Seikoku no Ryuu Kishi: Volume 5 Prologue
Lautreamont Knight Country, people called it the country of Dragon Breeders. To its north was the Zepharos Empire, while to its south was the Chevron Kingdom. Sandwiched between the two major powers was a small country with a population of no more than five million with a special academy. Ansarivan Dragon Riding Academy. Educating and guiding teenage boys and girls who formed contracts with dragons -- an academy for Dragon Breeders.
The last day of the month of Cancer. Ansarivan Dragon Riding Academy had scheduled to hold the closing ceremony in the morning. Every student had gathered in the hall and was getting restless since it would be a holiday starting the next day. Every one of them was hoping for the bothersome ceremony to end. To make it worse, the ceremony had not begun according to schedule. It seemed that the director was late. Before anyone noticed, the students were chatting around among their groups. With the long long summer holidays right before their eyes, the students didn't stop talking once they had started.
In the midst of everything, Ash, who was lining up together with the first year advance class, gave a loud yawn. He was about to fall asleep.
“Are you alright? You look like you didn't have enough sleep.”
Raymond was looking at Ash.
“That was your third time for today. You must have been slacking.”
On the other hand, Max firmly point out to Ash. He could never tolerate with Ash’s lazy attitude.
“It is not like I have a choice… I just returned from Fountain City last night.”
“By the way, doesn't Eco also look sleepy?”
Raymond gave Eco who was standing right beside Ash a glance and gave a bitter smile. But the next moment, his eyes widened.
“Could it be that…! Last night…. The two of you have advanced to become adults…!”
“Idiot! You speak too loud! That’s impossible!”
Ash was red in the cheeks. If it was the Ash from months ago, he wouldn't have been bothered if Raymond made fun of him and Eco. But for today, he was obviously shaken. Ash took a peek at Eco. Although she was still sleepy, the morning rays that shone into the hall had further emphasized Eco’s beauty, even though they were in the midst of people. It gave her a feeling of a noble. Her hair was pink and was reflecting silvery rays of lights. Her skin was white and the chip on her left horn that Ash had smashed off had recovered. Recently, Ash was confused about his feelings. With just a glance at Eco, he could clearly feel his chest tightening. Seeing that Ash suddenly turned silent, Raymond asked in a demanding tone:
“Hold on! Isn't your reply a little weird! Could it be you really…!”
“Raymond! Shut up…!”
Max pushed Raymond aside and had his mouth covered.
“Is it true that many things happened in Fontaine City? Even the Continental Congress - Elysium was postponed. It probably had something to do with Eco and you right?”
Ash was surprised at how sharp Max was.
“Actually, for the both of you to stay at the capital for nearly two weeks didn't sound natural to me. After the incident, the government should be busy dealing with the aftereffects. If I were the Paladin, the first thing that I would do was to send you back home. Unless…”
Max adjusted his glasses with his fingers, and threw a glance at Ash.
“Both of you were not staying there but were held in custody.”
Ash was shocked by Max’s deduction ability. In just a moment, he no longer felt sleepy.
It was two weeks ago -
A mysterious dragon had attacked the capital and the Continental Congress- Elysium was put on hold. It had always been the topic of everybody’s talk since that day. As for the true identity behind the huge dragon, it was Eco who had awakened as the descendant of the Avalon Holy Dragons Emperor’s family. At the end of the battle, Ash managed to change Eco back to her human form and all ended peacefully. Until what awaited them were the days of the interrogation. Just like what Max had pointed out, it was not that Ash and Eco were staying at Fontaine City, it was just that they were forbidden from leaving it. They were only released by yesterday afternoon. It had already been midnight when Silvia gave them a ride back on Lancelot. It seemed that Silvia was worried about both of them and thus chose to stay back at Fontaine City. If they were to return to Ansarivan on land, he would have never been able to attend this closing ceremony. This was the reason why Ash and Eco were sleepy.
On the other hand, Silvia who should be sleepy was at the front of the queue for the first year advance class with her back straightened up. It was as expected from the Knight’s princess, everyone could feel her regal dignity.
“What do you think of it, Ash?”
While Max threw him a sharp glance, Raymond was eagerly waiting for him to answer.
To Ash, Raymond and Max were his important friends. Just when he thought of telling them the truth, something weird happened.
The door of the hall was suddenly opened with a loud bang. All the students turned around in shock.
“Huh? What happened?”
Eco who had dozed off while standing took a great shock. She immediately looked at the situation around her. Ash also took a look at the door. At that instant, the attention had been robbed from him. In the middle of the doorway stood a modest girl who radiated an elegant feeling. Her neatly worn clothing was a white blouse and a bluish purple coloured skirt that matched with her black boots. The feeling she gave was obviously a daughter of someone with high social status. Apart from that, there was a maid following her from behind. She was pushing a trolley with tea sets on it. Under the eyes of every student, the girl walked straight to the stage as if it was a natural thing to do.
