particularly surprising to Mirabel since she knew Raquel quite well.
“Annoyingly, there are simply too many princes. As soon as such an immense battle for the throne breaks out, the scale would be unprecedented, right?”
[Indeed. Moreover, according to the Church’s analysis, there’s no single candidate in the running who is powerful enough to bring an early conclusion to the battle.]
Mirabel almost smiled when she heard Raquel use the term ‘Church’s analysis’. Given that Raquel had said so, it gave implicit affirmation that the Church had its own intelligence organisation. Slight negligence in such areas sufficiently indicated that she was still just a child.
“Speaking of that — it seems Prince Uriel expressed similar opinions to Ash. He claimed that aside from himself, the other princes were all incompetent and mediocre…I guess that wasn’t just his narcissism.”
[Indeed. If such incompetent princes are allowed to start a war, civil order in the Kingdom may even break down. As the Pope, I do not wish to see such a disaster befall our faithful followers…]
The majority of people in the Chevron Kingdom were believers of the Rosa Maria faith. It was inevitable that Raquel would be worried.
“Don’t worry, Raquel.”
As if to allay her fears, Mirabel boldly addressed her by name. At the same time, she reminisced about the past when she was Raquel’s swordsmanship instructor.
Raquel seemed surprised as a look of astonishment covered her face.
“Among those with a right to succeed the throne, there was one person who openly accepted Prince Uriel’s challenge.”
[You’re talking about Oscar Brailsford, right? The problem is…most people are already aware that she’s actually a woman now.]
“Even so, the only person with the charisma to unify the Kingdom now is Oscar. She has the ability to get rid of antiquated stereotypes and become the first ruling queen in the history of the Kingdom. This is by no means a dream. We’re actively working to achieve this goal.”
[About that…the Escavaron is currently stationed in the Ecbald Forest, right? Have you found any clues about her treatment?]
“Yes. If the secret technique of the Dragon Riding Dances — that is, if the ‘Twin-Winged Oratorio’ can succeed, it’s possible that we can save Oscar from the curse of the drug. At least according to the Chief, it has healing properties.”
[The Zeroth Dance? I’ve heard about the legend…but, who will be Lucca’s partner? Given the Chief’s age, I don’t think he’ll be able to do it.]
I didn’t think she had such a clear grasp of the situation…Mirabel thought to herself in admiration of Raquel.
“We’ve decided that Ash will be Lucca’s partner.”
Raquel displayed a rare expression that seemed fitting for a girl her age.
“Apparently, even an ordinary human can obtain the same attributes as an Ecbald just by putting on the ring that the Chief lent to him.”
[T-That’s the first time I’ve heard of this! That’s amazing! So, Ash-oniichan is training with Lucca right now?]
“Yes, that’s right. He’s spending some time alone with that cute girl named Lucca in a special space constructed by magic…it seems they’ll be eating and sleeping together as well…”
[U-Umm, Mirabel-sensei? You’re not angry, are you? As I thought, your feelings for Ash-oniichan are—]
“W-What are you saying!? I’m not mad!”
“N-No, please don’t be…it’s not like me to feel so distraught.”
After Mirabel cleared her throat, she began to dissect the root cause of the matter.
Why did I lose my cool…? Even Mirabel couldn’t answer this question.
[Very well. The task of curing Oscar will be entrusted to Ash-oniichan and Lucca for now…]
After saying that much, Raquel suddenly hesitated and paused.
“I think I can understand your situation. From the standpoint of the Holy Espada Agency, you’d like to put something else in play as insurance to prevent anything from happening, right?”
[Yes…it’s just as you say. If Oscar cannot be cured in time, the Holy Espada Agency may request assistance from Avalon’s Holy Dragon Emperors’ Knights…]
“I understand. I don’t want to see a neighbouring country fall into a state of civil war either, and I think our commander — Ash, shares the same sentiment. Naturally, we can only put our faith in Ash and Lucca and patiently await the good news.”
[Yes, of course!]
With an innocent and bright smile across her face, Raquel nodded energetically in agreement.
“Phew…although it took a while to relieve Raquel of her worries, the way forward is bound to have some bumps.”
Having closed the communication channel, Mirabel returned to the captain’s seat. She began to stare into space and converse with herself.
“I wonder what you’re doing now, Ash…”
As soon as his name escaped her lips, Mirabel’s heart throbbed with an enormous thump.
—In other words, I need you, Princess Mirabel.
Ash’s words resurfaced in her mind. Perhaps that was an unintentional statement on Ash’s part. Moreover, he had probably said similar things to the other girls…. But for some inexplicable reason, Mirabel’s heart was deeply moved by those words. Ever since childhood, she had always been alone in her room. At best, Eunice was the one person with whom she conversed. Because Mirabel had always lived in such isolation, it was the first time in her life that someone told her that she was needed.
“N-No. What on earth…is going on with me?”
Her face felt hot. No, it wasn’t just her face. Her entire body felt like it was overheating. Mirabel couldn’t understand why she felt this way.
Ash is probably working hard on his special training with Lucca right now. He’s alone with that cute, fairy-like Lucca in an enclosed space….
“T-There’s no need to worry. Ash will surely devote himself to training. If I harbour doubts about them, isn’t that just disrespectful to Ash and Lucca?”
