Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut:Volume 8 Episode 2
Episode 2 – Seven Dragons Gathering
「Good morning, Relie-san.」
「Morning Lux-kun. Can you sleep well last night?」
The headmaster office early in the morning.
After lightly talking with Lisha and Celis who had arrived, Lux exchanged words with Relie.
One day since then, the opening of the summit was finally approaching.
「I believe that you have finished with the briefing but be careful, just as you also know, the representatives of other countries are all a gathering of tricky people you know?」
「I will stay on guard. More importantly──」
「Yes, we will also be as vigilant as possible over here. I’ll leave the rest to you.」
There was high likelihood that the warmonger, Dragon Marauder that was bearing enmity to countries would come attacking if they knew about the information of this summit.
Thus, it seemed that reinforcement Drag-Knights had been gathered beforehand since a bit of a while ago.
It seemed that powerful fighter like Philuffy and Yoruka were also assigned to protect the Academy, so Lux wasn’t really worried.
In that case──.
「Yeah, what’s left is how we are going to deal with the discussion.」
Lisha who looked slightly nervous was standing beside Lux.
The people who would attend the summit were the Seven Dragon Paladins and their aide, as well as four people who were chosen as representatives of the leaders of various countries.
Lisha would participate in the summit as the representative from the new kingdom among those four.
「At the beginning let’s go like we decided in the briefing. Our plan first will be to get information out from the Lords.」(Celis)
Or rather, doubtlessly the other countries would also basically do that.
The history of the ancient era that had been surrounded in mystery until now through the span of a few hundred years.
An existence that knew about all of that had descended, so their side had no other option than observing how they would move.
Naturally, during the meeting Lux also had no intention to touch about the matter of Fugil who he had a tie with.
While Lux was calming down his breathing, the Seven Dragon Paladins and their aide, furthermore the the representatives of the leaders from various countries showed up one after another.
There were people who he knew their face and also people who he met for the first time.
「Good morning Lux-kun. Take care of me too today.」
「Yahhoo. Are you healthy, Onii-chan.」
Coral and Mel called out to him.
After exchanging light pleasantry with the two, Lux also entered the conference room.
It was a spacious room, but there was no window in order to avoid attack from outside, so the room was dim.
Because of that there was lamp placed since the afternoon, illuminating faintly the faces of the representatives from each country.
The seating of the conference room was mainly divided into three group, the four representatives of country leaders, the Seven Dragon Paladins, and then the group of the Lords.
The leaders’ representatives were Lizsharte from new kingdom, princess Milmiette from Wanheim Principality, and Minister Gunius from Heiburg Republic in participation.
Pope Nias from Ymir Theocracy was attending because he was the person with highest authority in essence, furthermore there was the archbishop to substitute for him.
And then, except for one person, the seven members of Seven Dragon Paladins and their aide were all present.
The representative from new kingdom was Lux Arcadia. His aide was Celistia Ralgris.
The representative from Wanheim Principality was Greifer Nest, and his aide Coral Esther.
The representative from Ymir Theocracy was Mel Gizalut. With her aide Krulcifer Einfolk.
The representative from Heiburg Republic was, Rosa Granhide. Her aide was Calensia Hersmice.
From Blackend Kingdom was Singlen Shelbrit and his aide Zweigbergk Gimle.
From Marcafal Kingdom was Magialca Zen Vanfrick. Her aide was absent.
──Until here, either Lux knew their face or he heard about them from Celis.
But, the last Seven Dragon Paladins who he had never even heard about their rumor finally showed up inside the room.
「……Wai-, why are you trying to go home after coming this far desu!? Please quickly get inside!」
The figure of a girl wearing hat could be seen using all her strength to pull in a brown skinned arm that could be seen from the other side of the opened door.
While everyone’s gaze was gathered over there, before long that figure came out to the open.
It was a girl wearing thin outfit of foreign country who was looking like she was really reluctant to be her. She was sending a cowering gaze to the surrounding.
She had vibrant dark brown skin and glossy black hair tinged with green color.
Just her appearance was already distinctive enough, but the red tattoo engraved on her face highlighted her unique look even further.
The girl who just noticed that she was gathering attention quickly averted her eyes and fell silent.
The girl wearing hat used that chance to drag the girl inside and forcefully sat her down on a chair.
「Ah, our apologize for being late desu. We are the representatives of Turkimes Confederation, the Seven Dragon Paladins Soffice Septy and her aide me──Uruk Septy desu.」
Although the girl was introduced like that, she didn’t say even a single word.
The Seven Dragon Paladins who appeared last was a girl who seemed to be hard to approach in another different sense compared to all the members until now.
(But what is this? Even though this should be the first time I saw her without a doubt, it feels like she resembles someone──)
When Lux stared fixedly at the girl, Soffice’s stare quickly darted around and she averted her face.
In the place of the girl who kept her face looking down, the hat wearing girl spoke toward everyone.
「Eee, Soffice, she has fear of strangers, so she cannot really talk with everyone desu. And so, I will convey her thought as an interpreter, best regard to everyone desu.」
「……What a very strange bunches but, well it’s fine. Later on just don’t make excuse that you didn’t talk because you are a poor talker.」
The captain Magialca concluded like that and everyone sat down.
Then she put both her elbows on the table and joined her hands together before she looked around at everyone and raised her voice.
「──Well then, now that everyone is here, how about we consolidate our intention right away? The fellows called the Lord something who self-proclaimed that they are the owner of Ruins, how are we going to receive them──but fundamentally those fellows are suspicious.」
「Err──, pardon me captain-sama.」
The one who raised their hand was the princess of Wanheim Principality, Milmiette.
The girl who was innocent with bright personality was assertive without acting timid even in this place.
「What could you mean by that? By how they moved the Gigas, I believe that the likelihood is high that they are an imperial family of the past who was managing the Ruins though──」
「Your highness Milmiette, she didn’t meant that kind of meaning.」
The Blue Tyrant, the representative of Blackend Kingdom, Singlen showed a fearless smirk toward that question.
「They, the Lords who wished for dialogue this time claimed that they are the real thing by moving Gigas. Until now we have been excavating──no, plundering Drag-Rides and treasures from the Ruins. There is a possibility that they will question us to take responsibility for that.」
「……In other words, if we are taking timid attitude right from the start, we might be hit with retaliation from them, is that what you are saying?」
Everyone in that place closed their mouth hearing Coral’s muttering.
That showed one answer.
「Besides those guys, these so called Lords, we also still don’t fully understand their true identity. With extreme logic, it could even be thought that they might be stranger who captured the Ruins several hundred years ago before introducing themselves as the ruler of ancient era. If they cannot prove that they are the 『real thing』, then we also don’t need to act humbly toward them.」
Lux could also understand what Magialca was saying.
At the briefing session in the royal capital, Lux, Lisha, and Celis were mostly reminded of the same thing.
The existence and power of Drag-Ride had become something that couldn’t be erased for the current livelihood, and the land they were living on also went without saying.
Even if the Lords proclaimed the ownership of those things, there was no way their side could easily accept their demand.
Thus, although this meeting was called a dialogue, but there was no doubt that this was a battle.
If the talk broke down, it was even possible that a war against the Lords could occur in this place.
When everyone tensed their expression once more, a stir could be heard suddenly from outside the room.
- Kotsu kotsu* The sound of shoes stepping on the floor was approaching, and before long the door was slightly opened.