“Greetings to everyone from Ansarivan Dragon Riding Academy.”
When she was greeting, the purple reflections from her silver coloured hair made it seemed like she was wearing a halo. Ash gulped down his saliva when he saw her beauty. She was totally like a saint… But unlike all the other statues of the Saints that he had seen before, she didn't possess the kind and caring smile on her face. Her appearance made her look like the ice carving made from the Glacier of Doruaama in the far north. After a short glance at the entire student body, she spoke:
“I am Mirabel Lautreamont, the third princess. Under the orders of my elder sister Veronica, I was asked to work as the Director in this academy. Please take good care of me."
The entire hall became silent. Ash was also staring at Mirabel. He expected her to be from some high class family but for her to be a princess… Suddenly Silvia who was at the front row shouted:
“Anee-ue! What is the meaning of this? I heard that you went to Espada St. Law University to further your studies…”
After hearing that, Ash realized that Mirabel was Silvia’s sister. Everyone’s attention was on Mirabel. Even the teaching instructors who were standing along the walls were also trying to find out. Right at that moment, as if to break apart the deep silence, the eleven o'clock bell rang. The moment she heard the sound of the bell, Mirabel gave the maid a sharp glare.
“Eunice. It’s time for my tea.”
The maid who was following Mirabel like a shadow was making tea at a fast speed.
Mirabel took the boiling cup of tea and sat on a folding chair that Eunice took out. She then relaxed herself and drank the tea.
Everyone was watching her movements in surprise. Even Silvia was waiting for Mirabel to finish her tea before she tried speaking. After a short moment, she passed the tea cup back to Eunice and once again, looked back at Silvia.
“So Silvia? What were you asking?”
“I was asking how come you became the Director? Please explain! By the way, where is the ex-Director who had been working here until yesterday?”
“Aa…You are talking about the old man who had a foot in a coffin? He should be having his vacation in a popular tourist spot in Chevron Kingdom. Given that he had a raise in his pension, he shouldn't have any complaints.”
Silvia turned speechless.
“Hey… What is happening? What is going to happen to the closing ceremony?”
Eco who was standing beside Ash asked. With so many things happening around, she was no longer sleepy.
“Err… I don’t know?”
Right at the moment, a thought flash-passed. For the third princess to be ordered to become the director of Ansarivan Dragon Riding Academy in such a weird time, it should have some connections with the incident in the capital. The true identity behind the huge dragon was Eco and there were very few people who knew about this. First Princess Veronica was one of them. In the beginning, the Knight’s government took her as an element of danger and wanted her to be under strict surveillance. But Veronica was the first person to disagree with this idea afraid that Eco would transform into a dragon if she was pushed to her limit. How good will that be if that was true. However, Veronica was not to be looked down upon. She would never have released them easily. Ash knew her way of thinking from his past experience. That being said, Mirabel did mention that ‘Under the orders of my elder sister Veronica’. So, in another words, Mirabel becoming the academy’s Director was all in Veronica’s plan.
-Does it mean that Mirabel is here to keep an eye on us…?
Just moments before, Ash was under the impression that he had just been released and the holidays were starting. But now, he felt like being thrown a bucket full of cold water. Suddenly, Mirabel looked as if she remembered something and stopped talking to Silvia. She then looked around the hall.
“How careless of me to forget something important. Is Ash Blake and young dragon Eco present?”
Everyone’s attention was on them. They felt as if they were being pierced by their sight.
“Hol-!... What is…!?”
Eco was starting to feel uncomfortable and couldn't calm down. She immediately hid behind Ash. Anyway, it was disrespectful to not answer Mirabel’s call.
“We are here.”
Ash took a deep breath and dragged Eco onto the stage together with him. Eco was now like a different person. She was looking graceful and held on to his hand tightly. Ash's heart was beating non-stop from being able to feel her body heat. While he was walking towards the stage, the rest of the students made way for him. However, Ash wasn't able to enjoy it right now. In a short moment, Ash arrived at the stage.
“I am Ash Blake and she is my Pal Eco.”
After a glance, she gave a short answer:
It seemed that she wanted them to step up on the stage. Ash walked onto the stage with many pairs of eyes looking at him. He felt embarrassed with Eco holding his hand the entire time, but Eco kept on holding his hand firmly without any intention of letting go. After they were on the stage, Mirabel kept on looking at them. Her eyes seem to be transparent with difference from Silvia’s and Veronica’s blue eyes. Suddenly Mirabel stretched her hand towards Eunice.
