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――The piercing blue sky cast a majestic gaze down on the activities of the people beneath.
Brilliantly twinkling white sun, big white clouds flowing slowly.
A lukewarm breeze caressed their neck and ruffled their pale blue hair, as they breathed deeply and quietly.
Feeling the world with their entire body, realizing that they were part of it.
It was a quite pretentious phrase, and it felt as if someone had spoken an exceedingly difficult thing. However, having been told that this was what was required of them at the moment, they put it in practice first, and cast doubt on it later.
They had requested to be taught on their own volition, to boot. These were still the early days as well. Their temperament was not so short as to make them resign from those lessons.
???: […I cannot lie about my impatience.]
Gently placing their hand on their own chest, they awaited the inhaled air to exert its power within the lungs.
They could not quite tell whether this feeling would nurture them from inside. It was frustrating, and it made them feel hateful of their own petty nature to seek instant gratification.
――No, maybe it was not that it was in their nature to desire immediate results, but the reason was rather the situation they were placed in.
Not their own, but that of someone not present, who was endeavoring to fulfill their role elsewhere――,
???: [――Ah! There you are!]
And then, a voice called out behind them to their quiet meditating backs, reminding them of the breath they had been holding. As they exhaled the air that had built up in their chest, they looked back, seeing a small figure running up to them.
It was a young boy with fluffy, pink hair. He was such a precarious child with a lovely face, cherry-red cheeks, and dazzling white bare legs in short trousers.
The boy, who looked about eleven or twelve years old, smiled as he made his approach.
Boy: [Priscilla-sama wants to see you! I would like you to come with me!]
???: [I understand. Thank you very much for taking the trouble, Schult-san.]
Schult: [Absolutely not! This was not something that would merit such gratitude.]
Carrying himself modestly, his cheeks being dyed by delight, the corners of the boy’s―― of Schult’s mouth slackened due to the circumstances.
But the matter he had brought along was an errand. The two could not just keep talking and smiling with that in mind.
On that note, he tensed his relaxed cheeks and nodded with a small exhale, and then――,
???: [So, shall we go together?]
Schult: [Yes, of course! I will join you, Rem-san!]
Bouncing up and down, Schult saluted them with a hand to his head, and the girl―― Rem, somewhat surprised by Schult’s vigor, nodded, and the two of them headed towards the one who had beckoned her.
Towards Priscilla Barielle, Rem’s provisional master in the Fortress City of Guaral.
The fall of the Fortress City of Guaral―― About ten days had passed since that terribly absurd operation had been carried out, resulting in the capture of the city with minimal human casualties.
Fortunately, there was little chaos in the city, much thanks to the ability of Zikr Osman, commander of the Imperial Soldiers, and the leadership of Mizelda, whose influence did not diminish even after handing over the role of Chieftain to her sister.
The presence of those two exercised authority on those endowed with military might, preventing disorder and tragedy from occurring beforehand.
Of course, not only those able to fight were present in the city.
Rather, the overwhelming majority of those present would be the townspeople, who were divorced from any martial matters. However, even if they did not fight for a living, Guaral’s townspeople were still very much in the thick of the action.
Initially, reports of strong contempt for Zikr and the Imperial Soldiers had been rife, as they had been deprived of real authority after the City Hall had been taken over with little to no fight.
However, such complaints by the townspeople were soon drowned out.
That was because――,
Priscilla: [It is the custom of the Empire to follow the strong. It should have been obvious to everyone that my actions were more righteous than those of people who only parlor.]
Priscilla: [Those are the words of those unworthy of being heard, or perhaps of those who bow their head, bearing the tempest, crying aloud when the wind ceases, demanding that their abodes be repaired. Is the word of such a person worth anything?]
Rem: [No matter how you slice it, that sort of extreme is unfair in my opinion.]
It was not merely a simple standpoint, but a way of speaking of someone that looked down at another party from a higher position. In response to this way of sealing off one’s escape route, Rem calmly retorted in response.
