—The month of Pisces was about to end.
There were no activities for the student council today, so Ash spent a leisurely day in the new Apollo House. In his hand, he held the [Ansarivan Times] that he had borrowed from Max. Rebecca’s interview had been published on the front page. Although Ursula had given her a favourable handicap, she was still considered to be a rising star. The fact that Rebecca had decided not to join the Lautreamont Order of Holy Dragonars had also become a topic of discussion amongst the people. Because Rebecca chose Avalon’s Holy Dragons’ Emperor Knights, interest in Ash and the others increased around the world.
The sound of Eco humming a tune reached his ears. She lay on the bed and she earnestly read a book. Recently, in addition to picture books and fairy tales, Eco had also begun to read novels aimed at young girls such as [Tale of the Dragonar in the Sky]. According to Cosette who had lent her various books, Eco’s reading ability already rivalled that of a first-year student in the Junios course. As expected of a dragon.
Eco suddenly exclaimed as her shoulders trembled.
“What is it, Eco!? Did you see some kind of terrifying scene?”
Ash asked as he tilted his head.
“N-No, it’s nothing!”
Eco hurriedly slammed the book shut whilst also attempting to avoid Ash’s gaze. She looked rather flustered and her face was quite red. It was also unusual to see her lying on the bed rubbing her thighs together.
—Could it be that she saw some kind of heart-pounding romantic scene…?
Although Ash had his suspicions, he decided not to press the matter further. He casually opened the cover of his silver pocket watch and noticed that it was already past noon.
“It’s almost time for lunch.”
Eco’s expression brightened as soon as Ash changed the subject.
“Of course! After all, dragons need five meals a day!”
This was one thing that hadn’t changed about Eco since her birth. She swiftly jumped up from the bed and landed on the ground with a thud. Her skirt was lifted by the air and almost flipped up entirely.
Ash quickly looked away.
This time, it was Ash’s turn to become flustered. Just as he was about to walk over to the door…
[I have a letter for Ash Blake-san!]
Accompanied by a brisk knock on the door, the postman’s energetic voice arrived from the outside. The sender was Ash’s mother.
“Mother hasn’t sent me any letters for such a long time.”
“Your mother huh…what does it say inside?”
Eco nervously asked. Upon hearing the word ‘mother’, perhaps she thought of the late Mother Dragon.
“Well, I think it’s probably just a simple and routine update.”
Ash said in a low voice so as to put Eco at ease. He then unsealed the envelope.
To my dear Ash,
How are you? Your mother and everyone in the village have been enjoying a leisurely life. Thank you for the monthly living allowance that you send me, it’s a great help to the family. Your mother is truly fortunate to have an incredible son like you.
“What’s the monthly living allowance?”
Eco interrupted, and so Ash replied,
“Thanks to my appointment as a Dragonar, I receive a salary from the Knight Country’s government. I’ve always sent a portion of it to my mother. I hope it makes her life a bit better at least.”
“Oh, that’s amazing.”
Eco looked at Ash in admiration. Ash couldn’t help but feel somewhat embarrassed as it was rare for Eco to give him praise. Incidentally, the Knight Country’s government continued to pay Ash a monthly salary even after he declared the independence of his own country. Likewise, Rebecca, Max and the others who belonged to Avalon’s Holy Dragons’ Emperor Knights also continued to receive salaries. From Ash’s point of view, it didn’t feel quite right, but this was a well-intentioned gesture from Paladin Oswald, so Ash decided to accept it with gratitude.
“Alright, I’ll keep going—”
Your mother believes that you’ll definitely be able to join the Lautreamont Order of Holy Dragonars. You should aim to become a respected Dragonar. Naturally, you can come back to Alba Village whenever you want. I would love to see your Pal soon.
After reading up to there, Ash paused and sighed.
“…You see, mother doesn’t know anything yet, and I haven’t told her everything myself either.”
Ash’s hometown was a poor village near the border, and it was difficult to receive information from the rest of the world there.
“…She might pass out if she learns about you.”
Ash returned his gaze to the letter again.
What comes next is the main subject. To tell the truth, I’ve kept a secret for the past five years in order to surprise you. Linda will soon be enrolling at Dragonar Academy.
Ash was so shocked and surprised that he almost jumped up on the spot.
