Arifureta - Chapter 236
Arifureta After II The History of the Sky World
A sound like the creaking of metal resounded, the airship's altitude lowered with a jerk.
The silver haired girl and little dragon who were hugging each other while trembling raised a scream at Hajime who was showing a really nice smile in a savage manner. The blonde haired female made contact using something like a radio toward the place that seemed to be the bridge and asked what was happening.
『Roze-sama-. The damage to the ship is horrible, we cannot maintain our floating power-』
The magnified voice resounded to the whole ship. The silver haired girl who was called Roze quickly returned to her senses, and then she turned her gaze at the little dragon――Kuwaibel. Kuwaibel turned its gaze at Roze and nodded once.
It raised a high-pitched cry. Silver light overflowed from its small body which gently enveloped the airship.
『Floating power increasing, 50 percent. Please just a bit more, Kuwaibel-sama.』
Kuwaibel puffed up his chest with a face that looked a bit triumphant, as though to say「Just leave it to me!」. It seemed that the declining ship was recovering its floating power with the help of that special silver power.
Roze let out a relieved sigh and she tightly hugged again her beloved friend and partner Kuwaibel. She then returned her gaze at Hajime and Tio who were looking at them with very interested gaze.
She stood up, put down Kuwaibel beside her, and then she showed an elegant bow that resembled a courtesy. Her hair was ruffled from the wind, her clothes was also a modest thing that looked like an overall, yet her appearance had a gracefulness that would make people who saw her to get taken aback.
「It's a great honor to be able to meet you for the first time, dragon knight-sama, true dragon-sama. I am Avenst Kingdom's queen Roze Phiris Avenst. As the representative of the dragon kingdom, my greatest thanks for your assistance in this chance. ......Unfortunately we are in this kind of condition, so we cannot even show you our gratitude satisfactorily, but please, you can rest your wings in our ship Rozeria by all means.」
The two comprehended, indeed this girl's attire looked shabby, but now they could understand the reason of the refinement this girl was clad with. It seemed that Hajime's prediction that she wasn't just a mere pirate was correct.
Roze's words caused the gaze of the blonde haired male and female at both her sides to wander around. It was a fact that they were saved, but the two people in front of them were too much of an unknown. As people whose mission was to protect the queen's safety, Tio's existence added with Hajime's deed and great power were making them hesitate if it was okay to simply approach these two.
「Ah, hey-, Ku-chan! That's impolite!」
They couldn't possibly defy these two, but they also couldn't abandon their wariness......the blonde haired duo were unconsciously putting themselves on guard, but Kuwaibel only gave a glance at the duo who were like that before he quickly flew out and began to fly around Hajime and Tio happily.
Roze was yelling「Come back hereee~e!」with an angry face, but Kuwaibel looked really curious about Tio in her dragon's form, so he was flying in front of Tio's nose tip while sending a deeply interested gaze.
With Hajime's call, Tio enveloped her body with a cocoon of black magic power light. The cocoon was shrinking whizzingly. Right after that, the magic power scattered like a bursting bubble and from inside Tio appeared in her usual appearance.
「......Holy cow. She really can turn into human. It's just like in legend.」
「Even when I see it with this eyes, I still cannot believe it.」
「Nee-san. Can you punch me a bit? I think I'm hallucinating.」
The pilot who was saved by Hajime――Bovid was putting his hand on his forehead while muttering, while the blonde hair duo were also opening their eyes wide in disbelief.
Hajime and Tio ignored their shock and landed on the deck. When they did that, Tio was floating with the dragon wings she let out, but Hajime was normally stepping on the air and walked down, so everyone including Roze stared with their eyes almost jumping out from the socket.
Under Hajime's feet that were walking normally as though he was going down a stair were crimson ripples spreading with each step. Everyone was staring at that wordlessly. Even after Hajime had stood on the deck, the gaze of everyone was still glued on Hajime's feet.
「Oi, come back to your senses. We also have various things that we want to ask. The time is limited y'know.」
Hajime tapped his foot while saying that. Hearing that, Roze and others returned to their senses with 'hah' and their gaze met Hajime. Though their gaze still kept glancing at Hajime's feet.
「Tha, that's rude of us. E, excuse me dragon knight-sama. For you to come down here, can I take that to mean that you are going to give us the honor by resting your wings on our ship?」
「I'm not a dragon knight, and depending on the situation I'll leave right away but......well, it's true that for the time being I'm thinking of talking with you guys.」
The blonde hair duo frowned at Hajime's wording. They reflexively were about to say something, but then Bovid elbowed them saying「Don't get in her majesty's way」.