There was a pause before her answer, and then arrived a slight scoff,
Priscilla: [You insult me as a coward? I see, you are quite daring, Rem.]
Rem: [It would be reckless if my life were at stake. But Priscilla-san isn’t someone that short-tempered.]
Priscilla: [You dare measure me by your own standards?]
Rem: [Because I don’t have anything else to measure others with, for starters.]
Crimson eyes stared her down, yet Rem steadfastly refuted it.
For Rem, who had lost her memories and had no real past, every thing she saw was new, every action she took was an unknown experience.
To dread something that may incur Priscilla’s displeasure as a result, would mean being unable to take a step forward. What was certain to her current self, whose existence had begun approximately twenty days prior―― was that, for these last few days, Rem had been able to spend time with the woman in front of her without losing spirit.
Priscilla: [Hmph, what a petulant thing to say. What an uncute girl.]
Stating so, she buried the hatchet, not betraying Rem’s expectations.
Albeit Priscilla operated in absurd ways for reasons beyond Rem’s understanding occasionally, her impression of Priscilla was basically that she was a rational woman who kept her boisterous remarks to herself.
Priscilla sat upon a luxurious chair, resting her chin upon her hand, with a book open in her lap. She appeared quite picturesque, behaving as if she were the master of this palace, or perhaps mansion, albeit this was only a temporary abode.
Priscilla, currently sojourning in the Fortress City, had seized the largest mansion in the city, leisurely spending her days there. The mansion was, barring the City Hall, the largest building in the city; a luxurious waste of space that could accommodate twenty to thirty people.
Of course, there had been some protest from the original owners of the mansion regarding the seizure, but it was settled in the way of the Empire―― the way of barbarism, accompanied by some shedding of blood.
In other words, for each side to force the acceptance of their claim, the use of force――,
Quickly, Rem directed her gaze to one corner of the room.
In the room where Priscilla had summoned and gathered those in a position of servant, another person aside from Rem and the smiling Schult was present as well.
This man was the one who had brandished a sword in the “duel” over the management of the mansion.
Rem: [No, it seemed like you were looking at me in some kind of meaningful way, so I thought something was wrong.]
The man who responded to Rem’s call in a low voice made a sullen face due to the repeated questions. With that, he scratched his own red hair wildly,
Heinkel: [It’s no big deal. I was simply stunned that you were such a reckless girl, talking to Miss Priscilla like that.]
Rem: [After being called daring, I am now reckless, is that so? But that really isn’t the case…]
Heinkel: [It just looked that way to me. Don’t be petty about it.]
With a small click of his tongue, the man waved his hand, scratching his head at Rem’s answer.
The man with fiery red hair, a well-built, tall figure, and looks whose innate manliness became spoiled by his stubble, was a man named Heinkel, one of Priscilla’s subordinates.
After Priscilla had arbitrarily decided to remain in the Fortress City of Guaral, Heinkel and Schult flew in from their original headquarters. Together with the man in the helmet―― with Al, they made up Priscilla’s followers.
Schult: [Of course, Rem-sama’s also one of us now!]
Heinkel: [Don’t decide that on your own whim, pipsqueak. This woman is friends with one of Miss Priscilla’s enemies. Not only is she not on our side, but she’s also a potential enemy.]
Schult: [Ehhh!? Rem-sama, you were our enemy!?]
Rem: [Ehhm, that’s on hold.]
His perfectly round eyes widening in surprise, Rem responded to a panicking Schult raising a commotion.
Heinkel’s way of putting things was extreme, but that Rem’s position was complicated was something that could not be denied. Rem, having lost her memories, lacked the awareness and the information to confirm her affiliation.
Of course, that which contributed most to establishing Rem’s tenuous standing was――,
She knew that that black-haired boy’s presence―― Natsuki Subaru’s presence, someone who had left the Fortress City to fulfill his appointed role, was something that brought certainty to Rem’s vague position.
However, Rem’s feelings were that she could not lend an ear to his words, nor accept them so meekly.
