Continues on from Chapter 4 – The Academy City’s Underground Labyrinth
Continues on to Chapter 6 – Attack of the Demonic Dragons
Chapter 5 – Kriemhild’s Song
Despite a minor delay in their plans, the <Fenrir> led by Klaus were just a step away from reaching the surface of the ground. Perhaps due to the prohibition on access to the underground, a large rock blocked the exit above them, but it was easily crushed to pieces by the weapons that the magic soldiers carried. As Klaus, Kriemhild and <Fenrir> became exposed to the cold air of the night, what appeared before them was a large and dense coniferous forest. Klaus dismounted from his horse first, and then extended his hand towards Kriemhild.
“The next road we take will have to be on foot. The horse will stay here.”
Kriemhild leaned on Klaus’ hand as she dismounted from the horse.
“Young master. In my opinion, it is very likely that the Academy blocked this entrance and intentionally planted a large number of trees here to detract attention.”
The captain Gerhard muttered in admiration. It was likely that the former Academy staff had taken such painstaking measures in order to prevent curious Academy students from taking the risk of entering the underground labyrinth.
“Gerhard, figure out the shortest route to our destination.’
“Understood, young master.”
Following the instructions of his liege, Gerhard pulled a map of the Academy out from his pocket. He then gazed at the surface of the map with the illumination of a pen-like flashlight. Although it was a school, the campus grounds were extremely vast. There were various different school buildings, and also several fields of various sizes. The boys’ dormitories consisted of Apollo House and Mercurius House. The girls’ dormitories consisted of Epona House and Maeve House. There was the students’ restaurant <La Tene>, as well as a special building for the student council, Julius Hall. In addition to those, there were a variety of other facilities that had been constructed within the campus grounds. The most characteristic feature of Dragonar Academy was its seven Dragon Houses.
“Although it is still a substantial distance, the route to the Dragon Houses is simple. We’ll advance while avoiding the patrol of the guards.”
Klaus nodded in response to Gerhard’s suggestion. After all, a terrible commotion had occurred last month. It would not be strange if the Academy had reinforced their patrols. From Klaus’ point of view, he hoped to arrive at the Dragon Houses whilst avoiding any unnecessary battles. Indeed, only when Kriemhild arrived at the Dragon Houses would their plan truly begin—. As they made their way towards the coniferous forest’s exit, Klaus began to think about various things.
“Ash Blake and young dragon Eco…you’ll pay with your lives for the crime of daring to destroy my Beowulf…”
He had already investigated the residences of Ash and Eco. Ash was currently recuperating in the city’s general hospital, while Eco resided in the Academy’s girls’ dormitory, Epona House. The cautious Klaus had already sent troops ahead to both of those locations—.
Although Silvia was originally asleep, she suddenly felt an inexplicable sense of pressure on her chest as she woke up.
“Hey, Eco. If you want to sleep with me, then please fix that awful sleeping posture of yours…!”
Silvia exhaled a helpless sigh. Eco rested her face on Silvia’s chest as she slept sweetly. After being together with each for this long, Silvia was well aware that Eco would not easily be awoken once she fell asleep. Under such circumstances, she had no choice but to push Eco’s shoulder away.
Eco turned over, and lay next to Silvia. The plush toy that originally sat on the edge of the bed was pushed off as Eco turned over, and it fell onto the floor.
“Huh…that was originally mine. If you don’t cherish it, I’ll have to take it back okay?”
After Silvia murmured that in a somewhat dispirited tone, she reached underneath the bed. The plush toy that she picked up from the floor was a cute-looking dragon. Silvia stared at it as she naturally recalled a precious memory. —Ash and Silvia shared a short-lived fate when they were young. This plush toy was a treasure to commemorate their encounter. Unfortunately, it had become something akin to Eco’s personal possession now…. Moonlight shone in from the small slit in the curtains, illuminating Eco’s innocent face as she slept. Under the pale illumination of moonlight, Eco’s face and hair exuded a dreamy mood. Despite the fact that Silvia spent every single day living with Eco, she couldn’t help but feel dazed as she stared at her.
“…Was Ash enjoying such an adorable sleeping face every day? He also has a strong bond with Eco. Under these circumstances, is there really no room for me to intervene…?”
