—Aah, the heroic and invincible dragon knight has returned to the world with a valiant roar.
However, their pack is in the state of poverty.
Allies short, and lacking in goods.
There’s no money, their financial state with reds of a burning carriage.
—The poet Sharon has heard about the rumors at the small east country of Ludo.
The people of Ludo are hungering because of the evil Emperor, Yuandart!!
The Empire soldiers blockaded the national borders, and the trading paths for that land closed.
Sharon sings: brave wings, save the country of the queen.
“In the end, Captain, we are going to be tricked by Sharon again?”
A shaved head brown skinned giant race with a very muscular build…that’s the straightest way to describe the giant called Gandalla.
‘Loveable idiots that take more pride in their physical strength than in their intelligence’, that’s the giants…or at least the wrong impression that has been spreading like a disease in the human society, but if you were to touch into the intelligence of this man called Gandalla, you would notice that it is just a misconception.
Giants are an intelligent and docile race. They are normally sent to battle or made slaves, so a bad image was created.
At any rate, Gandalla is…the most normal and logical person within the Banjar Mercenaries. He understands ancient elf language, and he is dexterous with his fingers. He reads more books than any men, and he would recommend me philosophy books written by people of ancient times.
This man has described our current situation in brief words.
That’s right, we will be ‘tricked by Sharon again’.
…I have been acquainted with Sharon for a long time. He hasn’t directed malice towards me once, and he probably won’t even till death.
In perilous times, he is a rare to come by friend. However, even if he is good as a friend, that doesn’t mean he is also a good business partner.
“…Can’t be helped. There’s no big war for a while, and we don’t have money.” (Solje)
“But the jobs he brings are always weird, you know?” (Gandalla)
“…Sound argument. It is a sound argument indeed, Gandalla. However, we need the money.” (Solje)
—Seriously, when I returned to one of the group’s hideouts after a while, I got surprised. It seems like a week ago, lightning struck…and the hideout ended up burning.
My old man, that turned to ashes an army of skeletons crawling out from the depths of hell and became a song, had a habit of saying: ‘All creation will one day have its end’. Meaning that objects are short-lived.
When I look at the hideout that has become cinders, those words of his really do resonate in me.
Old man, you are incredible. What you said was true. Assets and countries; they truly can disappear so easily.
Our assets that were hidden in the basement and the ceiling had become ashes. It is an unbelievable amount of damage…well, not really. We are not prosperous to begin with after all.
Even so, it was a home for our small mercenary group of 13 people and one animal. But now it is completely gone, and we don’t even have a place to open a meeting.
Don’t know if to call it fortunate, but we are a group of people that don’t really mind living in open air anyways. They are all doing so!
…I do say that, but we can’t continue like this. This truly is no good…we are having a lifestyle like that of nomads here.
I want to at least have a roof and walls to endure the rain and winds… Have the very minimum of a civilized lifestyle.
The mercenaries in our place are, in a sense, problematic in terms of their personalities and race. It is not as if they can enter any mercenary group.
I don’t know at all if that’s a good thing, but thanks to that, there’s no people leaving yet. Maybe because most of them are demi-humans?
Anyways, it does help a lot.
“…Cause you know, we don’t even have a hideout. Even though we are not in the middle of work, we are living in a tent outside… This is already on the level where there might even be people rebelling here.” (Solje)
“We love Captain, you know? Moreover, we know your strength. We won’t rebel.” (Gandalla)
“Is that your way of saying I am pressuring them with power?” (Solje)
“No, your very way of being has built loyalty with everyone.” (Gandalla)
“…That so? Thanks. But I can’t get pampered by such goodwill. I want to make this group bigger and stronger.” (Solje)
“…For the sake of overthrowing the Emperor, Yuandart?” (Gandalla)
“Do I look like a dreamer?” (Solje)
“No. Such beautiful word doesn’t suit you.” (Gandalla)
…Hm? Is he badmouthing me? But Gandalla is smiling though.
