Chapter 6 – The Birth of a Demon
Without any warning, Tristan let out an earth-shattering roar.
It was a noise far surpassing a normal roar, and even Silvia couldn’t help but cover her ears. A deep black aura radiated out from the black crystal on Tristan’s forehead.
“W-What’s going on…?”
Silvia murmured in astonishment. Just a second earlier — Oscar was ready to give Silvia a fatal blow. Although she had luckily escaped from the fate of defeat, the situation was far too abnormal.
“…W-What’s wrong, Tristan?”
For the first time since the beginning of the decisive battle, Oscar’s expression showed signs of doubt. It seemed as though even Oscar was unable to comprehend what had happened to Tristan. It seemed as though Tristan had gone berserk.
Lancelot became cautious and retreated backwards step by step. These actions were not an order from Silvia. It was an instinctive perception of danger, and it naturally tried to maintain a distance.
“Be careful! There’s something strange about Tristan!”
After she finally stood back up, Eco gave a warning to Silvia. The audience members in the arena also noticed the strange atmosphere, and they began to talk amongst themselves. The light released by the black crystal on Tristan’s forehead grew in intensity. No, rather than light, it was more correct to describe it as a dark aura.
Tristan was unable to withstand the apparent torture and it rolled over the ground in pain. A black aura gradually began to envelop its enormous body.
“Kuh! Calm down, Tristan! What’s the problem!?”
Even as strong as Oscar was, she had to hold on tight to Tristan’s fur in case she was thrown off at any moment.
“Is this something that Celes did!? Celes! Where did you go?”
The silver fur that was unique to a Maestro slowly began to turn black. Clouds also appeared in the sky that was previously clear. The sound of thunder could be heard from afar. At the same time that the sky above Ansarivan was covered by dark clouds, Tristan was reborn as a jet-black dragon.
A deafening roar shook the very air.
“This can’t be! This is my Tristan! What’s going on — kuh!”
In an instant, even Oscar began to feel pain. An ominous premonition spontaneously made Silvia feel a chill run down her spine.
“What is it!? Calm down Oscar-san! Hold on!”
No matter what Silvia said, Oscar ignored it as she continued to hold her head and struggle in pain.
“No! I don’t want to do that! Stop it! Don’t invade my body! …Uooooooohhh!”
A shrill scream lingered throughout the venue with a long echo.
Silvia’s face was coloured with surprise. Something strange began to happen to the Ark that Oscar was so proud of. Its brilliant golden colour was swallowed by a terrible black erosion. Each part of the armour also distorted into an eerie form. The shapes were similar to that of a reptilian creature. The magic bow Failnaught also followed suit with the Ark as its colour and appearance changed. In the blink of an eye, the golden Dragonar had turned into a black demon.
“Kuku…what an extraordinary feeling. So this is the power of Pluto!”
Oscar revealed a smile so terrifying that it almost seemed as though she had become another person entirely. Could it be that Tristan’s transformation had also caused Oscar’s personality to change? And what was this ‘Pluto’ that she spoke of?
“What is happening!?”
The scene that had occurred before her eyes was beyond Silvia’s ability to understand, and all she could do was stare.
“Come now, Child of Pluto! State your wish!”
The demon Oscar yelled out towards the grey sky. As if in response to her question, the black crystal stuck onto Tristan’s forehead released a wicked black glow.
“Is that so…is that your wish? Very well.”
After the demon Oscar seemed to express her understanding, she held up the magic bow Failnaught and prepared to attack. A jet-black arrow appeared out of thin air between the bow and the arrow string, and the demon Oscar aimed it towards a corner of the audience stands — at the VIP gallery.
Silvia screamed out. Aside from the Chevron King, there were also various other nobles and royalty who were watching from there. Silvia’s father and sisters were also there.
Oscar grinned as she let loose the jet-black arrow.
In an instant, an explosion sprouted from the VIP gallery. The audience members who were sitting near the VIP gallery were momentarily overwhelmed by shock, but they immediately began to flee like a flock of birds.
“Ah…! Father, my sisters…!”
Silvia’s heart sank and she lowered her head in frustration.
“—It’s all okay, Princess-sama!”
At that time, the voice of the boy that she trusted the most entered Silvia’s ears. When she turned around to look, she saw Ash attempt to get up from the ground. Although he was no longer on Brigid’s back, now was not the time to be worried about the rules of the tournament.
“Are you okay!?”
After realising that Ash had awoken from his unconscious state, Eco hurriedly caught up to him. Ash leaned on Eco’s shoulders and stood up with all the energy that he could muster.
“Princess-sama, open your eyes wider and take a good look at the VIP gallery!”
The VIP gallery which was obscured by black smoke gradually began to clear.
Silvia called out in relief. The seven Dragonars of Veronica’s personal guard that Glenn McGuire led had all used layer upon layer of Hexagonal Shields to protect the lives of the distinguished guests. Glenn himself had equipped his Ark and he held the magic sword Caladbolg in his hand. As for Veronica, she personally stood right in front of Zacharias III. It seemed as though she had already been mentally prepared to sacrifice herself by acting as a human shield for the Chevron King in case of a crisis. Just at that time — the prided magic ship of the Chevron Kingdom, the Claíomh Solais appeared in the sky above the audience stands.
