The Dragon Knights are the core of the Lorel Union’s military power.
As their name suggests, they are soldiers mounted on dragons. The difference in size between a dragon and a person is huge. As a result, the Dragon Knights are treated very differently from regular knights.
The ones who mainly do the fighting are the dragons themselves, so the abilities expected from these knights also differ from those expected of regular knights.
The ones who brought supplies to Rotsgard are units that soar through the sky on flying dragons, though there are apparently also units on the ground riding earth dragons.
They can travel on the ground and in the air but, perhaps because there aren’t many oceans, there aren’t any units using water dragons.
I heard that the flying dragon units have the advantage in the air for both attack and defense.
As long as the ace that is the Dragon Knights exists, Lorel’s defenses can be described as an iron wall.
I can definitely feel their confidence, as if it is overflowing from their bodies.
No, I should say “was”.
I can see the Dragon Knights sensing something unusual and looking worried for their dragons, while the dragons themselves are standing at attention (though I’m not sure I should call it that).
「Haah... I was looking forward to seeing how amazing these Dragon Knights are, but... Both the riders and the dragons are second-rate.」(Tomoe)
「I get that you’re in a bad mood, but show some restraint!」(Makoto)
「Leaving Waka and Shiki aside, all I did was split the earth. Rather than sulk, why not simply accept the credit for it as Waka’s own ability?」(Tomoe)
「... You’re being unreasonable.」(Makoto)
This person is the cause of that.
When we went back to the academy to deliver our report on the incident involving the mutants, Tomoe discussed something with the country leaders who were still in academy city.
I think that the various leaders were among them, like people from the temples and Sairitsu-san from Lorel, but Tomoe was exerting an extraordinarily unsettling presence.
As soon as we entered the academy, as if he’d received some kind of message, Shiki said he’d go to undo the students’ barrier and went in another direction. Now that I think about it, that might have been his sixth sense at work.
On the surface, it seemed that Shiki felt regret over the short sword being broken, but in reality, it could be assumed that the outburst of fake anger directed at Shiki was the cause.
While I was delivering my report to the headmaster, I also had to go through the futile mission of trying to calm Tomoe down.
While talking to Sairitsu-san, the topic of the Dragon Knights came up, so I half-forcefully dragged Tomoe out since she had shown some interest in them.
「But they are such opponents that even Mio could toy with them...」(Tomoe)
「Didn’t you announce that you were aiming to introduce the four seasons to Asora?」(Makoto)
In reality, that needs a little more work, though.
「This is just a vague feeling that I have, but it seems that the rewards are lacking.」(Tomoe)
「Why don’t you drink a bunch tonight? And then we’ll enjoy the four seasons. We’re releasing the Japanese alcohol, too, right? I’m looking forward to it!」(Makoto)
I’ve hardly drank before, so I barely know the taste of Japanese alcohol or whatever.
But as long as it’s alcohol that the people of Asora find delicious, I think it’ll be fine to say that it’s “Japanese alcohol”.
「Now that you mention it, what should we do about the alcohol’s name? We should, of course, name it?」(Tomoe)
「Why don’t you give it a name? You’re the one who’s been the most serious about it.」(Makoto)
「No, I would definitely like to leave this to you, Waka.」(Tomoe)
「Well then, I’ll think of a name by tonight.」(Makoto)
It’s a cheap price to pay to improve her mood even by a little.
「I will be awaiting it in anticipation. Hmph, I do pity Shiki since he is always being treated poorly, so perhaps I will be satisfied with the fact that we have been able to obtain the four seasons. Having him so anxious to please me has probably gone too far.」(Tomoe)
Tomoe’s expression held no trace of her bad mood as she spoke.
From my experience of having sisters, I know from this expression that her bad mood had not disappeared for good, but only temporarily suppressed.
... I guess putting it off till later is fine.
I’ll just let time take care of it.
「That’d be great. Anyway... Even though there’s only about twenty of them, the dragons have quite a different presence to them, don’t they? They brought quite a lot of supplies with them for everyone, and I’m sure they’ve made a good impression on the townspeople.」(Makoto)
Riding on dragons.
It seems I’m not the only one who thinks that’s cool.