“Wait, what’s wrong?”
Eco asked in confusion upon seeing the surprised look on Ash’s face. —Ash and Linda were five years apart. As such, Linda was seven years old when Ash first joined Dragonar Academy. Accepting the <Orphan Ceremony> was a national obligation, so Linda must have also gone into Albion Forest. In other words, during Ash’s first year in Ansarivan, Linda also received a larva from the Mother Dragon. However, since he never received any news from his hometown, Ash had always thought that Linda didn’t make the selection. After all, in recent times, only a very small number of children were able to obtain a larva from the Mother Dragon. The probability of not being chosen was overwhelmingly higher.
“Geez, both mother and Linda, I can’t believe they kept it secret for so long. But, that’s also partly my fault since I never went back home to visit my family…huh!?”
The next instant, Ash frowned as he stared closely at the letter.
Linda’s dragon carriage is scheduled to arrive in Ansarivan at one o’clock in the afternoon on the last day of the month of Pisces.
It was the first time that she would’ve left Alba Village. Although she appeared rather strong, she could get quite lonely on the inside.
You must pick her up at the station in St. Durham Square.
By the time that Ash had read that, he had already dropped the letter.
“Hey! Isn’t today the day that Linda arrives in Ansarivan! You’re a bit too leisurely, mother!”
With a distressed look, Ash grabbed the coat that was hanging on the rack. He tried to put it on as fast as he could, but he ended up a bit stuck.
“Wait a second, are you planning to go by yourself!? I’m coming as well!”
Eco also removed her spring coat from the wardrobe and put it on quickly.
“I’m just going to pick up my little sister, so it’s not going to be any fun at all.”
“B-But…this is my first time…meeting your family, so I’m a bit curious. W-Wouldn’t it be weird if I wasn’t curious?”
Eco lowered her head as she fidgeted. Her adorable appearance caused Ash’s heart to skip a beat. At the same time, he also felt happy that Eco wanted to ‘meet his family’.
“I understand. Come with me then, Eco.”
Eco’s cheeks were dyed with a rose colour as a wide smile spread across her face.
The shopping district of Ansarivan was once again lively today. Because it was still the spring break, many tourists were out and about. Various crowds gathered outside shops which sold souvenirs.
“Hey, Ash? What kind of person is your little sister?”
Eco asked just as the entrance to St. Durham Square came into view.
Ash gazed into the distance. To be honest, Ash had almost forgotten about Linda until he received his mother’s letter. In any case, Ash recalled memories from when he still lived in his hometown—
“Hmm, Linda…is wilful and likes to act spoilt. She’ll keep saying ‘I’m going to be onii-chan’s bride!’ all day long so it’s a bit nerve-wracking…”
“Hold on a second!”
“Huh? What’s the matter!?”
Ash couldn’t help but act timid as Eco suddenly stomped on the ground like a dragon.
“Aren’t you and Linda blood-related siblings? What does she mean when it comes to being your bride!?”
Eco raised her eyebrows. All of the bystanders around them were startled by Eco’s fierce attitude and they cast glances at them in surprise. The majority of them probably thought of it as a lovers’ quarrel.
“N-No, don’t take it seriously. Don’t little girls always say that they want to be the bride of their father or brother? It’s nothing unusual, and you might even call it a necessary part of growing up.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah. Once they grow up a bit, they’ll completely forget about such things. I’m sure Linda’s already forgotten all about that by now too.”
“Phew…that’s a relief. And here I thought the number of rivals had increased again.”
“Huh? Did you say something?”
Eco dismissively replied and then walked forward on her own. Ash chased after Eco, while also reminiscing about his childhood. Thanks to his mother’s letter, the past which he had almost forgotten gradually caused his memories to resurface.
“Now that I recall, it was pretty tough every night. Linda would always capriciously say ‘I want to sleep with onii-chan!’, and then she’d immediately climb into my bed…”
“Climb into your bed!?”
Eco stopped in her tracks once again. Her lips trembled.
“N-No, it happened when we were just kids! Don’t you and I sleep on the same bed as well…?”
“D-Don’t say something so embarrassing!”
Eco’s face suddenly turned red. She covered her cheeks with both hands and jogged forward, almost bumping into other pedestrians several times.
