Continues on from Chapter 1 – Eco’s Bright Dragon Crystal
Continues on to Chapter 3 – The Night Before the Battle, The Calm Before the Storm
Ice Blue Princess Vs Elfin Dancer
It was now the next morning. The hands of the silver pocket watch which was proof of a Dragonar indicated that the time was eight o’clock. In just two more hours, the second day of the Five Hundred Years Festival would begin. As a member of the Student Council, one could not oversleep on such a grand occasion. Having changed into his uniform, Ash flung open the curtains with one sweep, and sunlight spilled into the room. Today was also a bright sunny day…upon thinking this; it was also noticeable that grey clouds had gathered in the direction of the arena. It was worrisome whether or not the weather would take a turn for the worse, but the current priority was to wake Eco up.
“Eco, it’s time to get up.”
After Ash sat down on the edge of the bed, he lightly shook Eco’s shoulders.
Ash was greatly surprised, and suspected that it must have been himself that had misheard. What did she just say?
“Kiss……if you do……I’ll wake up…………”
“What are you talking about!?”
Eco’s sudden request caused Ash to feel incredibly embarrassed. Could it simply be the case that she was still half-asleep? Or perhaps she was currently having a dream that involed kissing. If that was the case, Ash was still curious about exactly what she was dreaming about… Bathed in the morning light that penetrated through the window, her glowing pink hair was as lustrous as a star. Her skin was clear and white, while her cheeks were round and tender. Drawn-out around the periphery of her beautiful eyes were long eyelashes. Her lips that spoke dreamy sentences was like a rosebud. Under the cover of her thin silk clothing, her body still had a tender atmosphere, and it was possible to vaguely see the colour of her skin. Needless to say, Ash’s heartbeat accelerated as if it could no longer be restrained.
“I-If I kiss you, will you really get out of bed obediently?”
“Mmm, I’ll get up…”
After Ash prepared himself mentally, he placed both his hands on top of Eco’s shoulders.
Ash called out Eco’s name in a dreamlike manner. Ash called to her with the name that he had personally given her, the name for which there was no substitute — after he closed his eyes, he slowly moved his lips closer to Eco’s. His lips and hers gently overlapped with each other. Through their affixed lips, feelings of affection were raised within him. After a while, Ash slowly moved his head away. A feeling of ecstasy welled up at the back of his head, after which he opened his eyes. As soon as he opened his eyes, he stared straight at Eco. Ruby-like eyes stared right back into Ash’s face.
In a panic, Eco let out a shrill cry and suddenly jumped up. Both of her cheeks were bright red, and even her ears and the nape of her neck had become a shade of bright red while her eyes had become watery. Probably because she was embarrassed to look at Ash face-to-face, she turned her back to him and hugged a stuffed animal tightly.
“Eco? I thought you weren’t awake yet!”
“I didn’t think that…you would really do it.”
“Eh? So you were deliberately trying to test me!?”
“Because we haven’t kissed for a long time! Thinking about the last person who kissed Ash being Silvia…I couldn’t stand it anymore!”
Perhaps because of the increase in temperature, the current Eco looked extraordinarily charming, causing Ash to blush and his heartbeat to hasten.
“But, isn’t kissing a very valuable thing? Even if I am a dragon, I know that much. Because when I kiss Ash, I have this kind of warm feeling in my heart…”
Tears seemed to be welling up in Eco’s eyes.
“To begin with, I only meant it half-seriously to tempt you, but you actually kissed…I can’t believe it…”
Eco was supposed to be angry, but not even the slightest trace of anger could be felt from her words. While she blamed Ash verbally, she felt joy on the inside — even Ash could feel this atmosphere.
“Ah, let’s hurry and get breakfast!”
Because the atmosphere was so awkward, Ash unconsciously raised his voice.
“Y-Yes, that’s right! A dragon must have five meals a day!”
As if infected by Ash, Eco also raised the volume of her voice.
—At nine forty five in the morning.