Probably just because they’re rare to see, there are quite a lot of people watching the Dragon Knights from afar.
They’re presumably people who are looking out for the safety of those nearby.
The city’s reconstruction might begin as early as tomorrow, or maybe even today.
「My opinion on them will not change. A few of them are worth looking at, but most of them are nothing out of the ordinary.」(Tomoe)
「That might be the case by your standards.」(Makoto)
「Before you arrived, Waka, I was quite cautious about those men in regards to the future of the company. I would be far more useful than they, who are merely second-rates putting on an act!」(Tomoe)
What did they say with that dangerous atmosphere.
I don’t think these guys would do anything bad, but I’ll ask about it later.
「... Ah, I see. Well no, I have no intention of comparing you to those guys.」(Makoto)
Did she really think I was comparing her to the dragons that the Dragon Knights are riding?
Isn’t Tomoe a little emotionally unstable today?
Since we’re in this crowd, I doubt anyone is listening.
「Even if there were a hundred, or a thousand of them. You’re better to me, Tomoe. So don’t sulk like that.」(Makoto)
I wouldn’t normally say something like this, though.
「... Sometimes you are an incredible trickster, Waka.」(Tomoe)
「That’s not my intention. I know that you’re always concerned about me, Tomoe. I’m grateful for that.」(Makoto)
Expressing your gratitude so earnestly is a bit embarrassing, isn’t it.
「R-Root also said this. This is what you call, "people mature in the blink of an eye!"」(Tomoe)
「I’ll keep relying on you from now on. Though I’m sure there will be more troublesome things to come.」(Makoto)
「I will be in your service.」
That’s likely, too.
But I intend to pay off my relatively large debt.
Using that, I think I can probably get Root to approve the fact that Kaleneon didn’t disappear.
When the other countries discover the existence of Kaleneon later, the Ansland sisters who are its representatives, Eva-san and Ruria, will probably start leading it.
For now, we’ll be supporting them, but they won’t last unless the hyumans and demi-humans cooperate.
They’ve even lost their faith in the goddess, so it will be the first country to be built from such a mess.
I’m actually looking forward to how it’ll turn out.
They’re dependent on us for now, but I don’t intend for that to continue for long.
I don’t intend for the Kuzunoha company to belong to any one country, either.
I’ll think about that more later on.
For now, I’m just glad that Tomoe’s mood has improved.
Next is Mio.
I guess I’ll just talk to her at the party or something.
「So with that. From tomorrow or the day after, the four seasons will begin in Asora. I think there’ll be some inconveniences with this as well, but let’s all work together to deal with them.」(Makoto)
I’m not used to this kind of thing, but I just gave an opening speech for the party.
I’ve told everyone about the battles that took place last night - our involvement in the Rotsgard’s restoration and the revival of Kaleneon. After that, I just warned them about the possible effects of the four seasons beginning here.
All eyes are on me as I raise the cup in my right hand.
With those words, the seal on the alcohol is quickly broken and everyone gathers towards the plates of food.
I sit down in my own seat, which is slightly elevated above everything else, and start eating.
The drink that’s being poured is the Japanese alcohol made in Asora by Tomoe and the others.
Its taste and feel is similar to that of the Japanese alcohol in my distant memories.
I don’t know much about Japanese alcohol so I wasn’t much use in its reproduction, so from here on it’ll probably get milder or stronger depending on Asora’s tastes.
I congratulate Tomoe on completing the alcohol, and join her in a toast as she enjoys herself.
… My drink is poured into a large cup that’s more like a tankard, and it’s somewhat different from how I expected it to be. I can’t get away from the smile that is covering her entire face, so I’m stuck drinking this.
I’ll be honest.
I’m not sure if I can drink it all.
This Japanese alcohol is actually pretty strong, too.
No, just for today, I’ll somehow force myself to drink it all.
There are some tough guys already pouring themselves another.
But as for me…
「This is a wonderful celebration, is it not, waka-sama?」
Kakun-san, the winged people’s elder has come to my seat.
This is it.
Since an important person from an important group of people has come, not finishing my drink is not an option.
So I think I’ll be able to finish this one tankard - no, I’ll be forced too.
It’s a weekday tomorrow and I’m worried I’ll have a hangover...