Maybe it was a compliment in his eyes? …Is it because he is better in conversations? There’s times when I just can’t catch the undertones of his words. Well, I know plenty well that he is a good guy though.
“Meaning that I am a man that can get the job done?” (Solje)
“Yeah, I believe that’s the case. As long as you are blessed with the opportunity, you can achieve anything. You did get your wings back as well, after all.” (Gandalla)
Gandalla grins as he looks up at Zephyr who is flying high up in the sky.
“That’s still a child, right? Fumu fumu. Once he is an adult, who knows how strong it will be…!” (Gandalla)
“Yeah, Zephyr is a child born from an Endurance Egg after all. A child birthed in the times when the dragons feel like their pack is at risk.” (Solje)
“An Endurance Egg. In other words, he was sleeping in its egg for several decades?” (Gandalla)
“I don’t know the exact number. Might have been close to a century. If the pack wasn’t in a devastating state in terms of numbers, he may have still been sleeping inside his egg.” (Solje)
“Hooh. Even when inside the egg, it still can react to the numbers of their people?” (Gandalla)
“Yeah, the crest edged in the surface of their egg makes it so that they can perceive that.” (Solje)
“I see, that’s interesting… So it is a ‘trump card’ used to avoid the extinction of their pack, huh. Meaning that, it is an individual that will only be born when the numbers have dwindled way too much, and contributes to the preservation of the pack?” (Gandalla)
“That’s how it is.” (Solje)
“What a rational race. However…” (Gandalla)
“What’s the matter?” (Solje)
“…How is it ‘different’? If it is for the sake of preserving the pack, it means that it is a ‘special one’, right? Or is it simply an ‘insurance’ in order to maintain the numbers.” (Gandalla)
…Intelligent people have high curiosity. When I explained to Riel what an Endurance Egg was, she immediately fell asleep, you know? ‘Yeah, I get it’, that’s the phrase women use to sever men’s conversation of their hobbies.
Oh well, that’s fine. Men’s passion transmits better to a giant old man than an elf girl! Talking about knowledge regarding dragons to a person is a rare occurrence. I will give you the honor of listening to it!!
“Listen well, Zephyr is no ‘insurance’. It is a ‘special one’.” (Solje)
“As I thought. Captain seemed to be happy, so I assumed so. And, special in what way?” (Gandalla)
“You probably already have a general idea. Children of an Endurance Egg are all –without exception- strong.” (Solje)
“I see. Like a ‘Guardian’ that gets rid of the ‘enemies’ that are reducing the pack’s numbers?” (Gandalla)
“You could say that. But in essence…” (Solje)
“…A ‘Destroyer’?” (Gandalla)
This damn detective. He really did get it right. Well, a being that was made for the very sake of saving their pack from danger would in no way be a peaceful one.
“That’s right. An Endurance Egg child has both strength and viciousness. In the first place, the only ones who can bring destruction to a pack of dragons is a dragon.” (Solje)
“I get it, so it is a being that can kill even ‘brethren’?” (Gandalla)
“Yeah, because of their high desire for conflict, they won’t flinch on killing their own. Or rather, they would gleefully kill other dragons. Zephyr is, in essence, a Dragon Eater.” (Solje)
“…Dragon Eater… Because of that, they normally don’t exist. No, they shouldn’t exist. If they were a commonality…it might instead destroy the pack.” (Gandalla)
“That’s how it is. It is the logic of fight poison with poison.” (Solje)
“…I now understand the reasoning behind it. However, that Zephyr that plays together with Captain and Riel, doesn’t fit that image in my eyes… It doesn’t seem to be directing any hostility towards me either.” (Gandalla)
This is my chance to throw a question to this bookworm.
“Why do you think that is?” (Solje)
“…Right…he was calling Captain ‘Father’ and Riel ‘Mother’, so……” (Gandalla)
“O-Oi, y-you…you know dragon tongue?!” (Solje)
“No. The nuance in the words is similar to that of the ancient northern dwarf race language, so I made a wild guess. Looks like I wasn’t wrong.” (Gandalla)
“N-No, you are not. Uhm…keep it a secret from Riel, okay? I feel like she might get angry.” (Solje)
“Yeah, I don’t mind.” (Gandalla)
The intelligent giant makes a silent smile.