「Is that so......I'm glad. Welcome, dragon knight-sama, true dragon-sama. If it won't displease you, can I please ask for your name?」
「That's why I told you I'm not a dragon knight. ......I am Hajime, and this is Tio.」
「Nice to meet thou, queen-sama with circumstance.」
「Yes, it's an honor to meet the two of you, Hajime-sama, Tio-sama.」
Roze smiled widely while adding 'sama' when calling the two of them. While she introduced herself as a queen of a country, it seemed she completely saw Hajime and Tio as above her. Surely the reason of her attitude like this was related with the unfamiliar terms she were using before this.
Anyway, they were able to create a friendly atmosphere unlike with the army faction, so Hajime turned his gaze to another direction. Lured by that, the gaze of Roze and others followed Hajime's and there they caught sight of the thing that Hajime was looking at. It was a giant mass of metal. The part of the mother ship that was forcefully purged.
「Excuse me, that's......」
Roze raised a questioning voice. Hajime manipulated his Cross Velt in exchange for replying to her. The metal mass that was surrounded by barrier was approaching following the Cross Velts' movement.
「Well, it's nothing. This guys are innocent after all, so as expected making them fall together is just too much.」
Giving only a glance at the bewildered Roze, Hajime used convergence transmutation to dissolve the metal mass in front of his eyes into particle state. The sight of the gigantic mass of metal surrounded by crimson sparks and rustlingly vanished into sand shape made everyone speechless.
Although, the true surprise came after that. The state inside was exposed when the outer wall was vanishing. Inside there was,
「Wha-. Dragons are, that many inside there......」
「Chih, so it's something like this. So inside there is the fuel store of those guys' ship.」
Roze pressed her hands on her mouth and leaked out a whisper, and Bovid was clicking his tongue while saying the correct answer.
The room where nearly a hundred dragon species were locked in dissolved in the blink of eye. Several fist sized metal lumps were created above Hajime's hand and they were then stored into ’’Treasure Warehouse II’’.
Perhaps because the dragons hadn't flown for long, when the cage locking them in was gone, they were falling without even able to fly. They fell with a flop on the barrier floor that Hajime spread and then they looked around in astonishment while sitting.
「This is troubling. It would be great if they can just fly away quickly but......they don't even have the strength to fly huh.」
「Uumu. It wouldst take some effort to care for this number. What to do, Goshujin-sama? There art also an option to use cheatmate and mine metamorphosis magic to forcefully remodel their body though?」
Tio suggested using the magic that once transformed the enemy monsters in the holy precincts into black dragons. Hajime carefully pondered that suggestion, but the problem was resolved before he could give the answer.
Kuwaibel flew up in front of the dragons that weren't trying to fly away and then his body shined silver. The overflowing light was scattering like rain while showering the dragons. After a while, the dragons were starting to move their wings in bewilderment.
At first it was slowly. As though to ascertain the feeling. As though to recall the past.
One dragon, and then one more dragon was floating, and the dragons began to dance in the sky.
「Monarch dragon......was it? That was how those guys called this rug rat dragon.」
「Yes. A dragon that grant power to the dragon species. He is truly ought to be called as the king of dragon.」
Dragons in various size were flying around the small dragon clad in silver in adoration, as though they were offering their respect. Hajime and Tio's expression turned admiring while watching that sight.
Before long, the dragons flapped their wings powerfully and became a single flock that flew away. Most likely there was also a floating island at that direction. Kuwaibel was clearly giving out instruction to them to fly over there. It was certain that they would be able to rest their wings there.
「Thank you very much Hajime-sama, Tio-sama. To think that the two of you were able to save those children in the middle of that battle......how very admirable. As the representative of the dragon kingdom that love dragon and wish to be together with dragon, I offer the two of you my gratitude.」
Roze who stepped forward gracefully bowed her head deeply.
It appeared that Roze and her group were harboring feeling of affection to the dragon species, different from the army faction. Seeing that their side also had sky battlecraft and airship, Hajime thought that they were using the energy body that seemed to come from the dragon's heart, but based on what he saw from Roze's behavior then perhaps there was other method than that. No matter how he couldn't imagine this group killing dragon and took out their core.
While Hajime and Tio's interest was stimulated inside their heart thinking that there were more and more things he wanted to ask with this, they were guided by Roze to go to the reception room. That was how it went but......
The terrible condition inside the ship that was littered with holes, the crews running around for repair, and then the strange noise that sometimes resounded and the condition that made it seemed like the airship would fall anytime, those factors caused Hajime to ask「......Is this airship okay?」. In respond to that, Roze's reply was「I, it's fine you know?」with question mark inside her sentence and her gaze swimming around everywhere. In the end, Hajime rushed around to repair the ship.