Pandemonium broke out as screams arose from all over the arena. The audience members who felt fear for their lives all rushed towards the exits. The members of the Student Council led by Rebecca were surrounded by waves of people on all sides as they tried to assist with evacuation guidance.
“There is no need to panic! Please act calmly!”
Rebecca was responsible for command while Jessica guided the flow of the crowd. Lucca’s role was to lead the people who were injured over to the infirmary. After Veronica confirmed the state of the audience, she murmured
“I originally planned to have Rebecca come over to assist us, but…”
“It is unfortunate Princess-sama. Rebecca Randall has just recovered from a serious injury, and her Pal Cú Chulainn is still recovering…the injury that Cú Chulainn sustained in the preliminary round seems to be worse than expected.”
The captain of her personal guard Glenn explained.
“I don’t need you to tell me that, of course I knew.”
In terms of the outcome, it’s fine right now — that was what Veronica thought as she coldly replied. Most of the common audience members who sat in the venue were citizens of the Knight Country that Veronica had to protect. The citizens were an indispensable foundation of a country. If it were possible, Veronica wanted to leave this group of weak and useless nobles to personally rush to the aid of the citizens. At that time, a slight buzzing sound was heard. It was a magic ship, the Claíomh Solais had thrown down a ladder into the VIP gallery. It seemed as though the Claíomh Solais would take the Chevron King as well as many of the other nobles away. The Chevron King took the lead, while the members of the Queen group followed behind him. The other nobles then followed. And then the Paladin of the Knight Country Oswald kept up with them as well, stepping onto the magic ship to escape the danger.
“Hmph. Originally, the nobility were the ones who were supposed to lead warriors into war, but now all they do is relax in the vast territories that they’re given…truly, they’ve fallen so far.”
While Veronica assisted Glenn to evacuate the nobles, she sighed with mixed feelings. Glenn quietly faced Veronica and whispered back
“Princess-sama. Her Highness Cassandra and Her Highness Mirabel…and the Third Prince Uriel are all missing. What should we do?”
“…There’s nothing we can do. Protecting the Claíomh Solais is our top priority here.”
Veronica wasn’t particularly worried about her two younger sisters. It was because she understood more clearly than anyone else that those two were women who wouldn’t die even if killed. On the other hand, the safety of the Third Prince Uriel was worrying, but there was currently insufficient manpower to go searching for the whereabouts of the prince.
“—Princess-sama! Oscar and Tristan are approaching us!”
Glenn suddenly shouted out, interrupting Veronica’s stream of thought.
“Tsk, that bastard Oscar. Despite his loss of reason, he still seems to be capable of making tactical decisions.”
Veronica bitterly muttered. After realising that long-distance attacks would be useless, Oscar immediately shifted into melee combat. The dark silhouette of a dragon continued to approach. Veronica strictly gave orders to her personal guard.
“Continue to use Hexagonal Shields to protect the Claíomh Solais! In the name of this group, the Claíomh Solais will remain unharmed!”
Having turned into a black dragon, Tristan continued to launch attacks at the magic ship Claíomh Solais.
“Foolish and ignorant old thieves, die!”
The demon Oscar issued death threats from atop Tristan’s head. Veronica’s personal guard had spread out in every direction to surround the Claíomh Solais, as if to disallow Oscar from winning. Led by their captain Glenn, the seven Dragonars were elites known to everyone in the Knight Country, but—
“How dare you shield those bastards, you should also share the same sins!”
One after the other, Oscar knocked down the members of the guard group. If this went on, even if the Claíomh Solais was able to get away, it would only be a matter of time before they were all taken out. Ash held onto Eco’s shoulders and was just barely able to stand himself up.
But immediately afterwords, he spat blood out from his mouth. His broken ribs had most likely caused some internal organ damage. His entire body was in pain. His situation of blood loss hadn’t improved either.
“No, you can’t fight in this state!”
Eco yelled with a pale expression. The trembling of Eco’s body radiated through to Ash through their touching skin, allowing Ash to deeply understand how worried Eco was for him. The biggest problem was the fact that Eco’s original Ark had ceased to exist, and he didn’t have the holy sword Excalibur either. To make matters worse, Brigid had returned to being an Asia. Looking closer, the <Seikoku> engraved on Eco’s hand had also completely disappeared. Considering this, it was likely that Brigid’s connection to her original master Raymond had already been restored. If it was truly as Mirabel said, Brigid’s transformation into a Maestro was only a temporary phenomenon.
“…That’s good, Brigid. You should go back to Raymond’s side.”
Ash patted Brigid’s body. The reason why he was able to make it so far was all thanks to Brigid. Ash gently stroked Brigid’s body with a sense of gratitude. Brigid reluctantly groaned, but it still dragged its injured body slowly to leave. The dragon was smart after all, and perhaps it understood that staying here would only make it a hindrance for Ash and the others.
“Ash, you should also hurry up and escape!”
Eco forcefully tried to persuade him.
“I can’t do that. Celes once said to me ‘No matter what happens, please don’t give up on Oscar as a friend’.”
“What!? Why did she make a request like that to you?”
Eco frowned as she looked at the side of Ash’s face.