「──My apologize to make all of you wait, honored representatives from each country.」
A transparent voice reverberated and that figure came to view.
A young girl clad in sparkling pure white dress was bowing with a smile.
Silver long hair and asymmetrically colored eyes.
That mystical beauty which was out of this world completely changed the air of the place that was filled with tension.
Lux and others held strong vigilance toward that face which resembled the imperial family of the old empire.
「I am an imperial family member of the ancient era when the Ruins existed──a survivor of the Lords. First imperial princess Listelka Rei Arshalia. And then this is my lady attendant, Mishis V Xfer. And last, my knight, Fugil vi Arcadia.」
Beside the princess who introduced herself as Listelka, two attendants appeared.
The blue haired maid Mishis who Lux had caught sight of beside Hayes previously.
And then, the moment Lux saw that man who was wearing an extravagant cloak, his head was wrapped with heat.
「……!? That guy, is Fugil? What──I also, recalled seeing him somewhere」
Even Lisha let out a small groan when seeing Fugil, perhaps in recollection of something.
On the other hand, Lux closed his mouth tightly and repressed his emotion immediately.
「First let me express my thanks to everyone from each country for preparing this chance and place for a dialogue in response to my sudden introduction and demand──and then as a proof of friendship, I will promise to hand over two hundred Drag-Rides for each country.」
Those words that were spoken with friendly tone caused everyone present to blink.
Even Lux doubted his ear for a moment whether he had heard mistakenly, but right after that the representatives of each country’s leaders, Pope Nias and Princess Milmiette, furthermore even Minister Gunius raised their voice reflexively.
「I, is that true, Listelka-dono?」
「That’s amazing. But, two hundred Drag-Rides, for each country, it’s──」
「Unbelievable! Even after using the Ruin investigation right five, six times in a year, at best there would only be a few dozen Drag-Rides that could be excavated, to hand over that many all at once……」
Even a single general purpose Drag-Ride had a price that was above an average house.
Drag-Ride that each country gathered little by little from Ruins by paying with time and sacrifice was still that much of a precious weapon.
The atmosphere inside the room slightly loosened up in reaction to the unimaginable present.
But, even among them, it was only the multi-millionaire Magialca and Singlen who weren’t perturbed.
They were smiling without the slightest change in their expression even against that 『advance payment』 that could be said as unprecedented.
「Of course. This is nothing more than a meager greeting. For those who are able to get into our good grace, we will even bestow them with even rarer treasure or Divine Drag-Ride. Specifically from here on──」
「I don’t get it, o Lord-sama whatever.」
Magialca’s voice suddenly cut apart the boiling up atmosphere of the place.
She showed that crooked and vaguely twisted smile while gazing at Listelka who was in front of her.
「My bad to cut off your talk. But, I’m also the head of a company you see, when I heard a story that is too suspicious, I am conditioned to reflexively speak out even against my better judgment. You can continue if you want?」
「Please don’t misunderstand. I am serious you know?」
Listelka spoke once more with gentle voice like before, but Magialca snorted.
「There is nothing more expensive than something free──. I wonder if that saying also existed a few thousand years ago? You would let us slurp up such sweet honey right at the beginning, just what are you planning to make us do for you after that?」
The Lord, Listelka who heard that fell silent while still smiling slightly.
But, before long she casted down her eyes as though resolving herself and she slowly sighed.
「It can’t be helped then. I wished to broach this topic after having a bit more pleasant talk but──」
With that as the preface, the imperial princess lightly took a deep breath.
And then she surveyed her surrounding, and spoke with a serious expression.
「If I have to say the main issue, this world will perish in less than half a year.」
It was unknown who was the one that reflexively said that.
Perhaps it was one of the Seven Dragon Paladins, or perhaps one of the leaders’ representatives.
But, in any case the relaxed atmosphere from just now was getting through upheaval after those words that were spoken out calmly.
「……Can we hear about the specific?」
After Magialca prompted without any change in her fearless expression, Listelka nodded shortly.
「I believe that everyone is already aware, about the phenomenon of destruction that is called calamity, and the existence of Nocturnal. There exist a system in this world that is the foundation which brought about those things. It is called as 『Sacred Eclipse』, a mechanism that will destroy the world.」 (TN: Before I mistranslated this as Sacred Eater, the correct one is Sacred Eclipse)
「Sacred Eclipse, you say?」
Lisha muttered with a dubious face, but this was acting.
Lux and others, the people in new kingdom’s side had information from the data they brought back from the Ruin Hall shared with them, but they were concealing that they knew about it.
It was in order to confirm whether the Lord, Listelka was saying the truth or not.
「Yes. In the ancient era when we existed, using the resource and technology at that time, we were living extremely prosperously. But, even the long peace would be visited by the end. A dispute with the attempt to monopolize that technology and resource occurred, dragging a lot of people into it and a deathly battle began. In order to bring to a close that great uprising that spanned through a long time, our ancestor constructed a mechanism to destroy the ringleaders. That is exactly the final annihilation mechanism that is called the Sacred Eclipse──the greatest and strongest humanoid-type Ragnarok.」
The past history that Listelka spoke out.
Everyone present was speechless hearing that blood soaked truth.
But, before long a hand was raised from the seats of the leaders’ representatives as though returning to their senses.
「Wa, wait a second Lord-dono!? As expected that’s unbelievable. Sacred Eclipse that exists in order to destroy mankind you say? If such thing really exist, shouldn’t all of us died already?」
Nias quietly rocked his chair and raised his voice.
With a graceful smile, Listelka answered the question from the young pope who still had trace of youth in himself.
「Yes. Originally Sacred Eclipse is the final weapon to destroy everything with the exception of the ancient race and the Lords. But, with that alone it will also massacre the virtuous and innocent people. Thus at the phase when the majority of the humans who spearheaded the conflict had been destroyed, the imperial family at the time deactivated the Sacred Eclipse.」
The girl spoke the answer matter-of-factly like that.
「The ancient race that brought about the Ruins in this planet, and the clan of Lord that received it. There is a land of paradise that is known and can only be entered by the imperial family and their aides who were chosen people even among them all──the 『Avalon』. Only in that place that contained all wisdom, technology, and treasures of the ancient time, stopping Sacred Eclipse and preventing the ruin of the world can be done.」
The air of the conference room shook slightly from the words that Listelka muttered earnestly with her eyes casted down.
「I wish to ask one thing.」
Taking advantage of that opening, a small figure wearing blue robe, Singlen quietly lifted his face.
「Why is that deactivated Sacred Eclipse something get resurrected in this era?」
The question that could be said as only natural in a sense was immediately answered by Listelka.
「I’m also unable to grasp the cause clearly, but I believe that most likely the people of this era was doing some kind of interference to the Ruins. After all I only received revelation from Avalon, of the fact that Sacred Eclipse was resurrected.」
When Lisha frowned, the Lord imperial princess abruptly smiled.
「It’s because I am the 『Shrine Maiden of Oracle』. Through a rite called Baptism, I obtained the power to receive information from Avalon──the holy ground of the Lord.」
The girl who originally possessed the name of Arcadia was introducing herself as Rei Arshalia pointed out that she had become the shrine maiden that was able to hold correspondence with Avalon.
While listening to that story, Lux slightly met his gaze with Krulcifer’s to confirm.
About the existence of the mechanism to destroy the world called Sacred Eclipse.
About the necessity to head to Avalon in order to stop it.
Until this point, everything should be unvarnished truth that matched the information that they brought back from the Hall in Ymir Theocracy.
