Continues on to Chapter 4 – Ashley Trapped
Continues on to Chapter 6 – The Birth of a Demon
The Fight of the Sacred Knights
The spectators who filled the arena were all growing impatient. The one o’clock afternoon bell had already rung, but the decisive battle of the Dragonar’s Gunnar Bout had yet to begin. The dissatisfaction of the audience members turned into jeers and was audible even in the contestants’ lounge. Silvia folded her arms in front of her chest as she paced back and forth in the room. According to the rules of the match, since neither Ash nor Oscar had arrived in time for the beginning of the match, it counted as a forfeit.
“Seriously…what are Ash and Oscar doing? If this goes on, won’t I win without fighting…? If that’s truly the case, then Ash and I w-w-will b-be engaged—”
“Princess-sama, please stay calm.”
Cosette spoke up to soothe the embarrassed Silvia. But she had a grin on her face to indicate that she found Silvia’s shy expression rather interesting.
“Come now. Is there anything to be happy about in a victory that comes without fighting?”
Rebecca quietly stepped into the lounge.
Silvia felt so ashamed that she was unable to lift her head.
“Let’s put that topic aside. Did you hear the one o’clock bell? The only member of the final battle who can appear is you. Under circumstances where your opponents are absent, victory is something that belongs to you—”
“I can’t accept it! President, I certainly don’t think that you enjoy seeing this result either, right?”
Seeing Silvia’s response, Rebecca showed an understanding smile.
“I knew you would say that. I still have a trump card though.”
Silvia had a confused expression.
“It’s actually quite simple. We simply have to delay the time of the match to make it so that those two aren’t late, right?”
“Y-You have a way to do that?”
“Of course, there’s no problem with arranging that. I just need you to lend me a hand. Are you willing to do me a favour?”
“Absolutely! If it’s within my power, then just say the word!”
“I’m relieved to hear you say that, Silvia.”
After a strangely gentle smile emerged on Rebecca’s face, she rested her hands on top of Silvia’s shoulders. Silvia was inexplicably filled with a sense of foreboding.
Wearing a long robe that appeared to resemble a wizard’s robe, the masked Celes discreetly slipped into a clock tower that was close to the arena. Originally, the clock tower was a building that could only be entered by civic staff and the clock craftsmen, but with Celes’ level of skill, infiltrating from the sealed back entrance was a piece of cake. The Five Hundred Years Festival was incredibly lively right now, so it was unlikely that anyone else would barge in.
“…How strange. The time has already passed, yet the match has not begun, and I can’t see Tristan either. Oscar has to take part in the final battle for that person’s plan to succeed…what is she doing!?”
Celes looked down from the top of the clock tower as she grumbled. From this position, it was possible to capture the entire view of the large arena in one’s eye. The entry and exit for the contestants was a waiting area dedicated to dragons, but somehow only Lancelot was there. Because Ash had been kidnapped and confined, Brigid’s absence was only to be expected, but the real problem was why even Tristan had disappeared. At that time, Rebecca gracefully stepped into the arena.
After Rebecca stood in the centre of the arena, she held up a magic-powered loudspeaker.
[Sorry for the wait. The final battle of the Dragonar’s Gunnar Bout will soon begin.]
An enormous wave of cheers was instantly set off in the arena.
[However, before the match begins — Princess Silvia Lautreamont has expressed her hopes to hold an oath taking ceremony.]
Another grand wave of cheers was set off in the arena.
“What is she saying!? She wants me to take an oath on behalf of the players in front of a full audience…!”
After grasping the situation, Silvia could not stop her knees from shaking. Within the passageway connecting the arena and the lounge room—. Obeying Rebecca’s instructions, Silvia stood there to wait, but she had never imagined that she was waiting for something like this. The metallic portion of her Dragsuit clattered as if emphasizing the shakiness of her body. I should just turn tail and head back into the lounge room — Silvia thought to herself.
“I’m really looking forward to Princess-sama’s speech…fufufu.”
From behind, Cosette appeared to be cheering Silvia on rather gleefully.
[Now then, please welcome Princess Silvia!]
After Rebecca announced that in a vibrant tone, she sneakily sent a wink towards Silvia in the players’ entrance passageway.
