Dragoon Chapter 94
"Well now, that really was a splendid contest."
"Yeah, I never thought it would be that extreme."
A grinning Aleist and Eunius were discussing the beauty contest that had just come to a close. Luecke was nonchalantly nodding along.
"Those poses they struck in that last self-appeal session were nice. I never thought Izumi would make such a pose, but in the end, Millia won hands down."
Right, it ended as Millia's landslide victory.
To the end of the end, the tension born from her sheer embarrassment had caused her to fail. During her self-appeal session, she bit her tongue, and as she made a pose, she stepped on the long cloth wrapped around her waist.
By treading on that cloth, not only was it removed, her top bra was taken with it, making her pose one where she covered her chest with her hands. On its severity, she monopolized the votes of the male student body and won.
By the way, the runner-up was Fina, and following on from her, Izumi placed as well.
"Yeah, I'll never forget that scene!"
Through his armor, Aleist clenched his fist victoriously. But as the beauty contest was over, of course, his fiancés had descended the stage.
Having changed from their swimsuits into their costumes, the girls were making dark smiles behind Aleist.
Luecke and Eunius decided to change location at once, going off to search for Rudel and Izumi. From behind, they could hear Aleist's screams.
"Eh? No way! You were in it too? … That was a joke! I'm just kidding!! Aaaah!!"
Right as Aleist cried out, the two of them were able to spot Rudel and Izumi walking side by side.
'Following on, it's confession time!! Now that we've all got a spot of drink, everyone who wants to use this last chance at the academy to confess to the one they admire, raise your hands!!'
The mc was enthusiastic, but the hall wasn't quite on board. Even if you asked them to confess at the end of the end, it would only be troubling.
In the first place, an extent of the students already had partners. If they were nobles, they'd have engagements, and based on the person, there were even some who, while students, surrounded themselves with numerous women.
First on that list were Aleist and Eunius.
The hall was enveloped in a dubious air, and there were only a few students who took part, half for fun. Within all that, some commoner students had gathered in a separate space.
Starting with Fritz, they were students of the three-year curriculum.
When it was decided Fritz would become captain of the royal guard, he had invited some of his close friends to join as well. Those who gathered with Fritz' followers.
In that hall of dubious enthusiasm, he held a glass as he looked around.
"What's wrong, Fritz? You're not taking part?"
One of his classmates suggested that he take part in this side show. As captain of the royal guard, with more influence than the captain of a knight brigade, Fritz did have a certain level of popularity among the girls.
Especially the students who wanted to rise from commoners, and low-ranking nobles would often call out to him. But Fritz had Aileen, so he couldn't participate in this sort of event.
"No, I'd rather not become a laughingstock in a farce like this. More importantly, this party isn't free. Do those nobles really get it?"
While those around him exchanged jokes, Fritz alone hadn't read the mood.
"Yeah, y-you're right."
Following on from Fritz, the commoner knights who dreamed of promotion forcefully sterned up their faces. In truth, they at least wanted to enjoy their last days at the academy.
The eyes of that group with a dicey air fell on Rudel in his costume and Izumi.
They were smiling as they looked over the students confessing to boys in jest, and the students receiving those confessions not knowing they were jokes.
Fritz instantly down the juice that filled the glass in his hands.
"The noble-for-hobby who ignored the palace's orders to become a dragoon, and the foreign woman who seduced him. It's rotten, the current Kingdom of Courtois."
At a glance, Fritz' opinion wasn't correct, but it wasn't wrong either. If someone who didn't know looked at Rudel and Izumi, it certainly wouldn't be strange if they imagined such a relationship.
No matter how those two thought of one another.
"Hey, did Rudel really reject enlistment in the royal guard? Is that really allowed?"
As a weak-willed-looking one of his followers mouthed something that could be taken as supporting Rudel, Fritz' expression changed.
"We're dealing with a noble, and an archduke at that! You should know it isn't strange for them to do such a thing. Those rotten nobles have to do something for the sake of this country."
On Fritz' opinion, everyone nodded.
Even if he had an environment to learn, an environment to study, if he only looked at the information he wanted to believe, he could only strengthen his biased viewpoint.
Laughing (?) with his friends, Fritz glared at Rudel. But the two of them were exceedingly similar.
If Rudel didn't have anyone to believe in, there was a possibility he would fixate on becoming a dragoon and ruin himself. The difference was whether they were able to accept others or not.