Uwaa, he now has a weakness of mine in his hand. While looking at me depressed, Gandalla continued to answer my question from before.
“…This may be a bit humiliating, but…Zephyr probably doesn’t feel enough strength in us to consider us ‘enemies’.” (Gandalla)
Gandalla, who possesses physical strength that tops even within the giants, narrows his eyes as he looks at the dragon playing in the sky. He is fighting with Zephyr inside his mind. Gandalla is without a doubt one of the leading fighters in the world, but fighting one on one against a flying dragon would be reckless.
“…I can’t think of a way…to beat him alone. Captain, you are incredible. Are you telling me you defeated that with only sword and magic?” (Gandalla)
“I am a dragon knight. I know more about dragons than anyone else. If I didn’t, I would be dead and be a lump of meat! Zephyr is strong, I’ll have ya know!!” (Solje)
“Fufufu. Saying something so ominous with such a happy expression.” (Gandalla)
“…Well, dragon knights are soft on dragons.” (Solje)
That’s right. Even if I had been killed, I wouldn’t have hated him. I would be happy instead. Thinking ‘how great that a strong boy has been born’. I would have probably only thought that.
“But…him thinking that the members of this group are ‘weak’ will most likely not last long.” (Solje)
“Are we going to be hated by Zephyr?” (Gandalla)
“No, I won’t let that happen. I will teach him that the comrades here are his ‘pack’.” (Solje)
“Glad to hear that. I don’t want to become his enemy after all.” (Solje)
“Yeah. But once he learns about the battlefield of people, his way of thinking will most likely change. Gandalla, Riel…and Sharon Doche-kun. If you three were to fight, you could defeat even Zephyr, right? Sharon might die though.” (Solje)
Bring Zephyr down from the sky with Riel’s thunder god, and with Sharon’s poison and makeshift explosives, together with the spear of Gandalla clad in enhancement magic, you could deal effective damage against Zephyr.
Riel can evade a number of Zephyr’s attacks with her speed, and there’s no doubt Gandalla can endure one or two fire breaths. Sharon is a plain human, so he would die… He is not weak, but it is not as if he is really strong.
“Yeah, I did think about a few plans.” (Gandalla)
“But Zephyr can’t think of them yet. That’s how green he is right now. That’s why…well, I do think this job will serve him as good experience.” (Solje)
“Are you talking about the request of Sharon?” (Gandalla)
“Yeah. I was thinking that this might be a good job of getting him acquainted with his wings before having him fight with things like bows and throwing spears.” (Solje)
“…I see. If Captain has his own thoughts about it, I won’t object. I won’t, that is.” (Gandalla)
“…Are the other members not going to participate?” (Solje)
“The repairs of the hideout, as well as the maintenance and sale of the goods that Captain looted. Ah, the armor that doesn’t seem like it will be of good use, we can melt them and turn them into ingots. Wouldn’t it be good to have the members not participating do those tasks instead?” (Gandalla)
As expected of my tactician. He thinks up plans that are a lot better than mine in an instant, so he is reliable. But hearing Gandalla, a question popped up.
“Hey, the request of Sharon is worse than those plain tasks?” (Solje)
“Yeah, well, who knows how many times we have been driven to the verge of death.” (Gandalla)
“…That’s true…” (Solje)
There was a time when we were going to subjugate some bandits and went to a cave, but it ended up being the nest of a hydra. The simple job of pursuing a horse thief ended up with us being attacked by a chimera. We were caught up in a lot of enjoyable and dangerous adventures.