In the arena that had just been repaired overnight, the second preliminary match of the Dragonar’s Gunnar Bout was about to begin. Although this match was originally scheduled for yesterday, the arena had taken damage and was badly destroyed as a result of Rebecca’s magic attacks, so it had to be delayed by one day. Although Ash had a lot of behind-the-scenes work to busy himself with as a member of the Student Council, Ash did not want to miss the match as the winner of this match would be an opponent in the finals.
“I’m sorry Jessica, please help me! I really want to watch this match!”
In the office of the arena, Ash put his hands together in front of Jessica to ask for help. Rebecca was currently hospitalised. Silvia and Lucca were the combatants who were just about to begin in this second match. Max and Oscar were in the combatants’ lounge, preparing for the third match. If Ash and Eco left their working positions to watch the battle, the remaining Student Council member — Jessica was the only member of the Dragon Riding Festival Committee left. Jessica, who was busy preparing documents, lifted her face with a wry smile.
“I don’t mind. I don’t want to see Ash-sama losing to the Vice-President either.”
“Thank you, Jessica!”
“However, it might be a bit difficult to say it…but there is a favour that I want from Ash-sama.”
Jessica’s cheeks faintly reddened, and she placed both hands in front of her chest as though she was praying. Although she was currently wearing her uniform, Ash was still attracted to the luscious curves of Jessica’s body, and his throat twitched as he swallowed. He simply felt that her chest seemed to have grown even larger after the long summer vacation.
“I-If it’s something that I can do, then you can tell me…but you can’t mention a request to have children, okay?”
Reminded of Jessica’s usual bold words and deeds, Ash pre-emptively added a condition.
“Ara, I can’t?”
Yet, as though this was unexpected, Jessica tilted her head in thought.
“It was impossible from the beginning! It’s not unexpected at all!”
While Ash retorted, Eco emitted a murderous intent ‘Go go go go go…’ from behind him.
Eco’s stare was enough to make him uncomfortable. It felt like a thorn pressed against his back, causing Ash to become anxious. At that time, Jessica’s expression suddenly brightened.
“Ash-sama, no need to worry, I have already given up on the throne of the legal wife. As long as I can satisfy Ash-sama, even if I’m the second or third wife, I don’t mind! I don’t mind even if I’m the hundredth wife!”
“I’m not the King of Chevron! I’m not that perverted!”
While Ash revealed an embarrassed reaction, Eco continued to ‘Go go go go go…’ release an ominous black aura.
Eco’s gaze continued to become colder, and it was directed straight at Ash’s back. Having said that, she didn’t lose her temper on the spot, so this could be considered proof that Eco had become slightly more mature. At this time, loud cheers erupted from the arena. Based on that, it seemed that Silvia and Lucca had entered the ring to appear before the audience. In any case, there was no time right now to wait for Jessica’s request.
“I’m sorry, Jessica! I’ll make it up to you later!”
After saying this, Ash took Eco with him as he left the office.
Although it was only a preliminary match, the <Ice Blue Princess> versus <Elfin Dancer> combination was received by a round of cheers. It was wildly popular with the audience. It was unfortunate that grey clouds hung over the sky above the arena and sunlight was scarce, but the incredibly lively atmosphere seemed to sweep away all of the gloom in the weather. In particular, there was an all-blue cheer squad for Silvia, as well as a troupe of Ecbald people who had come all the way to Ansarivan to cheer for Lucca; these two groups in the audience were the most fanatical, and simply looking at them was enough to induce a sense of fear. Ash held Eco’s hand as they walked towards seats for general admission. However, the ordinary seats seemed as though they were almost completely occupied. As far as they could see, there were simply people, people and people everywhere — the audience filled the entire arena like an ocean. The number of standing audience members also continued to increase.
“This is troublesome…”
It seemed as though they would have to stand in order to watch. Just as Ash gave up on finding a seat—
“Ash-sama, over here.”
