Just like that—.
Along with Ash’s sublime words, the brilliant rays of light that were summoned by the holy sword Excalibur caused all one thousand and three hundred dragons to be released from the scourge of Pluto. Led by Cú Chulainn, all of the Pals which belonged to students of the Academy obediently returned to Ansarivan. On the other hand, all of the dragons which belonged to the Lautreamont Order of Holy Dragonars flew back to Kingsley Fortress in search of their masters. With the search of the dragons, all of them were safely able to reunite with the members of the Order, such as Captain Ursula and Glenn.
As this news reached the capital, everyone was filled with the utmost joy. Although the Order of Holy Dragonars had been able to avoid deaths, more than half of their members had been seriously wounded, making the entire incident a terrible disaster. As for the Count of the Vandenhaar border, Klaus, as well as Kriemhild who had been responsible for manipulating the dragons, both of them were captured in the jaws of Cú Chulainn’s mouth once it returned to normal, but they remained alive. Cú Chulainn was the Pal that Rebecca had raised after all, so it seemed to understand that there was no benefit in killing them on the spot, especially since the Order would be investigating. The foreign troops that Veronica had established were dispatched to the scene. Their leader was Avdocha Klitzkaya of the Tantalos Tribe. Riding a Basilisk, Avdocha arrested Klaus and Kriemhild, and then brought them into the city. Before departing from the scene, Avdocha looked at Ash and asked
“How has Anya been?”
“She’s been doing well.”
After Ash’s initial reply, he followed with
“Kriemhild was only being used by Klaus. Avdocha-san, I hope you’ll be kind to her, just like when Anya was arrested.”
After Avdocha nodded with a sincere expression, she continued on her way.
“It’s finally over huh…”
After being welcomed into Fontaine City, Ash and Eco began to rest in a guest room. The Ark that Eco had bestowed upon Ash was released, and Ash had gone back to wearing his original uniform. Before they realised, dawn had begun to break across the sky as the glaring sun arose from the far end of the horizon.
“Hey, Ash. Is your body alright?”
Eco peeked at Ash’s face with unease. Because the clothes that she wore before Dragonising were destroyed, Eco had gotten changed into a pretty dress. It was something that one of the city maids had gone to the trouble of procuring for her. On the other hand, <Avalon’s Bracelet> which had morphed into a large collar had returned to its original shape, hanging around Eco’s wrist as a beautiful bracelet. Gazed upon by Eco’s bright ruby eyes, Ash couldn’t stop his heartbeat from accelerating.
Is this some kind of psychological effect? Eco looks more mature than usual.
“Ash! Did you hear me!? I asked if your body is okay!”
Ash returned to his senses as he saw Eco’s puffed-out cheeks.
“M-My body huh…it might be the effect of the Ark that you made for me, Eco — my body feels a lot better than it did before we faced off against the enemy.”
After Ash made a light smile, he gently petted Eco’s head. In fact, Ash was in a rather good mood, and he didn’t feel any pain in his body either. Although he wasn’t fully healed yet, it was certain that his condition was improving.
“Thank you, Eco.”
Eco suddenly blushed, and her body stiffened.
“That Ark was truly a masterpiece.”
“Uwah! I only made it for you because the battle required it!”
Eco fidgeted as her thighs rubbed against each other. It was only natural for her to show such a reaction. After all, when a dragon presented an Ark to their master, it was equivalent to dedicating their bodies to their master. After Ash realised this, he also immediately felt embarrassed by it.
As the dawn sky whitened behind them, Ash and Eco stared into each other’s eyes — and they shared an affectionate kiss. It was longer and sweeter than any other kiss that they had previously indulged in. However, something of this extent was no longer enough to satisfy Ash. He reached out with his hot tongue and attempted to invade Eco’s soft wet lips. Perhaps sensing Ash’s fiery passion, Eco reciprocated by faintly opening her lips.
The abrupt knock on their door instantly grounded Ash’s consciousness back in reality. Eco was also startled by it, and she quickly fled from Ash’s embrace even though there was a hint of reluctance that could be seen from her expression. Ash held the same sense of reluctance as her, but as the knocking repeated itself, Ash had no choice but to respond
“Please come in.”