Mirabel muttered to herself as if to provide self-comfort. But even though she could understand the logic, her heart refused to let go. Mirabel was well educated, but she had never read a book which explained such feelings. Analysis of the Escavaron had progressed rather smoothly, but Mirabel grew more and more confused about herself.
“It’s no good. There seems to be something wrong with me…”
Her body was abnormally hot and restless. What should I do to suppress this strange sensation? Mirabel inadvertently glanced around as if she had a secret to hide from public view. There was no one in the cockpit but Mirabel.
It was almost an involuntary action. Mirabel gently placed both hands over the clothing on her chest. And then, with a circular motion, she slowly began to stimulate her breasts with both hands. This was most certainly not any kind of knowledge that she had acquired from books. It was entirely instinctive behaviour.
Mirabel couldn’t help but let out a cry.
Her moaning breaths naturally found a rhythm. She squeezed her thighs together and rubbed them against each other as she gradually intensified the movement of her fingers.
“If this was…Ash’s finger…”
—In other words, I need you, Princess Mirabel.
Once more, Ash’s voice reverberated through her mind.
That alone made Mirabel’s body shudder and feel tender.
“N-No…I can’t. I-If I do something so shameless…n-not even Saint Rosa Maria will forgive me…”
Mirabel tried to summon the last ounce of self-control that remained. Yet, as if to ridicule such efforts, her body continued to grow even hotter. At last, she could no longer hold back, and she reached up to untie the ribbon around her shirt collar—.
All of a sudden, a dignified voice came from behind her.
Mirabel gasped and immediately stiffened.
“Aneue? Afternoon tea has already begun. What are you still dawdling here for? It’s not like you to miss teatime at all…”
Mirabel panicked. I absolutely can’t let anyone know that I immersed myself in the ecstasy of such immoral behaviour…!
“I-It’s nothing! I’ll be there soon!”
Mirabel hid herself behind the captain’s seat as she answered loudly, though her voice came out shaky. However, that only served to arouse Silvia’s suspicions.
“Aneue, are you feeling uncomfortable anywhere?”
Silvia strode forward and peered at Mirabel’s face.
“Your face is slightly red. Do you have a fever?”
“I-I don’t have a fever! I was just too focused on the analysis of the Escavaron!”
“Is that so?”
Without any further questioning, Silvia turned around and left. Only then did Mirabel breathe a sigh of relief, but the next instant—
Silvia suddenly spun around.
“W-What’s the matter?”
“If you don’t hurry up, your favourite black tea will get cold, you know?”
With that reminder, Silvia finally left the room for real this time.
After letting out a long sigh, Mirabel collapsed weakly into her seat. Her heart still continued to pulsate rapidly. In the first place, the reason why she ended up in such an embarrassing situation was because of—
“Ash Blake, you truly are such a sinful man…”
“…It’s been almost seven years.”
Whilst Eco and the others were enjoying their afternoon tea, there was a single girl who had successfully infiltrated the largest sacred land in the Knight Country — Albion Forest. As if to mock the rigorous guard of the Albion Forest Military Order, the girl’s cloak gently fluttered as she proudly marched forward. For this girl, the knights on patrol were no different than mere scarecrows.
“There’s a saying that goes ‘Ecbalds lurking in a forest are like leaves hidden in a forest’ — though I don’t think that description is vivid enough.”
The girl muttered a saying that had been passed down in the Chevron Kingdom since ancient times. Without warning, the girl stopped and lifted the hood on her head. She then raised her head and looked up.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long…”
What emerged from underneath her hood was — a pair of dark brown pointed ears. Her skin was a darker colour than that of the Tantalos Tribe, and she exuded a mysterious aura. Her slender amethyst eyes had a sharp glare to them, as if confining a flame that burned within. Her face was beautiful and surreal, yet it also seemed to inspire terror. It had much resemblance to the role of villain that was cast in many myths and legends — a dark elf.
“I’m back, Mother Dragon.”
The girl murmured as if cursing with her breath. No, it was most certainly a curse.
“Ever since you rejected me in the <Orphan Ceremony> seven years ago — not once have I forgotten my grudge against you…”
The girl raised her fist and punched the tree beside her.
“Why!? Mother Dragon! Why did you refuse to pick me? If you had granted my wish in the first place…”
Affected by her heightened mood, Kiira’s vision began to distort. The verdant green of the forest flipped and became a field of red. It felt as though a horde of spiders were crawling all over her skin. Before she knew it, sweat had inundated Kiira’s entire body. She was unable to stop her fingers from trembling. Ever since the Mother Dragon rejected her, Kiira had been tormented by these terrible symptoms. In truth, these symptoms could be suppressed by drugs. Kiira also possessed the necessary knowledge to do so. However, Kiira gave up on using drugs to manage her condition. She did so to prevent herself from forgetting about her resentment and desire for revenge—.
“…I’m finally ready, Mother Dragon.”
Muttering that to herself with a gloomy voice, Kiira put her hood back on again.
“The day of your death approaches—”
“Mirabel’s Romance ~A.S.B.1365.12~” is closed.
(All 3 of 3 parts) (28/12/20)
Continues on to Chapter 6 – The Dark Elf’s Revenge