「And, how can we reach that Avalon something?」
Magialca asked with folded arms. Listelka didn’t answer the question immediately.
After surveying everyone who was waiting for her words with held breath, she took a deep breath.
「Do you know about the jewel that is called Grand Force? The seven crystals that existed in seven Ruins. By setting them in the deepest part of all the Ruins, the path to Avalon will be opened. Stopping Sacred Eclipse that will destroy the world, obtaining the inheritance and technology of Avalon, and guiding this world to true peace. Those are the wishes of us the Lords.」
The presented solution.
With superb timing as though she was reading people’s heart, the imperial princess opened her mouth once more.
「We the survivor of Lord had been sleeping for many years inside the Ruins, but recently we awakened and got perplexed by the change of this world. We don’t know whether this era, the people of this culture would be able to accept us. Due to that anxiety, for a while we were watching over the situation.」
She was looking at the expression of the representative of each country while appealing with heartrending expression.
「But──there is no more time. If we don’t borrow everyone’s power and stop the Sacred Eclipse right away, the whole world will perish. It’s deplorable but, about half of the current Ruins are disconnected from our control, we can do nothing except operating some amount of function. In order to save this world together, please lend us your strength.」
The talk seemed to be over with that, because Listelka kept sitting down with a small bow.
Right after a slight stir, a small silence was created.
Before long, at the timing when it seemed that everyone had digested her words, a hand was raised.
It was Minister Gunius of Heiburg Republic, a middle-aged man with slightly good physique.
「So that’s how it is, surely it is indeed sorrowful. I have heard about the existence of crystal that is called Grand Force. If I remember correctly that is──」
「Yes. The crystal is hidden and protected inside the body of Ragnarok. All the seven Ragnarok has to be defeated. At present Poseidon from the Ark and Yggdrasil from the Gigas are defeated, but the remaining five has to be subjugated swiftly no matter what.」
Listelka nodded and began to talk about the concrete plan in order to liberate all the Ruins.
But at that moment, the princess of Wanheim Principality, Milmiette tilted her head and raised her hand.
「Pardon me. Please wait a second. I understand that it’s necessary for us to defeat Ragnarok and obtain the Grand Force. But, what should we do to enter until that far? It can be said for almost all of the Ruins, that each country here is unable to enter until the deepest part of the Ruins, barring some special exception──?」
「Indeed it is like that. Even if we go to defeat the Ragnarok, the path won’t open.」
Even Pope Nias also nodded in agreement.
The matter of Lux and Krulcifer entering inside the Hall hadn’t been told to him.
When the representatives of other countries also showed agreeing expression, Listelka’s gaze slowly darted around before staring at the face of a certain girl.
Her gaze was pouring toward Krulcifer who was sitting as the aide of Ymir Theocracy’s Seven Dragon Paladins.
「I forgot to say but, we the Lord has cooperator. Our compatriot, the descendants of the ancient race that brought the Ruins into this world──the existence that is called as 『Xfer』. Isn’t that right, Krulcifer Einfolk?」
Everyone present held their breath once more toward Listelka’s identification.
Krulcifer herself seemed to be resolved. She didn’t show any agitation and only casted her eyes down.
「It’s troubling even if you address me that intimately. I knew about the story that my origin is from Ruin was only when I was quite old already. Even if you call me as compatriot while I have no self-consciousness of it, but unfortunately I have no recognition of all of you.」
Krulcifer curtly responded like that.
While it may be true that the ancient race and the clan of Lord had intimate relationship with each other historically, Krulcifer showed that she had no intention to emulate that with her statement just now.
But, it appeared that Listelka too had anticipated it beforehand, she smiled wryly without looking particularly discouraged.
「That’s unfortunate. If possible I wished that you would come to our side right away as our comrade though. Just like Mishis, my attendant beside me.」
「Oo, then that blue haired woman is also──」
「Yes. I am a survivor of Ruin’s technician──of XferKey’s Supervisor.」
When Minister Gunius threw a question, the woman who was the only one wearing maid uniform in this conference room, Mishis bowed and answered.
「Our XferKey’s Supervisor clan can literally open various door of Ruins and we possess the authority to manage the Ruin’s function. In short it is the authority of the ancient race that created the Ruins themselves.」
「Then, by using your power, all the Ruins could be immediately──」
Minister Gunius showed joyful look, but Mishis silently shook her head.
「The problem isn’t that simple. Even us Xfer is limited in what we can do. Especially in the case where we interfere with the main system of Ruin, we will temporarily lose our personal supervisory authority toward Ruin. If I use my authority to open an especially important door, I will become unable to similarly do the same at other Ruin too until a certain period has passed.」
「So, that means?」
Listelka nodded at the words of Princess Milmiette.
「Yes. Without obtaining the cooperation of Krulcifer-san over there, it will be difficult to liberate all the Ruins in the remaining half a year, that’s what this means. By all rights, we wish to search for other survivor of Xfer too but……, there were various things which caused a lot of people’s whereabouts to be unknown at the present.」
After the span of a single breath of silence, Magialca made a sticky smile.
「The mechanism called Sacred Eclips woke up and now we need to prevent the world destruction. In order to do that you want us to liberate all seven Ruins and reached Avalon. That’s what you are saying right?」
「It helps that you understand. Let us all cooperate with each other and save this world from destruction.」
Listelka lightly clapped her palms together *pon* and gave a broad smile.
In a glance it looked like the talk was getting through to everyone, but there were several large questions remaining.
When Lux was hesitating whether he should ask them, the air shook.
「──And, how long do we need to go along with this foolish talk?」
A man with dark gaze fearlessly grinned and chopped up the flow until now.
The Seven Dragon Paladins of Blackend Kingdom, the Blue Tyrant, Singlen Shelbrit.
The leaders’ representatives of other countries seemed to be flustered because of that way of talking that was just too haughty. The color of their face changed for the worse.
「Pardon me. But I am unable to understand the intention of the words you spoke?」
The moment Listelka responded still with gentleness, this time it was Lux who opened his mouth.
「Is there a proof that the world will be really destroyed by that Sacred Eclipse? I think that’s what he meant.」
The existence of an imperial family of the 『ancient era』 that appeared from Ruin.
Furthermore there was the big revelation of Xfer and Avalon. Because of that anyone became apt to forget about the basic question.
The end of the world due to Sacred Eclipse.
If that premise wasn’t certain, forcefully wrenching open the Ruins would be too dangerous.
If they summoned a Ragnarok, one country or even the whole world might get ended just from that.
Actually even Lux and co only won by a hair’s breadth against a Ragnarok before this after doing everything in their power. It wouldn’t be strange even if they got annihilated at that battle.
The existence of Sacred Eclipse was also recorded in the information that he brought back together with Krulcifer, but he wanted the proof that it was the truth.
When Lux called that doubt to attention with such intention, the girl sitting beside him also nodded.
「I too agree with Lux’s opinion.」
Celis lifted up her face like that as someone in the position as the aide of the new kingdo’s Seven Dragon Paladins.
「Ragnarok is a dangerous existence. At the previous fight, it was in superior position even when it was facing against a group of Divine Drag-Ride users. Thinking about the damage to the surrounding territory and the sacrifice, speaking about subjugating them that thoughtlessly is──」
That opinion came from Celis herself, not from the briefing Lux and others had beforehand.
She was the daughter of an influential feudal lord who was one of the four great nobles.