He wanted to be spared of the ship crashing while they were talking, so he made them guide him to the broken area and performed repair one after another using transmutation. If there was lack of material, Hajime used a part of the material that he snatched in great amount from the mother ship.
Right after crimson spark surged, the damaged place became just like new in the blink of eye. The absurd spectacle caused all the crews including Roze to goggle.
Even when they were in the middle of moving to the next place, their gaze was nailed at Hajime's hand. When the hand moved to right, their gaze would also go to right, when it moved to left their gaze would also go left. When Hajime tried rotating his arm in a cir~cle, their gaze would also rotate in a cir~cle.
......To the right a bit faster-. The gazes went to the right swiftly-. Left-, but it was a feint, it was up! Refusing to get tricked the gaze went up! Left up down right left right up-! What the-left up right left right left-, ah, mistaken!?
「Just what art thou doing, Goshujin-sama and also queen-sama too.」
「Ah, no, sorry. Because these guys are moving too obediently, that I unintentionally......」
「My, my apologize. It feels like it would be a defeat if our gaze get left behind, that I unintentionally......」
The people around the blushing Roze were also making an expression like「Damn it, we unintentionally......」in harmony. Perhaps they were unexpectedly a group that could easily get into a certain mood.
With various happenings like that, Hajime and Tio who were invited into the reception room finally sat down on a stiff sofa. A steamy beverage was put in front of them. Most likely it was something similar like tea. A slightly sweet fragrance tickled their nose.
In front of the two was Roze. The blonde hair duo were standing in attention behind her. Midway to this room Hajime and Tio learned that both of them were siblings, the older sister was Olga Crow, and the little brother was Jean Crow. They seemed to be Roze's imperial guards. The elder sister was the captain of the imperial guards, and the little brother was the vice captain. They could also pilot sky battlecraft, but they were an expert in close quarter combat. It seemed that usually they were also aiding Roze's daily life.
「Hajime-sama, Tio-sama. Forgive me for being too straight, but can I be allowed to ask what kind of objective the two of you have? We......we have a goal, a mission. I think that if it's the legendary true dragon-sama then your understanding must have grasped it already but......like this, for the two of you to rush to our side in our time of danger, is it allowed for me to hold a hope that the two of you can give us your cooperation?」
「Wait, wait a bit. Calm down for now.」
From the middle of her talk, Roze's body was leaning forward and she kept talking on and on. Hajime pushed forward both his hands to stop her. Roze pulled back her body in panic and she corrected her posture in shame.
「I'll say this first, but I'm not the dragon knight you queen-san talked about, I also don't understand what you mean by true dragon. The reason is because we aren't a dweller of this world.」
「......Not a dweller of this world? Forgive me, I don't really understand what do you mean by that.」
「I meant that literally, we are human from different world. A world where there isn't a black rain like here, where the civilization isn't collapsing. There are multiple countries in existence there and they more or less believe in order and law.」
Roze's expression was getting more and more bewildered.
Hajime smiled wryly understandingly and he talked the summary of their experience of coming to this world. Whether they would believe it or not in the end, Hajime would leave it to their own decision. For the time being, he conveyed to Roze that with the premise that they were from another world, he wished for her to teach him about this world, the situation, and about the unfamiliar terms that sometimes came out in their conversation.
「It's a story that I cannot believe so suddenly but......for now, I understand that this talk itself won't progress without me explaining the situation. Having said that, I don't know from where do I have to start explaining......」
「Right......then, first, what is that black rain? Teach us starting from there. What happened that now the land is polluted by that rain?」
「So from there. So it's really true, that the two of you doesn't know about this world......」
Roze took a gulp of the drink with her mind still shaken by bewilderment and for now she reset herself. She pondered for a bit thinking how should she explain, and then she began to talk.
「The black rain, it is said to be the proof of the fallen monarch dragon――Helmut's grief and rage.」
In the past, at the time where the black rain still didn't exist, in the center of dragon kingdom Avenst where Roze's ancestor was acting as the king, there was an era of peace where dragon and human coexisted.
「In that era, when dragon and human reached a certain age, it was the custom for them to choose a partner to exchange friendship of a lifetime. One of the monarch dragons who were the partner of the dragon kingdom royalty in such era, was the evil dragon Helmut.」
「Monarch dragon, what does that mean?」
「Monarch dragon, they are dragon that possess special power even among the dragon species. They possess silver scales, bestow strength to the dragon species and the land, and they are able to exchange words with human. They are the ruling kind among the dragons that will only exchange friendship with the royalty of the dragon kingdom.」
The oldest and strongest country――Dragon Kingdom Avenst. A part of the reason of that status was because in a world where dragon was human's greatest friend, the kingdom royalty was the only one that could exchange friendship with the dragon's ruling kind.