Someone in the audience stand suddenly stood up. Upon taking a closer look, it was actually Cosette. She smiled and waved, her palace-styled maid outfit was especially conspicuous on this occasion. It seemed as though she had come to help reserve seats for Ash and Eco.
“Thank you so much, Cosette-san!”
Ash rushed forward as if he had found an oasis within a desert. Positioned in the front most row, it had an excellent view and it was simply perfect.
“As expected of Cosette, you’re as sharp as always!”
Eco sat down in the seat directly next to Cosette.
“Come on Eco, shouldn’t you thank Cosette-san?”
While Ash corrected Eco’s rudeness, he also sat down. After breathing a sigh of relief—
Ash suddenly heard someone call his name out. Out of surprise, he turned towards the seat just opposite Eco’s seat — there was a girl who had tied up her red hair, splitting the left and right sides. The mini-dress that she wore had many laces and frills. The girl smiled at him audaciously. Her gorgeous dress made her look like a noble lady of Chevron aristocracy. The girl was wearing a pair of large sunglasses to conceal her appearance.
“Who is she…?”
Such a thought momentarily flashed across his mind, but Ash immediately recognised her identity.
“No way, it’s Rebecca-san, right!?”
“Your voice is too loud. After all, I’m still supposed to be in the hospital.”
Rebecca extended her index finger and gently placed it over Ash’s lips to silence him. At this moment, a particular scene appeared in Ash’s mind. It was yesterday evening when — Ash had gone to the hospital to visit Rebecca who had been sent there. Rebecca was livelier than he had imagined, and she had even taken Ash to the park. After the two of them spoke for a while there, Rebecca returned to the hospital — but when they parted, she kissed Ash’s cheek. As soon as he thought about the sensation of her lips, Ash’s entire body became hot.
“Uh…I’m quite surprised. You seem like a completely different person…”
Rebecca revealed a devilish smile.
“If I don’t disguise myself, journalists would swarm towards me like ants if I was to be seen. And I personally don’t dislike elegant clothing; after all, the Randall family is an aristocratic one.”
It felt as though he had inadvertently learned about an unexpected side to the <Scarlet Empress>, causing Ash to feel surprised yet again.
“—Now, the second preliminary match of the Dragonar’s Gunnar Bout is about to begin!”
At that time, the physical education teacher who was also acting as the master of ceremonies and referee made an announcement with a loud voice. That voice echoed throughout through the loudspeakers of the entire arena using magic.
As Ash nervously gulped, the bell to declare the beginning of the match rang out. Both Lancelot and Gawain spread their wings to fly up at the same time—.
The aerial battle between the two Maestros was impressive, and the deafening support from the crowd had become white-hot.
“Both of them aren’t too bad!”
Eco also looked up at the sky with excitement. Her original intention of scouting out the enemy was pushed to the back of her mind, and she had now become an audience member who was purely enjoying the match.
In contrast, Ash was feeling incredibly nervous. As he watched both Silvia and Lucca, they just didn’t look like they were fighting with a ‘competitive’ mentality. Although this was a traditional contest of the Knight Country, it felt as though those two were overly passionate. Just what were the two of them doing?
“…Umm, Rebecca-san, those two seem to be enveloped in a dangerous aura. Don’t you feel as though they’re really going all out to fight?”
“Oh, how could you ask that question? You really are such a sinful man…”
After Rebecca glanced at Ash behind her sunglasses, she sighed with amazement.
“What do you mean?”
“Have you forgotten what the winner will receive as a prize?”
“Ah…I almost forgot that there was such an arrangement.”
Ash couldn’t help but allow his gaze to drift off into the distance. Silvia had made a declaration
If I am victorious, I want to be engaged to Ash—
Lucca’s request didn’t differ too much, since she hoped to hold a ‘sacred wedding’ with Ash.
“So that’s why the two of them are fighting so hard…”
After finding out that the culprit was none other than himself, Ash couldn’t stop himself from worrying.