As she thought about such things, Silvia began to feel troubled and upset. Lately, Silvia had begun to treat Eco like one of her own friends. They had undergone various trials together. It would not be wrong to call them comrades. And precisely because of that, whenever she thought about the relationship between Ash and Eco — Silvia felt depressed.
“What am I supposed to do—”
Just as Silvia sighed with a downcast mood, an unbelievable scene caught her eyes. All of the windows on the wall were smashed. At the same time, four shadowy figures invaded the room with a parabolic trajectory. After letting go of the rope that had been strung from the roof, the four people landed on the room’s floor.
Silvia was lost for words.
“Mmm? What happened!?”
Perhaps because her sixth sense warned her of the situation, Eco instantly awoke. The four figures who stood underneath the moonlight were all heavily armed soldiers. They were clad in black and wore military-use gas masks over their faces. All four of them carried short assault rifles. It seemed likely that they had planned on an indoor fight from the very beginning. The problem was that all of their guns were mechanical. Vast as the world was, only the Zepharos Imperial Army was equipped with mechanical guns as standard.
—Has the Empire finally taken action…?
Unfortunately, the circumstances didn’t allow Silvia the time to think or analyse. All four of the cold muzzles were locked onto Eco and Silvia.
“What is this…am I dreaming?”
Eco rubbed her drowsy eyes as she slowly climbed out of bed.
“It’d be great if this really is a dream…”
Silvia grit her teeth as she whispered that in a low voice, and at the same time, she also pulled Eco’s body into her embrace. One of the soldiers suddenly stepped forward and asked
“Are you Her Highness Silvia Lautreamont, the Fourth Princess? We only want one thing, the young dragon Eco. Hand her over to us obediently.”
Due to the masks that they wore, the soldier’s voice was somewhat unclear, but Silvia was able to make out what their purpose was. Silvia’s recent troubles had all been related to the Kingdom, and she had almost forgotten about the Empire’s existence. In fact, ever since the end of the Continental Congress <Elysium>, there had been absolutely no suspicious movements from the Empire.
“You guys…do you seriously think that we’ll obey you like this?”
Silvia did her best to squeeze out a courageous-sounding voice.
“Resistance is futile. Our master only wants the young dragon Eco. We have no intention of causing harm to Your Highness Silvia. But, it’s another matter entirely if you refuse to cooperate.”
There was something missing from the soldier’s tone of voice, almost as if it was devoid of human emotion. If I act recklessly, these soldiers probably wouldn’t hesitate to unscrupulously pull their triggers — Silvia certainly seemed to get that kind of feeling from them. However, she didn’t plan on simply handing Eco over to them either. Eco was her comrade. Silvia’s chivalrous honour would not allow her to betray an important friend simply because she feared death.
“Unfortunately, I cannot give Eco to you guys.”
“Then don’t blame us for using force to take her.”
Just as the soldier coldly issued their ultimatum—
“—I will not allow your rudeness towards the Princess.”
A figure bathed in moonlight gracefully danced outside the shattered glass windows. The four soldiers noticed that something was amiss and so they quickly turned to face the windows, but that figure immediately stirred up chaos as they flew into the room. In the blink of an eye, Silvia’s bedroom was transformed into something like a scene from hell. And then, silence fell—.
“You’re too slow, Cosette! What were you doing!?”
Having silenced the armed group within the span of a few mere seconds, Cosette respectfully kneeled down in front of Silvia.
“My apologies for causing you to worry, Princess-sama. I noticed that there were some suspicious presences in the courtyard of the girls’ dormitory, so I went to dispose of them…that is when I discovered that there were around ten soldiers lurking in the courtyard.”
Silvia was rendered speechless, and even Eco was stunned.
“It’s my fault that it took so much time to deal with them.”
After saying that, Cosette’s gaze drifted out the window. Silvia carefully avoided the shards of glass as she made her way to the window. It was possible to capture a full view of the garden from the window of the room that had been reserved for royalty. There were roughly ten soldiers who had been knocked unconscious next to a flower bed. Since each of the bodies still twitched somewhat, they seemed to be alive. However, since these professional soldiers were unable to even defeat a single maid together, death might have been more desirable to them.