To think that I’d be having an office worker’s problems in my teenage years.
「On this occasion, everyone worked considerably hard. So this is just my way of thanking you all.」(Makoto)
「Because we helped in Kaleneon, our efforts were also acknowledged. Thank you very much.」(Kakun)
「I have been making my judgments based on the battles I have been involved in, but I think I will start taking into account the results of practice battles with the other groups. I apologize for having such biased views up until now.」(Makoto)
「... Not at all, Waka-sama. Either way, we will have our abilities acknowledged, even in practice battles with you. Also, please speak at ease, as you do with Ema-dono.」(Kakun)
「To treat me with such respect, thank you. No, I will do my best. Today, we have the drink made by Tomoe and the food made by Mio, so please enjoy them as you like.」(Makoto)
「Yes, the Japanese alcohol is popular with everyone. Of course, including myself. Ah, if I continue being the only one talking to you, that would cause problems for the people behind me. As such, I will now excuse myself.」(Kakun)
「Eh, I think I can spare some time while I’m in Asora so please feel free to come to me.」(Makoto)
The Highland Orcs, the four Arke, the Misty Lizards, the Gorgons.
The heads and leaders of these groups come one after another to have these flattery-laden conversations with me.
There was the battle last night, so I was quite agitated about the Orcs and Lizards.
I’ve tried to fit them into the training schedule and that’ll start tomorrow, so today I’ll show some restraint and let them enjoy themselves.
The Japanese alcohol is quite popular.
But either alcohol percentage is too high or the taste is too strong for me; it’s not the kind of drink that I can just chug down.
However, there are definitely quite a few people that are drinking it as if it’s water.
Well, because of that, there are quite a few people who have already very drunk, having turned bright red.
Mio’s new menu has a lot of things that make good snacks to go with alcohol, so that might be another reason why the alcohol is being consumed at such a rate.
As for its popularity with the hyumans, I have only Lime’s judgment for reference, but… At the very least, since it’s so popular with the demi-humans, I guess I’ll give some thought about whether it can be turned into a product.
「Waka-sama, Waka-sama. Please try this next!」
Mio is bringing dishes of food out one after another.
I’m thinking she should get someone to bring them out for her, but it seems that she wants to do it herself.
She’s bringing the food out on small dishes, so the quantity of each dish isn’t much, but there is an amazing variety.
It’s mostly focused on Japanese food with some Chinese food mixed in, but there’s also some food from this world, too.
It’s really diverse.
At this rate, she'll be able to produce French food, which I was never able to cook.
I have the feeling that some unknown, new cooking will be coming soon, too.
It seems she’s in a good mood for some reason, so I’m just glad that I don’t have to go through all the trouble I did with Tomoe.
「Mio, don’t just get food, eat some yourself. Here, sit down.」(Makoto)
「Good work last night. You fought the enemy general in Kaleneon, didn’t you, Mio? I’m glad you’re unharmed.」(Makoto)
That palm-sized dragon.
I haven’t heard the detailed story yet.
「I’ve released him into the garden now, but that general was quite shrewd, and I admired him for that.」(Mio)
「So that was the general, after all… What exactly was he?」(Makoto)
「His name was Reft, and it seemed he was a demon general or something. Following Tomoe-san’s advice, I stopped him from eating anything and he became that size.」(Mio)
「You’re telling me there was a demon general in Kaleneon?!」(Makoto)
He was allies with Io and Rona, right?
He must have been.
「I mentioned earlier that it was a coincidence. In the end, I was unable to mimic his clever reflection...」(Mio)
Mio looks a little disappointed.
No, that’s not the important thing.
「W-why is that dragon behaving itself now?」(Makoto)
If it was originally a demon general, it’s probably not even really behaving itself right now.
But I saw it several times yesterday, and it seemed well-behaved.
「He lost his sanity partway through the battle, and began to just mumble to himself. After that, he began innocently chasing after a butterfly. He is quite adorable.」(Mio)
I see now.
I don’t know what kind of person he was before, but it seems Mio toyed around with him and broke him.
He’s still alive, and he’s apparently a demon general, so we should give him back when we meet the Demon Lord.