Rudel who saw dreams of dragoons, and Fritz who dreamed of heroes.
After coming so far, the gap had grown so large it could no longer be filled in.
"I'm definitely going to change this country."
Glaring at Rudel who clung onto Izumi in his costume, Fritz muttered.
In the hall, making use of the confession time, Sophina had moved behind the scenes.
Obtaining the numbered tags that would be used in the king's game, Sophina appeared before Fina. The two of them met hidden in a corner of the hall, hurriedly going into preparations.
"Princess, the preparations are complete."
"You've done a splendid job. As expected of a high knight."
"… I am glad I was able to answer to your expectations. (Even if you praise me over something like this, it doesn't make me happy at all…)"
Swiftly sticking on a marker, Fina got a grasp of the characteristics of the other number tags. But that alone made her anxious, so she directed her face at Sophina.
Dropping her shoulders, Sophina quietly nodded.
'Now that those confessions are behind us, it's finally time to begin the king's game!! And what a discourteously named game it is, but we have Fina Courtois-sama's stamp of approval, so we're going with that! Don't be a stiff, and join in. Now then, Fina-sama will be participating in the first game.'
Alongside that enthusiastic introduction from the mc, Fina reservedly waved her hand as she walked to the center of the circle the students had made. To her side, Sophina escorted her as a guard.
"It is my pleasure."
'And while I'd like to put rank aside, we can't start it off without our future archdukes!'
Being introduced, Rudel and the others stepped up as well. As Fina was taking part, they had selected out earnest participants who could read the mood for the first round.
While it was dubious whether or not Rudel could read the mood, there was no changing the fact he was earnest. But Aleist had been removed from the first round's members.
'Well then, you'll all be drawing lots from this box! We'll start off with Fina-sama.'
As he said that, the student on duty held out the box of numbered sticks to FinaThere were round tags stuck on the ends of each stick, and the tags indicated their number or king status.
"Then if you'll beg my pardon (Fwahahaha!! I am the king!!)"
Picking out one of the sticks, Fina discretely retrieved the marker she had stuck onto it. Pulling the king's tag without issue, she resolved herself.
(Hmm, that was dangerous. I always lose focus when I get this far, and I was one step from doing something crazy. Today is my big chance to get master in my hands! If I fail here, it'll be a real pain later.)
After Eunius and Luecke pulled numbers, Rudel was wearing his costume, so it was considerably hard to grasp one. On his gestures, Fina thought she would start drooling.
(Quit it, Fina! That's just a fake fluffy. I have to hold a stalwart heart… and yet, I must hate myself for wanting to assault him!!)
Seeing Rudel grasp a stick in both hands and pull it, Fina fought the urges within her head. She thought her heart would be stolen by that cute appearance and bearing.
But even so, she didn't let her guard down. She sent a glance at Sophina, who silently sent the signal to her high knight subordinates. One of the high knights stationed behind Rudel confirmed the number on Rudel's lot.
For the sake of this day, she had stationed those with good eyes, even among all her subordinates. The abilities of these talented girls were being put to use in the king's game.
'Is everyone ready? Then who's the king~!!?'
As the mc raised his voice, Fina laughed inside that she had been waiting for this as she softly raised her hand. From appearance alone, she was a reserved beautiful girl.
As she was doing that, Fina informed her of the number on Rudel's stick. Carefully confirming it, Fina couldn't stop her laughter within. But as she directed her eyes at Rudel, she noticed a certain something.
"Um, it looks like it's me (Master's number is five… then the order…?)"
Chatting amiably with Luecke and Eunius, Rudel's outfit was cute, and there were no problems with his gestures. But something was lacking.
"The sort of order she gives in the first round will decide the flow for the rest of the game."
"For real? Then even a kiss is safe, right?"
"With the princess? I think that's completely out, Eunius."
"No, she could order one number to kiss another. Aleist has a talent when it comes to these sorts of things."
Luecke praised Aleist for proposing this game. But Aleist himself was currently receiving punishment for ruining his fiancés' moods during the beauty contest.
"Sure enough, if it's this game, then they could use it at the shops too. That guy just might be a genius!"
Eunisu decided to start a trend at the shops he frequented. And with that, Aleist had left yet another legend.
"I don't have talent when it comes to these things. I'm a bit jealous."
