Hey guys! Wow I can’t believe I finished this chapter in one day lol. And, this is the last chapter for this mini-arc. In the next mini-arc we will finally meet the contract beast!
ED: clover, eristol
Just like in the heavyweight weapons match, in this swords match Louis also commenced an attack without warning.
Louis immediately threw away his axe and pulled out a sword before Auguste was in his position.
Blackcurrant was retreating while keeping her eyes open to protect her rider, but Auguste still kept his eyes closed and was depressed.
Louis often aimed while Camellia was doing a feint, trying to strike the shield attached to Auguste’s shoulder.
Blackcurrant avoided the sword attacks that might hit Auguste.
Blackcurrant succeeded in avoiding the first blow swung in their direction.
But Louis continued to attack mercilessly.
Blackcurrant’s balance was thrown off due to Camellia’s ramming attacks, and Louis swung his sword aiming for the moment when her feet stopped.
The swords of Auguste and Louis clashed and made sparks.
It seems that he drew his sword during that close call.
Louis’ sword attack was a serious blow that couldn’t be seen by untrained eyes.
He is older by 4 years or so, plus he has the advantage of height and is attacking without mercy.
Of course, because it is a sword for the competition, the edge has been dulled, but had he failed to parry it, even though there is a shield and armor, it seems that it could have broken his bones.
“He warded it off……? No way, he may have been able to do it during the heavyweight weapons match, but now with swords?”
Father groaned while looking at the imminent battle.
Is there something wrong with that?
When I tilted my head, the King responded to father’s muttering.
“That’s right. Normally it’s impossible except by chance. Even if it is a 10-meters class dragon, it’s rare for a knight with such high level skill to appear……”
“Ooh, he parried it again. I do not think this is a coincidence.”
“Otou-sama, Your Majesty, what are you talking about?”
When I inquired as I couldn’t understand it, the two of them nodded with a mysterious expression.
“That’s right, this is Erica’s first time watching the tournament. Moreover, there were almost no swords match in this year’s competition.”
“Erica-ojousan, there is a fixed flow to a certain extent in the three matches in this tournament.”
His Majesty the King carefully explained it for me.
To summarize it, the battle flow is fixed in advance depending on the length of the weapon used.
And that fixation becomes more obvious as the size of the dragon increases.
Of the three kinds of weapons, it is said that usually the mid-air fighting is only done in the spears match.
Shorter weapons would make it more difficult to hit the target while flying at high speed.
Dragon knights use special long-handled hammers and axes, so it is barely possible to fight in the air during the match of heavyweight weapons.
Even then, the targets are not the shields, but each other’s weapons.
If the weapons are dropped their victory or defeat would be decided, so as if it has been arranged beforehand, they would exchange blows with their weapon and it becomes a contest of endurance.
Of course, as Louis did in this final, sometimes there would be someone who uses this tactic to push their opponent’s dragon to the ground.
The dragon that fall to the ground will have their evasion ability considerably reduced.
Therefore, it is possible to aim for the opponent’s shield with relative ease even with a hammer or an axe.
The disadvantage of the dragon on the ground becomes even larger during the swords match.
Compared to the long-handled hammer, dragon knights’ long swords are only about two thirds of that length.
That is the reason why it becomes more difficult to hit the shields or each other’s weapons.
For the dragon knight on the ground, attacks from the dragon knight in the air can come from all directions and receiving those attacks can be difficult, even if they rely on their dragon’s vision.
In addition, dragons of more than 10-meters class need long runs to fly.
Of course, it is impossible to make a sufficient run for flying while fighting.
So when one of them falls to the ground, the courtesy to return to their original position is particularly important before the match resumes.
By the way, the flow of the swords match when it doesn’t become a one-sided match of air-to-earth is supposed to be like this.
Both of them would collectively land or match their altitude while hovering in the air, draw near at the last moment and cross swords with each other.
In this way, the match would be easy to prolong.
The shield that can be targeted is limited to one place, which makes it easier to defend.
It is harder to make their opponent lose their grip of their weapon, since it is not heavy like in the heavyweight weapons match.
Since they can’t use footwork, the ability difference due to their fencing skills is wonderful to see, etc.
Ultimately, the continuous contest of endurance and concentration in a drawn-out battle would decide the victory and defeat.
In this way, the original tournament was made to be a match where all aspect of strength is tested.
“In other words, it is a show of great skills that he could stop his opponent’s blows many times over while he was on defense on the ground which should be disadvantageous for him.”
“It’s quite easy to understand, Erica-ojousan. That’s right. It is hard to understand if you look from far away, but from the defending dragon knight – Auguste’s point of view, it is very difficult to ward off the attacks. In the next moment, Louis might turn his back on him.”