“Hey, wait up!”
Ash hurried after Eco. At last, Ash and Eco arrived in St. Durham Square. The damage that had been inflicted upon it by the Necromancia no longer appeared to exist. The people who came and went through the square had probably forgotten about the incident that happened a year ago. After all, peace was a good thing…
“The dragon carriage hasn’t arrived yet.”
Eco murmured as she looked around the station.
Ash flipped his silver pocket watch open and confirmed that it was just after one o’clock in the afternoon, though it was somewhat common for dragon carriages to be late. Perhaps one could even say that it was fortunately late today…
“Let’s wait here for a while, it should be here shortly.”
Ash and Eco stood beside each other in front of the station as they waited for the carriage’s arrival. All of a sudden, Linda’s figure flickered through Ash’s mind. The last time that they saw each other was when Linda was seven years old. Since then, five years had already gone by…so how had Linda grown up? On top of his anticipation, Ash also felt a little uneasy. Ash had hardly thought about his little sister over the past five years. Even when the academy had extended breaks, he found a bunch of reasons to avoid going back home. Knowing Linda’s personality, it wouldn’t be surprising if she was mad at him. His mother’s letter didn’t mention anything in particular either, so that possibly aroused more suspicion. In actuality, what was Linda thinking?
A large dragon carriage pulled along by two Asias slowly waltzed into the square. The two elderly people who were in charge of the carriage clearly appeared to be the owners of the Asias. The loud roar was meant to attract the attention of nearby pedestrians — that is, in place of a horn. The crest of Dragonar Academy was emblazoned on the side of the majestic passenger compartment.
“Is that the carriage?”
“Yes, it should be.”
It was a large dragon carriage used for the express purpose of escorting the freshmen of Dragonar Academy to Ansarivan. It could be regarded as a special sight within Ansarivan during this season. Ash had also taken such a carriage when he first arrived in Ansarivan. At that moment…
Just after they passed through the entrance of the square, one of the Asias began to riot. For whatever reason, the Asia looked extraordinarily excited.
In an instant, one of the drivers was mercilessly thrown off.
“Wait, what’s going on!?”
“It might be some kind of illness.”
Ash calmly observed the restless Asia. It was an old dragon, so it was possible that it was suffering from an illness.
“In any case, we have to figure something out before anyone gets hurt!”
“Wait! Are you planning to approach an irrational Asia just like that!?”
“Don’t worry, Eco. I’m [The Boy Who Can Ride Any Dragon] after all.”
Ash directed a smile at Eco to put her at ease before rushing over towards the dragon carriage. If this continued, the carriage would likely flip. If that happened, the passengers were sure to have serious injuries.
—I just have to ride that Asia and get it to calm down!
Ash was filled with confidence. After all, he had much experience in this area due to riding various dragons over the past year.
“—Please leave it to me!”
A lovely voice pierced through the commotion in the square.
Ash couldn’t help but freeze. A petite figure instantly rushed out from the carriage and then leapt up high — she landed right on the saddle of the restless Asia and swiftly pulled on the reins at the same time. Because of her hood, her face couldn’t clearly be seen. However, based on their voice and figure, it was probably a girl in her early teens. That coincided with the age of a freshman. Despite it being spring, she was wearing a hooded jacket which made her particularly conspicuous. She looked like a traveller from the countryside.
“What is that child doing!?”
Ash couldn’t help but feel dumbfounded. The girl seemed to greatly underestimate the dragon race. If this continued, it wouldn’t be surprising if she was thrown onto the ground by the irrational Asia and then chewed or torn to pieces.
However — the instant that the mysterious girl mounted the Asia, it suddenly bent its knees, let out a weak cry, and then obediently calmed down…its fierce outburst seemed as though it had never happened in the first place.
Cheers and applause instantly erupted in St. Durham Square.
“Are you alright? What did you…!?”
Just after the incident finally came to an end and all passengers had safely disembarked the carriage, Ash ran up to the mysterious girl. The girl turned to Ash and stared at him with her hood on. All of a sudden, the girl laughed.
“W-What’s so funny?”
The girl finally lowered her hood.
“Nii-san, long time no see.”
“Linda!? It really is you…!?”