The reason as to why Rem could not accept his actions and words, was the horrific Miasma that surrounded Subaru’s entire body―― No, right now, that was not the sole reason.
The Miasma certainly did hinder Rem from taking Subaru at face-value, but she had already recognized that there was nothing deceptive or malicious in neither his words nor his deeds.
The reason for not accepting him so docilely, was that Rem’s own foundation was unstable.
Who she was and what kind of relationship she had with Natsuki Subaru and the others, she wondered.
If she were unable to face it, Rem’s frozen time and halted feet could not move forward.
Although Rem wanted to face Subaru in order to solidify her existence, in order to face Subaru, she had to solidify her own existence.
It was already a dilemma, akin to being lost in a maze with no way out.
Priscilla: [You appear to be experiencing plenty of turmoil. The crease between your eyebrows is clear evidence of that.]
Rem: [That… is true. I’m trying to put Priscilla-san’s advice into practice, but…]
Priscilla: [What is it?]
Rem: [Priscilla-san’s conversations are always so difficult to understand.]
Her eyes cast downwards, a Rem bearing shame explained that she herself was the reason for her own ignorance.
Speaking in riddles, Priscilla’s choice of words was esoteric and difficult to understand. More importantly, Priscilla was quick-witted, and on top of that, she rarely held any consideration for others.
The nature she possessed pretty much resembled that held by Abel―― Or perhaps it should be rephrased as them having the same nature, rather than them being similar. Perhaps both Priscilla and Abel would be displeased if this were to be mentioned, so Rem would not bother bringing it up.
Heinkel: [Advice? What are you talking about, advice? Miss Priscilla advises this woman?]
Schult: [Yes, Heinkel-sama. I am aware of it! Rem-sama is studying with Priscilla-sama! And she takes care of Priscilla’s personal needs, just like me!]
Heinkel: [Oi, oioioi, are you out of your mind, Miss Priscilla? What’s in it for us? You’re just helping our enemies grow.]
Heinkel, who had not been told the details of the situation, was left blindsided upon learning of the Contract between Rem and Priscilla.
Striding up to Priscilla on the podium and pointing to Rem, he then opened his mouth,
Heinkel: [I thought you were just keeping them close to you as a lackey… So that they could give out information on their Camp. Going out of your way entirely to simply be in an unfavorable position, there’s a limit to games…]
Priscilla: [Silence, simpleton. Do you intend to order me around?]
Priscilla: [I have dealt you a number of painful blows, but you are a man who never learns, are you not? My hands are not free to beat you. Because their task is to turn the page of this book.]
Tracing the cover of the book on her lap, Priscilla announced that to Heinkel with a glare.
There was no specific anger in Priscilla’s voice, but Heinkel gasped in reaction, as if he had been confronted with a sword, taking a step or two backward.
Rem felt that Heinkel’s fear was too exaggerated.
Of course, she had witnessed Priscilla’s prowess and swordsmanship defeat one of the Empire’s mightiest warriors, one of the Nine Divine Generals, with her very own eyes. Even ignoring that fact, Rem felt on her very skin that Priscilla was a woman of unparalleled power.
Rem: [I don’t think Heinkel-san is that far below her, though…]
But Rem needed to preface, that this was just from her point of view.
However, during the seizure of this mansion, with a swordsman representing the owner of the mansion as his opponent, Heinkel had triumphed without dispossessing him of his life by snatching away his sword before he could do anything about it.
His pure fighting spirit, and his superior swordsmanship, were such that even if the Imperial Soldiers in the area were to gang up on him, they would be no match to him.
Nevertheless, Heinkel’s fear seemed to be the pinnacle of overreaction.
That said, Rem was an amateur, even at being “herself”. The strong may have a way of looking at things in the world that was impossible for Rem to grasp.
Priscilla: [Setting my eyes on this girl is merely a whim. But it was also on my whim that I picked up Schult starving to death in a barren land, and that I summoned you when bloodied from your fruitless efforts.]
Schult: [Yes! I was saved thanks to Priscilla-sama’s good mood! I was very lucky!]
