The Dragon Kingdom
The Chronicle of the Search for the Missing Boy II
“This request is reaaaaaaaally, reaaaaaaally important, so please listen closely. If you see anyone trying to cross the desert or approaching this tower, I need you to drive them away!” Emilia exclaimed.
“—Thou, who hath reached the top of the tower. Step forth onto the first floor, almighty petitioner.”
“Ah! And when I say, ‘drive them away’, I mean that you mustn’t hurt them. You have to be reaaally careful to be gentle when you’re driving them away. Can you do that for me?”
“—I, am Volcanica. In accordance with the ancient covenant, the will of thee who hath reached the top shall be questioned,” the Divine Dragon replied majestically, in complete contrast to Emilia, who was trying her best to get him to listen. His answer was a bit vague, and she wasn’t sure if her intentions had even gotten through to him or not.
Having been left behind at the Pleiades Watchtower, Emilia and the others had decided on a course of action, but in order to go through with it, the guardian of the tower’s—Volcanica’s—actions would be essential.
Finishing the tower’s Trials had resulted in the opening up of the Pleiades Watchtower and the Augria Sand Dunes. Each of them had served as a form of defense for the purpose of guarding the Witch’s shrine in the eastern end of the world map, so there was no way she could ignore the harmful effects that would result from those things losing their function.
For one, she suspected that the Witch Cult might race towards the shrine, aiming to revive the Witch of Envy. However, she couldn’t hesitate to act just because she was afraid of that.
The people she held dear had disappeared—so she needed to go search for Subaru and Rem.
“That’s why I wanted to ask Volcanica to do that…”
But Volcanica was spouting out the same words over and over again like he usually did.
Emilia, who had obtained the qualifications to become an overseer of the tower by completing all of the Trials, had a worried expression on her face, for the Divine Dragon had a habit of going back and forth between being normal and weird.
“—Thou, who hath reached the top of the tower. Step forth onto the first floor, almighty petitioner.”
While Emilia still seemed worried about what to do, Volcanica, who was right before her, moved slowly. The Divine Dragon’s azure form bent down and then he gently held out his right forefoot to her.
Emilia became wide-eyed due to that movement, and then a sharp talon on Volcanica’s forefoot began to shake, followed by a crack. A fragment of it then split off and flew into the air, which she instantly snatched away.
The talon fragment was beautiful; it was pure black.
And so, the reason why Volcanica did that was…
“So, I think this is Volcanica’s way of proving that a promise was made.”
After Emilia gave that answer, sticking out her chest and holding up the black talon for all to see, everyone looked at each other. She finally felt fulfilled now that she thought she had established a bond with Volcanica.
Anastasia stared intently at the fragment of the dragon’s talon in Emilia’s hand, let out a “Haaaah,” and then continued, “In other words, ya could call this somethin’ like a promissory note from Volcanica that he ain’t gonna attack anyone.”
“W-well… I guess you could say that. Right, Beatrice?” Emilia asked.
“Are you asking Betty, I wonder? Hm, well, I’m not entirely sure, but I think you could interpret it that way, in fact. Otherwise, I haven’t the faintest clue as to why he would do that, I suppose.”
Taking on Emilia’s question, Beatrice replied like so, her arms crossed. She gazed at the talon with her big, round eyes with their characteristic patterns showing, then lightly narrowed them. “As one would expect of the Divine Dragon, Volcanica, even a mere fragment of a talon is made up of an enormous quantity of mana, in fact. With this, the eyes of the dragon will perhaps even be able to distinguish it from a distance, I suppose.”
“O-oh, I see! Then Volcanica understands everything, just as I thought.”
Emilia sighed in relief at Beatrice’s positive-ish point of view, lightly patting her chest. However, having heard what Beatrice had just said, Julius raised his hand and said, “Please wait a moment.”