“And the fact that she said something like that…doesn’t it mean that Celes knew from the beginning that something like this would happen?”
Ash nodded in agreement with Eco’s deduction.
“I think so too. There is no doubt that Celes is somehow related to this situation. Or perhaps, Celes is the person who triggered this incident.”
“If that’s the case, you’ve got no reason to agree to Celes’ request! You should be worrying about yourself right now!”
“…I’m sorry, Eco. I can’t just sit and watch Oscar like that.”
“What can you do!? What can you possibly do with your half-dead body?”
At that moment, Ash suddenly felt as though something was wrong.
“What’s so strange?”
“I always thought that the mastermind behind Celes was Zacharias III, and that his aim was to take your blood, Eco. But why are Oscar and Tristan attacking the Claíomh Solais? Zacharias III is clearly one of the passengers aboard the ship…”
When he backtracked in his mind, Celes had used ‘that person’ to describe the mastermind, and she never once mentioned that it was the Chevron King.
“So you mean…!”
As if she had suddenly discovered an important truth, Eco lifted her face.
“That’s right. There is someone else who is controlling Celes from behind…as long as Zacharias III dies by Oscar’s hands, the throne will become empty and someone can then claim that Oscar was the King’s murderer. If the situation evolves into that, the greatest beneficiary is—”
After Ash reached that point, Eco’s eyes widened as if she had suddenly understood.
“Could it be the Third Prince Uriel…!?”
“It’s very likely. But there are many who have a claim to the throne, so I wouldn’t dare to be certain…but Prince Uriel has always been the opponent that Oscar is most wary of—”
Silvia’s sorrowful cry interrupted Ash’s words. Ash and Eco looked in the direction of Silvia and couldn’t help but feel speechless. The magic ship Claíomh Solais which had rescued all of the nobles and royalty was under threat from the demon Oscar and Tristan, and they appeared to be in danger. Veronica’s personal guard had yet to be defeated, but only the captain Glenn remained. He stood upon the head of the Maestro Fergus and fought against the demon Oscar in single combat. On the other hand, Veronica who was supposed to be protected by Glenn was standing courageously at the bow of the magic ship. She placed the scabbard of the enormous sword that she wielded down on the ground in front of her, and wrapped both hands around the hilt of the sword. It was as if she was determined to act as the last line of defence.
“Aneue! Just how determined are you…”
Silvia stared with dismay at Veronica’s heroic figure as she whispered that.
“Go to hell! Dog of Veronica!”
In the next instant, the demon Oscar unleashed a rain of arrows. Glenn and Fergus endured for a long time, but they eventually succumbed to the endless onslaught of arrows.
“They’re falling here!”
Ash couldn’t help but cry out. Fergus’ enormous body was falling before their eyes. The Dragonar Glenn had been thrown off his mount, and crashed hard onto the arena’s floor. The magic sword Caladbolg and his Ark disappeared at the same time.
Silvia jumped off Lancelot and ran to Glenn’s side.
“I have to go save Veronica-sama—”
After Glenn muttered those words, he fainted.
“It’s your turn next, Veronica!”
The demon Oscar spoke in a voice that was clear and loud even to the people on the ground. When Ash looked up, Tristan’s body had become strange. Grotesque tentacles emerged from its abdomen one after the other. It looked as though a large group of earthworms were attacking the magic ship. There were so many tentacles that the magic ship was unable to ascend. Although the two magic engines roared loudly as they attempted to output their maximum power, the tentacles still remained and firmly held the magic ship down. The magic ship of the Chevron Royal Family that was supposed to be top-of-the-line was now just a bug which had been trapped in a spider’s web. As a result, they were unable to escape to safety, and they would soon be crushed by the tentacles that were binding it. At the same time, even more tentacles moved through the air as they headed straight towards Veronica who was standing at the bow of the ship.
Silvia’s scream reverberated throughout the arena for a long time.
The enormous sword slashed through the incoming tentacles. With all of her personal guard completely eliminated, Veronica could do nothing but fight against Tristan with just the weapon in her hands. The Chevron Kingdom’s royal soldiers also appeared on deck to help in the resistance against the enemy, but in the face of the endless tentacles, they were no match for them and were forced to retreat. By reason, it was fair to say that they were also elites of the Kingdom, but…only Veronica bravely stood up to continue the fight. Every time she swung the enormous sword in her hands, five tentacles were cut and flew up into the air. A viscous liquid was ejected from the revolting cross sections that were cut. The tentacles which had lost their tips could do nothing but wriggle and twist.
“As expected of the <Iron Blood Valkyrie>. But how long do you think you can last?”
The demon Oscar seemed rather delighted as she admired the scene of Veronica and the tentacles.
With a loud yell, Veronica cut off the tips of the tentacles once again.
“You’re pretty good. It’s quite amazing that you have such skill despite the fact that you’re not a Dragonar. Aren’t you even stronger than some of those useless Dragonars?”
“…Bastard. I dare you to say that again.”
Veronica let out a deep voice that seemed to resemble the sound of a rumbling from the depths of hell. The demon Oscar was surprised.
“Oh, are you finally willing to talk to me?”
“Don’t make fun of my cute subordinates. I won’t forgive you!”
