——Breaking through the blowing ice.
The black wings charging through the blizzard.
Those wings are strong, and the dragon knight shows his fangs while holding his little sister in his arms.
A face filled with happiness, those fangs of his celebrating the growth of the wings.
——Mia looks through the goggles and smiles at what she sees at the end of her vision.
Her lips shaping into a smile.
The assassin that will one day become the strongest female dragon knight licks her lips.
The wings that she will one day meet will cut through even tornadoes.
——This was a harsh first flight for Jean, learning the fierceness of the sky by a hundred.
The howling wind was violence itself.
I don’t understand why these siblings are bursting in laughter.
Let’s try laughing, to get closer to Captain; but even though I tried to, it ended in a cramped smile.
——Can the wings of Zephyr be able to conquer the storm that he is challenging?
A foolish question; I am the grandson of Ares, the dark eternal wind!!
The more the wind batters the innocent wings, the more it learns about wounds, and raises the pain.
But it is because those are present, that the taste of victory is more the better!
“Hahahahaha!! This is a nice storm, isn’t that right, Zephyr?!” (Solje)
“Yeah! It makes it worth defeating!!” (Zephyr)
He is showing his fangs and placing even more strength to his wings.
His overflowing fighting spirit is turning into heat, and the back of the dragon was as hot as fire. The Negler Deer coat that Loroka gave us was doing an excellent job. Seriously, what kind of monster is it?
“Mia, are you okay?” (Solje)
“Yeah, thanks to the snow, I can see the wind!! I feel like I can grasp something if I use this moment!!” (Mia)
“Fufu, as I thought, you really do have the talent for dragon riding.” (Solje)
“More than Riel?” (Mia)
“Yeah. Not only that, if it is in terms of dragon knight talent alone, you might be higher than even my brothers.” (Solje)
“Really?! Alriiiiight! Zephyr! Search for my dragoooon!!” (Mia)
“Okay! One day!!” (Zephyr)
…Seriously, to see a storm and laugh out loud at it? That’s honestly the thought pattern of a Strauss. Mia might have been born to be my sister.
I tightly hug Mia who is inside my arms.
“Nyahahaha! I am being sexually harassed! I am going to get pregnant~♪.” (Mia)
“False accusation. This is familiar love.” (Solje)
I feel an unsettling presence from my back. I was scared to ask, but I still do.
“…Jean, you gonna barf?” (Solje)
“…S-Sorry…I’ll endure it.” (Jean)
“O-Okay. We should be able to see a prairie if we fly a bit further. Let’s take a break there.” (Solje)
“Eh? I still want to play with the blizzard.” (Mia)
“I am the one who will be getting the full brunt of Jean’s barf, you know?” (Solje)
“Jean, if you barf, I’ll kill you, okay? The only ones allowed to dirty Onii-chan are Riel, Loroka, and I.” (Mia)
Wow. Mia’s love towards me is a bit abnormal? …But I am a little moved. She would go as far as killing Jean if it is for me. That’s awesome.
Aah, no good. I am also a serious case. My siscon has gotten worse because of Aggraias!
Crap, this is bad. Jean is reaching his limit. I wouldn’t like a barf shower. And then, I would be witnessing Mia stabbing Jean? That would be way too chaotic.
“Zephyr!! Ride the next wind. Jean, I will be showing you something nice, so don’t go barfing, okay?” (Solje)
I beg of you, don’t go showing your gag sense here. I hate those kind of gags that play on having a victim.
“Zephyr! The wind has come! Ride it!!” (Mia)
Mia surpasses the wind reading of Zephyr.
I let out a voice of amazement at it. That’s right, I felt her talent there. Mia was able to read the wind like me, a dragon knight by profession. Perfectly, too.
I provide the information of this rampaging wind to the dragon that is desperately flying in this terrible weather. That’s one of the jobs of a dragon knight, but…Mia has only been on the back of a dragon for -at most- half of a month, and yet, she managed to see through her first blizzard.
In terms of wind reading talent alone, Mia has already reached the same level as a dragon knight. This might have been made possible thanks to her being a Cait Sith that’s loved by the wind mana. She might surpass my wind reading ability in the future.
This gives me the shivers. Mia…you really are thoroughly worth of the name Strauss. You might be the reincarnation of one of my ancestors.
Moved by the words of Mia, Zephyr rides the wind that attacks them from diagonally above. Spreading his wings, he makes that wind his own. Thanks to the seized wind, Zephyr’s body rises to the sky in an instant.
Jean’s senses might have been stimulated. I could hear him groaning from behind.