With a small amount of astonishment showing on his handsome face, he continued, “I cannot help but ask you about this, Miss Beatrice, but did you say that the Divine Dragon’s talons are made up of mana? So it’s not that they possess mana, but on the contrary…”
“Jeez… Explaining the origins of dragons to the people of this day and age would be a bit of a pain to do, in fact. To make a long story short, you can think of dragons as living beings that are like enormous masses of mana, I suppose.”
“‘To make a long story short’, huh… That’s easier said than done.”
Lips curled, Julius’s eyes widened at Beatrice’s explanation, and Ram muttered something as she closed one of her eyes. While she was stroking the scales of the ground dragon, Patrasche, who was next to her, she said, “For Ram, ground dragons…including Patrasche here, do not at all seem like masses of mana, however.”
“There’s a difference between a dragon (竜) and a Dragon (龍), in fact. We can go through the nitty-gritty details while we are crossing over the desert later, I suppose. Anyhow, what’s important is the fact that Volcanica’s talon functions like a right of passage of sorts.”
“Well… I have no objections to that. Fortunately, if we can get Volcanica to cooperate with us, we should be able to resolve many of the problems we are facing as well,” Echidna replied.
They all had mountains of questions for the tiny, yet knowledgeable Beatrice.
Though Beatrice really enjoyed teaching others to the point of being annoyingly helpful sometimes, and though Emilia found it rather charming how everyone was currently surrounding her, Beatrice had made a valid point.
What was truly important now was that Volcanica was going to guard the tower. And the proof that he would take on that duty was the talon fragment he had given to Emilia.
“And with the Divine Dragon’s talon, as well as Meili, gettin’ through the Augria Sand Dunes should be possible. So I guess we’ll be able ta convince the kingdom no matter what,” Anastasia added.
“You’ll help us with this as well, right, Ms. Anastasia?”
“I’ve already stuck with y’all up ‘til this point, and I guess I was able to wake up without any issues thanks to Meili’s help, right? So I’m definitely gonna pay y’all back for that, or I would feel ill at ease,” Anastasia obliged with a graceful smile. Emilia nodded in response to her answer, then turned in the direction of Meili, whose eyes had turned red.
Before they had obtained Volcanica’s talon, they’d had a serious discussion about how Meili would be treated and how she would atone for what she’d done in the past, and it looked like the proposal they’d made for that purpose would finally be put into practice.
“That’s just wonderful, Meili.”
“I-I wasn’t really expecting much. That’s why I wouldn’t feel down even if it didn’t go so well. Actually, good for you, Miss.”
“Yes, it really is. I’m just reaaally glad everything worked out.”
Even if Meili might have not felt an ounce of anxiety, Emilia had been quite worried about whether her proposal would work out or not.
She had said quite a few things in a heroic fashion, so she didn’t want to disappoint her if it didn’t work out.
For one reason or another, when Meili heard Emilia’s reply, she let out a groan. “Ugh…”
“It would be quite a blunder to think such an expression would get across to Emilia, I suppose. You’ve been rather careless, so it’s about time you learned how to get along with her, in fact.”
“Right, I completely agree. Otherwise, you’ll be swayed by her until the end of your days!” Ram added.
“……I got it, alright! Really, dealing with her is such a pain in the butt though, isn’t it?”
“Um, are you guys perhaps talking about me?” Emilia asked.
Beatrice, Ram, and Meili were all having a little chat with each other while taking glances at Emilia, but she had no clue what they were talking about.
Anyhow… “Now that our anxieties about the future have been alleviated, let us focus on resolving the issue we are now facing… Which would be searching for Subaru and Miss Rem, who both went missing, don’t you think?”
“For sure. My amazing knight ain’t the only one on pins n’ needles about this, so we gotta do something about it.” Anastasia began the process of bringing the discussion to an end, clapping her hands in front of her chest. As far as what she had said, there were no disagreements from Emilia and the others.