“I must be having a nightmare…”
As Silvia tearfully muttered to herself, Lancelot stretched its neck over from the waiting area next to the passageway and stared at Silvia with its round eyes.
“Lancelot? …Are you encouraging me?”
Lancelot’s throat purred as it let out a small hum. Silvia felt deeply moved by the fact that it seemed to be saying ‘I’m by your side’.
“Thank you, Lancelot!”
After Silvia brightened up, she leapt up onto Lancelot’s saddle. She gripped the reins in her hand as she moved towards the centre of the arena. Silvia’s heroic appearance as she rode atop her silver dragon sparked excitement in the audience. Passionate cheers, thunderous applause, and flower petals flew about. After arriving in front of Rebecca who stood in the centre of the arena, Silvia gently pulled on the reins to signal Lancelot to stop.
“Do you need this?”
Silvia shook her head and rejected the magic-powered loudspeaker that Rebecca handed her.
“Listen closely, Silvia. Your goal is to stall for time. Until Ash and Oscar arrive, stall for as long as you can.”
After Silvia nodded and replied, she took a deep breath. She raised her right hand as she rode on top of Lancelot.
“I swear on behalf of the contestants! I, Silvia Lautreamont vow to uphold the spirit of a knight’s chivalry to take part in the traditional tournament of my country in a fair and honest manner, the finals of the Dragonar’s Gunnar Bout!”
Good, I’ve done pretty well so far — but after feeling somewhat happy for a moment, Silvia immediately fell into disarray. She was unable to force the remaining words from her mouth.
“It is simply impossible to use a contestant to stall for time…”
And now, Silvia realised that reality was not as simple as she had imagined. She had absolutely no clue about what to say next. Silvia looked depressed as she lowered her head. After a while, the audience members in the arena began to feel puzzled. The venue began to become noisy as everyone talked amongst themselves. At that time, Cosette, who had unsuspectingly appeared beside Lancelot at some point whispered to Silvia
“Princess-sama, there is no need to say anything that is too stereotypical. You can honestly express your own feelings in your own way.”
“There is no need to be nervous. You’ll definitely be fine, Princess-sama.”
After Silvia nodded in response to Cosette, she lifted her face and stood proudly once again. There was no longer any confusion in her heart.
“My apologies, please allow me to take this occasion to talk about my private affairs…in truth, there is someone that I like!”
Sure enough, those words triggered uproar within the arena.
“A-At the beginning, I was the same as everyone else, and I absolutely disdained him because he was regarded as the Academy’s Number One Problem Child. I never wanted to understand him; I simply followed the preordained stereotype that he was a problem student. However…he helped and encouraged my ignorant self, time and time again. I have learned a lot from him, and before I knew it, the share of my heart that he held grew larger and larger…finally, I finally realised the feelings that had germinated within my heart.”
The audience members were completely silent right now. Everyone had pricked their ears up to carefully listen to Silvia’s declaration.
“I-I must alter the contestants’ oath. I hereby declare that if I am the victor in this Dragonar’s Gunnar Bout—…I-I will propose to him!”
After a few seconds of silence, the sentiments of the audience members flooded down like a tidal wave. Even so, Silvia seemed unaffected as she bowed deeply one time. When she lifted her face back up again, an endless blue sky extended out before her eyes. The amazing thing was that she didn’t feel any regret, and she no longer felt any embarrassment either. Her mood was as bright and cheerful as the sky that stretched over her head. Silvia inadvertently noticed that there was an object emitting light in a corner of the sky.
In that instant, two Dragonars flew towards the arena like shooting stars.
“Oscar Brailsford has arrived!”
Oscar, who landed on Silvia’s right hand side shouted out with an ostentatious tone. Oscar was clad in a golden Ark, while she held the magical bow Failnaught in her hands. Following that, the one who landed on Silvia’s left hand side was—
“Sorry for the late arrival, I am Ash Blake!”
Riding on top of Brigid’s head with a heroic glow, Ash was wearing a silver Dragsuit that Silvia had never seen before. He also had the holy sword Excalibur, and based on this, it was evident that he was already wearing the Ark that Eco had created on top of his Dragsuit. The <Seikoku> engraved on his left arm had also grown larger, and even reached up to his face. His <Seikoku> had expanded to cover his entire body. As soon as she saw Ash’s heroic figure, Silvia immediately felt her heart race.