“They were probably just decoys who acted as bait to keep me away from you, Princess-sama.”
“…Cosette, what do you think of their attack?”
Cosette gave a careful and succinct reply to Silvia’s question
“Based on their equipment, they should be soldiers of the Imperial Army. Although, it isn’t too surprising now…”
“But, why would the Imperial Army choose to act just when our country’s relationship with the Kingdom has deteriorated—”
At that time, the sound of an earth-shattering explosion interrupted Silvia’s words.
Just as an attack on Eco and Silvia was launched—.
The <Fenrir> led by Klaus arrived at the area where the seven Dragon Houses were located. There were currently no staff members in the Dragon Houses. There was also an old church in the vicinity. Kriemhild stood at the top of the church’s bell tower while Klaus and Gerhard waited behind the seemingly delicate back of the girl. On the other hand, the <Fenrir> troops hid themselves in the area surrounding the church. Kriemhild was blind, but had she been an ordinary person, it would’ve been possible to see all seven of the Dragon Houses from her position at the bell tower. The way that Kriemhild’s figure was bathed in the moonlight as her white dress floated in the night breeze resembled the appearance of a priestess who served at a temple. Klaus couldn’t help but stare at her back, entranced, but he soon returned to his senses.
“It’s time to begin, Kriemhild.”
Under Klaus’ orders, Kriemhild began to sing. The song that reverberated through the dark of night was still the aria of the <Queen of the Night>. When Kriemhild activated the power of Pluto, the sound of her voice acted as a medium — that was her ability. Unlike Celes who was only able to control Tristan, Kriemhild was capable of manipulating numerous dragons all at once. Although she was one of the <Pluto Children> developed by a research institute at Klaus’ orders, it could be said that her abilities already exceeded those of the original, Celes. As soon as any dragon heard her demonic song, they would fall under her spell — they would become beasts obedient only to Kriemhild. Her voice which was comparable even to that of a professional singer shook the cold night air. The Pluto in both of Kriemhild’s eyes glowed, further accentuating the hollow area of her patterned mask. Even as an ordinary man, Klaus was able to feel the powerful demonic air which gradually enveloped the Dragon Houses.
The dragons which had been asleep began to stir. They began to produce piercing roars which sounded like the screeches emitted by birds of prey. After a short while, the First to the Sixth Dragon Houses were destroyed from the inside, and the dragons that had fallen under Kriemhild’s spell burst forth. There were bird-like Stradas, Basilisk-like Asias, and snake-like Hydras. They were the Pals that belonged to the students and practical instructors of the Academy. They numbered — roughly eight hundred. The appearance of every dragon was dyed jet-black, and their eyes gleamed fiercely like those of a wild beast. As saliva drooled from the edges of their mouths and they let out low-pitched growls, they didn’t seem anything like the wise dragon species. Yet, this seemingly berserk horde of dragons appeared to be under someone’s control. Under the spell of Kriemhild’s demonic song, they neatly formed up into teams.
“After turning into this, I certainly do wonder where those noble-looking dragons have gone.”
As he stood beside Kriemhild, Klaus revealed a cruel smile. The densely packed dragons crowded the area of the Dragon Houses. Overlooking them from such a height, it was almost like the illusion of being their commander.
“Young master, the site has not yet been determined to be a hundred percent safe. Please retreat!”
Just as Gerhard shouted, the roof of the Seventh Dragon House suddenly broke apart from the inside.
“This is bad!”
Gerhard stood in front of Klaus and Kriemhild and activated his magically engineered weapon. As the dark blade glowed, it activated the defensive magic ‘Schwarzschild’ . The source of magic in magically engineered weapons was an in-built Bright Dragon Crystal. The magic that Gerhard had activated could be described as an Oracle that had been adapted to match the Empire’s style. The blast that had been fired off from the Seventh Dragon House landed a direct hit on Gerhard’s ‘Schwarzschild’. Although the explosion generated from it sounded as deafening as a thunderclap, his shield remained unbroken.
“Was that blast attack an attempt to kill me…?”