「I see. That country surely was a country with influence huh.」
「Yes. The center of the world was without a doubt located in the dragon kingdom. However, even that era was approached by the end. ――It was the development of technology.」
Except the existence of dragons and ores and the like that possessed special energy, there wasn't any mysterious power like magic or anything in this world. It was inevitable for technology to develop here just like in earth. The difference was at the point that in place of electricity and gas, this world was using an energy that was called sky core.
「Sky core, is that the sky blue ore that is even smaller than grains of sand?」
「So you know about that....... Yes, exactly. It is a special ore with traits where it can be changed into various kinetic energy, stimulate the growth of crops, or even neutralize gravity. It's an ore that is really hard to be collected, but it can even allow an airship this big and sky battlecrafts to fly like this, and it can also produce light, heat, cold for our daily life.」
「......This ship, it's not using that thing that is like the dragon's heart?」
「-. Obviously-. Please don't lump us together like those Qwailent bunches-」
「......Calm down. I'm completely ignorant what is common sense and what is not in this world. I'll properly listen to queen-san's story, so please explain.」
「ah, my, my apologize.」
Roze whose boiling temper got cooled by Hajime's calm words cleared her throat. According to the explanation that she resumed, the thing that seemed like the dragon's heart――that was something that was called dragon core, it seemed that even just a cubic centimeter of it possessed the same amount of energy of a fist sized sky core.
Naturally, processing dragon core was very much better in labor and efficiency, but it seemed that Roze and others who were the descendant of dragon kingdom who didn't discard their country's ideal of coexisting with dragon even now when their country had perished, they were only using sky core. Because of that, their airship's spec was several level lower compared to the airship of their enemy――Sky divine Country Qwailent. They also had difficulty in resupply, so they were always struggling with lacks of materials.
Somehow, it made it hard to drink the richly fragrant tea in front of them......
「Nkuh. This is delicious. Second please.」
Hajime-san mercilessly asked for second. Right after Roze was explaining with a bitter smile about their destitute living situation. The expression of the Crow siblings shuddered. 'Is this man's nerve made from special alloy wire!?' They wondered.
「And? The continuation?」
「Ah, yes. Eerr......that's right. While the technology development is continuing, a certain researcher discovered it. That the dragon core is far more efficient than sky core. The dragons who were the great companion of mankind had their remains buried courteously even after death. The dragon core that should be called as that dragon's soul was buried along with the dragon's remain, returning back to the land. That was the norm in that time.」
「So curiosity, stepped across that common sense?」
「I don't understand the feeling of that researcher. In the record, it was said that at the end of his research he created the fastest aircraft at that time using the dragon core of his partner who died from an unforeseen accident. And then, he didn't create anything other than that. ......It's possible, that man might only wished to fly together in the sky one more time using an aircraft that is inserted with the soul of his departed friend.」
The truth of the matter was unknown. However, the fact was that at the same time with that man's discovery, the countries all over the world also noticed it. The value of dragon core.
And then, it began. The cruel and terrifying act of dragon hunting.
Technology that made use of sky core required extremely much effort starting from the collection of the sky core. Sky core at the very least need to be fist sized to be useful, but the sky core that could be collected was only small things that were like sand. Just collecting it and compressing it into usable size consumed so much time and cost. Major effort was necessary just to research it.
Those necessities were removed by using dragon core. The research advanced rapidly and technology was developed with striking momentum.
「It was said that the countries all over the world unanimously gathered dragon core and the technology race intensified. In the middle of that, it was only the dragon kingdom that was trying to stop the tide of the world that is making dragon hunting as right. The kingdom used all kind of method. Economic sanction, preferential treatment from the dragon kingdom, the export of sky core......sometimes they even used military force along with the monarch dragons.」
「......How long they could do that?」
Roze made a troubled smile at Hajime's words.
While the countries around them were continuing to develop technology, they rejected dragon hunting as wrong――that had the same meaning as being left behind by the world. Even if they were an influential country, but if their technology level was overwhelmingly left behind, it wasn't hard to imagine what kind of evaluation other countries would have against them.
Even so the dragon kingdom continued to reject dragon hunting was because the dragon species shouldered the role as balancer of the world. It wasn't something that was proven scientifically. It was something like a superstitious belief. But, it was believed that dragons had a role of taking in toxic substance of the world into their body, and then they purified it to return it back to the world.
That was the belief in the dragon kingdom.
In a world where technology development advanced, a fact without proof wasn't worthy to be believed in. Even when the dragon kingdom persuaded that if the dragon hunting continued at this rate a calamity would occur, no one bothered to listen.
Like that the authority of dragon kingdom wavered, their influence lowered, and shadow was looming on their power.