“Is it possible to turn this situation around?”
“Fufufu. Please watch my son’s match with confidence. In the first place, Auguste likes watching this tournament. He should be aware of how to work on this situation.”
Prompted by the King, I concentrated on the match.
At that time, it was the moment when the battle situation became a stalemate.
The moment when Camellia was trying to turn back and leave, Blackcurrant struck with her long tail.
She aimed for the base of Camellia’s wings.
Camellia’s balance was thrown off, she lost her momentum and landed on the ground.
With both of them on the ground, it is supposed to be a five-minutes match.
“Yosh, he did it! You remember it well, Auguste. That was the crucial move of the 10-meters class semi-final from three years ago.”
The King made a fist pump and raised his voice unexpectedly.
The King who was once lamenting at fate, now had his tension back at the show of Auguste’s continuous success.
“Hm. His Highness Auguste prevails at the dragon techniques, but Louis is better in physique and actual battle experience. Since it’s becoming difficult with the difference in ability of their dragons, this is exactly a fifty-fifty match.”
“My son will not lose in the contest of endurance. Regardless of how he looks, he is actually a hard worker.”
It sounded like a speech from a doting parent, but suddenly I was reminded of something.
He was lifting a heavy bag lightly during the sightseeing tour and there was a sense of stability when we were dancing.
It is easy to imagine that he must have tempered himself for the time when it is possible for him to ride a dragon.
Louis who had dropped to the ground turned completely and went into defense.
Letting Camellia take a distance, he also raised his sword and took a defensive stance.
But Auguste took an unexpected action.
Sand around Blackcurrant was winding, and for a moment I thought that Auguste was also making a smokescreen.
However, his distance from Louis was too far for the sand to affect him.
“What, she is floating!?”
Father shouted and leaned his body forward.
Our attention drawn, the King and I watched over the sand.
Blackcurrant with Auguste on her back flapped her wings strongly.
The 20-meters class dragon’s body was lifted a few meters without running.
Simultaneously with the flapping, Blackcurrant seemed to breathe out as if spitting out.
This was the identity of what looked like a smokescreen.
Louis noticed the anomaly and spurred Camellia to make an assault, but it was already too late.
The wings of Blackcurrant caught the wind and she was returning to the sky with Auguste.
A black dragon and a single black knight rose as they were.
“Your Majesty, what is that?”
“Hmm. I have heard of it from the folklore. In the era of the Third Giant War, in an anecdote of the Severe King Jean during the expedition to the Karkinos continent. The King’s troops were cornered by the enemy and were in a crisis because they couldn’t notice the siege of the giants due to the bad weather. However, Urizen1 who was the King’s ride flew without running and saved them from that crisis.”
“Why can His Highness Auguste use the same technique as the Severe King……?”
“I don’t know. But, these miracles have happened in succession. Nothing can surprise me now.”
Speaking of which, Auguste is familiar with the guardian angel of the Founder King and the contract beast.
It would be no wonder if he was looking for a hint to ride a dragon and knew in detail about the folklore as well as learned about the previous dragon knights and dragons in the process.
Louis also made Camellia do a starting run and flew away.
It would be overwhelmingly worse if he flew towards a dragon that was already flying.
But Auguste was already at a far higher height.
“What is His Highness planning to do? Although he flew away he didn’t try to adjust the altitude.”
“Is it a provocation or stalling for time—no, wait. No doubt, he’s planning to decide the match in an air battle.”
“No way. Why would he do that?”
“In this tournament, there is only one knight who has won in a high-speed air battle at swords match. The Blind Dragon Knight, the Earl of Caex at that time, Gustav.”
“Your Majesty, is that technique also possible for other dragon knights to use?”
“Although I tried to imitate the technique, the result was staggering. Even if it is possible to reproduce the technique, you need to do a lot of training……or, you need to be a telepathic genius who goes beyond Gustav who had a considerably high sensitivity due to his blindness.”
The whole audience fell silent and were watching Auguste.
While people were watching attentively, Auguste made Blackcurrant do a somersault with the sun behind him.
The appearance of a dragon and a person disappeared in the sunlight for an instant.
Blackcurrant folded her wings after flapping them for a while.
Blackcurrant shifted to a descent with Auguste on her back.
It was a sudden descent that reminded me of a kingfisher or a falcon.
Louis was stunned for a moment at the form of Blackcurrant who was approaching at a terrifying speed.
At this rate, it would be a course where the two dragons would collide.
Before he could decide whether to avoid or intercept, Auguste came closer.
Blackcurrant slipped through with a movement as if twining around Camellia who was escaping too late.
After a crossing which was literally only a hair’s breadth away, Blackcurrant who was grazing the ground suddenly pulled a brake and slowly hovered with her wings fluttering.