“Honestly speaking, I had fun though…” (Solje)
“That might be the case for a dragon knight of the Strauss, but people with common sense like us are not the same.” (Gandalla)
“My family is being hella bad-mouthed here…!” (Solje)
“Also, Sharon is scaring the female members, you know?” (Gandalla)
“Aah, he asks a whole lot about love experiences and their stories between men after all…saying that he is collecting data.” (Solje)
“He asks them about their favorite sex positions. He is an unbelievable pervert.” (Gandalla)
“I remember now… He asked something unbelievable from Riel.” (Solje)
‘What would be your favorite position when you have your first time with Solje?’, ‘Do you want to be loved fierily like fire’, ‘Or would you prefer to be embraced normally as he whispers you his love into your ears?’.
“…Yeah, that guy had an arrow shot to his thigh… It seems like he wants to write a love story, but the fact that he asks things like that to women already makes him have no qualifications to write love stories at all!!” (Solje)
“Moreover, he actually doesn’t have any bad intentions which makes it worse. Can’t laugh at those, contrary to when it is with Captain.” (Gandalla)
Eh eh? I am being told something I didn’t expect.
“Wait, I am being laughed at?” (Solje)
“Yeah. The comedy routine you have with Riel is decently funny, you know.” (Gandalla)
“We are not doing a comedy routine. I just sexually harass her a little bit, and get almost killed.” (Solje)
“That’s a comedy.” (Gandalla)
“…I-I see. From a third person’s perspective, that looks the same as the Sharon Comedies? No way…” (Solje)
The moments when Sharon gentlemanly says sexual harassing statements with a refreshing attitude and no bad intentions, and end up getting punched by the woman, we call them Sharon Comedies.
“It is on that same level…? It is a bit different, don’t you think? Riel is simply a tsundere.” (Solje)
“And so, have you done it with Riel?” (Gandalla)
Gandalla uses a low tone of voice.
It catches me off-guard when it comes all of a sudden. It is a talk between two grown adults. It is normal to suddenly have erotic talks suddenly thrown into the conversation, but there are times when I react slowly to the surprise attacks of his ero talks. It makes me realize my lack of conversational skills.
“Oi oi, Gandalla, don’t go saying stuff that resemble Sharon…” (Solje)
“You are being called Doje and Maje by a child… I thought your relationship had deepened.” (Gandalla)
“Zephyr is not a child we made, you know?” (Solje)
“Figures. If we add the time he was an egg, he is a lot older than you two.” (Gandalla)
Gandalla is playing with me.
But well, right, I did have progress with Riel.
“…Well, regarding Riel, I have mostly won her over.” (Solje)
“Hehehe, next time, I think there’s a 90% possibility I can do it with her.” (Solje)
“Hoh, that’s something worthy of celebration. Isn’t that great, Riel?” (Gandalla)
I have once again fallen in the trap of the tactician. An elf has a great sense of hearing. Especially my verbal slips, she won’t let a single one of them escape!
…Riel Harvel, who was carrying a basket filled with laundry, is walking a straight line towards us from a slightly faraway location.
Her long silver hair was tied in a ponytail to make it so that it doesn’t get in the way of the domestic chores, and she is wearing an apron dress. She truly looks like a homely beauty today, but…her face is scary! Ah, she put down the laundry basket!
And she is activating a lightning magic circle in both of her hands!!
“Solje Strauss, looks like you are saying something interesting?” (Riel)
“…Oi, is this a comedy?!” (Solje)
“Right, this is a SolRiel Comedy.” (Gandalla)
Gandalla! My confidant has abandoned me and escaped to a safe-looking spot! At that distance, Gandalla can avoid being caught in it. Damn it that shaved head has a calm face…!
“Don’t mix my name with his, Gandalla!!” (Riel)
“Haah… But you might become Riel Strauss in a near future. Wouldn’t be bad to get used to having your names mixed by now, you know.” (Gandalla)
“W-W-Who’s Riel Straaaaaussssssss?!” (Riel)
The anger of Riel had become a spell. A black cloud suddenly formed in the blue sky, and in the next instant, a rain of lightning attacks me.
(It hurt a lot, but I have endured it.)
“…Maje’s magic, incredible!! Doje, so tough!!” (Zephyr)
My dragon was happy overhead. He praised me for receiving lightnings and surviving. Getting praised by a dragon. That’s nice…makes a grin appear on my face.