“Fufu. It must be hard being a lady-killer.”
As Rebecca giggled, the audience suddenly let out a burst of cheers. Lancelot’s Crimson Ex-Breath shattered Gawain’s magic barrier.
The aftermath of the impact caused Gawain to lose balance. It then fell straight down. Lucca’s cheering squad let out a sad wail, but Gawain released magical energy just before it reached the ground to barely make a safe landing. It also appeared as though Lucca was still full of fighting spirit. However, it seemed as though that sudden emergency landing from the air had exhausted most of Gawain’s magical energy.
“It looks like Princess-sama will win this match. Even if Lucca is a genius, she is still just a student of the Unios course, and the gap in their experience can’t be bridged so simply…”
“Are you sure about that?”
Rebecca’s tone of voice suddenly became serious.
“Why do you say that?”
“It looks like Lucca still has a trump card.”
“Do you mean the Dragon Riding Dance? But that move shouldn’t be suitable for use in a one-on-one battle. And if there is interference from an opponent while she’s in mid-air drawing magic patterns, then wouldn’t it be over?”
“You’re too naïve, Ash.”
Rebecca answered with that, and for some reason, she then looked up at the sky above the arena.
“There’s a lot of cloud cover today. The other side of the sky is certainly clear, only the sky above the arena is covered by clouds; it’s almost as if someone did that on purpose…”
Rebecca spoke solemnly, while Ash could only stare in puzzlement.
“—Good, Gawain’s magical energy will soon be exhausted. The outcome has been decided.”
After Silvia nodded with satisfaction, she tugged on the reins. After Lancelot let loose a roar whilst maintaining a height of fifty metres above the ground, it then coolly descended from the sky. As soon as Lancelot landed on the ground, Silvia immediately warned Lucca
“Get down from Gawain’s back, Lucca. There’s no point in continuing to fight.”
Lucca’s face remained expressionless, and she simply stared back at Silvia.
“I’ll admit that you’re very talented, but the gap in our experience is as clear as day. The current you is no match for me and Lancelot.”
However, Lucca slowly shook her head.
“The knights of Ecbald may only die on the backs of their Pal in battle…this is our rule.”
Different from usual, Lucca was exuding an incredible sense of courage. Silvia was almost pushed back by her imposing manner. The usual Lucca was quiet and reticent, being elusive about her true feelings. But her current words and actions allowed Silvia to fully understand that her feelings towards Ash were sincere.
“Are you willing to gamble your life in order to win this match!?”
“…Silvia, are you not risking your own life? Are your feelings towards Ash so superficial?”
In an instant, blood rushed straight to Silvia’s head.
“Nonsense! When it comes to dedication towards Ash, I definitely won’t lose to anyone!”
“Is that so…then I’m relieved.”
“I don’t have to worry…when I go all out.”
All of a sudden, Lancelot’s limbs froze and lost their ability to move. Without any obvious preparations being made, Gawain had used Azul Ex-Blizzard. Lancelot’s front and hind legs had become frozen in ice. Silvia felt vexed that she had carelessly underestimated the enemy. Lancelot cried out in pain.
“Kuh! Calm down, Lancelot! This weak ice magic cannot—”
Taking advantage of Silvia’s present state, Lucca raised her right arm over her head.
“Dragon Riding Dance — Third Dance, Scorching Meteor!”
“…What did you say!?”
Silvia was shocked. How was she able to omit the dance preparations and use magic directly? Ignoring Silvia’s question, holy rays of light shot down from the clouds above the arena. The clouds that enveloped the sky above the arena gradually disappeared — as if their goal had been accomplished. Then, what appeared in the sky behind the clouds was an enormous magic circle — it was a <Seikoku> pattern bearing resemblance to a dragon’s head.
“Wha…when was this…!”
Silvia shouted out with a pale expression.
“I finished it secretly during the night…”
After Lucca answered faintly, she brought down the arm that she had raised up high. Silvia’s vision was dyed a vast expanse of white by a meteor shower that descended upon her.