Without looking back at Louis who was left behind in the air, Auguste restored his sword to its sheath with an elegant movement.
Six pieces of wood fell while flapping in the wind.
The shields that were attached to Louis and Camellia, all of them were cut in two.
It was like passing through the hole of a needle that was stabbed in the ground – with such precision, Auguste slashed Louis’ shields while riding a dragon descending in a full force.
Camellia landed with a dumbfounded Louis on her back.
The venue was restless.
Everyone also looked at Auguste with a look that they couldn’t believe what happened in front of them.
I could only hear the flapping of Blackcurrant’s wings.
While nobody could move, my body moved naturally.
I picked up a wreath prepared at the noble guests’ seat and threw it at him.
Auguste patted the neck of Blackcurrant lightly.
His dragon understood his intention quickly, she spread her wings, made a turn and rose.
Blackcurrant jumped towards the audience seat and Auguste caught the wreath I threw mid-air.
When I waved to Auguste, he responded by raising his arm that had my blue ribbon wound around it.
Loud cheers that seemed to shake the ground reverberated in the venue.
The audience turned over to him, clapping and cheering enthusiastically, praising Auguste.
Following me, flowers were thrown in succession, and the pair of a sincere person and a dragon reacted and caught the vibrant flowers and adorned them.
More than anything, they saw Auguste’s integrity and riding techniques just like the previous King and Hero, but the citizens seem to have accepted him.
That is good.
As expected, whether or not he can ride was the turning point.
In this case, even if he is disqualified, if it is explained that it was not strictly wrong, they might accept Auguste afterwards.
“Auguste! My child! My little hero!”
The King stood up on the rail of the audience seat, opened his arms and shouted at Auguste.
Uwah, this, this is about three stories high.
He might be familiar with the height since he is a dragon knight, but for the onlookers, it looks extremely dangerous.
Auguste waved his hand to the King in response, the parent and child were facing each other.
Blackcurrant made numerous somersaults, tailspins, and other acrobatic flights in succession in response to the audience.
As the pair of a person and a dragon rose high to the sky about to reproduce the deciding blow from the final, something happened at that moment.
Blackcurrant cried in a sorrowful voice.
At the high altitude, Blackcurrant gave a painful cry and tried to shake off Auguste who was riding on her back.
It was as if she was trying to throw him off of her back.
I had a bad feeling.
I had an illusory feeling of the cold hands of Death God stroking my back.
(Something like that……no way……to come so far and be ruined……)
Blackcurrant was spinning her body like a black tornado.
She was more violent than she was during the match, it was a rough movement that didn’t care whether she had a rider on her back or not.
My prayer was also in vain, and the boy in black armor was thrown into the air.
Auguste who was thrown off didn’t twitch a bit.
I wonder if he lost his consciousness due to the spinning.
Blackcurrant who should have been a friend until just a while ago didn’t care about Auguste who kept falling defenselessly, while originally she would have been the one to help him first.
I was screaming in spite of myself.
I could only cry out.
I am an alchemist, yet I didn’t prepare anything for this unexpected situation.
The Queen called the name of Auguste in a more sorrowful voice than anyone.
The King called for his own ride and was about to catch him.
But, no one would make it in time.
I couldn’t do anything.
Someone was moving in the corner of my eyes.
He opened the bag for alchemists and took out a wand.
It was a wand that I had used, but at the same time, it was also a wand that I had never used.
The head was amber, the shaft was a fossilized griffin’s bones.
The handle was a yellow brass, and its surface had a feather pattern.
The core material was a fossil of the wing of archaeopteryx.
—It was the wand of Feather Falling.
However, different from the normal Feather Falling, this wand was engraved with ancient Aurelia-style praise sentence and the effect was amplified.
It was the exclusive equipment of Long-Armed Ernst, Duke of Aurelia.
Father concentrated his mind and waved his wand while targeting the falling Auguste.
Feather Falling, which originally has a range of less than 5 meters, was extended to over 100 meters by the capability of the alchemists’ chief.
A magic circle like a white thin membrane spread directly under Auguste, and as soon as he touched it, the magic circle broke into feathers and scattered.
Auguste and the flower wreaths were falling gently.
He slowly descended as if he had forgotten about the existence of gravity.
It took a long time for him to fall, while sprinkling magical lights resembling white feathers.
The ‘angel’ who was longing for the sky was deprived of everything the moment his wish came true, and was dropped to the ground.
1 Urizen is the Zoa of conventional reason and law. If you remember, this story had mentioned two other dragons of the King (not the same King, these are the Founder King’s), Urthona and Tharmas, which are also named from the four Zoas. (source)