Ash froze in place out of surprise. Linda’s mature smile was far removed from the Linda that remained in Ash’s memories. Not only had she grown much taller, her limbs had also become slender. She hardly looked anything like she did when they grew up together in their hometown. If there was just one thing that remained unchanged, it was probably her hairstyle. Just like she used to, she tied her light brown hair on both the left and right side.
Ash carefully examined the girl who stood in front of him. In his memories, Linda was shy and something of a cry-baby. She had to rely on Ash at every turn, which constantly troubled him. For Ash, her most memorable expression was when she puffed out her cheeks. However, the little sister who stood in front of him now was mature even in her speech, making her feel like an entirely different person. With her refined facial features, she’ll probably become quite a beauty in a few years’ time…Ash couldn’t help but think.
“Geez, what are you so surprised about? By the way, nii-san!”
“W-What is it?”
“I heard a lot of interesting rumours from everyone while I was riding in the dragon carriage!”
“What kind of rumours?”
“Unless there’s someone with the exact same name and surname as you, it seems like you’ve become quite amazing. Commander of Avalon’s Holy Dragons’ Emperor Knights — Ash Blake-san?”
Ash was taken aback. Since Linda had come to Ansarivan, he thought that he’d eventually have to explain things to her…but he was surprised that she had already discovered this.
“I’m very worried. Please explain this at once.”
“W-Well, a lot of things happened, so…—wait, let’s not worry about that for now! Why did you ride on that Asia? You might’ve been lucky there, but if you weren’t careful, you could’ve died!”
Ash intended to reprimand her, but unexpectedly…
“Aren’t you mistaken? It knelt down after listening to my orders.”
Linda displayed a relaxed expression.
“What did you say…?”
Ash was momentarily confused. There was immense hidden meaning behind Linda’s words.
“Did you ride that dragon with absolute certainty?”
“Of course. I’m serious.”
Ash could still remember. It was the first time that he rode a dragon in the Junios course. The dragon that he rode was Lancelot — back then, it was still just a young Strada. At that time, Ash didn’t have his own Pal yet, so he naturally had no experience when it came to riding a dragon. Even so, Ash managed to successfully ride Lancelot. Back then, an unprecedented conviction stood strong in his heart. Could it be that, like Ash, Linda also possessed the same qualities to ride any dragon? All of a sudden, a conversation between him and the Mother Dragon resurfaced in his mind.
—What you mean is…if I didn’t defy you and accepted Lancelot…Eco would’ve become someone else’s Pal?
—That’s right. The person had already been selected. Like you, that person also bears the <Holy Grail>.
Was Lucca the one who was originally meant to receive Eco…Ash had always vaguely thought that. It was because he had seen with his own eyes the talents that Lucca possessed when they trained together in the Ecbald Forest. But, was it really Lucca? Linda was able to tame a violent Asia in the blink of an eye, which was clearly unusual.
“Could it be…”
Could it be that the candidate whom the Mother Dragon originally intended to entrust Eco to was Linda? Beads of cold sweat slid down Ash’s cheeks. No, until I figure out what the <Holy Grail> means, I can’t draw conclusions…Ash reminded himself. Unaware of what was going through Ash’s mind, Linda continued to ask,
“By the way, onii-san? That pretty girl over there…is she your friend?”
Linda cast her gaze behind Ash. Eco stood there politely. This caused Ash to finally return to his senses as he placed his hand on Eco’s shoulder.
“Allow me to introduce you. This is my Pal — her name is Eco.”
“I-It’s nice to meet you.”
Although Eco stuttered out of nervousness, she still gave a proper greeting. She then gently removed the beret on her head.
Linda gasped at the sight of Eco’s round horns. In any case, their first order of business was to explain the situation to Linda…just when Ash thought so—
“You were so incredible just then!”
“We managed to survive thanks to you!”
“How did you get that Asia to obey you!?”
The passengers onboard the dragon carriage — the new students surrounded Linda on all sides. One of the freshmen suddenly focused on Ash.
“Who is this?”
“Umm…he’s my brother.”
In an instant, the atmosphere amongst the crowd seemed to freeze over.
“Huh!? So, you mean that…this person is the Commander of Avalon’s Holy Dragons’ Emperor Knigths, Ash Blake-sama!?”