“Haha, I wonder what you can actually do to me?”
Just as the demon Oscar taunted her, Veronica felt something peculiar. It was as if the surrounding air changed, it was rather unbelievable. It was as if even the breeze had turned into a sharp blade. It is impossible for any ordinary human being to give off such a dreadful aura — the demon Oscar told herself. However, Veronica held her great sword and stared fiercely at the demon Oscar with a growing fighting spirit—.
“Princess Veronica…what is she planning to do? No matter how strong she is, it’s impossible for her to defeat Oscar and Tristan!”
“Instead of about worrying about others, why don’t you worry about yourself first!? Didn’t you break your ribs?”
Despite all his injuries, Ash still managed to answer Eco’s question
“My body doesn’t matter. After taking a short break, it’s already recovered quite a bit.”
“I don’t think so!”
After being poked at his side by Eco’s index finger, Ash felt so much pain that he could barely stand.
“Owwww! Wait wait! I wasn’t serious!”
“If it hurts so much, then you should be hurrying over to the infirmary—”
“Try and receive this, my dragon-slaying sword technique—”
At that time, Veronica’s loud voice interrupted Eco’s words. A violent aura  that far surpassed humans was emanating from Veronica’s body. Even from some distance away, it was still possible to see that violent aura. It entirely fit the description of ‘spooky’. Even though that aura exerted a great pressure on Ash, it couldn’t erase the growing confusion in his mind.
“Hey, as a Princess of the Knight Country…is it alright to say something like ‘dragon-slaying’? Even if you’re trying to bluff, you can’t be that extreme…”
Ash endured the pain as his mind began to be filled with doubts. In the Lautreamont Knight Country, the act of killing a dragon was regarded as a serious crime.
“Seriously, she’s basically desecrating the dragon race!”
As a representative of the dragon race, Eco became enraged.
“—No, that was neither a bluff nor blasphemy. Veronica-sama has actually used her sword technique to kill a dragon in the past.”
All of a sudden, a female voice rang out from behind which surprised Ash so much that he almost jumped up. As he turned around, a familiar maid outfit — Cosette’s figure came into view. Ash didn’t realise when she had appeared behind him at all. In a flash, Veronica leapt and jumped onto Tristan’s head. Her golden silk-like hair fluttered and her cloak swayed in the wind. Veronica’s appearance as she soared through the air seemed so delicate that it was almost possible to forget about the heavy armour that she was wearing. That heroic figure was perfectly fitting of the image of the <Iron Blood Valkyrie>.
She unleashed a fierce flurry of strikes. It was almost as if Veronica herself had become a large sword—. Her fierce assault was like a flash of lightning. Ash couldn’t even tell how many times Veronica swung her sword in a single moment. As soon as Veronica landed back on the deck, an anomaly occurred. The tentacles that once bound the magic ship had all been torn asunder as if cut through by a scythe. All of the torn tentacles fell like heavy rain onto the magic ship, while their bodily fluids sprayed about everywhere. On top of that, a wound was left on one of Tristan’s forelimbs, and blood immediately dyed its black fur.
After Tristan transformed into this jet-black appearance, this was the first time that it had let out a cry of pain. Since it could still hover in the air, it meant that the injury probably wasn’t serious, but that itself was already incredible.
“This can’t be! A mere human has actually injured Tristan…!?”
Taking advantage of the demon Oscar’s momentary surprise, the Claíomh Solais continued to ascend into the air like a bird that had discovered a hole in its birdcage. Cosette looked on at the surreal scene and spoke while sighing at the same time
“…It is truly a pity. She was off by just a bit and now she’s missed her chance to deal with Tristan.”
“Hey! Cosette! What kind of move was that!? You said that aneue used her sword to kill a dragon in the past!? I can’t pretend as though I didn’t hear that!”
Faced with Silvia’s aggressive questioning, Cosette solemnly replied
“Yes. There are only a handful of people even within the Knight Country’s Royal Family who know of this secret…but, the person who killed the Dark Dragon King Mordred, strictly speaking, it was Veronica-sama and not Julius-sama.”
The unexpected response left Silvia with her mouth agape.
“But, the person who was cursed after killing the dragon was Prince Julius, right?”
After Ash asked that in a calm manner, Cosette began to explain
“At first, Julius-sama fought alone. But he shattered one of his arms in battle and was forced into a desperate situation. Veronica-sama was present at the time. Veronica-sama used the same technique that she just used to kill Mordred. By reason, Veronica-sama should have been the one to be cursed for killing the dragon…but Prince Julius voluntarily took it on her behalf. In fact, this secret is something that I’ve only heard about…”
“What you’re saying…is all of it true…?”
Silvia still seemed doubtful of it. Whilst Cosette explained all of that, the magic ship Claíomh Solais managed to escape from the grasp of Tristan’s reach and flew further and further away.
“Veronica—! How dare you hurt my Tristan, I swear that I will not forgive you!”
—Bshh! As if in response to Oscar’s fury, Tristan’s body gave birth to new tentacles. The tentacles moved at bullet-like speeds straight towards the deck of the Claíomh Solais which was unable to manoeuvre away.