「More importantly. Waka-sama, do you remember the promise from the other day?」(Mio)
I try to think back.
Umm, it’s probably from her contest with Shiki.
「Ah, the one where I said I’d listen to one request?」(Makoto)
「Yes! That one, exactly!」(Mio)
Mio quickly brings her face closer.
But right now, the other leaders are having conversations nearby.
「I remember it. Once the party becomes quieter, I’ll listen to you, okay?」(Makoto)
「Yes! Then I will go to check if the food is being made well. I will be back soon, though.」(Mio)
Now, I wonder what Mio will ask of me.
I said my words of gratitude to Tomoe, and of course I’m also thankful to Mio.
If it’s something I can do, I want to do it for her.
「Eris, and even Akua. I wonder why they’re singing and dancing.」(Makoto)
For a moment, I thought I was hallucinating.
But I blink and the scene hasn’t changed.
The pair of forest onis are doing a flash dance and singing enthusiastically.
When did you guys become artists.
… They’re actually pretty good.
I wonder if they’ve practised it.
Mmm, it’s a good thing, I guess.
「They've gotten themselves into quite a state, haven't they? Those guys.」(Makoto)
「Waka-sama, it seems you have drunk quite an amount.」(Shiki)
「Shiki. I’ve tried talking to those two subtly, so it might be alright for now.」(Makoto)
「That… Thank you for that.」(Shiki)
I haven’t drunk that much yet.
It’s only my third cup.
「The first thing I did in the morning was help Ema and Mio-dono to get ready. So I had no hand in the preparation of the food today.」(Shiki)
「Yeah, that was a smart choice.」(Makoto)
「Mio-dono and I went around the port town looking for and discussing food ingredients, so I believe we should have new products for you to taste in the near future.」(Shiki)
「I’m looking forward to it.」(Makoto)
Since there aren’t any seas in Asora, huh.
「If possible, I wished to speak to you regarding the lectures for the students later, but it seems that would be best saved for another day.」(Shiki)
「I don’t really mind. For now, we’re still focused on the city’s restoration so I don’t think we’re in any hurry. More importantly. Shiki, you should drink some Japanese alcohol too, it starts to feel lighter after a while.」(Makoto)
「... I thought it was a considerably strong drink. I had some earlier, but I think it would be best enjoyed in small amounts from a small cup like Tomoe-dono is doing....」(Shiki)
「... Alright. Well then, for now, I’ll give you this one and get myself a new one.」
I hand Shiki my tankard, which is about seventy percent full.
For some reason, Shiki has a defeated look on his face.
I quickly get a new tankard and raise a toast with him.
After that, the party is still going on.
The “this party doesn’t stop until the sun rises” group are still there, while the “I’ll work hard tomorrow” group have left a while ago.
We’ve returned to the mansion.
I think I could work tomorrow even if I kept drinking until morning, but Shiki convinced me that it’d be bad if the lecturer doesn’t show his face tomorrow, so I called it a night “early”.
So in this room, there’s Tomoe, Mio, Shiki and myself.
「I have to say, the Japanese alcohol was well-made. I will improve upon it even further, so please look forward to it, Waka.」(Tomoe)
「Yeah. It’ll get colder from now, so something like hot sake would be good, too.」(Makoto)
「Hot sake! I see, I had forgotten about that.」
We discuss our thoughts on the Japanese alcohol - no, on the party itself.
Seeing Mio grinning next to Shiki, who is wearing a complicated, troubled expression, I remember.
「Mio, the request that you had. Have you decided on it already?」
That’s right, I have to listen to her request.
Come at me with whatever request you’ve got.
「Y-yes. I’ve decided!」(Mio)
「So, tell me. What do you want me to do?」(Makoto)
As I ask her, I’m a little suspicious. For some reason, Mio’s previously-smiling face has changed to a stiff expression.
「Well then, I will tell you my request.」(Mio)
「Please make me your a-attendant!」(Mio)
Attendant, huh. [Kanji]
So in other words, the oldest trick in the book.
「Yes! Tonight, with me...」(Mio)
「As I thought...」(Shiki)
Maybe Tomoe and Shiki had already expected something like this; they say just a few words in reaction.
Hmm, well, this was outside of my expectations.