In the blink of an eye, the freshmen’s interest immediately turned to Ash. Almost all of the people who surrounded Ash were girls.
“I’m sorry! We have urgent business to attend to…hey, Eco, Linda, let’s go!”
Ash simultaneously took both Eco’s and Linda’s hands, and began to run without looking back.
—In an alley some distance away from St. Durham Square.
“It’s been a long time since I last came to this shop.”
Eco looked up at the signboard of the restaurant named <Dragon Fang Restaurant> as a sense of nostalgia stirred within her. Because they had been going to <La Tene> more often lately, they hadn’t been here in quite a while, but the various meat delicacies offered here were deeply engraved in Eco’s memory.
“The name <Dragon Fang Restaurant> certainly feels like something that belongs in Ansarivan.”
Linda also gazed at the heritage-style building in admiration.
“We won’t draw much attention here, and the food quality is decent too.”
Following Ash’s lead, Eco and Linda walked into the store. The spice-filled air of the restaurant stimulated Eco’s already strong appetite.
Linda seemed momentarily surprised by the lively atmosphere of the restaurant, but she immediately recovered and chased after her brother with a serious expression. Eco also endured the sensation of her belly which felt like it would start growling at any moment as she followed behind. Under the waitress’ guidance, Ash’s group sat down at a table for four. As usual, Eco planned to sit next to Ash — but Linda beat her to it. In a surprisingly natural manner, Linda took the seat next to Ash.
“What’s wrong, Eco?”
I’ll be patient for now…Eco told herself as she sat down in the seat opposite Ash. After all, Linda was one of Ash’s relatives, so she wanted to maintain a good relationship with her if at all possible. It would be wrong to kick up a fuss over a trivial matter like seating. At last, the waitress came over with a smile to take their order.
“—Well, that’s how the situation is.”
After enjoying their meal, Ash explained the main things that had transpired thus far. That went from Eco’s birth, to their struggle against the Dark Dragon King Mordred, Prince Uriel’s conspiracy, the foundation of Avalon’s Holy Dragons’ Emperor Knights, the death of the Mother Dragon, and the coronation of Queen Oscaia I.
“I never would’ve imagined that so many things happened around you, nii-san…”
With so many unbelievable events described, Linda was left dumbstruck and speechless. She seemed to have completely forgotten about the rack of spare ribs that sat before her.
Eco looked at the siblings with a feeling of estrangement. She somehow felt as though Linda had stolen her position. Having said that, it was understandable given that the siblings had reunited after not seeing each other for five years.
“To be honest, all of this is a bit far-fetched…so I’m a bit dubious. But everyone was talking about rumours of you in the dragon carriage…so I guess it’s all true, right?”
“Yeah, it is. It can’t be helped if you don’t believe everything straight away. If I was in your position, I’d probably laugh at it in disbelief.”
“It just seems like you’re already so far away, so I’m worried.”
“What are you saying? No matter what happens, we’ll always be family. You can rely on me just like you did back in Alba Village.”
“Thank you, nii-san.”
A smile finally returned to Linda’s face as she picked up her spoon to take a mouthful of the stewed meat.
Linda exclaimed as her eyes widened in surprise.
“Stew is your favourite dish, right? I thought you’d be happy with this.”
“Nii-san, you remembered…!”
Linda’s eyes grew moist. Eco watched the interaction between the siblings and began to notice that something felt amiss. It was because the smile on Ash’s face was one that Eco had never seen before. Perhaps that was the expression of an ‘older brother’. Regrettably, as Eco had no siblings, she found the sensation to be incomprehensible.
—Like I thought, it’s better if I give them some space…
Just as a glum expression surfaced on Eco’s face, Ash and Linda began to chat. They talked about their hometown of Alba Village. They talked about their mother who had raised both of them singlehandedly. They talked about the various villagers such as the village chief. Despite her displeasure, they were all topics that Eco wasn’t familiar with, so she had no way of joining the conversation. Suddenly, Eco felt a chill run down her spine as her entire body trembled.
Eco immediately realised that the cause of it was Linda.
While Linda listened to Ash, she constantly stared at Eco. Her intense gaze made Eco feel instinctively afraid.
—What’s her motive…?