Heinkel: [Are you really fine with that…?]
Rapping her finger on the cover of the book, Priscilla declared that it all was dependent on her mood. Rem was overwhelmed, almost in shock because of those words, while Schult happily boasted of his good fortune.
Heinkel, too, seemed to be spared from the fear he’d had until then, but some wariness yet lingered in his eyes as he looked toward Rem.
Perhaps he was the one with the most straightforward view of things.
Rem: [So, Priscilla-san, what is your reason for calling all of us?]
Rem: [If it’s just about looking after your person, why not just me or Schult-san? There’s no reason I can think of for Heinkel-san being here as well.]
In terms of division of responsibilities, Rem and Schult were plenty capable of sharing the care of Priscilla’s daily life at the mansion. Rem had become quite accustomed to living with a cane and simple household chores were of no worry to her.
Perhaps, she did something such as partaking in these duties before.
Since the work was divided in such a way, there was no reason for Heinkel being there.
If she were to go even further――,
Rem: [What exactly does Heinkel-san do… I only see him swinging his sword, drinking, or playing with Schult-san.]
Heinkel: […I’m telling you, I don’t remember playing with that pipsqueak.]
Schult: [That is correct! Heinkel-sama often takes care of me, but it is me who has been approaching him because I want to! Heinkel-sama always seems to be lonely when he is alone, so I thought I would make sure he does not get lonely…]
Rem: [Oh, I see, Schult-san is very kind.]
The question that had arisen in her mind was resolved, and Rem gently stroked Schult’s curly-haired head. There was a strange charm about Schult that made Rem want to pet him like this.
Of those within the city, Rem also wanted to pet Utakata, who would come by every now and then.
Perhaps, she simply wanted to dote on younger people though.
Heinkel: [Eh, shit, I can’t keep up with you. Miss Priscilla! Just answer the question now. If you don’t need me, I’ll be at the tavern…]
Priscilla: [――It is about time for those who have left this city to arrive at the Demon City.]
Priscilla: [If circumstances were to change, the likelihood that this opportunity would be made the most of is high. Do not lower your guard.]
The humidity in the air changed as Priscilla spoke this, resting her cheek upon her hand on the armrest.
The parched, stale air was a sign that attention had been correctly applied to Priscilla’s words; Heinkel’s expression sharpened, and Rem felt as if she had been prodded in the chest.
Only Schult, Rem’s hand on his head still, had shown appreciation for the group who had embarked on a long journey, saying, “Al-sama, thank you for your efforts~”.
If circumstances were to change, was what Priscilla had prefaced her statement with. But at least for Subaru and the others who had departed, it would bring about definite changes, both good and bad.
Negotiating with the only potential ally―― this negotiation would certainly determine Abel’s decisions from henceforth.
Heinkel: [This whole thing about, this opportunity being made the most of… Miss Priscilla, is there something particular that you noticed?]
Priscilla: [No, it is nothing so concrete. It is merely a rule of thumb of mine.]
Heinkel: [Rule of thumb, is it? What is that supposed to…]
Priscilla: [When great things move, they move all at once, as if the quietness that had prevailed up to that point were a lie. It is as if by design, all at once, akin to lined-up building blocks falling down in a row.]
There was a kind of ineffable compelling force in Priscilla’s indifferent manner of speaking.
Ultimately, it was a singular point about not letting one’s guard down, yet Rem took a deep breath and looked down to regard her feet again. If she were to get hung up about Subaru and the others so much as to neglect what was close to her, that would be like putting cart before the Galewind Horse.
To begin with, putting something such as getting hung up over Subaru into words yet again made her realize just how unpleasant the situation was.
Rem: [Whether he’s around or not, he’s a troublesome person…]
Schult: [Rem-sama? Is everything fine? Your face is somewhat red.]
Rem: [It’s okay. Something was just surging within me. I was seething, angry.]
Schult: [It is not good to be angry! Rem-sama looks wonderful when she is smiling~!]