Exactly because she bore the responsibility as someone standing above others and those words came out from herself.
But, faster than Listelka could answer, a voice cut in from the side.
「Oooh? You’re a greedy woman just like that lewd body huh. What a wretched fellow.」
The voice’s owner was the Seven Dragon Paladins of Heiburg Republic who didn’t say even a single word until now, Rosa Granhide.
She was a tall girl who outfitted herself with jet black military uniform. Her red hair that was like fresh blood swayed.
Her eyes with their small pupil that gave the impression of a poisonous snake glared at Celis from the side.
「……What could you mean by that?」
「My bad if you caught my words just now. I was just talking to myself you seeee. Don’t mind me, academy’s strongest-sama.」
Rosa was provoking even more with a sticky tone that was coiling like snake.
「If you have something you want to say, then how about saying it clearly?」
Surely Celis was also angry, but she pressed her question without letting it show on her face till the end.
Then Rosa put her hand on her mouth and her shoulders shook with bewitching laughter.
「No you seee, I’m embarrassed just from hearing you talked. Just because you don’t want to risk danger for yourself and your own country, the aide of a Seven Dragon Paladins who represented the country of all people could unashamedly say cowardly things like that. There is a limit even in being shameless okaay」
As expected, even Celis made a forbidding look at that transparent provocation.
She faced the sneering Rosa and immediately spoke a rebuttal.
「I am not driven by cowardice. I am only expressing my opinion as someone who has fought a Ragnarok before. At the present time where it cannot be judged that Sacred Eclipse and Avalon definitely exist, releasing a Ragnarok is too dangerous.」
「Besides──there is no guarantee that the awakened Ragnarok will be facing us until it died just like we expected.」
Lux moved to back up Celis with persistent calmness.
「If we failed to finish it off and it escape, many town and village at the surrounding would also get involved and get destroyed. And the country with the highest risk of getting such damage is the new kingdom that has three Ruins inside its territory. We cannot fully participate in the strategy without first discovering flawless preparation and countermeasure.」
The leaders’ representatives from each country also hummed in understanding at what Lux said.
Thinking back it was really just as he said. They showed an attitude of agreeing with Celis’s remark once more.
Regarding the case of Yggdrasil, it was reported to the new kingdom as well as other foreign countries that it was battled and defeated in the middle of investigating the Ark.
There were also the case of Philuffy receiving influence from Abyss, and the fact that the intrusion into the Ark was without permission in the first place, so Lux could only speak with indirect expression like that.
But, Rosa didn’t touch that part, she merely scoffed at Lux’s rebuttal.
「Oh? That’s not something that matters in the slightest isn’t it? It’s just ten or twenty villages and towns. If we can save the world with that, it’s a cheap price to pay right?」
「Are you sane!? What do you think a country is──」
Celis’s body spontaneously trembled but, she didn’t rush toward the enemy.
「……Heey, Lord-sama. The honorable representatives of this cowardly country are saying that kind of thing but, is the world can really be saved by doing something like thiiis?」
Rosa licked her lower lip and showed a fawning smile at Listelka.
But, the imperial princess didn’t get provoked and smiled gracefully.
「I believe that their opinion is only natural. The capture of revitalized Ruins and the subjugation of Ragnarok. It will be a complete lie if I say that there will be no resulting victim from each country. And so, of course our side will also prepare the reward in order to compensate for that burden.」
「──Reward you say?」
Minister Gunius eagerly leaned forward hearing that. In respond Listelka nodded with a smile.
「Yes. We wish to give to the country that provide contribution to reach Avalon, the right to make use the technology of ancient era, and gift of gratitude from the empire of us the Lord.」
The atmosphere was instantly filled with excitement.
「More specifically, for each subjugation of the remaining five Ragnarok, we will bestow additional gift of a hundred general purpose Drag-Rides as well as two Divine Drag-Rides. We will also gift more reward For travelling to the deepest part of the Ruin, with Drag-Ride or treasure. And then, for the country that raises the most contribution in the capturing, we will share half of the land and treasures sleeping inside Avalon.」
「That’s really good to hear. It will be worth it to make sacrifices for those rewards.」
The eyes of Minister Gunius from Heiburg Republic were sparkling.
But, on the other hand Pope Nias, Princess Milmiette, and others of the moderate faction were watching that with a complicated expression.
That was a difference in reaction that came from discrepancy in point of view.
For those who wouldn’t balk at making sacrifices of people and soldier, this proposal must be extremely attractive.
「Also──there are three other important issues that we wish to be solved.」
Listelka was looking at the reeling atmosphere while opening her mouth once more.
「First is the suppression of the force that is called the Dragon Marauder, the thieves who ransacked the Ruins of our empire despite being mere mercenary force of Drag-Knight. Their annihilation has to be done in haste right away.」
Perhaps it was unexpected for the name of Dragon Marauder to came out here, because several of the leaders’ representatives reacted.
Their reaction also came because the Lords were aware of the organization’s existence, but mainly it was because the Lords were considering the Dragon Marauder to be a clear threat──as an enemy that had to perish.
「With all due respect, Listelka-sama. They are employed soldiers──mere mercenaries. Their existence is an eyesore but, I wonder if there is a need to go so far as to purposefully aim for their destruction……」
Pope Nias spoke forward like that, but Listelka silently shook her head.
「No, at the very least they should know about the matter in regard to Avalon.」
The representatives opened their eyes wide in surprise. Listelka smiled to them and continued.
「The information about Avalon shouldn’t be that easily obtained even from the Ruins but……. ──Well, let’s put that aside for now. But based from what we heard about their action, we can only think that this is the case.」
「Lux, this is……」
Celis beside him glanced his way in surprise.
In contrast Lux gave a small nod and showed his agreement.
The talk they had at the briefing session in the royal capital.
Lux’s prediction that Dragon Marauder was taking action with an objective in mind was right in the mark.
「It will be troubling if people with ill will like them break into Avalon ahead of us. With how they are aiming for the capture of Ruin just like us, they are an opponent that ought to be defeated.」
In addition, Listelka promised even more bounty if Dragon Marauder’s leaders were defeated, and their very organization itself was crushed.
「The second issue is the search for the seventh Ruin, the 『Moon』. The whereabouts of the existence of the Ruin itself is unknown, so nothing can be started without first discovering it before subjugating the Ragnarok.」
「The seventh Ruin, the Moon……. If I remember correctly, it should be floating in the sky of Turkimes Confederation previously wasn’t it?」
Minister Gunius muttered that and turned his face toward the two representatives of Turkimes Confederation.
The Seven Dragon Paladins Soffice was staying quiet, so her aide Uruk answered in her place.
「Eeerr, I don’t know where it went and I haven’t heard anything……is what Soffice said desu. Also that’s right, don’t stare hard at me like that, it’s embarrassing! Is what Soffi──mugah!?」
The neck of Uruk who was speaking cheerfully was wordlessly grabbed by Soffice’s reaching hand.
「Do, don’t say unnecessary thing, is what Soffice said desu! In regard to me-……!」
Perhaps that innocent dialogue cleared up the poisonous air, because there was no more hounding toward the two after that.
But the next moment, that relaxed air was blown away.
「Then, for the last, about the third issue──getting rid of the traitor who existed among these representatives of seven countries.」
Instantly, another type of nervousness that was different from until just now was stretched inside the room.
At the same time, everyone in that place looked at each other’s face.