As if to drown out Klaus’ quiet murmur, a sharp roar resounded across the sky. The Seventh Dragon House completely collapsed, and a grey cloud of dust fluttered into the moonlit night. After a while, the view became clear again. Four Maestros appeared at the location of the destroyed Seventh Dragon House. Among those, three of them had been corrupted, and their fur turned black. Klaus recalled the information that he had read about beforehand. He remembered that the names of those three Maestros were Lancelot, Arianrhod, and Gawain. As for the dragon in the centre that had let loose a might roar, that was — Cú Chulainn. Its body was so enormous that the three other Maestros to its side seemed like mere young dragons in comparison. The one that had spewed a breath attack at Klaus earlier was probably Cú Chulainn.
“That is most undoubtedly the Pal of the Student Council President Rebecca. It has gone beyond expectations to have been able to resist Kriemhild’s song to this extent.”
“Rest assured, master. Cú Chulainn has no chance of winning.”
After Klaus expressed his sincere admiration, Kriemhild once again began to sing with a high-pitched voice. The Stradas, Asias and Hydras that had lined up into teams began to act. They marched toward Cú Chulainn from three separate directions. And yet, Cú Chulainn was unable to mount a counterattack against the ruthless army of approaching dragons. Even though its opponents had lost all sense of reason, they were still compatriots. Cú Chulainn could do nothing but endure the damage without any resistance.
Perhaps in acknowledgement of its own defeat, Cú Chulainn’s seemingly sorrowful wail left a long echo behind. At last, Cú Chulainn lost the strength to continue resisting, and the brilliant fur on its body was eroded by darkness.
“Phew. The plan is a success. Dominance over the dragons now belongs to us.”
After Klaus muttered so with a relieved expression, he looked down towards the ground from the top of the bell tower. It was an army of dragons led by four Maestros.
“From this moment forth, you shall be called the <Schwarz Drachen Panzer> !”
After Klaus proudly announced that, his eyes drifted toward the girl beside him.
“Kriemhild. It’s time to give the Academy City Ansarivan a gretting. Send them off to begin wreaking havoc—”
“Please wait. I believe that we should follow His Highness Uriel’s strategic plan, should we not…?”
Klaus swiftly dismissed Gerhard’s well-meaning advice, and replied
“I do not mind, we can simply treat this as a training exercise for the <Schwarz Drachen Panzer>. Kriemhild has never controlled such a vast number of dragons before. In the off-chance that our formal actions from here on result in failure, would we not have betrayed Prince Uriel’s expectations?”
“So that’s how far ahead you were thinking…”
Gerhard abandoned the stance on his opinion.
“Do it, Kriemhild.”
After Kriemhild faintly responded to Klaus command, she diffused her voice out into the entirety of the night sky. And so, the destruction caused by the <Schwarz Drachen Panzer> began.
“What is this? How can this be happening?”
Eco completely stiffened up when she ran over to the window. Blazing flames burst into the distant night sky. The place that had been bathed in a sea of flames was a school building.
The sound of explosions erupted through the dark of night, accompanied by flames which lit the horizon. After a while, one of the school buildings collapsed, raising a cloud of hazy dust into the sky.
“…Dragons appear to be the cause of chaos outside.”
Cosette used a pair of military binoculars to assess the situation. She seemed to have borrowed it from one of the unconscious soldiers.
“I cannot overlook something like that, Cosette! What reason would the dragons which are the treasure of this nation have to destroy a school building?”
Silvia snatched the binoculars from Cosette and widened her eyes as she pressed the binoculars against her face. She was utterly speechless, and the hand which she held the binoculars with did not stop trembling.
Eco finally noticed as well. In the fiery night sky, there were a countless number of crow-like shadows which flew in circles. However, they still seemed to be of substantial size despite being so far away, which made them far too large to be mere birds.
“Could they possibly be Stradas…!?”
Her fellow dragons were inciting mass destruction. To Eco, it was an unbelievable sight — no, it was a sight that she didn’t want to believe was true.
“…It doesn’t appear to be just Stradas. There are also groups of Asias and Hydras attacking buildings on the ground…”
As Silvia murmured that, her entire body became limp, and she barely managed to hold herself up. Cosette quietly helped support her stricken master, and spoke with a serious expression.
“The feeling that I sense from those dragons is not unfamiliar. When Tristan was under the control of Celestina-sama, it also felt like this. However, the only dragon that she could control was Tristan…”
“Do you mean to say that there is someone more powerful than Celes who can control Pluto…?”