If the Divine Dragon would guard the Pleiades Watchtower and the Augria Sand Dunes for them, then they could leave them in his capable hands, and Emilia and company could focus on searching for Subaru and Rem.
Therefore… “The first thing we need to do is go back to the mansion and talk with Roswaal and the others.”
“—Ohhh myyy, now whoooo might youuu beee?”
After traveling for a long, long time, Emilia and company finally made it back to the familiar-looking mansion.
However, what they received upon exiting the dragon-drawn carriage was an unexpected greeting from a man sporting clownish clothing and white makeup applied to his face.
Emilia gasped upon hearing the words of the man—Roswaal—who had scrunched up his finely-shaped eyebrows and craned his neck.
“Huh! Roswaal… It can’t be, you don’t remember me…”
“What should I do? I was sooo sure that everything was fine since everyone could remember me, but…”
Emilia went into a state of panic when Roswaal scrunched up his eyebrows and looked like he was at a loss. She had already been forgotten by everyone once when her Name was snatched away by Gluttony.
Though it had only been for a short while, a powerful feeling of anxiousness overcame her when she felt like she had been forgotten by the world again.
On the other hand, Emilia thought about how amazing Julius was for not crying, seeing as he was suffering from that very thing, and imagined how dreadful it was to be stuck in that state for an indefinite amount of time.
First of all, if Roswaal really has forgotten who I am, then I won’t be able to borrow his help for the sake of saving Subaru and Rem to begin with…
In front of Emilia, who was in a deep state of pandemonium, Roswaal suddenly spread his arms and uttered that.
Emilia still didn’t seem to be able to follow what was going on, so Roswaal repeated the words again, “Becaaause,” and continued, “I was just kidding, it was a joke. I didn’t forget about you or any such thing, Lady Emilia; indeeeed I did not. It was just a bit of a practical joke… Oopsies!”
“That ‘joke’ wasn’t funny at all, I suppose!” Roared Beatrice at the joking Roswaal as she stood up. As she yelled at him, she gathered up her luggage on the dragon-drawn carriage and threw it at him.
Roswaal casually caught it and turned his neck. “Ohhh myyy, there’s no neeed to beee so aaaangry. I already received the letter you sent from Mirula, you seeee. So I understand your situation.”
“I-i-i-in that case, then you must really be out of your damn mind, in fact…! How do you think Betty and everyone else feels after dealing with the tower and the desert…!”
“I thought it’d be good to eaaaase your hearts a little with that because I knew just how difficult your journey was, you seeee. Nooo, it was my mistake, my mistake.”
Beatrice had protested with her face turning crimson, but Roswaal remained unperturbed.
Emilia, however, was just glad that Roswaal hadn’t forgotten who she was. Of course, I’m still angry at him because of his joke, though.
“—Master Roswaal,” said Ram to Roswaal from behind Emilia and everyone else. Roswaal closed one of his eyes as she stepped forward, gazing in her direction with his blue eye.
There were clearly complex emotions silently coming out from Roswaal’s eye.
“It looks like you’ve done something raaaather reckless, Ram.”
“I only did what I needed to do. It’s simply that I wanted to help Lady Emilia and Miss Beatrice no matter…”
“It seems that your body took on quite a heavy burden. I see. I’ll have a look at you later.”
“Yes, and kindly make it just the two of us.”
“…Caaan we at least let Frederica come along?”
“Kindly make it just the two of us.”
Ram asserted her dominance over Roswaal, winning him over with her forceful appeal. “I understand, I understand,” Roswaal relented. As one would expect, Ram was strong against Roswaal, and Petra was a rather powerful ally in that regard as well.
Realizing that fact once more, Emilia called out to him, “Roswaal,” and continued, “I’ll have Petra and Ram give you a good scolding later for the bad joke from before, but you read the letter, right?”
“Indeeeed, I have read it. I was increeedibly astonished to hear that the Divine Dragon, Volcanica, is at the Pleiades Watchtower.”