“…Oh? I have returned after a while, and I am already greeted with a couple fight?”
A fresh voice that travels well resonated in the place.
A blonde haired blue eyed young man riding a white horse arrived at the place of our hideout.
“Ugh! Sharon Doche!!” (Riel)
Riel made a displeased expression. She is normally a cool girl, so it is rare to see her show any strong emotions, but…well, that’s the kind of man Sharon is.
“That’s not good, Riel. A young dragon is looking. Violence between the family is not good.” (Sharon)
“It is not violence between family!!” (Riel)
“Ah, right. It is the love whip, huh?” (Sharon)
“I see. The love of elves is a fiery one. And it is also a binding one.” (Sharon)
Sharon gracefully jumps down from his horse. His every move being noble-like pisses me off. Anyone can easily tell he is a handsome man, and he would normally be someone that would be popular with the girls, but…as expected of Sharon, there’s no signs of that being the case.
Taking out his Data Memo no.78 from his pocket, he approaches Riel with pencil in hand.
“Now then, can you please tell me your love story? What kind of hidden sexual meaning does lightning have with elves?” (Sharon)
“G-Get away! Don’t come any closer!!” (Riel)
Riel ran away and hides behind my back. Eh? Am I sandwiched between two problematic individuals? Isn’t this position dangerous?
“I see! It must be a courting gesture, right?! After raining lightnings on your partner, you approach the unmoving man and… I see, that’s your way of showing your sexual impulses!! Solje!! Speak your love to her and fulfill her desires at once!!” (Sharon)
“As I said, Riel-chan doesn’t want her first experience to be outdoors.” (Solje)
“H-Hey, Solje!!” (Riel)
“I see. Since elves have deep respect to the forest, I thought they didn’t have anything against doing it outside. Yes, this is a nice reference. Thanks, you two. The result of this data will bring about more reality to my novel.” (Sharon)
“…Y-You guuuuyss…!!” (Riel)
Riel’s face was bursting. And then, she probably couldn’t endure it anymore, she dashed off at full speed from here!! And after running for a while, she looks back. Ooh, that tsundere is quite angry.
“…H-Humans should…!! Humans should just burn and dieeeeee!!” (Riel)
After the girl shouted that, she whistled with her fingers.
“…What’s that?” (Solje)
“Did she call the forest animals? I see, she must want to show it off to the animals as well. The sight of Solje and herself loving each other! Fufu, ain’t that cute, just like a fairytale.” (Sharon)
“…No, it is definitely not that. Or more like, Sharon, this is bad. You might die.” (Solje)
“Eh? …Ah, I see. As a mother, she can order the dragon, right?” (Sharon)
Zephyr released a fire breath at Sharon and I from up in the sky. The spiral of fire is coming at me and the idiot…or more like…
“Sharon, you also know ancient dwarf language?” (Solje)
“Of course I do. Learning foreign languages is a basic of poets.” (Sharon)
“…Keep it a secret from Riel, okay?” (Solje)
“I don’t mind. But…the fire of a dragon, huh. I am frail, so will I be able to survive?” (Sharon)
“…You are our source of income this time around, so I will protect you!! Wind!!” (Solje)
I use magic to call wind, and disperse the fire of Zephyr!! The fire scatters from overhead, and didn’t reach the ground.
“Beautiful!! It was like fireworks!!” (Sharon)
“…You were about to bathe in the fire of a dragon, and yet managed to say something like that. I don’t think any other brave warrior has done the same.” (Solje)
“Ahahahaha!! Doje, you are good!!” (Zephyr)
“…Really, you put that much mana into a comedy routine, so I would say it is quite the comedy, you know.” (Gandalla)
My adjutant Gandalla had at some point in time returned to my side as he said that.
“…I want to deny it, but you have a point… We might be amusing?” (Solje)
“Solje, I think love is always a comedy, you know?” (Sharon)
Sharon Doche says this with a refreshing smile.