But, more importantly, the growth of Zephyr is one to behold.
With Zephyr riding the wind, he was practically flying vertically. If he hadn’t perfectly synchronized his wings to the wind, this aggressive flying would have failed.
But, even if Zephyr is receiving advice from Mia and I, he is splendidly managing to head to the heavens in his first blizzard… Aah, how beautiful.
If an artist were to witness this flight, he would without doubt begin to draw a painting of Zephyr. And I would buy that painting even if it is a bit expensive.
The perfect flight penetrates the clouds, and we face the finale.
Zephyr’s vertical position returned to an horizontal one.
“…Oi, Jean, try opening your eyes.” (Solje)
“Eh? Y-Yes!! …Wait, eh?! T-The storm is gone?” (Jean)
“It hasn’t really disappeared. We are simply on top of the storm.” (Solje)
“Eh? …Ah, i-it’s true…! Looking below, it is like a violent sea.” (Jean)
Hmm, finding resemblance in the waving gray clouds to waves, huh. Fumu, that’s not a bad way of putting it, Jean.
“That’s an intelligent expression. Also, look up. You can see the stars and the big moon.” (Solje)
That’s right, the top of a storm is calm.
The sea of stars is spread in the night sky, and bearing witness to Zephyr’s feat of defeating the blizzard, the stars shining a gentle light were celebrating it. To think your wings would surpass the storm of ice!!
Aah, of course, there’s the moon as well. This spherical moon that has almost no parts hidden was blessing Jean Redwood with its light… What do you mean by that? Well, let’s confirm it with his own words.
“Jean, how are you feeling?” (Solje)
“Eh? Ah, it must be thanks to the light of the moon. The sickness is gone.” (Jean)
It is one of the mysterious traits of beastkin. Just like how they are weak against things made of silver. Well, this part isn’t a weakness, but an advantage compared to others.
They are loved by the moon, apparently. I don’t know the reason or the logic, but they apparently receive mana from the moon. Just like how elves receive power from the forest, and how dragon knights can receive energy from dragons.
Jean’s stomach has been healed, and there’s probably no fears anymore of him barfing on my still new Negler Deer coat.
“Oi, Jean, how’s it, the fun of flying in the sky? Can you feel it now?” (Solje)
“…Y-Yes. Right now, I feel like the back of a dragon…where Captain and Mia are smiling, isn’t that bad.” (Jean)
“That’s good progress. Well, just get used to it as you go.” (Solje)
“If you can manage to get teamwork synergy with Zephyr in the battlefield, your range to detect enemies will increase drastically. What’s your weapon?” (Solje)
“…Stamina. If it is in that alone, I am the number one in the crew…I think.” (Jean)
Number one in the crew. I am impressed that you managed to say that. This journey must have polished you in many aspects.
“That’s right. You don’t have to be the number one in everything. Become the number one in something. With that, you will be able to fight with further pride.” (Solje)
“Y-Yes!! I will keep striving for more!!” (Jean)
Fufufu, it is going well. Jean should be able to become the best scout. He has a perception ability that surpasses Zephyr after all.
What he lacks is battle ability. Next time, I should try having him train under Instructor Zara. If he gets beaten up by monks that have polished their physical combat, he might show good results.
A stronger bond is important, but we also need to strengthen individually. That’s because we have one more reason…to not lose.
I glare at the ends of the south sky.
Vashiri Nova most likely has left the Zakuroa Fortress.
He is most likely hidden together with his elites in one of the chateaus located at the far east, Luruka or Heddori, that were once under the control of the nobles in the past, and have now been turned into a fortified outpost bases.
They might be enjoying their last dinner there…
Opening an aged wine, and enjoying it as if they were bathing in it. It would be nice if that’s the case.
I am sorry, my friends. That I can’t participate in that banquet.
……I most likely won’t be able to meet them alive anymore.
The knight of Vashiri-jiisama, Mistral, disclosed the information, you know? There’s no doubt that’s the reason why he told me is because it is a situation that I can’t reach in time to no matter if I fly with Zephyr.
There would be the danger that I would get in the way of this evil ritual of becoming a slave of a Zeruaga, and it would go against Vashiri Nova. They wouldn’t find that welcoming.
They are as far as turning into undead in order to fight the 5th division.
That’s why I should -at the very least- burn their fighting figures in my retinas and edge it in my heart.
It might just be self-satisfaction, but there should be meaning. It would be their send off.
…We continued flying like that for 2 hours more, and at the time when Mia’s small body was beginning to get exhausted, we landed at a prairie.