“And don’t forget about me either!”
Eco naturally stood by Ash’s side. Silvia momentarily felt a kind of prick at her heart, but—
“All three of you are too slow!”
She showed a relieved expression as she snapped at her opponents.
Before the match began, Silvia moved Lancelot closer to Brigid’s side.
“Er, umm…did you hear the contestants’ oath earlier?”
Ash looked surprised.
“Ah, yeah…because it would’ve been impolite to barge in halfway through the speech…I heard everything.”
Ash embarrassedly replied. When Ash replied to her, Silvia’s face also turned red.
“Hey…? How long are you two going to keep flirting for?”
Gogogogogo…a rather potent negative aura of radiated out from Eco.
“—Now, let the final round of the Dragonar’s Gunnar Bout begin!”
And then, the teacher serving as the referee announced the opening with a dignified tone. Deafening cheers echoed across the arena. After Ash came back to his senses, he turned his gaze towards Oscar who stood directly in front of him. Silvia took hold of the reins and said to Ash
“Ash, let us work together to defeat Oscar-san first. After that, we can fight one-on-one with no distractions.”
After agreeing with Silvia’s proposal, Ash pulled the holy sword Excalibur out from its scabbard. In a three-way battle, such agreements were rather natural. Because the rules did not forbid it, there was no problem in doing so. It was because negotiation techniques were also an element of the match.
Although Eco seemed somewhat dissatisfied about the decision to join forces with Silvia, she was probably aware that this was the most efficient way of fighting. That was why she only muttered a few words to herself in a low voice and didn’t voice any objections.
“I’ll pin Oscar-san down, Ash, you use that opportunity to attack!”
Listening to Silvia’s instructions, Lancelot swiftly flew above Tristan’s head and unleashed a Crimson Ex-Breath  with astonishing momentum. Surprisingly, Oscar showed no intentions of evading, and didn’t even prepare any defensive measures. On top of that, she didn’t even look at Lancelot.
“What!? They actually took a direct hit…”
Holding Excalibur up, Ash originally wanted to pursue a swift victory, but he immediately halted Brigid’s movements upon evaluating the situation. Tristan’s position was enveloped by a hazy grey smog. No matter how strong Oscar was, she couldn’t possible remain unharmed after enduring such a powerful assault. Up in the air, Silvia’s expression also appeared confused.
“You idiot! Why wouldn’t you dodge!?”
Silvia had originally attacked based on the assumption that Oscar would ‘dodge’. Ash was then responsible for ambushing Oscar.
“—Hmph, I have an Ark protecting me. There is no need for me to dodge such feeble attacks.”
A cold voice suddenly rang out from the cloud of smoke that still remained in the air.
“…I’m afraid that I still have to go find Celes afterwards. I’ll end this trifling match immediately.”
Ash suddenly had an ominous premonition as a chill radiated through his entire body. He suddenly yelled towards Silvia
“Watch out! Princess-sama!”
“You shall personally taste the power of my magic bow Failnaught!”
In an instant, the smoke surrounding Oscar and Tristan was dispersed, and a countless number of arrows were released from there.
—The unflowing magic bow — Failnaught.
Like Rebecca’s magic spear Gáe Bolg, they were both weapons that interfered with fate. Ash realised the reason why he felt so terrified. It was because he had been locked onto by the magic bow. While Oscar endured that attack, she had already completed preparations for a counterattack.
Under Ash’s command, Brigid flew up high. While dodging the incoming barrage of arrows, they continued to climb higher into the air. The sight of such superb flying technique caused the audience members to brim with enthusiasm. Numerous arrows still chased after Brigid’s back, stubbornly in hot pursuit.
“Ash, what should we do!? If this continues, then sooner or later we’ll be hit!”
Eco’s face turned pale as she grabbed on tightly to Ash’s waist. Ash was acting unexpectedly calm right now.
—I see, so this is all thanks to Rebecca-san as well.
Ash recalled the events of the preliminary round. At that time, Rebecca had trained Ash by using an attack pattern that imitated Oscar’s. The results of that training were amazing as Ash didn’t feel the least bit threatened despite all of the ranged attacks raining down on him. Ash’s confidence also infected Brigid.