Just as Silvia screamed out, the tentacles wrapped themselves around Veronica’s right arm. Another tentacle then entangled her body. Veronica was unable to resist, and she was violently pulled away. Her heavy metal boots were lifted off them the deck. In the blink of an eye, Veronica had been pulled by the tentacles right in front of Tristan’s nose. For the sake of being thorough, a third and a fourth tentacle attacked Veronica.
“Like this, even if you are the <Iron Blood Valkyrie>, there’s no hope left!”
The demon Oscar arrogantly glared at Veronica while she was caught by the tentacles, and then smirked as she said
“After I’ve thoroughly abused you, I’ll feel you to Tristan’s stomach!”
“Tsk. What a pathetic blunder…”
Veronica murmured to herself in a self-deprecating manner. She currently felt as though she was being forced to float in the air. Perhaps the only fortunate thing amidst all of this was the fact that the demon Oscar had lost interest in the Claíomh Solais. The magic ship speedily flew away.
“This is the best live bait, Tristan! Make sure you savour her taste!”
Oscar stood on top of Tristan’s head as she shouted.
Tristan seemed so excited that it couldn’t help but let out a roar.
“Hmph…this so-called life, is it truly nothing but an illusory journey? After all, perhaps from the very instant I used that technique to kill Mordred, it was destined that I would one day meet such an end…ugh!”
Veronica calmly accepted her own fate, but her expression suddenly distorted. A warm tentacle had made its way up to her neck. The intimidating feeling made even a woman as strong as Veronica feel dread.
“What is this slippery sensation…!?”
A sense of physical disgust spontaneously arose. All the great beasts, rare birds, animals and even unknown giant creatures had been the prey of Veronica, but it the first time that she had encountered an unknown tactile sensation like this.
“Kuku. I’m rather interested to see just how long that cold mask of yours will last!”
The demon Oscar showed a pleased expression.
Accompanied by the sound of metal being forcefully torn apart, tentacles invaded into the inner part of the solid armour that protected her virgin body one after the other.
The feeling of the tentacles slithering all over her skin made Veronica feel an instinctive sense of danger. The sticky mucous gradually infiltrated every part of her skin.
The metallic fasteners were finally destroyed, and the plate armour that covered her shoulders and her chest snapped open. Even her armour was unable to withstand the strength of the tentacles, so her underwear was instantly torn to shreds. Her ample bosom burst out from her shredded underwear. Every time the tentacles toyed with her, they shook about violently.
“Haa, haa…h-how repuslive…”
“What’s the matter with you, Veronica? You’re breathing so heavily. Looking at your miserable appearance, there’s no way I can say that you’re the <Iron Blood Valkyrie> now!”
Oscar didn’t forget to use words to add to the humiliation.
“S-Such disrespect…n-no more…ah!”
Veronica could no longer resist as she let out a moan.
“Hahaha! I never imagined that your voice would sound so cute when moaning!”
The demon Oscar revealed an extremely sinister side.
“Lancelot, we’re going to save aneue!”
Silvia clenched her fists so tightly that the reins she held could crumble. Although Lancelot was injured, it looked like it could still fly. This was something that could be credited to Ash who had stood up to protect them during the tournament battle.
“—You can’t act impulsively, Princess-sama.”
Cosette was originally helping to treat Glenn’s injuries, but she suddenly appeared in front of Silvia to block her path.
“Cosette, what is the meaning of this?”
“I will be a bit blunt. At present, Princess-sama is no match for Oscar-sama as an opponent.”
“I know that! But even if I have no chance of winning, I can’t just abandon aneue!”
“If you sacrifice your life for nothing Princess-sama, what would Veronica-sama say?”
After Silvia went silent for a while, she opened her mouth again to say
“In other words, you’re telling me to sit here and watch aneue be tortured to death?”
Cosette didn’t say anything, and didn’t answer. In her anxious state, Silvia lost her patience.
“No matter how strong you are, your body is just made of human flesh, and it cannot stop a dragon! Fly, Lancelot!”
Silvia ignored Cosette’s blockade and attempted to whip down the reins in her hands, but—
Lancelot didn’t respond. Like a stone statue, it didn’t budge.
“Is this for real? Lancelot actually ignored Princess-sama’s orders…”
Ash muttered in amazement. Looking closely, Lancelot’s eyes were fixated on Cosette.
After Lancelot made a puppy-like noise, it took a step back.
“Impossible! Lancelot is afraid of Cosette…?”
Ash looked back and forth between Cosette and Lancelot in disbelief. And then he realised — Cosette’s body was surrounded by an extraordinarily immense violent aura—. In their current positions, Cosette was like a snake, and Lancelot was like a frog. Lancelot’s movement were completely sealed off by Cosette’s glare.
“Although there’s a smile on her face, this is the first time that I’ve seen Cosette look this terrifying…”
Perhaps her animal instincts gave her a warning, as Eco’s shoulders also stiffened.
“Kug! Are you serious, Cosette…?”
“I cannot allow Princess-sama and Lancelot to sacrifice their lives for no reason at all. Princess-sama, if you can’t even take down a mere maid, then you have no chance of saving Veronica-sama.”