Something to do with cooking, or a trip.
I was expecting something like that.
「A-am I asking too much?」(Mio)
I’m staring intently at Mio, and her upturned eyes are returning my gaze.
She’s kind of cute.
… I see.
I briefly say the word again.
I’d like my first time to be with her, since I like her.
Or so I thought.
Disregarding the fact that she’s of the opposite sex, I don’t dislike Mio.
If I had to choose between like and dislike, I definitely “like” her.
But being inexperienced, I’m not sure if I could lead her properly.
「Excuse me, Waka-sama?」(Mio)
I’m being stared at by my three followers.
They’re really getting me good here.
If she really desires me.
For some reason, Mio is holding her breath.
I might be making you wait here, but I’m not going to reject you, Mio.
Alright, I’ve got it.
If it’s something I can give, I want to answer Mio’s request.
「I made a mistake!」(Mio)
「I did not mean attendant~deshita wa.」(Mio)
「You’re thinking of the wrong “togi”. I wanted you to teach me a method of washing rice to make it delicious.」(Mio)
「Eh, but just now, you said “tonight” -」(Makoto)
「Tomorrow! I wanted to taste it in tomorrow’s breakfast!」(Mio)
What, but I thought she definitely said, “Please make me your attendant”...
「Bufu!」[Snorting sound] (Tomoe)
Tomoe and Shiki burst into laughter, as if unable to restrain themselves.
What’s so funny?
Hmm, I didn’t think I was that drunk, but did I do something strange?
「Tomoe-san, Shiki! Please be quiet for a moment!」(Mio)
「S-sorry. Bufu, ku, ahahaha!」(Tomoe)
「My apolo… Ku, fufu...」(Shiki)
It looks like Tomoe and Shiki are really enjoying themselves.
If it’s a funny joke, I wish they’d let me in on it.
「Both of you, make sure you remember this… Waka-sama, well, could you please teach me?」(Mio)
「Ah, sure. But it seems I’m a bit drunk today, so. Would tomorrow be okay?」(Makoto)
「... Yes. Of course.」(Mio)
「You might be better at it than me, but let’s do it together.」(Makoto)
「Ah, Waka. In that case, I wonder if you could also teach me how to sharpen* my sword.」(Tomoe)
「How to sharpen a sword? No, didn’t I teach you that a while ago? I don’t know that much about it, though.」(Makoto)
Yeah, I definitely taught her that already.
But why is Mio being teased by Tomoe?
「Oh, is that so? I suppose I must have confused myself.」(Tomoe)
「Both of you, I told you I’ll deal with you afterwards. Leave the room, now.」(Mio)
Mio is seething with anger.
Both of them? All Shiki did was laugh a little, though.
「Ah, since we’ll be busy tomorrow. For today, it’s best if we just sleep now.」(Makoto)
「Ah, yes. Waka-sama, good night.」(Mio)
Mio smiles as she says good night to me.
No, not just to me, but to everyone…
「We can go several days without sleep with no problem. So please, relax and rest. I will definitely come to wake you up tomorrow.」(Mio)
I wonder why.
I get the feeling that I’m being ordered to sleep.
Well, it’s true that I have to go to the academy tomorrow.
I haven’t drunk that much, but it’s definitely a good idea for me to go to sleep.
There’s something I want to say no matter what, isn’t there?
I want to thank everyone.
Though I kind of just want to make one thing clear.
「Yeah, I’ll do that. But you three, can I say something?」
As I say “you three,” Tomoe, Mio and Shiki stop moving.
I wonder if they can tell from my tone that I’m not messing around now.
I do still have alcohol in me, but I’m not saying this because I just thought of it, so it’s not a mistake to say it.
「You three have been fighting for me, working in Asora and watching the shop, so I’m really thankful. If it was me alone, everything would be half-assed and nothing might have taken form.」(Makoto)
「Because I met Tomoe, I came to know about the world of Asora. We created a home for everyone. Because I met Mio, I remembered cooking and could get along well with the adventurers. Because Shiki was here, the company ran smoothly even when I acted like a spoiled child. It’s really all because all three of you were there that I think I can keep being myself.」(Makoto)
If I was by myself, then definitely.