The three of us ate the boxed lunch that Riel gave us. There was meat soup that was in a canteen that had magic casted on it.
Elven magic is seriously varied. It is hot as if it had just been taken out of the pot.
Our cold bodies that were chilled all the way to our toes regained their heat after drinking that.
Ah, the Negler Deer in question had a lot of fat and was delicious. It is true that it has elasticity like that of beef, but it isn’t excessive. Going Negler Deer hunting at the northernmost lands someday might be a nice experience. I just hope they don’t look so lovely that it would make me feel guilty though.
With our stomachs full, we set the tent and sleep. Because of the time constraint, we only set one tent. I of course was in the middle of Mia and Jean, and became the bodyguard of my sweet Mia.
Soon when we went to sleep, Mia entered my blankets, and since Mia’s body is small and she is light, her body temperature was easily taken away when outdoors.
That’s why I hugged her and shared my warmth. Mia soon began to let out calm breaths and fell asleep.
Jean seemed to be thinking for a while. Maybe about Vashiri-jiisan? I felt like if we began to talk about it, that conversation would get long, so I purposely didn’t.
We are tired. A long distance travel coupled with the battle against the Zeruaga Aggraias, and there was the attack of Mistral not that long ago. Then, there’s tonight’s risky flight. We should get as much rest as possible. That’s part of a mercenary’s job.
I was invited by the calm breathing of Mia and soon entered the world of dreams.
- Chapter 93
Early in the morning, the sharp pain that ran through my neck woke me up.
For a second I didn’t know what was going on, but it seems like Mia bit me.
Good grief, even though she is 13, she bit the neck of a man. What a naughty little girl she is. A lolicon would have lost his sanity there, you know?
Mia takes her fangs away from my neck and sleep talked.
“…Munya munya, there’s nyathing to throw away from the Negu Negu…dehehe.” (Mia)
I see, so the Negu Negu was that delicious, huh. Okay, got it. Once this war is over, I will catch a Negler Deer in the north.
We will dress their fur and have a barbeque party.
Looks like the plans for our victory celebration have been made.
I ask the subordinate sleeping at my back.
“…Jean, what time is it?” (Solje)
“It is currently…5 in the morning!!” (Jean)
“Don’t raise your voice. You are gonna wake up my sweet little Mia, you know?” (Solje)
“No, it isn’t something that required an apology. Did you not sleep?” (Solje)
“…I couldn’t sleep. I drank the sleeping drug that Riel gave me, and I managed to sleep soundly for around 3 hours.” (Jean)
The one Riel made me drink mouth-to-mouth before when we were at the Ludo lodging. Good grief, being able to dissolve that strong drug in only 3 hours… Even though I was completely out for a whole night because of it.
Looks like beastkin are also resistant against drugs. His body specs are seriously bottomless.
“If you managed to sleep for three hours, that’s good. Rest your body for 1 hour more. With your stamina, that should be enough. After that, stuff yourself with meat and bread…and then, we will continue heading south while bathing in the morning sun.” (Solje)
Good decision. You must have a lot you want to talk about, but I can hear that out on the back of Zephyr. Restore your stamina for now. We have a big job waiting for us.
Even a 1,000 undead knights…won’t be able to swallow an army of 35,000. It is not like anyone can become Mistral.
The 5th division is specialized in expeditions to the northern regions alone. They must have employed an undead hunter to deal with the undead that are a regular sight in the north.
If there’s specialists like those…the damage dealt might be smaller than they expect.
That’s right…Vashiri Nova and his 1,000 undead won’t be able to put an end to this war.
It is because we understand this, that Loroka-sensei went to the Diaros warriors. ‘We have a war on our wake, so don’t get injured’, is what she said.
We have to take the fallen banner of Vashiri-jiisan and fight on.
Rest. We have to rest.
It is okay to not be able to sleep because of the circumstances. Just don’t move, close your eyes, and shut out your thoughts. Forcefully make your body rest with guts… I also have to take away my own exhaustion from this journey.
If we don’t, we won’t be able to win the war against the 5th division led by Zack Claine.
Even though it will be at different times…we will be fighting together, Vashiri Nova.
All for the sake of Zakuroa’s freedom…succeeding that honorable tradition from the revolutionary woman, Viola Phaser.
I will become one of your swords, Phaser…
Now then, let’s sleep for a second time.
…By the time the sun was up, I rose and woke up Mia.
Jean made the fire and was preparing breakfast.
We warmed up at the firecamp as we ate the cooked deer meat, with a cheese sandwich accompanying it.
It is a simple breakfast, but that’s fine.