“Ash-sama and Eco-sama. Her Highness Veronica is waiting for the two of you in the office.”
The person who entered was a maid that Ash felt a sense of familiarity from. Her name was Frieda Shelly. She was a sharp-looking maid who wore glasses, and Ash also recalled that she was the personal maid of Paladin Oswald.
“We will head over there now.”
The instant that Ash decided to stand up, some kind of commotion seemed to break out in the city.
“What is it…?”
Ash nervously glanced out the window, overlooking everything beyond it.
“It must be everyone praising our achievements!”
Eco also widened her eyes as she looked out the window, but the sight which greeted them on the other side was—
“It can’t be!”
Ash didn’t finish what he had intended to say.
Eco was similarly speechless. The magic ship Claíomh Solais had appeared in the sky above the capital, and a loud male voice that was tinged by a magnetic tenor resounded across the city through magic amplification.
[Citizens of Fontaine City, I am the Third Prince of the Chevron Kingdom — Uriel.]
—In the cockpit of the magic ship Claíomh Solais.
Sitting in the captain’s seat, Uriel held a magic-powered microphone in hand as he gave a speech. According to the original script, Uriel was supposed to show up as the hero. While the magic ship Claíomh Solais flew in, the retreat of the <Schwarz Drachen Panzer> that attacked the capital would be announced, and the citizens would have welcomed Uriel as their hero — that was Uriel’s intended plan. However, not only did the <Schwarz Drachen Panzer> fail to attack the capital, the entire army had fallen apart at the hands of Ash and Eco. In addition, even Klaus and Krimehild had been imprisoned.
“Dear citizens, I implore that you listen to my words. The monster that just protected Fontaine City is none other than the enormous dragon which forced the Continental Congress <Elysium> to be halted earlier this summer. That incident should still be quite fresh in all of your minds.”
Even though the situation had not developed according to what he had planned, Uriel was unmoved. It was because the failure of Klaus and Kriemhild was already within the scope of his calculations.
“Fufu…what an act.”
Cassandra sat behind Uriel with an enchanting smile on her face. Cassandra’s luxurious dress caused her presence in the cockpit to stand out with splendour. Clenching the microphone tighter in his hand, Uriel continued
“The Knight Country’s government has kept their possession of this horrifying biological weapon a secret from their suzerain state, the Chevron Kingdom. This is a heinous crime, and even though my nation has always acted in the good spirit of forgiveness, this is difficult to overlook indeed.”
After Uriel temporarily put the microphone down, he ordered the crew to “do it”. Because they had already rehearsed the entire process beforehand, the crew members were able to immediately begin the preparations.
Veronica took in a shocking view from the window of the office. Crucified onto a cross, the Paladin Oswald appeared on the deck of the magic ship Claíomh Solais. On both his left and right sides, soldiers with cold eyes stood at the ready with long rifles in hand. The crown symbolising his status as the Paladin had been stripped off, his overall condition seemed haggard, and he was also dressed in the clothing of a prisoner. Upon seeing her father’s miserable state—
“What a disgrace this is…!”
Even as steadfast as Veronica was, even she was taken aback. As if to add insult to injury, Uriel’s voice continued to echo through the air
[These are our requirements. First Princess Veronica, as well as all Dragonars and Breeders, surrender along with your Pals. Otherwise, we shall execute Paladin Oswald on the spot!]
“Your Highness Veronica.”
At that moment, Captain Glenn and Captain of the Order Ursula entered the office. Having withstood defeat at Kingsley Fortress, both of them were wounded all over. Their entire bodies were wrapped in bandages. But even so, both of them had their Arks equipped.
“…What do the two of you want? This is a political negotiation. You have not been given a place to speak.”
Veronica’s ferocious glare pierced through Glenn and Ursula. After Glenn knelt down on the spot, he said while gasping for air
“Your Highness, should you order us so…we will lead our Pals to attack, and strike down the Claíomh Solais. All members of your personal guard feel the same way.”
“Our Order of Holy Dragonars was defeated at Kingsley Fortress. For the sake of rescuing our Paladin Oswald, I plead for you to allow us to attack.”