“Also, Doje means Esteemed Father in northern dwarf tongue, and my family name, Doche, means plover.” (Sharon)
“…That so. Looks like I have obtained more unnecessary knowledge.” (Solje)
Aah, am I seriously going to be accepting a request from this guy?
…Even though it hasn’t even been 5 minutes since we reunited, we were almost burned to death by Zephyr. Of course everyone would stay a safe distance away from him. If you were to be killed with zero evil intent, it would be embarrassing to haunt him as a ghost.
“…Gandalla, you are coming with us, right?” (Solje)
“Yeah, I am your adjutant after all.” (Gandalla)
“Thank you! You will be a great help…!” (Solje)
“Also, I think Mia will be coming too.” (Gandalla)
“Really? …I am grateful for that, but she doesn’t have physical strength, so she isn’t suited for carrying luggage, you know?” (Solje)
“Cortes trained her in scouting and assassination. She is all-purpose.” (Gandalla)
“I know. I did teach her a couple of things myself after all.” (Solje)
“She is a comrade, but she is also your ‘protegee’. Try to work together with her every now and then.” (Gandalla)
“I thought a Cait-Sith doesn’t mind those kind of things though? …Well, fine. Ooooooiiiii!! Miaaaaaaaa!! Are you coming along in our jooooob?!” (Solje)
I shouted at the cat-eared girl that is riding the back of Zephyr.
Mia jumps off from the back of Zephyr?! Zephyr also opened his mouth wide at the sudden happening.
“CAPTAAAAIINNNN, CATCH MEEEEEEE!!” (Mia)
“UOOOOHHH?! Don’t jump off! Are you an idiot?!!” (Solje)
The girl spread out her arms and legs as she fell, and I stretched out my arms and catch her!!
Even though she is 40 kg light, it was quite the impact. But she makes nice movements as always, that Mia Mar. The moment she fell into my arms, she turned her body and hugged me, putting her weight onto me. She probably didn’t feel much pain at all. She placed her weight onto my legs after all.
“Nyahaha! As expected of Solje-onichaaaan!!” (Mia)
Mia was bursting out in laughter.
The ears coming out from her black hair were ones characteristic of a Cait Sith beastkin. She is only 13 years old, but in terms of assassination and scouting, she is of the highest degree.
“It is fine since I was here, but when I am not, you can’t do something like that, okay?” (Solje)
“Okay, got it got it. Thank you for catching me~.” (Mia)
My protegee kissed me in the cheek. Haha, is that her way of thanking me?
“Oya, Mia Mar-kun, you are as energetic as ever.” (Sharon)
Sharon greets my protegee with a refreshing smile.
“Ah, Poet-san, have your preparations for the job finished?” (Mia)
Mia still maintained her sunshine smile towards someone as unagreeable as Sharon.
…Ah, I see. I now understand the reason for this personnel selection.
An actual brat is outside the hemisphere of this perverted poet. Sharon doesn’t seem to look much at Mia since he most likely sees her as a child, and Mia hasn’t been victim of the sexual harassing questions of Sharon, so the relationship between the two isn’t bad.
“That’s right. That’s why I came to get you guys. Let’s do our best in helping out Solje-oniichan, okay?” (Sharon)
“Yes, I will! Onii-chan, rely on me, okay?!” (Mia)
“…Yeah, do your best without overexerting, okay?” (Solje)
…Am I going crazy here? I see Cecil in Mia. My already dead little sister. My pitiful Cecil that died when she was 7… She was quite attached to me, and yet, I am seeing that shadow of her in Mia.
We are playing siblings here.
At some point in time it had turned out this way, and the solace that this relationship brings wasn’t something I could throw away so easily. Even though she is not Cecil…
I put my dark haired little sister on the ground, and place my hand on her head. She is only 140cm, so it is easy to place my hand on her head. She is just so cute I end up wanting to pet her.
“Ehehe, I am being praised~.” (Mia)
“Yeah. Mia is a good girl that helps out in our work after all.” (Solje)
“Yup yup, you two look like real siblings. How soothing.” (Sharon)