The corners of Rem’s eyes lowered due to Schult flapping his limbs and raising a potent appeal. Heinkel’s face, on the other hand, became serious after Priscilla’s admonishment,
Heinkel: [Miss Priscilla, if that’s all you want to talk about, then I’m going.]
Priscilla: [Do as you like. You are free to indulge in alcoholism or spend your time in sloth.]
Heinkel: [I’m not in the mood for booze. I’m going to go talk to the shaggy-headed commander at the City Hall.]
Answering right back with an earnest look on his face, Heinkel walked out of the room with broad steps. Seeing him off, Rem then turned to Priscilla,
Rem: [So, what is it you’re going to do, Priscilla-san?]
Priscilla: [Are you concerned about mine activities?]
Rem: [That is… a given. I don’t think that everything Priscilla does is correct, but…]
Still, Priscilla judged things with knowledge and insight that Rem did not have.
For Rem, who possessed very little, this was a valuable resource to determine what to decide next. At Rem’s remarks, which were extremely rude in a sense, Priscilla let out a laugh,
Priscilla: [So you are not planning to become a doll without a mind of its own? Well, there would not have been any meaning in having you at my side in such a case.]
Priscilla: [Guessing from the answer to my question, preparations shall be laid out by that simpleton. The General and the People of Shudraq may also be used accordingly. With that, I shall…]
Rem: [Priscilla-san will…?]
With a slight gulp, Rem waited for Priscilla’s next words. Unknowingly, next to Rem, Schult also clenched his fists in anticipation, waiting for their master’s answer.
As she met the gaze of the two, Priscilla’s almond-shaped eyes narrowed, and,
Priscilla: [――Prepare a hot bath. Float the petals and burn the incense.]
Priscilla: [What, do not make me say it twice. I shall take a bath. Prepare the bathhouse as soon as possible.]
With a fluttering wave of her hand, Priscilla urged Rem and Schult to hurry up.
Of course, Rem was incapable of hiding her bewilderment, letting out a “W-wha?”. But Schult saluted her in a snap,
Schult: [Understood, oh yes indeed! I will go and heat the water right away~!]
After answering cheerfully, just like that Schult ran out of the room with great energy. Seeing off his small back, Rem then turned to Priscilla.
Priscilla was still resting her chin on her hand, set to resume reading the book once again.
Priscilla: [Shall you not go? If left to Schult alone, I am sure he shall forget the plug and much hot water shall be wasted.]
Rem: [I’ll help Schult-san. It’s just, what are you thinking?]
Priscilla: [Your skepticism is also a sign of your preconceived notions. Do you regard me as this world’s Observers, who can manipulate every event at will?]
Rem: [I wouldn’t go that far, but…]
Persuaded by facts and logic, the momentum of Rem’s questioning deflated.
Priscilla scoffed at Rem’s behavior, and continued, “Listen”,
Priscilla: [Everything in this world is made for my convenience. But that does not mean that everything shall follow mine will. Such tedium is not what I desire.]
Rem: [Having everything according to your will, is tedium?]
Priscilla: [Where is the point of facing tomorrow if everything that can happen is as written? Rem, do you desire a world where everything has been over since the day you were born?]
Upon being asked that by Priscilla, Rem shut her mouth in silence.
Priscilla’s words were again esoteric, so she barely comprehended the point of the conversation. To live one’s days as desired meant never encountering the new or the unknown.
And that, was undesirable for Priscilla.
Rem: [As someone who can’t perform many things properly, I will strongly disagree.]
Rem had seen Subaru off on his journey, remaining in the Fortress City beside Priscilla. Underlying this was a desire for the “Rem” that had been lost, and a search for a way or a chance to break free from her current inadequate self.
Priscilla’s way of enjoying what did not follow her wishes was incomprehensible to Rem, who suffered from being unable to do anything the way she wanted.
Even if that made Priscilla give up on her, regarding her as an uninteresting woman.
Priscilla: [I do not expect you to be like me, nor do I expect you to want the same thing. Do as you please.]