「The one who showed unease at such situation was the first prince of the dragon kingdom at that time. He became unable to endure the declining of his homeland. He casted away the belief as superstition and strongly appealed for technology development using dragon core.」
「Naturally, it didn't end well wasn't it?」
「Yes. In the record, harsh writings about him......like he was the shame of dragon kingdom, or a traitor were written. However, even when he was showered with criticism from all the people of his homeland, he didn't stop. ......No, exactly because he loved his homeland from the bottom of his heard, that he couldn't stop anymore.」
「......I can picture it somehow. So he did it?」
Hajime looked up to the ceiling with an air that seemed to say 'dear god'. Tio too seemed to be able to imagine what happened. She sighed as though to say that it was depressing just hearing it.
Even while smiling bitterly at the two, Roze talked with sadness at the forefront of her eyes.
How the prince, laid his hand on the monarch dragon who was his greatest friend.
A research of dragon core technology that was advanced behind closed door. As the last finishing touch, he murdered his partner, and with that dragon core――he constructed a gigantic flying warship that used the dragon core of monarch dragon for the first time in the world.
That ship's majesty was tremendous, to the degree that the military balance at that time was tilted slightly just by that one warship.
Surely that prince felt relieved with that. With that his homeland was saved. There would be peace. The other countries wouldn't make light of them anymore than this, they wouldn't be invaded so easily.
「Thus, the dragon kingdom recovered its authority, but in exchange they lost their pride and persuasiveness huh.」
「Must be. Even if they called for the cessation of dragon hunting, no one wouldst listen to them. After all, they hath murdered a king of dragon to create a warship. Even putting aside other countries, the kingdom's own people wouldst be the one that gave up on the country most of all.」
「Exactly as you said. A storm visited the dragon country and they even met a crisis of internal disunity. But then, an occurrence so terrifying as though to say something like the risk of civil war is just a trivial thing was starting to happen.」
Black rain was starting to fall.
「Coming this far, the world finally noticed that they were mistaken. The true identity of the black rain is the end of the road of the energy that is released from sky core and dragon core. This thing that is dispersed into the air and changed in nature possesses a property that doesn't grant vitality but instead steal it.」
「I see. Let's put aside the detail about the underlying theory, it's true then that the dragon race, and perhaps the sky core are really balancer of this world.」
「Fumu. The world art holding true above a balance. Noon and night, man and woman, positive and negative......it's natural for a negative energy to also exist if a positive energy exist. The dragon species and sky core take in negative energy, they then turn that energy into positive energy that they release back, when the released energy accomplished their role they wouldst turn into negative energy, then that energy wouldst be taken in by dragon species and sky core once more.......the world art in circulation.」
The role of dragon species that was proved for the first time with the manifestation of calamity.
However, mankind who noticed that fact then charged headlong to the unforeseen direction.
「The dignity of the dragon species was trampled down. The choice that mankind took wasn't the abolishment of dragon hunting, or the safeguard of dragon race――it was cultivation.」
「Oou. I knew it already but......even in different world, human's karma is really deep anywhere huh.」
Several countries publicized their breeding farms that were made in secret. Mankind had already soaked their hand with sin that couldn't be taken back since before the danger of the world. They made those breeding farms not because they thought that this would happen in advance, they surely didn't even imagine that it would turn out like this. Their conduct of selling over the know-how of the cultivation brazenly to the world, just how foolish was that.
Who would be angry at the deed of mankind?
That was obvious. The royalty of dragon.
They believed. The royalty and people of the dragon kingdom loved them the dragon species from the heart, even when the country was on the verge of danger the people didn't give up to coexist with the dragon species. Because of that they believed, that surely human and dragon could walk together once more.
They endured. Even when dragon species was losing life one after another from dragon hunting, even when their relative monarch dragon was killed by the prince, because if they rampaged following their emotion then the dragon kingdom they loved would be crushed by the countries all over the world.
「The king made a decision. He told the father of monarch dragons who is his partner――Sutherland, that human and dragon should part with each other for once. The king said to take away all the dragon species and escape to the end of the world. If there are people that survived from the black rain, at that time the king asked for the dragon to grant a chance for the two sides start over one more time. Sutherland accepted and decided to part from mankind. However, that decision was a bit too late.」
「......So Sutherland's child, couldn't put up with it?」
Sutherland's child, the twin elder brother of the murdered monarch dragon――Helmut attacked a cultivation place and the country it resided in before his father's decision.
At the same time with that, it was an incident that was enough to erase the light of the coexistence faction that still hadn't vanished yet. Every country that obtained a just cause carried out the capture and subjugation of the dragon kingdom using their fleets.