Brigid expressed its high spirits and drew out a beautiful trajectory in the air as it contested with the arrows. As for the arrows that couldn’t be dodged, Ash cut them down with Excalibur. Even if they were fated to hit by the magic bow, as long as he had the legendary sword of Avalon’s Holy Dragons’ Emperor Family in his hand, he had enough strength to go against the curse of the magic bow.
—As long as I have this sword, defeating Oscar will not be a problem…!
Ash was overflowing with self-confidence, and didn’t believe it possible for him to face defeat.
“Good, Brigid! Go behind Tristan like this—”
At that time, Silvia’s cry entered his ears, causing Ash to shudder. He quickly turned to look in the direction that the cry came from—
Lancelot had taken several hits and appeared rather unsteady. Although Silvia was unharmed and still held the reins in her hand, perhaps because of the firepower and destructive force of the arrows, Lancelot had probably lost its normal ability to reason already.
Ash came to the realisation that he had made a mistake. Because he was still able to fight, he mistakenly believed that it was possible for Silvia to handle Oscar’s offensive as well. After all, Silvia was a talented honour student in their grade. In reality, Ash, who had been trained by Rebecca and was armed with the holy sword Excalibur held an overwhelming advantage due to the large difference in experience and equipment compared to Silvia.
“Wait, what are you doing!?”
Ash ignored Eco’s cries to stop, and insisted on making Brigid glide across. In an instant, Brigid had made it over to Lancelot’s side. At the same time that Brigid initiated defensive magic — a Hexagonal Shield, he used his holy sword to deflect the remaining arrows. Loud explosions erupted next to their ears one after the other.
Both Eco and Silvia screamed into his ears. It was fine for Eco who stood behind him, but for even Silvia to shriek aloud, was that not detrimental to her reputation as a Dragonar?
“Princess-sama, please calm down! Leave the arrows to me, please use a long-distance attack, Princess-sama—”
All of a sudden, Ash felt an enormous magical reaction, so he looked up into the air. Without any of them noticing, Tristan had flown up to a distance of around fifty metres above the ground. The atmosphere surrounding Tristan had become distorted. It was possible that the accumulated magical energy was so vast that it had generated such an effect on the surrounding space. Ash shuddered as a cold chill ran down his spine. Oscar stood on top of Tristan’s head, arrogantly looking down on Ash and the others.
“Stormy Blue Leviathan Impact !”
Under Oscar’s orders, Tristan activated its magic. Since Tristan was the one to activate the magic, there was no particular need for Oscar to call out the name of the spell, but perhaps that was just Oscar’s way of doing things. Ash had never heard of such magic. It was highly possible that it was advanced magic that only appeared in upper-level textbooks. A swirling torrent of water as fast-flowing as a river came crashing down towards Ash and the others. If they took a direct hit, both rider and dragon would be swallowed whole…!
“Freeze it, Brigid!”
Ash shouted. Brigid quickly responded by activating Azul Ex-Blizzard .
“You too please, Princess-sama!”
“I know! Lancelot, you help out as well!”
Silvia finally seemed to have regained her fighting spirit. Perhaps satisfied about its master’s return, Lancelot fired out a powerful Azul Ex-Blizzard. The Stormy Blue Leviathan Impact and the two Azul Ex-Blizzards clashed in mid-air. The two ice blasts continually rushed forward, causing the powerful blast of water to completely solidify. But the torrent of water didn’t seem like it was defeated just yet.
“In that case, I’ll just have to use Excalibur—”
“You’re still too naïve, Ash!”
The moment that Ash grabbed the hilt of his sword, Oscar immediately resumed her flurry of arrows.
Being trapped by the opponent’s magical attacks, both Brigid and Lancelot were stuck in the air, and they stumbled even deeper into a dilemma. Even if they wanted to halt their magic to evade the onslaught of arrows, there was no guarantee that they wouldn’t be swallowed by the torrent of water the instant that they stopped their magic. Ash swung the holy sword back and forth. With that, he was able take down the arrows that came flying towards them one by one. While Lancelot was focused on using its offensive magic, it meant that Silvia had become completely defenceless. Hence, Ash also helped to ward off the arrows that targeted Silvia.