「Suddenly the atmosphere become stormy here. Even though there are a lot of fellows you only met for the first time here, you already came saying that there is traitor among us?」
While the other representatives were drawing back, Magialca responded with a provocative grin.
In contrast Listelka’s face was staying graceful and her lips abruptly loosened into a smile.
「It seems that there was faulty expression in what I said, my apologies. The point is that what I meant just now also include about the matter from here on.」
「From here on, you mean……?」
Listelka casted her eyes down and nodded toward the question of Pope Nias who was making a doubtful face.
「It’s already applied to the present but, from here on we will be forming an alliance, so hiding something among each other will be unforgivable. If at the next time any country makes a false report regarding Ruin’s capture, or snatching treasure without permission, and the likes──, we will consider that country as 『enemy』 and attack.」
The leaders’ representatives who were having joyful look from getting shown a glimpse of the benefit they could receive suddenly got flustered and uneasiness oozed out from their expression.
「This is a matter that concerned the destruction of the world if we fail, so we have to pay meticulous attention. We cannot entrust our trust to a country that disrupt the agreement due to their own desire. Please pardon us for this. In return, regarding the things that everyone took out from the Ruins until now, we won’t ask you to return them.」
She emphasized the last line with unchanging calm smile.
「Ye, yes. That is helpful for us.」
Minister Gunius nodded in representation of the thinking of each country.
The remaining leaders’ representatives also quickly kept up an expression of agreement.
(As expected, huh……)
Ymir Theocracy that kept quiet about the existence of Automata Ney Louches, and the new kingdom that possessed one Grand Force were also like that but──most likely the other countries were also hiding information regarding Ruin that only they knew about.
Thus, Listelka’s casual reminder and pressure caused them to get flustered.
But, it would be bad if the negotiation ended like this.
The moment Lux was going to raise his hand with that thinking, Magialca opened her mouth first.
「──Dealing with traitor right away huh, well, that’s an obvious decision I guess.」
She put her joined hands behind her head and then rocked her chair playfully like a kid.
But, her innocent smile warped obscenely and she glared at Listelka.
「But, how will you give us proof that you Lords aren’t lying? It can’t be helped if you all are considered as enemy too if you betray us the same──if you can assert that then I’ll accept it.」
「Of course, I agree with that.」
Listelka too also replied immediately at Magialca’s rebuttal.
With this the atmosphere became one that didn’t allow any country to declare that they couldn’t accept this condition.
The moment they said anything like that, they would be judged that their country was hiding something damning.
「I see. Then with our direction decided like that──how about we talk about the specific at some other time? The people here are only the representative of the ruler of each country, and we also have to decide the fine detail of the contract. There are still many things to do.」
「It seems so. If everyone else is also fine with that, then please go with that.」
「……Got it. The new kingdom too, I will report to her majesty Queen Raffy of this.」
After Lisha replied, the other leaders’ representatives also agreed one after another.
The talk of the alliance was concluded for the time being. A relaxed atmosphere was starting to flow inside the room.
The situation showed the sign of closure for the time being and everyone would breakup, but,
「A, everyone of the new kingdom. For the end, I have a request that is just like something additional.」
Suddenly Listelka addressed Lux and others like that.
Lisha showed a slightly perplexed expression. Then Listelka leaned her face further forward.
「In this location, the Academy, there is a place that is called practice ground isn’t it? I also heard that there will be an event called a campus festival from tomorrow here──?」
「Certainly that is so but, what about it?」
「Can you add a side attraction that I am thinking into that festival? Let’s see. What do you think about a mock battle──a skill demonstration battle between fellow Drag-Knight representatives gathered here?」
「──What did you say?」
It seemed that it wasn’t just Lisha who was taken by surprise.
No need to mention Lux and Celis, even the other representatives were also frowning in perplexity.
「……Ridiculous, why do we have to intentionally quarrel between ourselves?」
Pope Nias of Ymir Theocracy flared up like that, but,
「It’s not anything like quarrel……, just a side entertainment. Besides from what I heard, all of you were also opening a tournament that was called something like All-Dragon Battle in order to obtain the right to investigate Ruins though.」
‘Nuu’, the leaders’ representatives were at a loss for words. Seeing that, Listelka pushed even further.
「But──we the owner of Ruins will also endorse the personnel who will be made to capture the Ruins from here on. That’s why we wish to at least know the strength of everyone as a cooperator who will fight together with you all.」
She argued with a friendly smile, but the four leaders’ representatives of each country made a dissatisfied face.
Even Lux understood the reason of that.
They didn’t want to show their hand by purposefully making their main force fought each other in this place where the representatives from many countries were gathered.
Depending on how one thought, they could just hold back in the fight but──.
「──Then, I will grant the right to investigate the first Ruin, BabelTower to the representative of the country who is victorious in this mock battle. The period will be a month. If it’s during that time, then the country of the victor will be allowed to investigate the Ruin no matter how many times.」
「Wa, wait, your highness! What are you saying so suddenly!?」
When Lisha yelled in panic, the expression of Lux and Celis also changed.
The first Ruin, Babel, existed right in new kingdom, at the territory that was located in the west.
It was also the territory that was governed by Celis’s father, one of the four great nobles Dist Ralgris.
In the case that a foreign country temporarily obtained that right, there was a possibility that the new kingdom would be hit by its aftermath.
It was already a big problem if a Ruin was poked and Abyss surged out at the surrounding. They would have to protect the people from that. And yet they wouldn’t get any benefit at all from that investigation.
Furthermore if even a Ragnarok appeared then, there was a risk that the territory would be destroyed immediately.
「It’s just as Princess Lisha said. Babel is a Ruin that is difficult to capture, in the first place──」
Celis attempted to stop the talk in a hurry, but Listelka didn’t withdraw.
「We the owner of Ruins wish to entrust the capture of a Ruin to a country that we can rely on. Is there anything mistaken in what I said?」
「Bu, but that kind of important talk, without first discussing it with mother……」
The moment Lisha averted her face and muttered, Listelka’s attitude suddenly changed.
「My? Are you assuming the position of a country’s princess with such state of affairs? To be unable to make any decision by yourself without asking someone else and obtained a backing first──that’s astonishing.」
Listelka’s smile was the same like before.
Whether it was her gentle expression, and also her calm tone.
But, the glint that was emitted from those asymmetrically colored eyes was oozing emotion that was different from everything until now.
Like a blade, those callous words stabbed the chest of the girl who was chosen as substitute.
Lisha who bit hard on her lower lip lifted up her face to make objection.
Lux tried to cut in between them to cover for her, it was then,
「Isn’t this interesting. That side entertainment, let me nominate myself to participate in it.」
「O, oo! So you will do it, Lady Rosa!」
Minister Gunius leaked out voice of admiration at the red haired girl’s coming forward.
The female Seven Dragon Paladins who had the nickname of 『Witch of Steel』 declared that loudly.
A small stir was spreading through everyone present who saw that.
The unexpected suggestion from the Lords.
A mock battle between fellow Drag-Knights who represented their country with the Ruin investigation right for a month at stake.
All the other countries were showing indecisive attitude, but because Heiburg Republic snapped at the bait, it became hard to stop this flow of event.
But it would be bad to not stop it because of the risk that 『prize』 would bring to the new kingdom.
「Thank you very much. If there is no one who comes forward to introduce themselves as a contender, we will prioritize you to be the one to investigate the Babel.」
Lisha paled hearing Listelka’s words.
When she was about to speak out an objection, a presence suddenly moved beside her.