“Hand me the sword.”
Ash was in a shock. Eunice took out a rapier from the trolley. T-There is actually something like this in the trolley…
Once Mirabel took her rapier, she removed it from its sheath. The clear white sword reflected the sun rays. Mirabel then approached Ash with her right hand holding the rapier and her left hand holding the sheath. As for the students who were starting to become restless from being confused, Mirabel told them in a cold voice:
Her voice was obviously not loud but it was also definitely without a hint of anger. But it was enough to do its job. The students felt pressure from her voice alone. After all the students became silent, Mirabel turned her sight back to Ash.
“I have a message for you from my father Oswald.”
“From the Paladin…?”
Ash was confused.
“Didn't my father bestow you a silver watch which is the proof of a Dragner?”
“He certainly did…”
“Except that the knighting ceremony was never done, right?”
“That seems to be the case. It seems that the castle wasn't a suitable place during that time.”
“With that reason alone, I, Mirabel Lautreamont in place of my father will take over your Knighting ceremony. Please kneel down.”
Ash kneeled down immediately and told Eco who was standing to do the same in a low voice. However, Eco usually saw people as ‘dumb, stupid and dense’. Will she kneel down quietly without a fight if the person she was facing is a royal?
Ash was sweating tremendously.
To his surprise, she did what she was told. She kneeled down right beside Ash.
“What I did is for you.”
Her murmurs and her rosy cheeks were unexpected. While Ash’s heart skipped a beat, Mirabel started to recite:
“Ash Blake from Ansarivan Dragon Riding Academy advance class first year. At the age of seven, thou took part in the Orphan Ceremony in Albion Forest. Thou had been consecrated by the great mother dragon and received an Orphan. By that, thou had officially become a Breeder. And now, thy Pal, Eco surpass thee expatiation and had a remarkable growth. Now, representing Paladin Oswald, in my name Mirabel Lautreamont shall I place my rapier on thy shoulders.” 
Mirabel placed her rapier on Ash’s shoulders smoothly. It was a part of the Knighting ceremony. Though the rapier itself looked fine, it actually felt heavy on his shoulders.
“Do you as a proud knight swear your loyalty to the Lautreamont royal family?”
"I swear in the name of my Seikoku and my beloved Pal.”
Ash deliberately stated the standard pledge. Eco’s shoulder trembled a little as Ash said the words ‘beloved Pal’. However, Ash did not have the luxury to take a peek at her. After that Mirabel remained still. Her actions confused Ash, but then he remembered something important. He held the silver watch bestowed to him by Oswald and placed it next to his heart. This was also a part of the knighting ceremony. After Mirabel sheathed her sword, the ceremony ended. Suddenly, the entire hall was full of cheers. It was because the knighting ceremony was usually held in the St Rosa. Maria Cathedral in the capital, but now they had the chance to experience it here.
The entire hall was full of the claps and sounds of students cheering as if everyone had forgotten about the closing ceremony.
"Tsk, what a day…”
Ash was leaving the public bath in the Apollo house with a towel on his shoulder. Since the lights-out hour was approaching, the corridor was empty. Ash tried recalling all the events that happened in the morning while he was running up the stairs. After returning to his classroom after the ceremony, he was flooded with questions. As expected, most of the questions asked were about Eco. The difference between a Dragner and a Breeder could only be judged from their Pals. Although dragons were born in the form of either a Strada, Hydra or Asia, after being taken care of, they had a possibility to evolve into the mysterious Maestro. They had white fur and a huge amount of magic. To the Knights, they were the country’s treasure.
Basically, when a Pal evolved into a Maestro, a Breeder was qualified to become a Dragner. However, Eco was in the form of a girl. To state it clearly, she was an exception that could not suit any class. In spite of that, Paladin Oswald had bestowed Ash the title Dragner. That was the reason why the rest of the students were full of questions. Except that if they knew that Eco was the huge dragon that had attacked the capital, they would have to acknowledge him. Her overwhelming presence and the destructive power she possessed that can crush an airship, plus being the surviving bloodline of the Avalon Holy Dragons Emperor. Even the proud Maestros prostrated themselves in front of her. Of course Ash didn't publicize this. Well, he was forbidden from doing so. Right after Eco was awakened, she crushed the huge Zepharos Empire’s Airship Beowolf. It was clear that the Empire deserved it. However, the Empire did not admit their wrong doing and furthermore pushed the blame on the Knights. On the other hand, the Chevron Kingdom which suffered no losses were unhappy that the Knights did not reveal any information regarding Eco to them. Ash had just come to known this from the recent news.