Wearing his costume, Rudel made a bit of a thinking gesture. But even if Fina was satisfied with his appearance and cute gestures, she wasn't satisfied with his speech.
If only his appearance wasn't as cute, if only his actions weren't so lovely.
(…… Unforgivable. That way of speech is unforgivable! If you've already gone that far, then do something about your speech!! Just a little more. A little more, and it'd be perfect!!)
'Well then, Fina-sama, if you'll please give an order!'
"Princess, your order please (Hah, forcing me to work in a party of young kids… I want to go home)"
Hearing Sophina's spiritless voice, Fina saw the completion of her goal of kissing Rudel appear before her eyes. But within Fina, a new desire was being born.
(Kissing master… but it's hard to abandon the thought of adding 'woof' to his sentences. Wait a second, Fina! You cannot be shaken here!)
As her heart came into conflict, the angel of her heart whispered out.
'What are you doing!? Fulfill your initial objective. Use this opportunity to obtain master!!'
There, the demon whispered in her ears.
'Hehe, are you sure? If you let this chance slip by, there might not be a next, you know? Kisses and sealing deals, you can do all manner of pervy things however you want afterward. Your authority exists to be abused, right? You have no choice but to add a woof to his words here and now!'
On the devil's words, the angel within Fina voiced her approval.
'Oh my, you do have a point. Then the right choice is to add 'woof' to his sentences! Oh this is simply arousing!!'
By the drooling angel and demon within Fina, her direction had been changed. Harding her resolve, Fina boldly handed down her order with expressionless face.
And at that moment, Fina was shaken.
"Erk, she told me to add woof to the end of every sentence, woof."
"Isn't that fine? I think it's cuter that way."
The king's game continued, but taking the number of students into account, there were few who could take part in each game. Rudel had left the game early, switching out with the students waiting their turn.
Having come so far, Fina's objective ended in failure. But she was satisfied, so perhaps it wasn't a problem.
Rudel- forced to add woof to his words- and Izumi parted from the place the king's game was held to have a hand at the food. Luecke and Eunius were still playing, so the two of them were killing time.
It went without saying that the two men had created time for Rudel and Izumi to be together.
"Even so, your swimsuit was surprising, woof."
"Y-you think? They said the participants could keep the swimsuit afterwards, so I chose out the one I liked… did you dislike that swimsuit?"
"Not at all! … woof. I thought it was really pretty, woof."
Still wearing his dog costume, Rudel took Izumi's hand. Izumi seemed happy Rudel had taken a liking to it.
"That's good. I didn't think it was a little extreme, but I'm glad I chose it."
The one who chose the swimsuit was Izumi herself, and it seems she had considered it just a little extreme. Rudel went on to praise her swimsuit form.
"I got really excited. There was barely any string on your back, and it almost looked as if you weren't wearing anything at all, woof! But if possible, I wouldn't want you to show it to anyone else, woof."
"Yeah, I'll be careful."
Giggling, Izumi found Rudel's slightly frantic attitude to be quite pleasant.
There, having run away from his fiancés, Aleist came seeking help. He was wearing his armor, so when he moved, they could hear the sounds of clashing metal.
As Aleist was wearing something conspicuous, he decided to use Rudel, someone his fiancés couldn't approach so easily.
"S-save me, you two! At this rate, I'm going to have a hole in my stomach."
As Aleist appeared in lament, this time, Luecke and Eunius appeared. Both of them took Aleist in with weary eyes.
"Why don't you read the mood?"
"Read the mood, dammit."
To the words of the two who held the same impression, Aleist tilted his head. But even if he tilted his head in gold-horned black armor, it didn't look cute at all.
The hall was growing rowdy over the king's game.
A large number of students awaited their turn to take part, and Izumi had been detained by some underclassmen girls, separating from Rudel.
The four men had gathered by the wall, but Aleist had gotten some drink in him, and with his fatigue, he had fallen asleep against it.
"He really fell asleep."
As Eunius made a game of prodding Aleist with his finger, Luecke let out a sigh.
"Just leave him be. After they stuck to him like that, of course he'd be tired… good grief, he'll burn a hole in his stomach someday."
"Sure enough, woof."
As Rudel and the others said, Aleist's fiancés had launched their attack. They had contained their usual pace but even so, it seems they were hard on him.
"Ah, but his shouts during Millia's wardrobe malfunction were painful. He was chastised for them quite a bit, this guy."