「I understand Rosa. As the aide of new kingdom’s Seven Dragon Paladins, I, Celistia Ralgris will fill the role as your opponent.」
Lux raised his voice in surprise at what she said, but Celis sent a straightforward gaze at Rosa.
She confronted the 『enemy』 before her as a great noble who represented the new kingdom.
「Hee, a member of one of the four great nobles that are famous even in the new kingdom. To be able to have you who are the Academy’s strongest as my opponent, what a honor this iiis.」
「It’s just as you wished. There is also the matter of the injury you gave Sharis.」
Celis calmly responded toward Rosa who was snickering smugly.
Seeing the gaze of the two crossed each other, Lux spontaneously held his breath.
A short time ago, he two of them exchanged attack in front of the Academy.
A town girl of Cross Field got dragged into it, and Sharis was lightly injured. Even Lux also heard about that incident from Triad.
Lux who recalled it approached Celis’s side in hurry.
「Celis-senpai, please be careful. Most likely she is──」
「I understand that this is a trap. But, there is no other way except to accept now that she has gone this far. I judged that we have to accept their challenge instead.」
The first Ruin inside the territory of new kingdom──Babel. A skill demonstration battle would be held with the right to investigate it for a month as the prize.
If they didn’t win this fight, there was a possibility that new kingdom might receive a large damage from the Abyss that overflowed out in the process of the investigation.
If the representatives of other countries also didn’t declare their interest to participate, this situation might be avoidable, but after Rosa showed her will to join the battle, that option was gone.
And so, Celis raised her hand to nominate herself with resolve of that.
「……It looks like there won’t be any other who will want to participate isn’t it? Then, it will be a match between Heiburg Republic against New Kingdom Atismata──」
「Please wait! I will also participate. Please let me fight together with her as representative of the new kingdom.」
Celis was surprised hearing Lux’s request, while Rosa’s eyes blinked in surprise.
Lisha too reflexively sent her gaze to Lux with a dubious expression.
「O, oi Lux, why even you……」
「Forgive me Lisha-sama. But, I have some kind of bad premonition. There is no way I can let Celis-senpai fight by herself.」
「Lux……, you are──」
The moment Celis’s expression shook in a daze, Listelka raised her voice once more.
「That’s what he say but, the aide of Heiburg Republic’s Seven Dragon Paladins, Calensia-san, what will you do?」
「I, I’m, that’s──, ……yes. I will, participate.」
The glasses girl standing by behind Rosa showed a flustered state, but a gaze was directed to her from Rosa beside her and she nodded hesitantly.
Rather than agreeing to fight, it was more like she couldn’t go against Rosa’s intention.
「Then, let’s put the arrangement of the detail for later. Everyone, thank you very much for everything today.」
Listelka concluded with a smile and the summit closed its curtain.
The dialogue where tension, shock, and then haggling was entangled intricately met its end temporarily like this.
「I’m also busy. For now everyone is to step back. Later I will contact to talk about the fine detail. You all keep your focus.」
After the meeting was over, Magialca told everyone that as the captain and left her seat.
One by one the leaders’ representatives also left the room. After that the man who was standing all this time in the shadow also went out to the corridor alone.
Celis and Lisha let out a sigh ‘fuu’ from the content of the meeting. Lux left them behind and moved his feet.
The knight who was present as Listelka’s guard──Fugil.
The older brother who was slowly walking calmly passed through in front of the waiting Lux.
「Is there nothing that you are going to say to me? ──Nii-san.」
Lux threw a question along with a chilly gaze.
Fugil who was going to pass through uneventfully stopped walking, then he looked back at Lux behind him.
His gaze crossed with the gaze of Lux who made the same motion, then he replied with that bold smile.
「What’s the matter my younger brother, do you want an advice from me again? Aa, or else you want to greet me? It has been a long time huh──it’s great that you seem healthy.」
Fugil grinned with a jest. It caused Lux’s heart to be disarrayed.
It was an admonishing attitude that was the same like when he taught Lux the way to fight as Drag-Knight or when Lux consulted him about the plan to change the old empire.
Lux’s old wound from the betrayal of someone who he once trusted received a painful sensation as though it was gouged open.
「What are you scheming this time? Five years ago you destroyed the old empire, this time what are you going to do next to the imperial family of the Lord. ──Answer me」
Even so, he wouldn’t hesitate anymore.
He would face his past failure and asked the truth from this man.
But, it was as though even that resolve was seen through. The man before him sighed in lamentation.
「My objective? You are incomprehensible guy as always. A pathetic man. Hey my younger brother. Just what’s with you? Since when you became reduced──reduced into such a fool?」
Lux’s heart froze from the gesture his elder brother showed.
He was resolved to be replied back with sarcasm, to be laughed down, to be told off maliciously.
But, Fugil didn’t show any of that. Instead he laughed derisively in complete exasperation.
His gaze was pitying in thorough disappointment.
「……You cannot answer, in other words you have a hidden motive, is that it?」
It was the best Lux could do to tighten his expression so he could reply back without trembling voice.
That was how much Lux was swallowed by the atmosphere of Fugil who he confronted as someone who would fight in the same side with him once more.
At the era of the old empire, when Lux saw Fugil for the first time, he thought that Fugil’s existence was out of place even among the imperial family.
But the man existing before him right now looked even more different to him.
It was as though the man was sinking and sinking──sinking so completely he couldn’t even see his figure.
It was dark like a bottomless abyss, containing an unknown terror.
「Do you want it to be like that? For the conclusion of that revolution you caused to be an unfortunate accident that was caused by my evil trick? That you were only led astray by evil that is me, that you were a righteous and honest imperial family member. My cute little brother, if that’s what you want me to tell you then how about I say it.」
Those sweet words that were as though coiling around him caused Lux to respond with an enraged gaze.
At the same time his hand unconsciously touched the handle of the Sword Device on his waist.
But, Fugil’s expression was unchanged from his mocking smile and he slowly walked away from Lux.
And then, with a kind tone that was filled with a lethal dose of deadly poison, Fugil whispered into his ear.
「──Isn’t it wonderful. Very splendid my younger brother. That righteousness that is unable to sacrifice even a single relative, unable to discard anything. Your ephemeral ideal that is trying to save even the evil, I’ll root for it from the bottom of my heart.」
With that preface, the whisper continued even further toward the petrified Lux.
「You stand up with your own will in order to overcome your sin, and stand on this place as Drag-Knight representative. If it’s you then surely you won’t be mistaken, this time for sure. You won’t be betrayed. You won’t fail. This time for sure──you will be able to become a real hero, one that you yourself wished to become.」
The moment Lux heard those words, intense pain ran through at the back of his eyes.
His field of vision was dyed with sandstorm, a voice that he had never even heard before was revived at the back of his mind.
『──You cannot even stand on the same stage where I fight for eternity.』
『You who avert your eyes from the true nature of this world has no qualification as hero.』
『You don’t notice, that the end of the salvation you are seeking itself is connected to despair.』
『Even if for example you can see it, your dream become reality, and you saved the world, at that time』
『You who know the whole truth──will once more, X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X』
「──Get a hold of yourself!? Lux!」
A familiar voice pulled Lux back to his senses.
Instead of Fugil, Lisha’s face was before his eyes.
「What happened? Did that man do something to you!?」
Lux who was questioned looked around at his surrounding.
He was in the long corridor in front of the conference room. Fugil and the Lords had already left from this place.