“Damn it, what should I do…!”
“You don’t have to keep guarding me! Our levels are simply too far apart…!”
Silvia showed a depressed and dejected look.
“Princess-sama, what are you talking about!? This doesn’t suit you at all! Was that players’ oath just a farce with nothing behind it?”
Ash scolded her as he slashed away at the incoming barrage. Only after blurting that out did Ash clearly remember what Silvia had said in her declaration, causing his face to go red.
Most likely because Silvia also recalled the topic of her proposal, she could not help but blush. Ash and Silvia naturally gazed upon each other with affection.
“You two! Do you even know what kind of situation you’re in right now!?”
Seeing this, Eco could not help but raise her fists in protest.
“Oh dear…we’re in the middle of a battle right now.”
Oscar looked down at the trio with a fearless smile.
“I won’t show any more mercy — Copper Red Lava Flow !”
As soon as Oscar declared that, a magic circle appeared in front of Tristan’s head. A copper-red coloured torrent rushed down from above like a waterfall. Not only did it nullify the effect of the ice magic, it also accelerated downwards due the force of gravity. The torrent of water that had once been halted by the ice magic flowed downwards once more. And then — the red and blue torrents combined as they swirled together to form a double helix.
“Using two types of advanced magic at the same time…this can’t be possible!”
Upon seeing Tristan reveal such an unusual skill with her own eyes, Silvia was left speechless. Although Ash was also shocked, he soon recovered. Even if this was a tournament, enduring this kind of attack could even be life-threatening.
“Brigid, concentrate all your magical energy on defensive magic! Eco, inject your magical energy into Brigid! Lancelot, push the firepower of Azul Ex-Breath to the maximum!”
Originally, Ash didn’t have the right to give orders to Lancelot, but Lancelot seemed to have noticed Ash’s intentions, and it increased its output for Azul Ex-Breath. Brigid used this opportunity to stop casting Azul Ex-Breath, and instead concentrated all of its energy into a Hexagonal Shield.
“I’m going to start, Brigid. Take my magic!”
Following that, Eco concentrated and sent her magic into Brigid’s body. Brigid cried out sharply, and gradually stacked the Hexagonal Shield with two, and then three layers.
“It’s coming! Be careful—”
Without letting Ash finish, the red and blue double helix approached the three of them directly! In an instant, a tremendous impact occurred at the Hexagonal Shield that had now been stacked five layers thick—. An ear-splitting loud bang was accompanied by an intense flash of light. The unimaginable impact rocked his head, and Ash’s vision suddenly became dark.
“…Am I still alive?”
When Silvia opened her eyes, she found herself clinging onto Lancelot’s back, and she realised that they had been pushed down into a corner of the arena. A buzzing sound echoed through her entire head as a throbbing headache attacked her. Although her entire body ached, it seemed as though she had no broken bones. Her Dragsuit had also only sustained minor damage. Lancelot had suffered some minor injuries, but it still seemed capable of moving normally. As proof that it hadn’t yet lost its will to fight, it let out a low roar. The entire venue had become silent. The atmosphere had been so lively, so what had happened? Silvia felt uneasy.
“That’s right! Where is Ash!?”
After Silvia scanned her surroundings, she trembled in fear. Ash lay flat on Brigid’s body. His Dragsuit was heavily damaged, and blood oozed out of his wounds. He lay there quiet and motionless as he had obviously lost consciousness. There was no trace of the holy sword Excalibur anywhere. She was afraid that the invisible Ark that Eco bestowed upon him had disappeared as well. Even the <Seikoku> that had spread across his entire body had returned to normal. Eco lay on top of Brigid’s tail with a pained expression on her face. Although she was conscious, she was probably still unable to grasp the current situation. The fortune amidst the misfortune was that her body did not appear to have any obvious injuries.
Brigid had also just barely managed to maintain its consciousness, but its silver fur was contaminated with blood, and its right forelimb appeared to have been fractured. Its left wing also seemed to have signs of bleeding. On the other hand, Oscar had taken Tristan up to a high altitude as she overlooked the arena calmly.