「It was an alliance of many countries, yet regardless of that their pace was orderly, and their subjugation strategy was swift and precise. Even Sutherland who boasted of an unequalled strength, the best that he could do was to let some number of dragons to escape.」
「That was their aim huh. Perhaps the breeding farms were also provocation. It was to eliminate the remaining coexistence faction and completely taking down monarch dragons that were still a threat.」
「That, must be it. The dragon species that were massing to depart to the end of the world were pushed back by the quantity of the allied army and they were falling to the ground. Sutherland's children were killed one after another, or else their wings plucked and captured......it was truly a hellish picture. At the very least, it was enough to transform Helmut into evil dragon.」
His siblings murdered, their dignity crushed underfoot, the black emotion that had been piling mountain high, when he saw his siblings trampled before his eyes once more――it snapped. Helmut's mind crumbled and something awoke inside him.
It was said that the moment Helmut raised a howl that planted fear inside everyone that listened, the sky that should be clear was covered with dark clouds in the blink of eye, and then black rain was starting to rain in impeccable timing.
「Fumu. Based from what I heard here......the power of circulation that dragon race possessed, was it reversed in this case? However, if this monarch dragon possessed a power to the degree that couldst manipulate the weather, I don't think that they wouldst lose against mankind in the first place though......」
「How common. Wasn't it the rage and hatred that surpassed the limit that pushed up the rank of this Helmut? Aa, could it be, he evolved into this true dragon that queen-san mentioned before?」
Roze smiled wryly at the quick understanding of the two while giving affirmation.
True dragon was said to be the ancestor of the dragon kingdom's royalty and the monarch dragons. Its power was immense, and it was told that it could manipulate heaven and earth and could also transform into human, and so on. There was nothing left of its existence except in legend, a fairy-tale existence.
There wasn't any record of Helmut transforming into human, but it seemed that he was called as a historical true dragon that evolved from monarch dragon due to the aspect of manipulating weather. However, it was also an ability that was limited to covering the world with cloudy weather that made black rain fell.
「Tio-sama is able to transform into human, and that overwhelming ability......you manipulated wind and flame before this. That, as expected you are a true dragon......」
「No no, I'm not a true dragon. It's the reverse. I'm not a dragon that turn into human. The correct recognition art I am a human that turn into dragon.」
「Human, become dragon?」
「In our world......no, more accurately in Tio's world, there is that kind of race. Her family is all able to transform into dragon. If they are really true dragon, then that will be a bargain sale of fairy-tale existence.」
Hajime cackled saying「Well, even though she isn't a true dragon, but she is a god dragon though」while sending Tio a teasing gaze. Tio looked aside saying「I didn't say any lie」. (TN: True dragon's kanji is read as shinryuu, while accidentally god dragon's kanji is also read as shinryuu. Also the kanji for dragon of the god dragon here is for eastern dragon.)
Seeing the relaxed relationship of the two, Roze asked timidly.
「That, then, as expected about the two of you being dragon knight-sama and true dragon-sama......」
「From what I can guess, this dragon knight is also an existence from a fairy-tale, and he was the true dragon's partner, isn't that right? But it's completely different. Tio can become dragon but she is a fully fledged human, and even if you say partner but she isn't my friend, but my wife.」
「Mu, mumu-. Wi, wife......that's the first time someone called me that. What's this, this itchy feeling in mine chest. Goshujin-sama, this child, she is really a good child!」
Tio got all bashful and fidgety from getting called as wife for the first time. The eyes she were looking Roze with were suddenly filled with color of affection. Really, what a simple dragon.
Ignoring the writhing Tio, Hajime prompted Roze to continue talking. The simple dragon「Nou nou, Goshujin-sama. I'm thy wife」leaning on him was annoying, so for the time being he made her quiet with a slap. Seeing the hopelss dragon raising a coquettish voice「Ahanh」while collapsing on the sofa in ecstasy, the gaze of Roze and others became nailed on Tio.
Hajime's cough made them returned to reality.
「Ah, e, errrr......that's right. Helmut who became true dragon and began covering the world with black rain was said to have lost his former heart. Without discriminating human or dragon, he raised a loud laugh as though enjoying the destruction while trampling over everything.」
「So that guy degenerated completely. The birth of evil dragon, is it.」
「Yes. It was said that Sutherland began a deathly battle in order to stop his fallen son. At the same time, his spouse Detmers led their surviving children back to the dragon kingdom.」
There was one reason for that. In order to save their friend.
It was unknown whether Sutherland was able to stop Helmut. Even if for example he could, mankind would perish under the black rain that was rapidly covering the whole world. Their beloved dragon kingdom would die out.
Sutherland possessed an exceptional strength even among the monarch dragons. And if he fought seriously, then other would only become a hindrance to him. Understanding that, amidst the falling black rain, Detmers and others dashed in order to save the humans that had cornered them.