After Silvia muttered that, she suddenly lifted her face.
“That’s right, where is Lancelot right now?”
After returning the binoculars to Cosette, Silvia removed a Bright Dragon Crystal from her pocket. She then raised the ice blue crystal high up into the night sky.
“Silvia Lautreamont commands you! Lancelot, respond to my call!”
…A few seconds passed, but Lancelot did not appear. Silvia’s face was instantly drained of its colour.
“Lancelot, why won’t you respond to my call!? Could it be that even you are under the control of Pluto like the other dragons…?”
“—Lancelot is not the only one affected. The same goes for my Pal.”
Rebecca appeared at the entrance to the bedroom.
“I’m sorry, Silvia. Due to the urgency of the situation, I had to intrude on you here.”
Rebecca was equipped with a bright red Ark, and it was even the unrestrained second form. Her stellar figure was certainly not inferior even to that of a nation’s military general. The weapon she held in her right hand was the magical spear Gáe Bolg.
“I didn’t expect the situation to be this outrageous…my Rhiannon must be there as well.”
The person who whispered softly behind Rebecca was Jessica. Although her orange-blonde hair looked somewhat dishevelled as she had just woken up, she hadn’t forgotten to properly change into her uniform and coat.
“Gawain isn’t listening to me either. I called it several times…but it completely ignored me.”
Beside Jessica, Lucca dejectedly hung her shoulders. Perhaps it was just an illusion, but her long ears which were unique to the Ecbald tribe also appeared to hang down. Although Lucca was a student of the Unios Course and lived in the neighbouring Maeve House, she had probably rushed over here as a member of the Student Council. She was also dressed in uniform. On the other hand, there appeared to be many other people crowded outside the bedroom door. Those female students were probably residents of the dormitory who had come to seek Rebecca’s instructions. Simply because Rebecca had arrived at the top floor of the dormitory reserved for royalty, all of them had followed her.
“…By the way, Silvia. Why is your room in such a mess?”
Rebecca frowned as she gazed around the room. Not only were there four unconscious Imperial soldiers in the room, but all of the glass windows had been shattered as well, causing a cold gust to blow in from the outside.
“Judging from their equipment, these people should be soldiers of the Imperial Army.”
Cosette stood in front of Rebecca as she began to explain
“I suspect that their purpose was to kidnap Eco-chan. Please rest assured though, I will tie them up and take them to the sheriff’s office later. By the way, there are also around ten other soldiers lying outside the dormitory.”
Upon receiving Cosette’s report, Rebecca made a bitter expression.
“I’m sorry, Cosette-san. Even though I was in the dorm, I still allowed these barbarians to infiltrate.”
“Don’t say that. All of these people appear to be veterans in combat, so the responsibility does not fall onto you, Rebecca-sama. Rather, I would say that these kinds of opponents are easier for me to deal with. My skills have gotten a bit sluggish lately, so it was a good opportunity for me to do some exercise. Fufufu.”
Cosette giggled cordially as if she was engaging in gossip. It was really quite an embarrassment for the dignified Imperial soldiers that they had been effortlessly been treated as mere objects for ‘exercise’ by a maid. Eco suddenly raised a rather simple question.
“Hey, Rebecca…how are you able to wear your Ark?”
Rebecca had definitely mentioned earlier that her Pal had also been affected. In other words, even Cú Chulainn had abandoned its master. Under such conditions, how was Cú Chulainn able to bestow its Ark upon her?
“Hmm…it happened before the dragons began to riot.”
There was a hint of melancholy on Rebecca’s face.
“I was dealing with some of my chores for the Student Council in my room at the time, and inadvertently, I was vaguely able to hear Cú Chulainn’s sorrowful wail…not long after, my Ark automatically appeared even though I didn’t request it. From what I understand, Cú Chulainn bestowed its Ark onto me while it could still retain its sanity.”
“Cú Chulainn really is amazing…”
Upon noticing the complicated look on Silvia’s face, Eco was initially surprised, but soon after she immediately understood why Silvia had reacted in this way. Several days ago, Silvia had finally become an Ark Dragonar as well. That was why she seemed upset about how Lancelot hadn’t been able to react with the same level of vigilance that Cú Chulainn had shown.