We are prioritizing time and minimal use of stamina. We won’t hurry to an unnecessary extent. We have a war waiting. Even so, we will be moving fast to an extent where our battle strategy won’t be hindered.
We folded the tent and placed it in the bag that is tied on the body of Zephyr. A creation of the dexterous craftsman Gindo.
It has a lot of utility, but most of all, Zephyr took it well. Looks like making it black really worked for him. It seems Zephyr was interested in the armor and clothes others use. If he is happy, I am too.
“Now then, let’s go!!” (Solje)
“Yeah, let’s—guuh.” (Mia)
“Get on.” (Zephyr)
Zephyr lowered his head, and we jumped onto his back. And then, Zephyr flies off into the mountainous region where the morning sun is late to rise.
So that Mia, who is a weak early riser, doesn’t fall, I properly keep her in place with my arms and the belt.
We become one with the cold wind.
“This is a good time. The only bad point is that it is cold, but we are being blessed by a nice northern wind. Zephyr, fly as if you are running along the mountain that can be seen at the left. You must understand why since you are a dragon, right?” (Solje)
“Yeah! The wind coming from the north is hitting the mountain, and running along it. If I ride that, I can fly faster south!” (Zephyr)
“That’s right, well done, that’s my Zephyr.” (Solje)
Our journey was going smoothly.
It is as if Phaser was granting us strength. There’s no blizzard like last night either. The northern wind is giving strength to the wings of Zephyr and it allows us to go out of the Diaros territory in an instant.
Right, the forest there is one of the industries of Zakuroa. The cedar wood lumbering area. It wasn’t naturally made. The reason why only cedar trees grow there is proof that it was manmade. It means that, even though we are still at the northern limits, we have entered the Zakuroa territory.
We have returned to the undead filled Zakuroa lands.
…This is a good pace.
We definitely won’t make it in time.
If I were to choose…death, I would do it first thing in the morning. Drink all the way through the night, and when I wake up, I would wash my face and dress up, and then, instead of eating, I would head on to death.
I don’t know how the Freedom Knights of Zakuroa prefer it, but…our tastes and values are pretty similar. I am pretty sure they would do the same as me.
That’s why…I close my eyes for a bit.
I am praying for them.
May it not be unnecessarily painful… I couldn’t find anything else I could pray for. The only other thing was this…
“Zephyr, we are edging into the world that we have returned to Zakuroa. Sing!!” (Solje)
Zephyr makes his throat tremble, and let’s his song ring in the sky of Zakuroa.
Mia woke up and rubbed her eyes.
Jean must have noticed the meaning of this song. He tightened his grip on my body without saying anything…
Zephyr easily flew by the Zakuroa territory. The weather changed and the sky was so hot that we decided to change our clothes and use that chance to take a short break.
And Jean…showed his outrageous senses in this resting spot.
He was standing in place for a while. He was intently watching the southeast direction.
I somewhat understand what he is doing…and ask my subordinate.
“Jean, were you able to smell their blood?” (Solje)
“Yes…there’s no doubt about it. Because…” (Jean)
“Because the smell of this blood…is somehow similar to that of the Banjar Mercenaries.” (Jean)
Jean looks at me and smiles.
He seems sad, but still smiles.
That’s right, that’s how we show respect to warriors, and it is also our style.
“…I see. Then, there’s no doubt. They are just like us after all.” (Solje)
“Jean, lead the way. Give us the shortest route.” (Solje)
“Y-Yes!! …Let’s go. To see off these honorable knights!!” (Jean)
After finishing our break, we arm ourselves up completely.
We are meeting the warriors. We have to dress up for the occasion.
Put on our armor, fasten our arm guards.
Jean seems to have wrapped around a white headband to pump himself up.
That’s right, this is how we ‘dress up’.
Because we are the Banjar Mercenaries.
The strongest mercenary crew in this whole continent.
——-The dragon wings were led by the werewolf.
After flying for a while, the dragon can tell it as well.
Because at that castle, there’s the overflowing scent of wine and blood.
It was certainly the smell of ‘family’ for the dragon.
——The wings head to where the blood of his comrades is.
Passing the forest, passing the valley, passing the river.
A prairie stretched on, and a white chateau which kept supplies of wine was in sight.
That’s where the heroic spirits went on their journey.
——And so, the Demon Lord would reunite with the old knights.
Landing the dragon close to the chateau.
Walks what’s left, while smelling the scent of blood and wine.
Their metallic soles stepping on this land dyed red.
…..Solje and the others have arrived at this land where a sacred yet evil ceremony took place.