But Priscilla’s reaction to Rem, who was even prepared to speak out of her pathetic conviction, was unexpectedly soft.
Priscilla looked at Rem, eyes rounded in amazement, as if gazing at a helpless puppy,
Priscilla: [The world is beautiful just as it is.]
Priscilla’s quiet mutterings seemed to contain her true feelings without any compromise.
Posteriorly to thinking so, Rem dismissed the idea as ridiculous. Because if those were her true feelings without any compromise, they were far too grandiose.
Priscilla loved and cared for things far too grandiose.
Rem: [Caring for and cherishing is the exact opposite impression I get from Priscilla-san…]
Priscilla: [Did you say something?]
Rem: [No, nothing of importance…]
Rem shook her head loosely; the fuzziness in her chest had faded slightly.
Not all was clear, but that dark cloud that had just been there had disappeared. Indeed, Rem had just finished a step further into her self-analysis and――,
Schult: [W-w-w-wah~! Hot water, hot water is overflowing! I am drowning~!]
And so, they heard Schult’s urgent screams coming from the bathhouse of the mansion. Sure enough, Rem was reminded of Schult, the latter amidst an unexpected situation, and directed her face upwards.
Priscilla’s eyes meet hers, the former then jerking her white chin and commanding her, “Go”.
Rem: [I won’t move to your whim, Priscilla-san.]
Priscilla: [But you cannot ignore Schult’s screams. See, the victor is I.]
Rem’s resistance to at least not being at her mercy dissipated, as if ephemeral.
Because Schult’s safety was at stake, no further defense was raised.
――Priscilla’s advice, it had with certainty driven a wedge deep into Rem’s heart.
When things moved on a grand scale, they would pay no heed to every individual puny human.
With nary a worry for those who embroiled into it, they washed over the latter much like surging waves.
Rem believed she had experienced this first-hand.
Having woken up without memories, the current Rem’s memories started in an unfamiliar place, with an unfamiliar someone holding her arm.
Running from that boy, coming across him once more, being captured by many Imperial Soldiers after that, being rescued from within the smoke and flames, she now spent her days in this city just going with the flow.
So much so that Rem believed that “turbulence” was just the word for what she had been through.
――However, the fact that even that understanding of hers was too naive was something that Rem would soon be made aware of.
Rem’s brow creased due to Priscilla, who stood up after smoothly evading her hands.
Enveloped by warm vapor, Rem was in the mansion’s bathroom, wrapped in a bath towel. The principal reason for which Priscilla had requisitioned this mansion was the existence of this splendid bathroom.
A bath that you could fill with hot water, stretch your limbs in, and be completely submerged in, seemed to have been made on the design of the mansion’s owner. Nothing in the world could replace it.
While in actuality Rem would be allowed to bathe in it only after she had finished assisting Priscilla with her own bath, she’d had such an experience with it that she could even understand Priscilla’s feelings of wanting to hog it all for herself.
At any rate, during her bath in the bathhouse, Priscilla stood up gently, distancing herself from Rem’s hands which were washing her hair, and headed towards the bathroom’s window.
Rem: [Priscilla-san, I’m still in the process of washing your body so… Ah!]
What are you trying to do, that question of Rem’s seemingly fell on deaf ears, as Priscilla, her beautiful body generously exposed, opened the bathroom’s window.
Cold open air which could not compare to the hot steam entered the bathroom, and Rem unconsciously drew in her body. However, Priscilla’s sudden actions did not stop there.
She leaned her body over the open window, and continued out towards the balcony outside the bathroom.
Rem: [W-what are you doing!? Others will see you! No matter if this is the top floor, you can’t just…]
In a rush, grabbing onto the cane and a towel, Rem pursued Priscilla who had gone outside. Draping the towel over her slender shoulders, she admonished herself for believing herself adapted to her suddenness.
However, ignoring Rem’s introspection, Priscilla with her gaze turned towards the sky、
Priscilla: [――It is the sky.]