Eunius was talking about the time Millia lost her upper garments. Excited, Aleist had some drink in his system, and he ended up shouting out.
From atop the stage, his engagement partners were all watching him. There was no excuse.
"… Well, the way things are going, Millia will probably be engaged to Aleist too. Looking at the elves as a whole, this matter with Millia is a stroke of good luck. The talks should go forward regardless of her intent."
Luecke tilted his lass, swishing the drink inside, and watching it move. Once talks turned serious, Eunius looked up at the ceiling.
Rudel alone, because of his costume, was unable to put out a serious air.
"Hah, becoming an adult means you've got to become a stiff, huh."
Eunius down the contents of the glass in his hand, making a bit of a lonesome face.
"You can't be a student forever. We're the same. After this, we'll be in service to the palace for a bit, but we've each got our factions."
Originally, they were houses that were supposed to be in conflict. Even if Rudel was a separate story, the Arses House still held a faction. He couldn't stay irrelevant.
"What a pain."
On Eunius' words, Luecke could give no response. But before that, Rudel had something he had to do.
His promise with the black fog… perhaps you could call it fate, if he didn't fight against the large flow, he would never be able to move forwards.
"I'm a dragoon, woof. It's customary to head to the border for a while… woof."
"No, you're special, so you'll probably be serving at the palace, right? This sleeping guy is entering the defenders that were just put together, and he's suddenly a candidate for captain."
Eunius corrected Rudel's statement, but Rudel had a vague understanding. There was a flow he couldn't do anything against, and he was being swept up in its currents…
But he hadn't given up on his struggle.
He had promised to fight against it, and it was one of the reasons he became a dragoon. Rudel suddenly felt as if the still-human Sakuya was standing beside him.
(I'll definitely honor my promises.)
It was almost as if Sakuya made a bit of a sorrowful face. But the feeling she was there soon faded away.
"Well, as long as Rudel's there, the Arses faction should built some momentum. We won't be the two great factions for long. Rudel, you better prepare yourself. Even if you're the dragoon, you're the white knight. It's not like there's no possibility you'll be the next king. No, among us, you have the highest chances."
Luecke looked at Aleist just once. But he couldn't imagine the man leaning asleep against the wall becoming king.
"If you become king, you'll be clashing with us."
Even if Rudel became king, if their politics collided, then the archdukes would oppose. Friendly relations from their school days wouldn't mean anything there. No, those around wouldn't let them have meaning.
The three fell silent, but on Izumi's approach, Eunius opened his mouth.
"Well, it was fun. For now, I guess that's enough."
"That's right, woof."
Rudel was faithfully upholding his order. And that was something Luecke and Eunius couldn't help but laugh at.
The fact that they couldn't keep it tense to the end left the three of them laughing.
In the academy where the graduation ceremony had concluded, the headmaster held his head.
Having come so far, the students' guardians had come forth to complain that the party's contents had been too extreme. The name of the king's fame was approved by Fina, so it didn't become a problem.
But in the beauty contest, boys aside, the girls and their parents came to complain. This was largely because of Izumi and Millia.
While they couldn't approve of the contest itself, they complained that they couldn't approve of those extreme pieces of swimwear either. Among them were some of the students who took part, simply being sore losers.
And while confession time did become a bid of a problem, among the students, there were some boys who jokingly confessed to one another, and it was praised as being funnier than the average comedy.
No one said anything particular about the costumes, but after that, the academy received a considerable number of complaints.
The fact that they were praised to an extent was the silver lining on a dark cloud. It was well known as a party where the students had made lasting memories.
Of the enrolled students, there were many looking forward to next year's party.
"Come this far, to think my sense of relief would backfire… I never would have thought Izumi-kun and Millia-kun would…"
It's not as if they hadn't been wary of Rudel and co, but the problem had come from somewhere they had never even expected, making the headmaster hold his head.
"Hah… well, there's only one year left in my term. It did make for a nice memory."
Recalling when Rudel had come to the academy, his face went unusually lax. It was quite some trouble, but remembering how it was fun in its own way, the headmaster continued through his processing of complaints.
… But because of the problem child who paid visit to the academy two years later, the headmaster's troubles would continue.
That the problem child would cause his term to be extended was something the headmaster no way of knowing.
"Now then, I've got to do my best for my final year."