Eco was puzzled. In actuality, their eyes only met for a brief moment. As if nothing had happened, Linda casually smiled and replied to her brother. Eco was unable to grasp Linda’s true intent, nor was she in the mood to reach for the dessert in front of her.
Linda suddenly revealed a mature smile and leaned forward.
“W-What is it?”
“It’s all thanks to you that nii-san is here today. Will you continue to protect nii-san as his Pal from here on?”
Linda extended her hand towards Eco.
“N-Naturally…of course I will.”
Although a little frightened by her aura, Eco still took Linda’s hand.
In that instant, Eco shuddered.
“What’s wrong, Eco?”
Ash asked in suspicion.
“I-It’s nothing. Shaking hands is just a bit embarrassing…”
Eco quickly eased the atmosphere and let go of Linda’s hand.
—Just then…I’m sure I felt an incredible amount of hostility. Moreover…she really seemed to emphasise the words ‘as his Pal’ in particular…
Eco had absolutely no idea what was going through Linda’s mind.
—Ash’s little sister, Linda Blake.
On the surface, she seemed rather smart and polite. Although Eco didn’t want to admit it, Linda seemed much more mature than herself, and that was an undeniable fact. However, Eco felt as though something was odd about her. For some reason, Eco vaguely felt that daggers were concealed behind Linda’s smile.
—These so-called siblings, they’re so hard to understand…
Eco heaved a deep sigh in her mind. She could hardly even remember what lunch tasted like.
After leaving the restaurant, Ash and Eco arrived at the school affairs office of Dragonar Academy so that they could assist Linda with completing her enrolment procedures. The freshmen who were new to the Academy City formed a long line at the window. It seemed they would have to wait for a while.
“Shall I accompany you in line?”
“Huh…that’s a surprise.”
It was a response outside of his expectations.
“Nii-san? I’m not a kid anymore, so I can queue up and complete the enrolment procedures on my own.”
It seemed that she didn’t like being treated like a child. Perhaps she’s already grown to that troublesome phase…Ash thought as he made a wry smile.
“Well, Eco and I will wait for you in the lobby then.”
After watching Linda walk to the end of the line, Ash and Eco went into the lobby. They sat down on an empty sofa and waited for Linda to return.
All of a sudden, Ash noticed something. Eco had been rather silent up until now.
—Speaking of which…
During lunch, Ash and Linda had talked enthusiastically about the past, so Eco might’ve felt left out. Only now did Ash think about this.
“Sorry Eco. Was that boring for you?”
Ash asked as he scratched his head.
“N-No…it’s nothing like that. She’s a family member that you haven’t seen for a long time, so don’t worry about me, I’m fine. Besides, I’m the one who insisted on coming along…”
Eco fidgeted as she responded in a voice that could barely be heard.
“Oh, so that’s what you were hung up about. That’s not like you, Eco.”
“How rude! Even I’d care about that!”
Eco turned her face away in anger. It appeared that Eco had returned to being her usual energetic self.
“I’m sorry, I’ll definitely make it up to you.”
Ash made a wry smile as he placed his hand on Eco’s head and stroked her fluffy hair.
Eco scrunched up her neck as if it tingled. Her cheeks became a light shade of red, perhaps out of embarrassment. Ash heaved a sigh of relief in knowing that her mood had recovered for now. At that moment…
“Nii-san, it’s no good!”
Linda ran over, breathing heavily. Simplifying her explanation somewhat — the girls’ Maeve dormitory began to undergo renovations a few days ago in order to accommodate the new freshmen. However, due to a miscalculation by the builders, several rooms were still undergoing renovation works.
“Could it be the room that you just so happened to reserve…?”
Linda nodded upon hearing Ash’s question.
“Yes, they said that my room is still being renovated. But it should be done within a few days…so complaining won’t help. My top priority now is to find a place to stay.”
Linda didn’t seem to be particularly panicked as she calmly analysed the situation.