After Cosette calmly replied—
A powerful roar shook the air as it grew louder and louder. It was Tristan who unleashed that incredible roar whilst hovering above the arena. During the deadlock between Silvia and Cosette, another change had occurred with Tristan’s body. The tentacles which had captured Veronica had retracted back into Tristan’s chest. Veronica had been crucified like a saint with her left and right arms pinned up. Perhaps because she was already unconscious, Veronica didn’t move at all. It looked as though Veronica’s upper body was fixed to Tristan’s chest in a rather uncanny way.
“Haha! I won’t kill a woman like you so easily! I’ll drain your essence bit by bit!”
The demon Oscar energetically declared in a loud voice. Based on what she had said, it was possible to see that Veronica was still breathing somewhat — but her life was like a candle just flickering in the wind.
In the clock tower, Celes clenched her fists as she shivered.
“That stupid thing! The target isn’t Veronica, it’s the Claíomh Solais carrying Zacharias III that got away, so hurry up and kill him!”
Celes screamed loudly towards the Pluto that was embedded in Tristan’s forehead. But Tristan didn’t care. Like this, the magic ship with Zacharias III had flown far away, and it was now just the size of a bean. At the beginning, Celes only planned to use the power of her magic eyes to control Tristan. Her original plan was to make Tristan, who had Pluto embedded on its forehead become a slave under her control, and then use its power to kill Zacharias III. She didn’t expect something like this to happen. The influence of Pluto spread to Oscar, turning her into a demon. As for what the demonic Oscar would do, even that was difficult for Celes to control.
“That thing! What is it thinking!?”
“—It looks like the situation is already out of control.”
Mirabel spoke from behind Celes. She sat comfortably on top of the folding chair that Eunice had prepared while gracefully sipping on black tea; it was almost as if she was enjoying the view. Although she didn’t interfere with Celes, her presence was undoubtedly annoying.
“Oh, I wasn’t speaking to you. I was talking to that gentleman.”
“What did you say!?”
Because she was too focused on using her magic eye, she didn’t pay any attention to the situation behind her, and Celes felt ashamed of her own mistake. She swiftly turned around to take a look.
As soon as she took a glance at the person who was standing behind her, Celes immediately knelt down on the spot.
“It looks like you’re struggling, Celestina.”
The person standing before her with a wry smile was her employer — the Third Prince Uriel.
“What an amusing spectacle.”
Standing beside Uriel was the bewitching presence of Princess Cassandra.
“Seriously, even a good cup of black tea has become difficult to drink…”
The moment she saw Cassandra, Mirabel furrowed her brow. The two sisters did not appear to get along with each other well.
“Y-Your Highness Uriel! What are you doing in a place like this…?”
Upon seeing Celes’ sincere expression, Uriel showed a bitter smile.
“I was originally planning to head straight over to the inn to rest, but Cassandra thought it was a rare opportunity, and she insisted on watching the special performance.”
Uriel politely said. A long time ago, Uriel had offered Celes to Zacharias III with an emotionless expression when she was just a little girl. On the surface, his offering of Celes was proof of his allegiance to his father, the King—. The Chevron King decided to safeguard her magic eye by sending her to the Lafon family for education. He also appointed Celes to oversee Oscar. However, even that idea of the Chevron King was within Uriel’s calculations. Indeed…the tragedy that had occurred in front of them was all based on the well-planned script that Uriel had devised years ago. Celes actually became Oscar’s maid and even told her about the secret of her magic eye. Just as Uriel predicted, Oscar enrolled into the Dragonar Academy and after a while, she made a request to Celes for Pluto to be embedded into Tristan’s body. Precisely because Oscar ranked last in the succession for the throne, she desired a great power more eagerly than anyone else. Celes responded to her request and embedded Pluto into Tristan. As a result, Tristan experienced an unusually rapid growth, and then soon became a Maestro. And then, this day finally arrived—.
“No, I can’t stand this anymore!”
Silvia jumped down from Lancelot’s back. Since Lancelot was intimidated by Cosette’s aura and didn’t dare to act rashly, the only thing that Silvia could do was to deal with Cosette personally and force her to concede. However, as soon as Silvia stepped onto the ground, a cold chill ran down her spine.
With Cosette at the centre, there was an unusual kind of force field around her that seemed to give off the impression that a single step inside would cause injury.
“Ugh! I thought that aneue was scary when she got angry, but I never imagined that…”
With just this, Silvia felt as though she would soon faint. She even began to doubt if Cosette was human, fearing that she might even be as ruthless as the demon Oscar…. As if to add to Silvia’s fear, Cosette gave a warning
“Don’t waste your energy, Princess-sama. If you get any closer, you might even be knocked over and lose consciousness from my aura.”
It obviously wasn’t just a threat. There was a thick and solid wall that stood in between Silvia and Cosette. It was a barrier that had been constructed with her violent aura that was invisible to the naked eye.
“Please calm down, Princess-sama. The city of Fontaine has likely already received news of this incident. I think waiting for the Lautreamont Royal Dragonar Squad is the most appropriate course of action.”
“Don’t kid me! Aneue will lose her life before they arrive! Moreover, has the Royal Dragonar Squad ever saved Ansarivan from any of its crises? Haven’t Ash and Eco dealt with the situation every single time!?”