The stream of meteors that rained down from the white sky — they were magic rays of the holy attribute. The magical rays altered their trajectory in mid-air, and they all flew towards Silvia and Lancelot.
“What incredible magic…!”
Ash soon realised that the Third Dragon Riding Dance was homing-type offensive magic. Lucca and Gawain were probably able to remain in the arena without the need to evade because they were confident that they would not be hit. Lancelot’s four limb’s had been sealed with ice magic. If it had a little more time, it might have been able to free itself, but the harsh attack was already upon them.
Powerful flashes of light and deafening explosions rippled in every direction.
“Princess-sama…is she okay?”
Just as Ash murmured, he recalled a hazy memory. When Lucca came to his room yesterday evening — Lucca had climbed into his room through the window with the assistance of Gawain. Ash thought that she had simply come to see him, but that was not actually the case. Presumably, she had just completed a large project. As for the clouds that covered the enormous magic pattern for the whole night, that was likely to be something that Gawain’s magic produced. Even though Ash had been deceived and was surprised for a moment, Rebecca had already realised that this was a trick created with illusion magic. The entire arena had gone silent. Every member of the audience was breathless, as they worried for the safety of Silvia and Lancelot. After a while, the dazzling light finally receded.
Ash unconsciously murmured. Lancelot had produced several layers of high-level defensive hexagonal magic barriers, and was enduring the pain caused by its injuries. Surrounded by numerous hexagonal shields, it emitted a bright glow underneath the radiance of the sun. However, there were a few magical rays that had pierced through its shields, injuring Lancelot’s body. Blood oozed out from Lancelot’s sides, and some of its fur had also been charred. But the main problem was Silvia. Lancelot’s saddle was empty, and Silvia was nowhere to be seen.
“Princess-sama! Where did Princess-sama go!?”
“Calm down, Ash. Isn’t Silvia over there?”
Ash hurriedly looked towards where Rebecca was pointing. Ash was speechless. Silvia’s Dragsuit was severely burned, and she was half-naked. But she was still proudly standing atop Gawain’s back — immediately behind Lucca.
“Lancelot used teleportation magic!?”
Rebecca seemed to answer Ash’s question with satisfaction
“Correct answer, Ash. Just in the nick of time, Lancelot gave up on undoing the ice magic, and erected hexagonal shields. But this was not enough to completely nullify Lucca’s attack, so Lancelot took its master’s safety into account, and sent Silvia away without any hesitation. According to the rules, falling from the back of a dragon counts as a loss, but Silvia didn’t fall from Lancelot’s body, and this current situation can only be regarded as jumping onto Gawain’s back.”
“So at present, it means that Princess-sama is still riding on a dragon…she hasn’t lost yet!”
When Ash understood this fact, Silvia took action. She lightly pushed Lucca’s back once.
With no resistance whatsoever, Lucca fell from the saddle, and landed with her bottom on the ground. Before Gawain could notice, Silvia quickly jumped down from its back. It was a taboo for dragons to allow anyone other than their own master to ride on their back. If Silvia immersed herself in the moment of victory and continued to stand on top of Gawain’s back, then it would lead to an unpredictable result. Even though this was valid according to the rules, Gawain would probably become hostile towards Silvia. Ash had tried to forcefully mount Gawain in the past, causing himself to be seriously injured.
“Hmm, a calm judgement. Silvia has also grown a lot.”
After Rebecca expressed her admiration, a thunderous wave of cheers erupted from the arena. The loud voice of the referee’s verdict echoed across the sky.
“That was the second preliminary match of the Dragonar’s Gunnar Bout! The winner is Her Royal Highness Silvia Lautreamont!”
“The Second Heat! ~A.S.B.1365.10~” is closed.
(All 6 parts) (15/6)
Continues on to Chapter 3 – The Night Before the Battle, The Calm Before the Storm