「The essence of monarch dragon's power is invigoration. And then, sky core has the property to neutralize gravity.」
「So that's, the reason of the floating islands.」
「Yes. But, as expected although they are monarch dragon, they couldn't do something like making the whole land float. What they could do was only making land with particularly abundant sky core to float. Even so, there is no mistake that we can live like this is thanks to the act of Detmers-sama and others that they carried out by staking their life.」
Kuwaibel who was snuggling up beside Roze raised a sad cry. Surely he understood the content of their talk. Roze gently caressed such Kuwaibel.
「This child is a memento from Detmers-sama. At that time it still wasn't time to give birth, but Detmers-sama who was in the verge of death because of the black rain and using up enormous power cut up her own body and left behind an egg. She said, this child who will be born someday, will be the hope as the last monarch dragon.」
It seemed that Helmut didn't come chasing after the floating land. According to the record, it seemed he watched the floating island while laughing. It was as though he was looking forward to the crisis that mankind would taste from there on.
Roze who took a breath after finishing the long story moistened her parched throat. And then, she faced Hajime with a gaze that was filled with determination unlike before this.
「After twenty years passed since that day of tragedy, the dragon kingdom that continued to exist in the sky received an invasion from sky pirate. Our country was stolen. At that time I was still a baby, I was able to survive thanks to my parents' close aides taking me away along with Kuwaibel's egg.」
Even without her saying anything, it could be guessed that the king and queen had died from Roze's expression.
The dragon kingdom perished and Sky divine Country Qwailent came into being. The king was the air pirate's leader. He monopolized the limited resource. Roze and others who were chased out were reduced to air pirate, the slipped through the divine country's eyes and stole resource, and protected the people of the dragon kingdom who escaped together with them until now.
Like that, when Roze became ten years old, Kuwaibel was finally born. The people of the former dragon kingdom were boiled up by the birth of hope, at the same time, they kept hiding Kuwaibel's existence who was still weak so that the divine country wouldn't realize it no matter what.
「Even that end with today. My stomach froze when Kuwaibel came out to the battlefield but......from there, to think we were able to encounter Hajime-sama and Tio-sama......」
Although Roze faltered for a moment at Hajime's penetrating gaze, she immediately returned back a blazing gaze.
「I beg you. Please lend us your strength. The strength to take back the land of dragon kingdom Avenst.」
It seemed that in the deepest part of dragon kingdom Avenst, there was a spring that could grant power to monarch dragon. If they could go there, even Kuwaibel who was still only a few years old would become able to use a power that equaled a grown dragon even if just temporarily.
There if Hajime and TIo's strength was combined with Avenst's mother ship and other airships, then it would also be possible to defeat the evil dragon Helmut, explained Roze earnestly.
Hajime glanced at Tio beside him. Tio's expression was pondering something, but she noticed Hajime's gaze and shrugged, leaving him to make the decision.
Hajime scratched on his cheek and he lowered his eyebrows a bit while,
「For now, let's put it on hold.」
He answered. Roze went「Eeh, isn't this the scene where you gladly accept!?」in fluster because her expectation was betrayed. Hajime said「Something like that is the domain of a hero somewhere or the abyss-san」and deflected easily.
Tio was staring at such Hajime with an expression that didn't expect it. As expected, if Hajime was told something that easily went outside the category of adventure like 'please go to a war with a country, and then please defeat the evil dragon and save the world', Tio thought that he would refuse promptly.
For Hajime whose basis was swift decision, it was a really half-baked answer.
「Well, what. Even us, after hearing the story just now we ain't just going to say ’’Oh is that so, yes, we will do anything’’. Various things happened today and we are tired. For now we are going to rest, think it carefully, and then we will give our decision tomorrow. You don't mind right?」
「Tha, that's right. Indeed I'm too impatient just now. Even though Hajime-sama and Tio-sama has just finished with a battle of that degree, my deepest apologize for my inattentiveness. We have prepared a room. It is a modest thing, but later on we will bring you your dinner, so please rest at ease tonight.」
「Ou. Much obliged, I won't hold back then. Okay Tio, let's go.」
Hajime emptied his tea and stood up abruptly. He led Tio and got out of the room. A crew that would guide them immediately appeared and took them to their room. Roze was staring fixedly at the back of such Hajime and Tio with an expression that was a mix of hope and unease.
The airship Rozeria was gliding through the night sky where multitude of stars were shining.
At a corner of the ship's rear deck, there were the figures of Hajime and Tio. Both of them were sitting at the edge of the deck. Their legs were thrown out to the empty air. The sea of clouds that were shining from the reflection of the stars let the eyes of the two of them to enjoy the sight to their heart's content.