「No──. I just, a bit dizzy……」
From what Lisha told him, it seemed that right after Lux exchanged words with Fugil, he got into a daze and stood stock still.
He already couldn’t remember the words from just now.
But, the pain of the wound in his heart being deeply gouged was remaining.
「Rather than that, this is troubling huh. That despicable woman called Rosa or something, now it turned into a fight with her.」
Lisha’s words returned Lux’s focus at the matter that was told at the end of the summit.
With a somewhat apologetic expression, Celis returned to Lux and Lisha’s side.
「Forgive me. I willfully nominated myself just now. By all rights, I should work out a plan to avoid that very mock battle itself but──」
「……Well, perhaps that’s so but, at that situation, it would be difficult to overturn the flow from that result no matter what we did.」
Lisha was also agreeing while whispering that with a slightly troubled look.
「But, can you really win? That Witch of Steel whatever, I heard that she is Heiburg’s trump card you know? It seems that fellow’s Divine Drag-Ride is called Gorynych, but that’s all that I heard.」
The mercilessness that caused the death of five people in the mock battle at her own country, and her strength.
They understood that Rosa was a dangerous Drag-Knight.
「It’s all right. I don’t know the ability of the Divine Drag-Ride she has, but I swear I will do everything within my ability and win. Ra, rather than that, why did even Lux nominated yourself?」
After Celis declared resolutely, she turned a flustered gaze toward Lux.
「Forgive me. I was worried for Celis-senpai, that I couldn’t just stay quiet without doing anything myself.」
After Lux said that awkwardly, Celis’s cheeks blushed.
But, she hurriedly shook her head left and right before slowly averting her eyes from Lux.
「Tha, that, I will accept only your feeling! I, it will be alright if it’s me! I can properly take responsibility for my own decision! Well then!」
Celis said only that before she left from being near Lux with rapid footsteps.
Without even any time for Lux to stop her, her back was gone from his view.
「What’s with that Celis. Somehow it feels like she isn’t herself though──?」
「Yes. I wonder, if I did something……?」
Slightly behind Lux and Lisha who were tilting their head in puzzlement, two girls were sighing.
「What’s with these slow people……. It’s us who are watching who get astounded. Don’t they notice anything?」
The one who was at her wits’ end like that was the youngest Seven Dragon Paladins, Mel Gizalut.
Due to the recoil from using the secret medicine──Elixir at the previous battle, she was unable to wear Drag-Ride for a while.
Perhaps because of that, she was relatively quiet at the meeting this time.
「Can you please don’t say that? Though I also understand your reaction really well.」
Krulcifer beside her also made a wry smile looking troubled and denied what Mel said.
Since the incident at Ymir Theocracy before this, the two of them became more able to speak openly to each other without reservation than before. Their relationship became amiable.
「More importantly Krulcifer. What’s going on with you and Onii-chan? You finished confessing properly to him right? You said that you want to become his real fiancée.」
「I intend to convey it to Lux-kun in roundabout way, but as you can see Lux-kun is slow like that. It won’t go well unless I make him conscious of it a bit more.」
「You said that, but actually you are scared to get rejected right?」
For a moment Krulcifer fell silent when Mel pointed out with a devilish smile.
But, after slightly pondering in hesitation, she quietly muttered before long.
「Actually. I was once going to propose for us to have a formal relationship already. It was right at the day we went back to the new kingdom after that incident that happened at your place.」
「What, so you were rejected just as I thought. I wonder if Onii-chan prefer a girl with larger breast?」
「Listen to the story until the end. And then, I went to his little sister Airi-chan to tell her about that, but I received an unexpected reply from her. According to her, it’s impossible for the current Lux-kun to become anyone’s lover──she said.」
「What do you mean?」
Mel made a dubious face toward Krulcifer who suddenly smiled.
「Did that little sister lied so that her Onii-chan wouldn’t get taken away, or something?」
「That’s also possible, but the answer is different. He is the survivor of the old empire’s imperial family that imposed misgovernment──, he is burdened with large amount of debt and the status of criminal in the new kingdom. In the first place the country won’t even recognize his right to marry in his current situation.」
「No way!? But! From what you told me, if I remember right Onii-chan is──」
Mel was shocked and flared up at Krulcifer.
Mel also knew about the matter of how the old empire was destroyed by Lux himself who was a former prince, and how he was the Black Hero who became the key figure of the new kingdom.
She wondered if it was all right for the person who fought in order to save the country to be burdened by such shackle.
「Yes, it’s a troubling story. But, he himself believed that in such condition he has no qualification to get into relationship with anyone. It seems that he refused all confession that he got several times when he was doing chores in the past.」
『That’s how it is, so one day I will have no choice but to support the unmarried Nii-san. It’s really a troubling matter but──it can’t be helped, he is my only family left after all.』
Krulcifer laughed at such answer from Airi, but at that time she thought that this girl might be actually serious in a sense.
「Then, that means Lux-oniichan absolutely cannot become happy? Even though he had fought many times, and saved new kingdom from danger by risking his life──」
When Mel casted her eyes down with a pensive expression, Krulcifer silently shook her head.
「No, most likely if it’s the current Lux-kun, he should be able to ask to have that criminal collar removed. In fact, the consuls of the new kingdom once tried to do that to sell favor to him instead.」
Lux was deliberately keeping hold of his position as criminal?
Krulcifer told the bewildered Mel the answer.
「That’s why, it depend on his own feeling. Lux-kun is still thinking that it’s only natural for him to be a criminal. He is regretting that he was unable to settle his own ideal that tried to change the old empire.」
That was why he resolved himself to be involved once more with the country called new kingdom as a Seven Dragon Paladins and fought.
Fugil Arcadia, the man who betrayed Lux and destroyed the empire’s imperial family and army.
The mystery of the clan of Lord, the imperial family of Holy Arcadia Empire. Lux was trying to face his past along with those two things, to make sure of the truth of what happened at that day──of what he tried to do.
「How should I say it, he is too serious……but that’s also not really it. It’s as though, he is cursed.」
「Perhaps that is so.」
The reason why Lux didn’t even hesitate to risk his life in earnestly heading toward his ideal.
How he felt he was 『saved』 by getting reduced into the livelihood of doing chores.
In a glance, it looked as though he was being possessed by something.
「But, if that’s actually the case, then I wish to save him from that curse. If the time comes that Lux himself believe from his heart that it’s fine to take off that criminal collar──I intend to convey my feeling to him clearly at that time.」
She still couldn’t make the last push, the confession to make it all clear.
Because until Lux settled his own feeling, the other girls also couldn’t take advantage of it.
But, until they reached that point, she was intending to firmly grasp Lux’s heart using the present time.
「This is really interesting. To think that I’ll be able to see you acting like this──」
「Yes, now you are glad that I became the aide for Ymir right?」
Krulcifer responded with a cool smile even toward Mel’s teasing.
When Pope Nias returned after finishing the discussion with the leaders’ representatives, they began light briefing session as Ymir Theocracy’s representatives.
「This is strange. Something is odd. Even though I thought that I was finally able to do what I ought to do just now, why──」
Inside the Academy’s ground that was dyed red by the setting sun.
Perhaps because it was the day before the campus festival, there were a lot of students putting their preparation in order steadily──or rather, they were spending all their time and energy to prepare each of their stall or event until the very last minute.
Even among them, Celis was staring at that sight from afar by herself.
『──lacking in focus.』
The words of her father Dist were still echoing inside her ears.