Silvia advanced with this awareness.
In an instant, her entire body suffered a shock as if she had been struck by lightning. Silvia almost fainted, but she clenched her teeth and managed to stay standing. She continued to step forward.
At that time, Silvia coughed up a mouthful of blood. Her legs wobbled and she could barely even stand properly. I can’t do this anymore — just when Silvia gave up, someone supported her body from behind.
“You can do this, Princess-sama!”
Silvia held onto her consciousness by a single thread. She didn’t dare to look at Ash’s face. Ash had injuries all over his body.
Blood still continued to stream down his forehead, and simply standing should have been a great burden for him. On top of that, he had stepped into this area that was filled with Cosette’s violent aura.
“Y-You idiot! You should think about your body a bit! You can’t stand the torment of Cosette’s aura right now…!”
“I can’t sit back and watch Princess-sama just because of something like this either! Moreover, I don’t want to see Princess Veronica die like this either!”
Ash looked at Silvia with a serious expression.
Silvia’s heartbeat rapidly accelerated. A constant stream of strength seemed to circulate within her body, and even she was in disbelief.
—So having someone precious to rely on can be such a heart-warming thing…!
“Thank you, Ash. Will you…continue to walk with me?”
“Yeah, of course.”
And then, they felt an unquenchable sense of anger ‘gogogogogo…’ from behind them. Needless to say, the source of that anger was Eco.
—I’m sorry, Eco. I’m just borrowing him for this time, so please let me walk side by side with Ash.
After Silvia apologised to Eco in her mind, she moved forward whilst being supported by Ash.
“Ash-sama, by my judgement, your body is seriously injured and you will need to rest for three month if you wish to fully recover. If you continue to come closer…I may not be able to guarantee your life.”
Cosette’s tone became so cold that it almost felt as though she was an entirely different person. It felt as though Cosette was more a demon than even Oscar right now. Even so, Ash didn’t flinch and instead replied
“I would rather be buried here than to distort my beliefs and flee.”
Silvia resisted the tears which were almost about to burst out from her eyes. She committed Ash’s words to her mind and continued to move forward—. As they continued to shrink the distance between them and Cosette, the aura also became denser.
“Ugh! What kind of feeling is this…!”
What hit them now was a feeling that seemed to resemble being crushed by gravity. It was almost as if their weight had increased by several times in just an instant.
Ash couldn’t help but cough up more blood. Having suffered serious injuries, it was indeed difficult for him to endure this kind of aura. Ash then slumped over and fell onto Silvia’s body. This time, Silvia came to Ash’s rescue.
“Are you okay, Ash!? Ash!”
The colour of Silvia’s face gradually turned pale. Cosette’s warning was correct, and it was possible that he would lose his life if he went on like this…!
And then Ash’s body suddenly felt lighter.
“Geez, I can’t keep watching this!”
Unexpectedly, Eco rushed in. She helped to support Ash who was growing unstable as his legs became limp.
Silvia looked at Eco with a tearful gaze. Although her body was outwardly thin and small, she was just barely able to withstand Cosette’s aura as a dragon.
“Haa…I must have been infected by Ash’s idiotic disease!”
Eco coldly averted her face. But Silvia still felt that it was very sweet of her. And then, Ash murmured as if he were in a trance
“Thank you, Eco…”
“Hmph. When you recover, I’ll crush you three times over!”
“Haha, I’ll be hospitalised again immediately after I recover…”
Ash smiled bitterly as he turned to look at Silvia.
“Let’s go, Princess-sama.”
“Yes, of course!”
Silvia nodded energetically. There was no longer any reason for her to hesitate. Ash supported the determined Silvia. And Eco also supported the exhausted Ash. They challenged Cosette while supporting each other. Even if they were exhausted, from this moment forward, they would be able to make it across because of their concerted efforts.
“We’re coming, Cosette!”
After Silvia courageously declared that—
“—You passed, Princess-sama.”
After Cosette exposed a cheeky smile, she released the force field that she had constructed with her aura. At the same time, their originally breathless and overwhelmed bodies were liberated. Ash and Eco couldn’t help but collapse backwards onto the ground.
“Cosette, what are you doing…?”
Silvia also wanted to sit on the ground to catch her breath, but she held back. The most important thing for her right now was to ask about what Cosette was thinking. Cosette didn’t answer Silvia’s question, but turned to look at Lancelot instead.
“—It’s time. Princess-sama has successfully overcome my trial and has demonstrated strength befitting of a princess of the Knight Country. She has also gained reliable comrades.”
Cosette’s expression was peaceful and calm, and she continued in a solemn tone
“Come, Lancelot. Present the thing that you prepared to Princess-sama.”
Lancelot suddenly let out a deafening roar. Just as Silvia confusedly turned around to look at Lancelot—
Silvia’s vision was suddenly dyed white. Unable to understand what had happened to her body, Silvia was filled with unease. After a while, Lancelot appeared in front of her and they stood face-to-face. In the mysterious space that was illuminated by white light, all that existed was Silvia and Lancelot. Lancelot’s mighty face looked gentler than usual at this time, or perhaps that was just an illusion…? After Lancelot respectfully put its forearms on the ground, it let out a proud roar into the sky. Instantly, a warm glow enveloped Silvia’s entire body.