“—You shouldn’t be like that, Silvia. Compared to Cú Chulainn, Lancelot is like a young dragon. You should understand this, right?”
When Rebecca reprimanded her, Silvia bit her lip. Seeing Silvia like that, Eco began to think hard about whether there was anything that she could help with. Suddenly, an idea came to Eco’s mind.
Eco silently called out to the Dragweiss in her mind — Navi.
—You called me?
Navi immediately responded, and Eco conveyed her thoughts to her.
After listening to her though, Navi remained silent.
—Hey, why aren’t you saying anything? Is it impossible after all?
—…No, it’s just that I didn’t expect you to come up with such a good idea, so I was a bit surprised.
Navi’s reply went beyond Eco’s expectations.
—Hmph! You really underestimate me, don’t you!?
—Fufu, I’m sorry. I’ll send it right away, so just wait.
While Rebecca and the others were busy with discussing an evacuation route, Eco patiently waited for Navi’s reply. A few minutes later — Navi finally sent over the information that Eco wanted. Eco couldn’t help but show off a proud smile as she tugged on the sleeve of Silvia’s pyjamas.
“Fufu. Hey, Silvia?”
“What is it that you need me for right now, Eco?”
Silvia seemed impatient, and wasn’t particularly in the mood to speak to Eco. Her expression was clearly saying ‘I’m busy right now and don’t have the leisure to accompany you, okay?’. Even though she felt that Silvia looked down on her, Eco still attempted to seek her attention. Rather than using words to explain, she felt that it would be more rapid and effective to demonstrate. Eco’s glimmering pink-silver hair, her ruby eyes, and her entire body began to give off a dazzling glow.
“I’m going to begin — Almete, Gorjal, Peto, Espaldar, Brafoneras, Faldaje, Escarcelas, Bufetas, Hombreras, Brazales, Codales, Antebrazos, Manoplas, Quijotes, Guardas, Grebas, Escarpes…”
And then, the word which completed the chant!
Magic surged from Eco’s body like a raging wave, and a flash of light was emitted. Silvia’s body was also swallowed up by the torrent of light. And then — Silvia, who was originally dressed in her pyjamas, had become a radiant Ark Dragonar in the blink of an eye. It was a beautiful set of armour with an ice-blue coloured theme. There was also a cloak that gracefully swayed in the wind, and a crown that symbolised her identity as a princess.
Silvia’s jaw dropped as she looked down at the equipment on her body with widened eyes. Rebecca, Jessica and Lucca were also speechless as they stared at Silvia’s figure.
Even the usually calm Cosette couldn’t help but feel stunned. The armour on Silvia’s body was exactly the same as the one that Lancelot had previous bestowed upon her, down to the very last detail.
“Eco! Did you give this armour to me!?”
“Hmph, are you finally starting to admire me?”
Eco placed her hands on her hips in an arrogant stance.
“I see, I get it now! The blueprint of the Ark that Lancelot once created for Silvia has been recorded in the Dragweiss, right? Eco, this is a replica that you created according to that design.”
Eco felt admiration towards Rebecca’s deductive ability. The Student Council President was most certainly quick-witted to have been able to instantly figure that out.
“You guessed it. I’m a master when it comes to making replicas based on reference designs. I had to carefully select several different designs in the past in order to create equipment suitable for Ash’s body. I had to slowly pick various things out from a countless number of blueprints then. I only had to make use of Lancelot’s blueprint this time, so it was pretty simple.”
“Silvia, how do you feel wearing it?”
Upon hearing Rebecca’s question, Silvia swiftly came back to her senses.
“…There’s absolutely no discomfort at all. This is indeed the same set of armour as the one that Lancelot offered to me.”
“Hmm. Has Eco made use of her talents in an unexpected manner? It goes against common sense and the rules…anyway, this is necessary to resolve the current urgency, so I don’t think Lancelot will mind.”
Rebecca smiled wryly as Silvia unrestrainedly hugged Eco.
“Wait…what are you doing!?”
“Thank you, Eco. Thanks to you, I’ll be able to fight.”
“I-If you’re going to thank me, do it with real actions! For example, you could entrust Ash to me—”
“No, this and that are two separate matters.”