In short, Eco herself was an international threat.
“What am I going to do from here on…?”
Ash suddenly thought of Princess Mirabel. Although she didn't seems to be someone like Veronica, however she also didn't look like an easy nut to crack. With all such troubles in his head Ash returned to his room. Eco was rolling on her bed waiting for time to pass but she immediately jumped up the moment she saw Ash.
Ash felt that something was off and he immediately realized what it was. That’s right, Eco who always slept stark naked was wearing a cute negligee that day. The pure white cloth should be made out of silk. Under the lights of the Bright Dragon Crystal, her outline could be clearly seen. Even her breasts and the tips could almost be seen. It was obvious that Eco was not wearing any undergarments. Ash had a hard time looking as she looked more alluring than when she was naked.
“W-Where did you get that from?”
Eco suddenly became uneasy when she was asked.
“…It was one of Silvia’s old clothing that Cosette gave me.”
“But didn't you say you hate wearing anything when you sleep? You even said that you can't sleep without being naked.”
Eco crossed her arms and glared at Ash.
“…Aren't you acting suspicious when I am naked?”
“Well, I am a guy. I couldn't possibly calm down when there is a naked girl in front of me.”
“I don’t quite actually know what kind of feeling that was…. Anyway, I just have to put on some clothes.”
Suddenly Eco was looking embarrassed and she slowly took a peek at Ash.
“T-That’s why…. You… can come… here….”
“Argh…. You idiot! I am saying that we can sleep together! Why do you have to make me tell you everything!”
Ash doubted what he had just heard. Eco who ordered Ash to sleep on the floor and monopolized the entire bed was right now asking Ash to sleep together.
What is happening to her?
“Never mind. I am used to sleeping on the floor and that bed is yours.”
In short, Eco was getting mad at him for being too worrisome.
“I said I am allowing it! You always pretend that it is nothing…. But your body must be hurting. The injuries are not yet healed right?”
Ash was speechless. In truth, the injuries he suffered from during his battle with Gawain and Mordred had not recovered yet. Sometimes, he could still feel pain from his body. But he never expected Eco to see through him.
“Even the injury that could had been healed can never be healed if you sleep on the floor.”
Eco turned around with her back facing Ash and covered herself with the blanket. She even remembered to leave some space for Ash. While keeping that position, she took a peek at Ash.
Their sights connected.
Eco was suddenly blushing and she turned her head back. It seems that she was not going to take back her words. Ash made up his mind and tuned the lamp to its dimmest. With the help from his hands, he walked towards the bed.
“S-Sorry for the intrusion.”
Ash was all tense. Not only that he was speaking politely, he even nearly bit his tongue.
“You are acting weird.”
It was probably caused by Ash’s actions that Eco was smiling. But thanks to that, the tension lessened. Ash lied down beside Eco. Thinking back, Eco had squeezed into Ash’s bed for many times in her sleep. And she was naked during those times. This situation should be nothing to him. However, Ash regretted what he had just thought of just moments later. There was a sweet smell coming from Eco’s body and hair. That was obviously the smell of a girl.
His heart was beating at a very fast pace. Eco squeezing into his bed and them sleeping together from the start were two totally different things. When he took a look at Eco, it seemed that she was still wide awake from being nervous. There was a mysterious feeling of nervousness coming from her petite body. That being said, if it was the usual Eco, she would have definitely fallen asleep that moment she laid on the bed. Suddenly, Ash remembered his conversation he had with Eco. In the guest room in Fontaine City, she did mention something like this:
I am happy that… I am your Pal… And. You are my knight…B-But… I hate this. I cannot be satisfied with just this! Even though I am not sure why, I know that I just can’t accept this!
That was the first time Eco had freely expressed her own feelings. During that time, Ash too felt like kissing Eco. Also, during that time, Eco didn't seem to resist. To his disappointment, before they could kiss, they were interrupted. After that, there never seemed to be a right atmosphere to try it again…
…In the end, Eco was finally asleep after turning off the lights for an hour. Ash breathed a sigh of relief when he heard her snoring. But then he was faced with another challenge.
Sometimes, when Eco turned around, their shoulders came into contact. Since their pyjamas were made of thin material, Ash had the impression that their skins were touching each other. Or else, it was Eco’s face that was getting too near that caused his heart to skip a beat. At the same time he was aware of Eco’s charm, Ash was staring at her lips. He once again remembered their unfinished kiss.
What if I give her a kiss right now… Ash struggled to keep away his wild thought.
“Oh god. Now I will never be able to sleep…”
"Mirabel Lautreamont ~A.S.B.1365.7~" is closed.
References and Translation Notes
- This was spoken in a poetic from.
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