“I see. I wonder what I can do…”
Ash muttered as he folded his arms. In short, there were two options that came to his mind. The first option was the penthouse of the girls’ dormitory, Epona House — Silvia’s royalty-exclusive room. If Silvia learnt that Linda was Ash’s little sister, she would probably oblige without so much as a word. The second option was the magic ship Escavaron. Once Ash and the others returned to the Academy, there was no shortage of vacant rooms on board the ship. Lately, it felt as though it almost belonged to Mirabel. Ash felt that neither option presented any major problems. The former option meant that Cosette would be present, while the latter meant Eunice, so either sounded just fine. I just have to let Linda pick from one of those two options — just as Ash thought that…Linda suddenly made an unexpected request.
“Can I stay in your room temporarily, nii-san?”
“Huh!? My room?”
“What are you so surprised about? We used to sleep together anyway, and it’s only natural that siblings share the same room, right?”
“Uh, that may be the case…but, if a girl wants to live in the boys’ dormitory, you’d have to get permission first.”
“I’ll go and apply then.”
Linda immediately spun around and walked over to the window of the school affairs office.
Ash was surprised by the Academy’s straightforward agreement without any questions asked. Perhaps the Academy judged that there were no issues given the clear relationship between them as siblings. A while later, Ash and the others arrived at the new Apollo House. Fortunately, no one was around to see them as they walked through the corridors and up the stairs, so they arrived safely at Ash’s room on the third floor.
“This is my room.”
“So, this is it…it’s more beautiful than I expected.”
Linda whispered in admiration as she put her luggage down by her feet.
“Ah, that’s because it was just built. Would you like some tea?”
She didn’t respond. And that was because Linda turned around and stared at Eco who stood by the door.
“By the way, Eco-san? Don’t you need to return to the Dragon House?”
“Wait…how did things turn out like this!? This is my room too!”
Having acted politely towards Linda up until now, Eco finally reached her limit.
“Huh!? Wait a minute!”
Linda revealed a serious expression as she gazed at Ash with suspicion.
“Umm, nii-san? You wouldn’t happen to be living in this room…together with Eco-san, would you?”
Her expression was gentle, and the corners of her mouth even lifted in a smile as she asked that question. Yet, there was no smile that could be detected in her eyes at all. Her gaze seemed prickly and she directed it piercingly at Ash’s skin. Ash felt a mysterious aura emanating from his little sister. Ever since she was young, she’d always advocated her own opinions and acted wilfully — that behaviour of hers seemed to resurface now.
“Yeah…that’s right. Eco may be a dragon, but as you can see, she’s no different from an ordinary human girl. Moreover, she shouldn’t be living in the Dragon House. That’s why I take care of her in this room.”
“Strictly speaking, I should say that I’m Ash’s master!”
Eco proudly declared as she folded her arms in front of her chest.
“Haha…I haven’t heard that line in a while.”
Ash made a wry smile, and at that moment…
“That won’t do————!”
Having maintained a calm demeanour up until this point, Linda suddenly had an emotional outburst. Linda’s furious attitude made both Ash and Eco back away in unison.
“Nii-san, you’re so shameless! You’re unworthy of being a knight! And what exactly is going on in this room? No matter how you look at it, there’s only one bed. Could it be…that you’re sleeping in the same bed?”
Linda blushed as her entire body quivered.
“Wait! Don’t get any weird ideas, alright!? I haven’t done anything wrong!”
Linda narrowed her eyes and took a step towards Ash.
“Can you swear to Saint Rosa Maria that you haven’t laid even a finger on Eco-san?”
“No, if it’s a finger you’re talking about, then…”
Not being very good at lying, Ash couldn’t help but hesitate. Eco also lowered her head shyly as her ears turned red. Linda looked alternately at Ash and Eco, and then clenched her fists in front of her chest.
“I don’t believe it! You’re already a celebrity now, right? You’re the hero who saved the Knight Country and the Kingdom, as well as the Student Council President! Perhaps no one thought it was a problem when you and Eco-san lived together in the past. But from now on, shouldn’t you change your mindset!?”
“In any case, nii-san, you should lead a student’s regular lifestyle, and Eco-san should act as nii-san’s Pal! It’s fortunate that I’ve come to Ansarivan at this point in time. Starting today, I’ll be monitoring both of you!”
Standing before Linda who pointed her finger at them, both Ash and Eco looked at each other, dumbfounded.
“Linda Blake ~A.S.B.1366.03~” is closed.
(All 6 of 6 parts) (6/7/21)
Continues on to Interlude – Linda’s <Seikoku>