The Dragsuit that Silvia was wearing vanished like smoke. And then—.
Breastplate, backplate, faulds, culet, tassets, crown, pauldrons, rerebraces, couters, vambraces, gauntlets, cuisses, poleyns, greaves, sabatons, spurs…a sleek armour was formed in sequence and then equipped onto Silvia’s body. Then, a cape emerged from her left and right shoulders and fluttered with the wind. And the final part to manifest was a crown that was adorned with Bright Dragon Crystals. The outfit was practically made for Princess Silvia. From this point forward, Silvia had also become a Dragonar that exceeded other Dragonars — an Ark Dragonar.
“Princess-sama! Your new appearance is so pretty …!”
Ash was so stunned by the heroic and awe-inspiring appearance of the Princess Dragonar that even the pain in his body was pushed into a far corner of his mind. Its appearance was a perfect match for the name of <Ice Blue Princess>.
“…The quality of that Ark is good, that’s for sure.”
Although Eco was reluctant, she also seemed as fascinated as Ash when she looked at it. It was probably stimulating for her to be able to see the work of another dragon.
“Y-You don’t have to keep staring at me…it’s very embarrassing.”
As soon as she noticed Ash’s gaze, Silvia began to blush. Although her appearance had completely changed, she still seemed to be the same person in terms of personality. Somehow, that was a relief to Ash. After Silvia reinvigorated herself, her expression sharpened.
“Hey, Cosette! Although I have a mountain of questions for you, I’ve decided to defeat Oscar and rescue aneue first! Let’s go, Lancelot! I have faith that I won’t lose to anyone right now!”
After Lancelot let out a mighty roar, it let Silvia climb up onto the saddle. Silvia grabbed onto the reins and flew up together with Lancelot.
“Speaking of which, Cosette…did you already know that Lancelot had completed its Ark?”
Ash asked and looked at Cosette with curiosity. Cosette touched her chin and giggled ‘ufufu’ as she said
“It’s because Lancelot is my drinking partner.”
“What did you say?”
Hearing that, Ash almost fell over. He endured the pain at his ribs.
“Please don’t joke, how is that possible? Anyway, what does Lancelot even drink?”
“Obviously, it’s Ansal.”
“T-That’s called bribery, right…?”
Ash was reminded of the recent incident at the Academy where Oscar tempted Eco with Ansal tea.
At that time, Glenn’s Pal, Fergus stood back up whilst the muscles in all four of its legs trembled. Seeing its master unconscious, Fergus sent a sharp gaze towards Ash.
“No way, does that mean I’m supposed to ride you!?”
Fergus slowly nodded. It was an unwritten rule that dragons prohibited riders other than their master to ride on their backs. Despite this, Fergus simply gave Ash a glance and then acquiesced to have him to ride on its back. Even though Ash was the ‘boy who can ride any dragon’, something like this was still abnormal. Eco then became irritated.
“What is this dragon thinking!? Ash’s body is heavily injured! How can he possibly continue to fight!?”
Disregarding Eco’s emotional outburst, Cosette smiled as she said to Ash
“Ash-sama. I’ve already helped you with some general first aid.”
Only when this was said did Ash notice that the wounds on his arms, legs and abdomen had all been tightly wrapped up. The speed and precision of the treatment left Ash at a loss for words. Although there was a bit of dull pain, at least the bleeding had stopped.
“Fergus is probably worried for Veronica-sama’s safety. After all, in Fergus’ eyes, Glenn-sama has sworn allegiance to Veronica-sama, so she’s almost like another master. Leave Oscar-sama to Princess-sama while I treat Glenn-sama; you should focus on saving Veronica-sama, Ash-sama.”
Ash enthusiastically nodded in reply to Cosette.
“Alright, let’s go! Fergus!”
Ash skilfully jumped up onto Fergus’ head — but frustratingly, due to his current lack of strength, he was only able to climb onto its neck before struggling a bit to climb onto its head. A simple and easy action like this made his wounds ache so bad that he felt close to death. If Cosette hadn’t performed emergency treatment on him, it was likely that his blood would have sprayed out by now.
“Geez! You’re so hopeless!”
Eco also climbed up onto Fergus reluctantly, and then lent her shoulders to Ash for support as they rode together. Ash gratefully placed his hands on Eco’s shoulders. Fergus spread its wings with a roar.
“Princess-sama, please don’t be reckless…!”
Ash murmured while following the silvery-white trail that was painted by Lancelot.
“You’re the reckless one!”
Eco gave a quick lecture to Ash, but she still supported Ash’s body closely.
“Speaking of which…what is the crystal that’s embedded on Tristan’s forehead? It feels as though it should be the culprit behind this whole incident, but…”
[—Allow me to tell you the answer to that question.]
And then, Navi’s voice resounded within Ash’s mind.
“The Ark for Silvia ~A.S.B.1365.10~” is closed.
(All 9 of 9 parts) (20/3)
 ‘Touki’: Something like ki or aura or a ‘fighting spirit’.
Note: Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on the list of parts for Silvia’s armour. That took way too long to understand and look up because it’s different to Ash’s.
Continues on to Chapter 7 – Uranus and Pluto