In contrast to Glenn, Ursula looked somewhat more composed. The fact that it wasn’t possible to tell if she was injured or not was one of the reasons for her status.
“No, there is no need for that.”
Veronica sighed and then turned around to face both of them. Just as Glenn and Ursula said, if Veronica gave the order, both the Order of Holy Dragonars and her personal guard would spiritedly fight until the bitter end against the Claíomh Solais. However, their opponent was their own suzerain state. The Lautreamont Knight Country had a long history of loyalty to them. If the Knight Country broke off ties with the Kingdom today, it was equivalent to tainting the spirit of chivalry that the Knight Country had maintained for five hundred years. Veronica’s principles would never allow such a thing to happen. Moreover, she couldn’t turn Fontaine City into a battlefield either. Veronica knew herself well, and considered herself old-fashioned. But if one looked back in history, they could see that it was the Chevron Kingdom which assisted with the founding of the Lautreamont Knight Country, and the great responsibility of being entrusted with the raising and management of dragons. At the time, the Chevron King Lionel III was fearful of the dragons’ overwhelming power. Thus, he entrusted everything to the dependable first Paladin, Durham Lautreamont. If Veronica were to turn against Uriel at this moment — then it would be equivalent to betraying Lionel III, who was renowned for his great kindness and benevolence…. However, if Veronica chose to surrender, she would at least be able to preserve the citizens’ lives. Veronica glared as she gnashed her teeth.
“We have no choice…but surrender.”
“Do you truly wish to surrender? Princess-sama! Even if you do truly surrender, there is no guarantee that Prince Uriel will spare the Paladin! No, perhaps he will not even be satisfied with the Paladin’s life, and he will take your life as well, Princess-sama!”
Although usually well-mannered, Glenn was unable to restrain his emotions. Even so, it was not enough to shake Veronica’s determination.
“…This is for the sake of our precious people. Glenn, take a close look. That bastard Uriel has pointed the main cannon at the city’s centre. He’s already considered the slim possibility that we might try to stage a desperate rescue effort for the Paladin.”
Indeed, Veronica had realised that from the very beginning. The main cannon of the magic ship Claíomh Solais had been locked onto the city from the beginning. If Veronica refused to surrender, the urban area would inevitably be charred to ashes in an instant. After coming this far, Veronica realised that there were no options left—
Suddenly, a magnanimous voice resounded across the dawn sky. Upon hearing that voice, even Veronica peered out the window in shock.
“That ship is…?”
The sight outside the window totally took her by surprise. A completely unknown magic ship that she had never seen before had somehow appeared behind the Claíomh Solais without anyone’s notice.
“Hold on! That voice just now…it had to be Mirabel!”
Indeed, the voice that had been broadcast to the city through magic amplification did belong to Mirabel. Moreover, the unknown magic ship had cast a three-dimensional projection into the sky, something that was impossible for any ordinary magic ship. As for the projection in the air, it showed the beautiful appearance of Mirabel Lautreamont. For some reason, Oscar Brailsford also stood by her side.
[Good morning everyone. I am the Third Princess of the Knight Country, Mirabel Lautreamont.]
The entire city instantly went into uproar. Even Veronica looked bewildered as her mouth fell agape.
Mirabel was essentially a scholar, and she had always cooped herself up in her room to study ever since childhood. She was quite obviously a talented child prodigy, thus Veronica allowed her to pursue her own interests. Everyone in the palace also believed that Mirabel’s fascination with research meant that she was unlikely to be active in public life. However, Mirabel now stood at the helm of the political stage.
[I have become aware of the situation after listening to Prince Uriel’s speech. Regarding this matter…]
Mirabel went silent for almost ten seconds, pushing the expectations and unease of the audience to its utmost limits.
[Even I cannot bear this…]
With a strong tone that differed from her usual manner, she directed her gaze to Oscar who stood beside her. And then, she blurted out the words which no one could believe
[I will expose the virulent evils and treason of the Third Prince Uriel. And I hereby declare Oscar Brailsford who is ranked one hundred and eighth in line to the royal succession as the next Chevron King—.]
“The Avalon Knight Dragner III” is closed.
(All 4 of 4 parts) (12/1)
Continues on to Afterword