I would have gotten used to fighting and looked at the world with a skewed perspective.
I would have been living a no-good life in this other world.
「I want to give you something to thank you, though it might not be much of a reward. I’ve only given you your first names, but I want to give you the same surname as me, Misumi. I hope you’ll accept it, if you don’t mind.」(Makoto)
If I listen closely, I should be able to hear the noise of the party from here.
But a small amount of time passes where I can’t hear a single sound.
「... With pleasure. I said this during the day, but Waka, you really are an incredible trickster sometimes.」(Tomoe)
「I feel like I’ve been able to get closer to you, Waka-sama. I gratefully accept.」(Mio)
「From now on, I swear to do my utmost to meet all your expectations. There is nothing that would make me happier.」(Shiki)
In that case do I become Raidou Misumi?
I’ll eventually meet Hibiki-senpai, the hero of the kingdom, in some form or another.
That might be a chance for me, too.
「I’m glad you didn’t refuse. I’m going to go rest now, okay?」(Makoto)
Somehow, it’s become embarrassing to make eye contact with these three now.
As if running away, I turn my back on the room and leave.
The outskirts of Asora.
Shiki is lying on the floor, out cold, and the whites of his eyes are visible.
As proof that a fierce battle has taken place here, there are numerous signs of destruction left across the field.
Tomoe and Mio are sitting on the remains of a huge tree that has been felled magnificently.
Shiki twitches occasionally at the side of the tree, and there is a blanket over him, but the two of them show no concern towards him at all.
「Say, Mio. Why did you make that poor excuse? In that state, I think Waka would have accepted you.」(Tomoe)
「Hmph… Have you not had enough? What about you, making fun of me in such a horrible way?」(Mio)
「I am asking why you chose to throw away the opportunity of granting your heart’s desire, to share a bed with Waka. He did consume a considerable amount of alcohol, but I think he was sufficiently conscious, no?」(Tomoe)
The two of them look in the same direction, towards the horizon and the night sky.
「From my point of view, it seems Waka has grown considerably as a person in the past few days. The previous master might have simply offered to assist in the restoration of the imperial capital of Limia. At the very least, we did not end up having to attack Kaleneon by ourselves.」(Tomoe)
「He was even firm in his resolution when dealing with the dragon slayer. I do not think it would be bad for him to learn the warmth of a woman at this point. If that woman is to be you, I would ignore my usual course of action and encourage you.」(Tomoe)
「... But duty and gratitude. Because he says such things, I just thought it would be wrong to join my body with Waka-sama’s.」(Mio)
Mio opens her mouth, breaking her silence.
「I! … Rather than because of my own feelings. I just realized that I wanted to join our bodies with him being the one to desire me. Things like “well done” or “thank you”. It occurred to me that those are the wrong reasons.」(Mio)
From his true facial expression, she was able to understand how he felt.
Therefore, before this truth became affirmed, she discarded the opportunity of her own accord.
「You want Waka to tell you that he wants you.」(Tomoe)
Tomoe simply nods as she speaks, not even looking at Mio.
A few moments later, Mio also nods.
「But you are aware that that would be difficult? Waka is beginning to think of us as his family. Rather than being lovers, you could take him as someone who feels close to you, but it would be a love that is quite different from passion.」(Tomoe)
「I know that.」(Mio)
「Is that fine for you? You are aware that your feelings might be unrequited?」(Tomoe)
「Even so. Even so, I want to truly serve him, to be devoted to him. For now, I want to live with these feelings, this devotion.」(Mio)
「I see… It is even more unlikely for Waka to desire my body than for him to desire yours, so I will at least encourage you. Though it may be meaningless.」(Tomoe)
「He has not said that there is another woman that he loves. There is no hurry. One day.」(Mio)
「... Human lives are short, after all. In another few years, it is possible that he will have one or two lovers that he will be married to for life, you know?」(Tomoe)
「If it is a woman that I deem worthy, then I can endure~desu wa. I absolutely cannot acknowledge a woman who is unable to cook. And I will have him embrace me just as much as her.」(Mio)
「Are you his mother-in-law? No, you are even worse. In that case, it will be a long time before we see Waka’s child.」(Tomoe)
These two old, loyal followers spend the night talking to each other.