After giving a serious reply, Silvia let go of Eco. Eco then grumbled ‘tsk’ to herself.
After the two of them stared at each other for a while, Eco couldn’t help but break into a smile. Silvia also followed suit and laughed. Despite the tenseness of the current situation as they were just about to confront the enemy, the atmosphere between Eco and Silvia was strangely warm.
“—You two, now is not the time to be playing around.”
Rebecca made a wry smile as she reminded and urged the two of them to stay on guard. Eco pulled her mind back to reality, and Silvia also made a serious expression.
“There are too many uncertain factors at this stage, but there are things which are certain. The first is that the enemy intended to kidnap Eco while taking control of the dragons in the Academy at the same time. The second is that our enemy is currently using the dragons to destroy the Academy…this means that our enemy has given up on concealing themselves, and they are now preoccupied with causing damage.”
Rebecca folded her arms in front of her chest and continued with a sober expression.
“I don’t know what kind of method the enemy has used, but I know that even Cú Chulainn wasn’t able to resist against them. We should follow the worst-case assumption that all of the dragons in the Academy have lost their sanity. The only one not under their control is Eco—”
“Hey, wait a minute!”
Eco suddenly interjected from the side with a restless look on her face. A strong feeling of unease gripped her heart.
“What’s wrong, Eco?”
“Do you think Ash is okay on his own? The Imperial Army even knew that I sleep in Silvia’s room at night, right? In that case, they might already know that Ash is staying in that hospital right now to recover…”
“Indeed, our enemy has locked onto Eco as their primary target this time. They wouldn’t be naïve enough to ignore Eco’s knight, Ash, no matter what…”
Just as worry surfaced on Rebecca’s face…
[So this is where you were. The descendant of Avalon’s Holy Dragons’ Emperor Family, the young dragon Eco…]
Eco’s vision was suddenly dyed black. A fully naked girl appeared before her eyes. The girl’s skin exuded the brilliance of a pearl within the darkness. The seemingly gentle girl gave off a surreal vibe. However, both of her eyes had been replaced by two dark stones.
[Yes. I am different from Celestina Lafon, I am one of the <Pluto Children> artificially born in a research institute…]
The girl’s confession caused Eco to shudder. She had never imagined that she would hear those words again.
[Now, listen to my song. You will then become my ‘familiar’ as well.]
As soon as the girl stopped talking, she began to sing. A clear and almost cruel-sounding song resounded from the girl’s lips.
“Don’t joke around! Who is going to become your…”
Eco instinctively covered her ears, but such an action had no meaning at all. The girl’s demonic voice still resonated in Eco’s head indiscriminately. Even though Eco was completely unversed in the appreciation of music, she still felt that it sounded like a beautiful melody. The lyrics belonged to the Imperial language. Although she didn’t understand the meaning of the lyrics, the sharp pronunciation of words was a feature of the Imperial language.
“Kuh…no! I absolutely refuse to become your—”
A slap suddenly hit Eco’s left cheek, and her consciousness was pulled out from within the darkness.
“Hey! Get a grip, Eco!”
Silvia stared anxiously at Eco’s face. The slap on her cheek caused it to feel hot and numb.
“Eco, what’s wrong? Did you feel something?”
Rebecca asked from the side. Like Silvia, she continued to gaze at Eco’s face with worry. As she recalled how she had almost become fully entranced earlier, Eco felt ashamed.
“…A strange girl appeared in front of me. She claimed that she was an artificially-produced <Pluto Child>.”
Eco recalled the girl’s appearance. As soon as she said that, everyone’s expressions shifted to one of horror.
“Would you believe it? Both of that girl’s eyes were Pluto. She also sang an incomprehensible song. All of the dragons must have lost their mind because they listened to her song! If Silvia hadn’t brought me back to reality, it might have gotten dangerous…”
“How can such a ridiculous thing be possible…according to what you said, Eco, the girl that you saw is the culprit behind this commotion then?”
Silvia furrowed her brow.