“It looks like victory has been decided. I should go and find Celes—”
At that moment, an abnormality occurred with Brigid’s body. Its body emitted a hazy glow, and gradually reduced in size. Its silver fur and majestic wings also disappeared. Finally, it reverted back to its original appearance of an Asia that resembled a large lizard. Almost certainly because it had been overwhelmed, it could no longer maintain a connection with Eco. Even though it had reverted to being an Asia, Brigid still did not allow Ash to fall onto the ground. In the event of a three-way battle, being knocked out would not initiate a countdown, so Ash had technically not been defeated yet. But since he had lost consciousness, he was unable to fight again.
“Princess Silvia, the winner has already been decided. As a Princess of the Knight Country, and as an honourable Dragonar, you should admit defeat.”
There was no pleasure in Oscar’s expression as she rode Tristan while it descended towards the ground. It looked like she had already lost interest in the tournament. The current Oscar seemed to be preoccupied with worry for Celes.
“Kuh! What should I do…”
Silvia clenched her teeth.
In the clock tower, Celes quietly muttered to herself. Tristan’s offensive magic had caused both Ash and Brigid to sustain serious injuries. The only reason why Silvia was able to escape unharmed with only slight superficial wounds was all thanks to Ash who had risked his life to block the double helix of red and blue. Ash looked like he would no longer be able to fight. Even if he regained consciousness, he had lost his two trump cards of the Ark and the holy sword Excalibur. Moreover, Eco had exhausted a vast amount of magical energy, so it was probably impossible for her to bestow the Ark again in such a short period of time. Even Brigid which had once transformed into a Maestro had reverted to being nothing more than an ordinary Asia. All that remained was for Oscar to defeat Silvia, and then the final battle would be declared as over, but—
“I’m sorry…Oscar. I cannot betray that person…”
After Celes said that with a weak voice, she removed the mask from her face. She then removed her eye patch. Celes extended her fingertips out to stroke her rarely-exposed left eye. The eyeball felt abnormally hard. Celes’ left eye was embedded with a black crystal. It seemed to be exactly the same thing as the large crystal that was present on Tristan’s forehead. And that was because the black crystal embedded on Tristan’s forehead was originally a magic crystal created by Celes’ magic eye.
“I am a descendant of <Pluto’s Children>…hmm, what a disgusting bloodline.”
Celes derided herself almost unconsciously. This so-called Pluto was a kind of parasitic black crystal. According to ancient records, it was said to be a magic crystal that was developed by Nehalennia’s Dark Dragons’ King Family. Accumulating human hatred, jealously and sorrow — these negative emotions were said to be able to produce a strong effect. Once the so-called <Pluto’s Children> line was born, Pluto was embedded into their eyes. Moreover, they were able to manipulate dragons from the outside by embedding large crystals into a dragon’s body.
“My life was derailed because of this magic eye—”
“I see, so you’re the holder of Pluto.”
The cold and clear voice that came from behind greatly startled Celes. Turning back with a bloodthirsty gaze, she saw that the Academy headmistress, Princess Mirabel and her personal maid Eunice had appeared in the clock tower.
“Wha…! Why have you come to this place!?”
“Just by making a hypothesis — if I was the holder of Pluto, I thought about where I would hide and watch…a few locations were naturally narrowed down.”
Mirabel answered modestly as if she was lecturing a student.
“Kuh! No, how do you know about the existence of Pluto anyway!?”
“Ara…didn’t you hear how I once studied at the university in the Holy Espada Agency?”
“I’ve heard that it’s a gathering of extraordinary geniuses…and that every institute is involved in leading research on science and technology more advanced than the present day by a hundred years.”
“That’s just an outsider’s prejudice. That place is nothing more than a very ordinary research facility. However, it is very easy to run into a student capable of designing a magic ship on the street there.”
“Design a magic ship!? You sure make it sound easy…”
Speaking of which, the designer of the magic ship Silvanus was Mirabel, Celes thought. When Mirabel took on the role of headmistress, Celes had done some research on her background.
“Ever since I saw that black crystal on Tristan’s forehead, a feeling of déjà vu kept lingering in my mind…I’ve finally remembered now, so I feel a bit happier.”
As if she had finally coughed up the bone fragment that was stuck in her throat, Mirabel’s expression looked rather cheerful.
Eunice congratulated Mirabel with somewhat strange timing.