Trusting Lux and merely leaving everything to a boy who was her junior were two completely different things.
Even though she was taking the position of an aide of Seven Dragon Paladins in order to protect him, but she was really lacking in focus.
That was why she accepted the provocation of Rosa Granhide in the summit just now.
The battle would be carried out at the end of the campus festival that would be held for a period of two days──in the practice ground.
But──, there would be no spectator watching the fight from among the students as well as guest from outside.
Because there would also be the management of the campus festival, and in the unlikely chance that Dragon Marauder attacked, having spectators would only invite further chaos.
That matter itself wasn’t a problem.
In order to save the new kingdom, this method was inevitable, and she thought that she couldn’t allow this to also become a burden for Lisha and Lux.
「And yet──Lux is trying to help me again. Even though I thought that it will be fine if I can fight alone just for this time.」
But, even so she felt happy for his consideration.
And then, the moment the summit was over, her face suddenly became completely heated.
「Perhaps, it’s better if I distant myself a bit from Lux. If not, it feels I will depend on his good will again.」
Celis muttered that to herself in a place where there was no one.
But, at that timing, suddenly there was a sound coming from a cover. Celis reflexively turned around.
「My? You are sharp as usual. It’s different from what I heard.」
The one who said that while appearing from hiding was Kirihime Yoruka.
She wasn’t wearing that black foreign outfit with high exposure rate, but the uniform of the Academy.
She was staring at Celis with a bewitching smile that looked beautiful but would make anyone who saw it to feel vaguely uneasy.
「How unusual. For you to appear personally in front of me like this.」
Yoruka was a girl with incomprehensible way of thinking even from Celis’s point of view, but only her loyalty toward Lux that was certain.
「Yes. It’s a matter that Aruji-sama asked of me. It seems that you are acting somewhat odd, so he asked me to check up on you while I’m in the middle of patrolling.」
Lux was concerned about him.
Just from hearing that name briefly, a disturbance ran through her once more.
But, this time she was able to suppress the throbbing of her heart somehow after taking a deep breath.
「I’m thankful for Lux’s consideration. But, as you can see I’m all right, so can I ask you to tell him that there is no need for worry?」
「Is it──really true?」
「What, do you mean by that?」
Celis threw a genuine question to Yoruka.
「Even though I look like this, I am sensitive to people’s emotion. This violet eye──the sense that was strengthened by Baptism can accurately read the wavelength of consciousness from the other party’s expression and gesture.」
Yoruka’s lips lightly relaxed and she pointed at her own left eye.
Purple iris shining mysteriously could be seen there.
「Are you intending to say that I am lying?」
「No. It’s not like I can read your heart after all.」
Yoruka replied immediately with an artificial pleasant smile that looked bright.
Celis thought that this girl was tough to face as usual.
It wasn’t that she hated her, but she didn’t understand how she should talk with her.
「By the way Celis-san, most recently it seemed that Krulcifer-san tried to propose Aruji-sama to go out with her──do you know about that?」
「Wha-……!? Wha, what are you saying so suddenly!? You are──」
「Well, I only happened to overhear of it just now, so please don’t pay it any mind. And then how about Celis-san?」
「Wh, why are you asking me that!? Regarding the matter of love, i, it’s something that is still unrelated with me.」
「That is unfortunate to hear. I hoped that you too would bear Aruji-sama’s child as one of his concubines by all means but──. More importantly, you will fight against one of the Seven Dragon Paladins correct? Let’s see, if my memory serves me right, it seems the opponent is called the Witch of Steel or something like that.」
「Is she a formidable enemy even from the view point of a Drag-Knight of your level?」
When she lightly opened hostilities with Rosa at the front gate of the Academy, she managed to estimate her ability in general.
Certainly she was an uncommonly strong person, but Celis thought if it was her current self she would be able to fight her more than equally but──.
But, Yoruka didn’t answer that question and only returned a smile filled with deep implication.
「Let’s see. How should I explain it? In case I and you──try to kill each other in downtown, which one of us do you believe will win?」
It was only her guess, but it felt like the winner would be Yoruka.
Celis herself didn’t want to admit so easily that she was inferior against a first year girl, but in the sense of personal combat skill, this girl called Yoruka possessed ability at the same level with Lux.
「By the way, the capability between me and you is about equal──that’s what I’m thinking. Regardless of that, in a real battle I will be the winner. In other words, that’s how it is.」
Their strength was about equal, but in real battle Yoruka would be in advantage.
Celis pondered the meaning of that and she immediately drew out the answer.
「I see. You mean that I am weak against ambush or surprise attack, or perhaps against foul play, is that it? If that’s the case──」
「Completely wrong. What are you saying?」
Yoruka once more replied immediately with a smile that contained no ill will, interrupting Celis.
Yoruka faced Celis who was making a conflicted face and calmly began to resume their talk.
「Things like ambush, surprise attack, or foul play won’t work against you. It’s something more fundamental than such things. For example you, whether it’s against ally or enemy, you will fight in the way to not kill human as much as possible.」
Celis was taken by surprise at what Yoruka pointed out so casually.
「You don’t have the resolve to bring death to the enemy when the time come──is not what I mean. However even after omitting that, you possess the minimum consideration for other. You are tied by moral.」
「Yes, it’s something that is par for the course. Rather, it’s me who is broken. I who don’t have a human heart won’t hesitate in such thing. However in real battle, that slight difference in mentality will become a gap. Such thing can also be said to that Witch of Steel.」
「She──a member of Seven Dragon Paladins, Rosa Granhide won’t balk to involve the surrounding people, and bring death to enemy or ally. Is that what you are saying?」
Celis finally understood the reason of Yoruka’s warning.
Most likely it would be difficult for her to win if she didn’t resolve herself once more.
「Perhaps in a sense she might be nastier than me. After all before talking about not balking, no, in the first place, that figure of hers could it be──let’s stop. From here it will become only my individual conjecture after all.」
Unusually Yoruka herself was talking ambiguously.
Celis put her feeling in order once more and said her thanks to Yoruka.
「My thanks for your consideration. I will come into the skill demonstration battle against her with meticulous vigilance.」
「I hope so. It’s forbidden in the rule, but if there is danger to Aruji-sama’s safety then I intend to barge in, so please fight bravely with that in mind. Well then──」
Was she coming here to expressly give advice so that Celis wouldn’t be defeated?
That motive which was just like Yoruka relieved Celis instead.
After saying only that, Yoruka left like a smoke.
Celis took a deep breath beside the trees behind the school where there wasn’t anyone and lifted her face.
「I won’t allow Lux to be burdened. This time I will win with my own strength without relying on him.」
That was exactly the mission that should be accomplished by her who was the daughter of one of the four great nobles.
Celis believed that this was the answer toward the reprimand『Lacking in focus──』 that her father Dist said to her.
「If I can do that, surely──I will be able to fight together with Lux once more.」
Celis stared at the setting sun and made an oath.
After immersing herself in the air of the campus festival like that for a while, a voice came from afar.
「Ooooi Celis. Help us out over here! It feels like the festival tomorrow is going to be busy.」
The three members of Triad who were led by Sharis were calling at her while waving their hand.
Sharis’s hand was wrapped with bandage, but it didn’t look like she was particularly hindered by it.
A relieved smile emerged on Celis’s face as though the worrying she did by herself was just a lie.
(As I thought, the academy is a good thing……)
Celis was thinking that while walking slowly toward the girls.