“Yeah. He was reaaaally big, too.”
“The most surprisin’ thing there probably wasn’t that, though…”
Emilia and Roswaal nodded at one another, and Anastasia couldn’t help but smile wryly after listening to their conversation.
Anastasia, Julius, and Echidona had all come along on the dragon-drawn carriage to Roswaal’s mansion.
I guess they want to join up with their ally, the Iron Fang, then.
“Don’t ya worry ‘bout that. We’ll reunite with my little ones soon. I sent a letter out just like Miss Emilia here, so they should be comin’ ta pick us up after a while.”
“Ummm, so what you mean is that they’re going to come here, right?” Emilia asked.
“As long as that’s not a problem for ya, of course.”
“Oh, definitely not, it’s not a problem at all.”
Emilia couldn’t help but press her hands together in front of her chest when she heard the proposal of Anastasia, who had closed one of her eyes.
Originally, whether Anastasia and her group would work with them to search for Subaru and Rem or not depended entirely on how they felt about it.
When they made it through the desert safely, Emilia wouldn’t have been surprised if they had decided to withdraw when they had the option to return home, so when they said they would continue to work with them, she was really happy about that.
“Though I am lacking, please allow me to proffer my assistance to you. After all, if I cannot confirm the safety of Subaru and Miss Rem after everything that has happened, I would remain unsettled,” Julius said.
“And I am of the same opinion. However, that’s what we decided on our own without confirming it with the lord of the manor,” Echidona added.
“No need to worry about that. We won’t allow Roswaal to say no, I suppose. He isn’t qualified enough to say something like that, in fact.”
After Julius and Echidona offered their assistance, Beatrice consented to it. Having been completely ignored in the decision-making process, Roswaal could only smile wryly, but his silence was probably his way of showing that he had no objections.
Not being able to go hard on Beatrice was one of Roswaal’s weaknesses, after all. In any case, Roswaal assenting to it and Anastasia and co. promising to work with them were both great news.
“Now all that’s left is to make sure Subaru and Rem are safe… Roswaal, about them…”
“—Yes, I have been paaaaying close attention to it. Now, it is very likely that they were transported to the south of the Vollaaachian Empire.”
“I see… Do you know of a way to get there, Roswaal?”
“As a matter of fact, the Vollachian Empire is very difficult to get into, even for me, you seee.” Smoothing down his indigo-colored hair, Roswaal gently shrugged his shoulders.
Emilia responded to him with a “Is that so?” with widened eyes.
“There are sky dragons over there… That is to say that they have quite a lot of aerial firepower, you seee. Therefore, if I were to fly into the country, it’s very likely that they would confront me.”
“Then, while the sky dragons are chasing after Roswaal, Betty and the others can waltz on in without a care in the world, I suppose.”
“Oh myyy, now that wouuuld be a good idea, but I’ll end up dying, you seeee.”
Roswaal smiled bitterly and put his hand on Beatrice’s head, rejecting her idea. Emilia gave Beatrice, who had shaken off his hand, a sidelong glance, thinking that that strategy was no good.
I can’t just sacrifice someone for the sake of saving Subaru. If I did that, Subaru would probably be bothered by it, and I wouldn’t be able to rejoice, either.
“It’ll be no good if I can’t greet Subaru and Rem properly with a smile. And to do that, I’d like to ask for your help.”
“Don’tcha worry yourself about that. That’s why I’m here! As the president of the Hoshin Company, I’ll do my very best ta help ya.”
“Wow, thank you so much!”
Anastasia smiled in response to Emilia’s resolute words. The others also looked as if they were facing the same problem with that same feeling.
As far as the rest were concerned… “Otto and the others will come back from Priestella soon. Let’s borrow their wisdom to come up with a plaaan to bring Subaru aaaand Rem back.”
The fire of determination to work together for the purpose of saving Subaru, who had been lost in a distant foreign land, was burning within them.