“…Hmph. It seems as though the <Argento Magus> lives up to her name. But—”
Celes swiftly pulled out a hidden dagger from her pocket, and charged straight towards Mirabel.
At lightning speed, Mirabel pulled out a rapier from a dining trolley and traced out a silver arc. Blue sparks scattered about. While Celes blocked Mirabel’s rapier, she took a glance at Eunice.
“Hey hey…the master was actually the first to draw their sword? Isn’t that girl a member of the Shelley family just like Cosette?”
With an indifferent expression, Eunice stood squarely behind Mirabel.
“Eunice is a parentless orphan. Through the Shelley family’s selection tests, she was chosen to become their adopted daughter.”
Hearing the words ‘adopted daughter’, Celes felt irritated. The Shelley family was just like the Lafon family in the respect that they adopted orphans to account for their lack of personnel.
“So her situation is similar to mine…but, to be fortunate enough to take on a special job as a royal princess’ personal maid yet not protect their master…how can you call yourself a woman of the Shelley family!?”
Celes menacingly attempted to send a kick towards Mirabel’s abdomen. At the same time, Mirabel leapt upwards skilfully and landed next to Eunice. She then put her arm around Eunice’s waist.
“I chose Eunice as my personal maid — precisely because the black tea that she brews is the most delicious in the world.”
“Ah, Princess-sama, you praise me too much, I cannot accept it…”
Eunice blushed as tears of joy streamed down from her eyes.
“Enough, I’ve heard enough to make my skin itch! Even if you are a Princess, I won’t show any mercy if you get in my way!”
“I don’t care. I have the ability to protect myself.”
After Mirabel stood in front of Eunice, she calmly raised her rapier. The sharp tip shone with silver light. Celes then realised something.
“Kuh…I see. The ‘silver light’  of the <Argento Magus> is not a reference to your silver hair, but that rapier!”
“My swordsmanship has been recognised and I was employed as an instructor for the current Pope, Raquel IV. Are you prepared for this?”
An astonishing fighting spirit was emitted from her. That spirit far surpassed that of the instructors of the Lafon family who trained Celes in the past.
“S-Such incredible fighting spirit…!”
Celes had completely misread the person known as Mirabel Lautreamont. For people who had accumulated a lot of battle experience like Celes, a single exchange of strikes was enough to see the strength of her opponent. Mirabel was not an opponent that she could defeat with a small dagger. Celes’ instincts were ringing with alarm bells.
“I surrender, hurry up and kill me.”
After Celes tossed the dagger aside, she sat cross-legged on the spot. If she allowed Mirabel to kill her right now, then there would be no need to betray Oscar. To Celes, this was the best option. However, Mirabel’s response was beyond her expectations.
“Oh, why would I do that? I’m rather interested in what you were about to do. Come on, hurry up and follow your original plan.”
The unexpected words left Celes speechless.
“I specialise in the study of holy relics. As for you, you’re a living and breathing holy relic. There isn’t a better research subject than you.”
“Are you serious…?”
“Alright, stand up. You’re called Celestina Lafon, right?”
“…Are you aware how much sacrifice my plan will cause? All you have to do is swing down the rapier in your hand to avoid a tragedy from occurring.”
“If anything bad were truly to happen, Ash, Eco, Silvia and Rebecca will find a way to deal with it. Moreover, Veronica-anesama and her personal guard led by Captain Glenn are also present.”
“Tsk. So there’s a terrible princess behind that lovely face…”
After Celes stood up from the ground, she turned her back to Mirabel. The arena was in a distant location. Celes made up her mind.
“…I am a descendant of <Pluto’s Children>, Celestina Lafon. The Pluto bestowed to the Maestro Tristan, listen to my orders…”
“The Three-way Fight!!! ~A.S.B.1365.10~” is closed.
 Kanji was Crimson Breath of the Fire Dragon.
 Kanji was Stormy Blue Devastation of the Sea Dragon.
 Kanji was Frozen Fang of the Blue Ice Dragon.
 Kanji was Copper Red Blast of the Scorching Dragon.
 Kanji is <Wise Maiden of Silver Light>, while the alternate reading of <Argento Magus> is Italian for <Silver Mage>.
(All 6 parts) (8/1)
Continues on to Chapter 6 – The Birth of a Demon