「And, why didst thou put the decision on hold, Goshujin-sama?」
Tio asked Hajime while watching him with a sidelong glance. Hajime was also similarly watching Tio with a sidelong glance while he opened his mouth.
「I'm thinking of deciding after hearing of what you want to do.」
「What I want to do?」
Tio tilted her head. Hajime nodded.
「Yeah. What do you want to do Tio? The restoration of the dragon kingdom doesn't matter, but you have a tii~ny bit on your mind about this evil dragon aren't you?」
「......So thou noticed Goshujin-sama.」
Getting seen through like this even though she shouldn't have taken any conspicuous attitude caused Tio's cheeks to redden from feeling too embarrassed. She thought that he really looked at her closely.
Tio slowly opened her mouth as though she was choosing her words.
「I thought that it was similar, just a bit. Of their way of living, and their last days.」
「Is it about, the dragon race's country in the past?」
「Yes. I understand Helmut's feeling, just a little. At that time, when I saw Haha-ue and mine comrades crucified, a black flame was certainly born inside me. A flame of hatred that only wished to burn others, even myself.」(TN: Haha-ue=mother, used in samurai families)
Hajime returned a silence at Tio who was talking bit by bit. He kept quiet while looking forward, lending his ear at Tio's story.
「I was able to stop because of Chichi-ue's words. I was able to change the black flame into power to protect. Helmut art surely the me of that time that couldst not stop.」(TN: Chichi-ue=father)
That was why she couldn't just be indifferent to this. When she thought that the fallen king of dragon would continue to ravage this world with black rain even from here on forever, for some reason, the feeling that this was intolerable was welling up inside.
「This is just a retelling from Yue......’’The track that Tio had walked through until now. That is Tio's everything’’ isn't that right? That's just a meaningless supposition. Helmut was unable to win against himself. Tio Claus won against herself. That's all there is to it right?」
「Fufu, thou art right.」
Tio smiled fondly and nodded at the words of Hajime that sounded a bit displeased, as though to say 'don't lump together the stupid idiot that ruin the world with my Tio'.
A quiet time was flowing for a while.
Hajime glanced once more at Tio before he scratched a bit roughly on his head.
「Aah, geez. Stop being indecisive and say your answer already. I'm asking you here, what do you want to do huh? You are too considerate to other people other than yourself at various things. I'm telling you, show some selfishness sometimes other than with your perverted attitude.」
Tio blinked. And then, she reflexively closed her eyes and hid her expression toward Hajime who was staring at her fixedly. She then whispered.
「I want to end this. This art completely unrelated with us. The scale art too big to call it an adventure. The opponent's strength art unknown. This is just mine ego talking. I understand all that. However――I wish to end this.」
That was Tio's true feeling. It was Tio's selfishness that came from her sentimentality, based from her ego, for the sake to cheer up herself.
Hajime who heard that,
「Roger. Let's end this. We are going to end the evil dragon Helmut's everything, just for our own convenience.」
He easily consented to it.
When Tio turned her face, she found Hajime's face that looked somewhat happy there. An expression of happiness from listening to Tio's selfishness.
'Aah, no more-' Tio yelled out her indescribable feeling in her heart while leaping at her beloved master.
The light of stars shining in the night sky enveloped the two with faint gentle light.
Roze's group at that time.
「Awa, awawawah. The two of them, doing that in this kind of place-. Aa, amazing-」
「Ro, Roze-sama-. You mustn't look-. Co, come on, we understood already that they didn't disappear, let's go back inside quickly!」
「Kuwaibel-sama....... It looks like you are hiding your face with your wings, but it's obvious you are completely looking from the gaps there.」
「Ou ou. As expected from the legendary dragon knight-sama yeah. Doing that on the deck so brazenly. How envious.」
「Bovid-. What are you doing looking so unashamedly like that! Quickly take Roze-sama inside the ship! Roze-sama too, please release your hands from the railing! Come on, quickly-. Hey, your strength increases-. Just how interested are you-」
Roze-sama was grasping the railing tightly and wouldn't let go with her nose breathing roughly. Olga was desperately trying to take her back inside the ship, but her hold was so tight it made her shudder wondering just where did she hide this much strength!
Kuwaibel in his own way was hiding his face with his wings while also thoroughly peeking from the gaps. Jean acted the straight-man, but Kuwaibel's gaze completely stuck!
Seeing such covert pervert duo of monarch dragon and queen, it was only Bovid who was cackling while nonchalantly making his swift retreat.
Because he noticed that Hajime's gaze was seizing their figure from across the shoulder of Tio who he embraced closely.
A few seconds after Bovid vanished, crimson spark surged in the night sky.