“Speaking of <Pluto Children>, the first person that everyone will think of is Celes-san. However, Celes-san first had to bury the crystal that she produced into Tristan’s body as a pre-condition for activating the power of Pluto—”
After Jessica mentioned Celes, Lucca stammered as she followed
“She just needs to sing…and that will cause all dragons to obey her orders. It’s incredibly difficult to deal with…”
“—Everyone, please listen carefully to me.”
After starting off with a serious tone, Rebecca continued
“With our Pals captured, there is little that sets us apart from ordinary students. The only ones who still have the ability to fight are me and Silvia with our Arks, as well as Cosette.”
Without exception, all those present were nervous, and their mouths felt dry as they breathlessly listened to Rebecca.
“Unfortunately, the senior officials of the Lautreamont Knight Country have summoned Princess Veronica back to Fontaine City. As with our previous situations, we cannot expect that they will come to our rescue immediately. It’s just…although this may seem like an insult to Captain Ursula, even if the Holy Dragonars do make it here and come to our aid, we cannot rule out the possibility that even their Pals will be captured by the enemy.”
“Umm, President…may I say something?”
“What is it, Silvia?”
“I think that the timing of this incident is more than just a coincidence. After the news that my father Oswald would be executed was publicised, all of the troops stationed in Ansarivan were withdrawn, and Imperial soldiers immediately invaded…moreover, the <Pluto Children> was originally meant to be Prince Uriel’s trump card. It has now become a weapon of the Imperial Army. It’s so much of a coincidence that it’s suspicious…”
“Hmm, that does make sense. Imagining the worst-case scenario…perhaps there is someone in the Kingdom who wouldn’t hesitate to collude with the Empire for the purpose of annexing the Knight Country.”
“What did you say!?”
Eco felt deeply astonished after hearing Rebecca’s guess.
“…This battle can’t possibly be something that the aging and asinine Zacharias III could have come up with. In addition, I don’t think that the King of Chevron who once personally experienced the Xenoglavia War would cooperate with the Empire.”
Silvia agreed with Rebecca’s opinion as she added
“Moreover, I’ve heard that the King of Chevron is currently bedridden with illness. Viewing it in light of this, isn’t this entire incident a conspiracy planned by Prince Uriel?”
“Yes. Although there’s no proof of that, I’m afraid…”
Just as Rebecca responded with a solemn expression on her face…
The sound of dragons causing damage to buildings reverberated ever clearer that before. There was no longer any room for hesitation given the critical state of affairs—
“Okay, let’s split into two groups.”
Rebecca cast her eyes around once more as she looked at the faces of all those present.
“Team A will be responsible for evacuating all of the students and teachers in the Academy. Team B will make its way to the hospital to protect Ash. The problem lies in how to assign team members…”
Eco and the others immediately pushed themselves in front of Rebecca. Eco took the lead with
“I’m obviously in Team B!”
Not to be outdone, Silvia followed with
“I volunteer to join Team B!”
Jessica anxiously shouted
“I want to join Team B!”
Lucca softly proposed
A thought suddenly seemed to strike Rebecca’s mind as she quickly turned around and strode over to the entrance of the bedroom.
“…Sorry, we have a slightly complicated problem to discuss.”
After Rebecca gave her regards to the female students who had crowded outside the door, she shut the door which had been half ajar. The female students of Epona House had inadvertently sneaked into the corridor outside the room reserved for royalty, and they peeked in through the half open door of the bedroom. The members of the Student Council were all fighting over the right to save Ash, yet no one volunteered to evacuate the students and teachers of the school — it would most certainly be bad if ordinary students overheard such a quarrel. That was why Rebecca shut the door. Nonetheless…Rebecca secretly quietly whispered to herself
“If possible, even I’d like to go and save Ash…but as the Student Council President, such selfish behaviour cannot be allowed.”
Rebecca couldn’t help but sigh to herself. After putting a serious expression back on her face, she walked back to Eco and the others.
“Königin der Nacht II ~A.S.B.1365.11~” is closed.
(All 4 of 4 parts) (13/11)
 The original Japanese Kanji have the meaning of ‘jet-black shield’, which isn’t too far off from the German term ‘schwarz schild’ meaning ‘black shield’.
 The original Japanese Kanji have the meaning of ‘black dragon squadron’, which again isn’t too far off from the German term ‘schwarz drachen panzer’ meaning ‘black dragon armour’.