Rem: [The sky… We’re not so high up as to be there. Come on, before the water gets cold, let’s――]
Go back in; as she tried to pull on her arm, Rem’s movement was interrupted.
Priscilla turned around, having gently and smoothly pressed her finger onto Rem’s lips. In front of Rem whose eyes had unconsciously opened wide, Priscilla’s blood-red pupils swayed and、
Priscilla: [Look to the sky, Rem. ――It appears to be the end of this vacayshon.]
She did not understand that word, her tone had not allowed Rem to hold any doubt.
Her line of sight was simply carried up as if guided, and Rem too turned her eyes towards the sky Priscilla looked up at. Rem’s blue pupils focused so as to see the same thing Priscilla had seen.
However, the fact that she had definitely not failed to notice it, was something that she could not enthusiastically declare.
As for why――,
Above the balcony, overhead from Rem and Priscilla basking in the wind, in the sky that the overly big sun was shining upon, there was a black spot of light floating there, slowly approaching.
The black spot was a single one―― Nay, two, three, slowly multiplying; as their blurry shape became more and more distinct, Rem’s throat unwittingly released a gasp.
Their numbers increasing, the true identity of the approaching black spots was――,
Priscilla: [――Hurry, and tell those below to make ready weapons. A flock of winged dragons is no laughing matter.]
Priscilla’s advice becoming more pronounced with reality, was something Rem perceived with her skin, with her soul.
――At the same time, gazing at a city surrounded by tall walls from above, golden pupils narrowed.
Body entirely wrapped by the azure sky, traveling through a grand space like they owned it, an existence that cut through the wind flying next to the clouds―― This greatest of all the world’s creatures, a swarm of flying dragons.
???: [――The Fortress City of Guaral.]
Putting the target city’s name on their tongue, their seething, burning fighting spirit fired up the blood in their entire body.
Responding to that rising fighting spirit, the spirits and enthusiasm of the flying companions surrounding them increased. The sound of neighing mixed with the flapping of wings in the sky, as their anticipation for the hunting time drew near before their eyes escalated.
Whoever rebuked this as rashness, would be nothing but a shame to the hunters of the azure skies, the dragons.
Whoever did not have their blood boil from this expectation, was a coward without the qualifications to be adjacent to the white clouds.
???: [Understood. Let’s do our job properly, as the senile old man said.]
The appeal rising from below their feet was the expectation displayed towards the hunt from the one who’s back they borrowed.
On the back of a flying dragon flapping its wings, the small figure of a person with arms crossed expressed their understanding of that excitement.
Sky-blue hair that met at the shoulders, and golden eyes that shone brightly. The florid dress that wrapped that seemingly dainty figure did not express in the slightest the ferociousness and savageness of that existence.
At a glance, some could even describe it as a charming appearance. However, that was only till one laid eyes on the two black horns that rested atop that figure’s head.
Even in the Vollachian Empire, where horned races were not few, laying eyes upon black horns was something that seldom―― Nay, never should come to pass.
Because that was nothing if not proof of an existence that should not be.
???: [Everyone, are you ready?]
The figure with black horns that should not be, their call beckoned innumerable neighing―― the responses of the swarm of flying dragons, of the rulers of the sky, of the uncomeatable swarm of several hundred.
With the sun at their backs, crossing the blue sky, the embodiment of ruin advanced in droves.
A catastrophe should they swoop down, shouts and screams would reverb in the air. All life would be extinguished, vanishing to naught.
Strangely, at the same time a Great Disaster laid waste to a far-off city, a catastrophe in a different form approached the city protected by a fortress.
Before the curtain call of the absolute, inescapable, cruel hunt, that existence’s golden eyes―― those of Madelyn Eschart, narrowed, her cheeks contorting into a smile.
The Flying Dragon General, Ninth of the Nine Divine Generals, having been ordered to destroy the city, passed her judgment.
Madelyn: [Tremble in fear, try and flee. You all have nowhere to run. ――For I, the dragon, have come.]
So she spoke.