Continues on from
Continues on to Chapter 2 – The Nation-Saving Hero
Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.
Chapter 1 – The Ancient Magic Ship Escavaron
Several hours after Uriel departed on his magic ship, the Claíomh Solais—.
The Holy Ship Esperanza and the mysterious magic ship were moored side-by-side at the dedicated dock for magical ships in Fontaine City.
"Looking at it from close up, it really is impressive."
Having travelled from Fontaine Palace to greet Mirabel and the others, Ash gazed up in awe at the mighty appearance of the two ships. The enormous and unparalleled size of the Holy Ship Esperanza was particularly overwhelming.
"Compared to the Holy Ship, I think I like this magic ship more though. It just feels somewhat nostalgic."
Beside Ash, Eco looked up at the mysterious magic ship in a slightly confused manner. Even though Eco had only just told Ash to rest in a somewhat infuriated manner, it appeared as though her curiosity had been piqued by the magic ship that stood before her eyes. Although its body belonged to the smaller class of magic ships, it was not inferior to even the Esperanza in terms of its presence. If the Holy Ship was one that captivated all viewers with its majestic size, then the magic ship beside it entranced its viewers with its unique artistic style. To draw an analogy, it was like a Strada that danced and soared through the sky. Its beauty was so dreamlike that it looked like something that belonged in a museum.
At that moment, someone appeared on the deck of the magic ship and waved. It was a black-haired beauty dressed as a man. Beside her was a petite maid who wore an eyepatch. An enormous Maestro also sat tamely behind the two of them.
"Oscar and Celes! And even Tristan too…!"
As Ash's eyes widened in surprise, Oscar and Celes rode atop Tristan's head and flew off the deck. Along with the low-pitched howl of the wind, Tristan descended upon the ground with an earthy thud. Oscar looked like she could hardly wait as she jumped off Tristan's head and leapt into Ash's arms.
Ash was instantly befuddled by her actions. A cool fragrance stimulated his nostrils. Although it was probably the scent of male perfume, it was still an agent of potent attraction to Ash given that he knew that Oscar was actually a girl.
"I'm so glad that you're safe…! I was so worried when I heard that Klaus' men also went off to attack you…"
As Oscar's eyes grew moist with tears, she held onto Ash tightly, refusing to let go. Although she usually acted like an arrogant noble, the way she acted now was akin to an honest and sincere girl. Look at you, your handsome male image is getting ruined…although Ash had somewhat mixed feelings, he felt truly happy that Oscar cared for him so deeply, and so he wrapped his arms around her back in return. After physically interacting with Oscar in such a way, he realised that Oscar's physique was actually as fragile as glass; it was something that was difficult to discern when she cross-dressed as a male. The instant that he realised this, Ash's heartbeat rapidly accelerated.
"Oscar, thank you for worrying about me. I'm fine…so…"
"Is there anything wrong?"
"It feels like everyone is watching us…"
Ash nervously glanced around at his surroundings. A large number of guards of the Knight Country had gathered at the dock, filling the entire place with a tense and solemn atmosphere. Amidst all of them, the famous Oscar and Ash tightly embraced each other. Even if they were male friends who got along extremely well with each other, something like that demonstrated slightly too much closeness. In fact, all of the guards at the dock also watched the interaction between Ash and Oscar with bewilderment. If they didn't clear the mood, it was likely that it could lead to a terrible misunderstanding. No, rather than the stares from the guards, Eco's reaction was far more worrying. Indeed, it was because Eco already knew that Oscar was actually a girl—.
"Hey, what's going on with you two…? When did your relationship progress to this level..?"
Eco's ruby eyes were set ablaze by a spark of fury as she glared at Ash and Oscar. Her tightly clenched fists trembled slightly. At that moment, a dark silhouette nimbly butted in.
"Hey, Oscar. This isn't the time to be playing around for your own satisfaction, you know?"
It was Celes. Her single eye locked on to Oscar like a bird of prey. Upon being glared at in such a fierce manner, even though Oscar was her master, she couldn't help but wince and recoil away from Ash.
"You're right, we don't have any time…"
After Oscar's expression returned to normal, she faced Ash once more.
"Why would time be tight?"
"Ash, you also heard Raquel IV's telepathic message, right? Zacharias III has passed away. I heard about the worsening of his illness previously, and I thought that I had prepared myself for the bad news, but…"
Without realising, Oscar's head began to droop.
"When I actually heard about his death, even I was a bit startled by my own reaction. It wasn't so much sadness, rather, it was this feeling that a hole had been dug out in my chest. Perhaps it's because…regardless of how much I despise him, that man is still my father, I guess?"
Just as Ash felt an irresistible urge to reach out to Oscar, she suddenly lifted her face. The melancholic expression that had been there just moments ago had disappeared. And now, her eyes stared directly at Ash, filled with scorching determination. Ash couldn't help but feel captivated by her valiant courage.
"As a child of Zacharias III, and also as someone with a right to inherit the throne, it is my duty and obligation to attend the state funeral of Zacharias III. That is why I must immediately return to my country."
"I can't just skip the state funeral like I skip classes at school, you know?"
Oscar spoke jovially as if to sweep aside all of the doubts that cast an evident shadow over Ash's face.
"I'll be going then. I won't be seeing you for a while, Ash!"
Oscar and Celes jumped together once more and saddled themselves on Tristan.
Tristan spread its wings and let loose a tremendous roar.
Ash suddenly felt an ominous premonition tug at his heart. Although Uriel had heeded Raquel's orders and agreed to a temporary truce, there was no way of ruling out the possibility that he had other schemes in mind. After all, he had once used Celes, as well as Kriemhild and Klaus of the Empire to instigate a major tragedy. He was a man who could not be underestimated. Just before Tristan was about to take off, Ash couldn't help but rush up and yell,
"Oscar, please be careful of Prince Uriel!"
"Thank you for your concern, Ash! Let's get married as soon as I become king!"
As Oscar directed an impish smile back at Ash, Tristan took off into the air.
"Hold on! Don't just use that as an opportunity to talk nonsense!"
Although Eco puffed her cheeks out and retorted at the top of her lungs, Tristan's speed was so incredible that it had already darted off into the distant sky in the blink of an eye.
After Tristan's enormous body passed over the clouds and completely disappeared from view—.
"—Ash, may I have a moment with you?"
Someone abruptly called out to Ash from behind. Ash turned around and realised that Mirabel had somehow crept up behind him without him noticing. Under the illumination of the morning sun, her brilliant glowing hair was an epitome of why she was called the
Ash couldn't help but cry out. After all, he had a mountain of questions to ask Mirabel.
How did she obtain that beautiful magic ship?
Did she truly want to crown Oscar before confronting Uriel?
Was it appropriate for a princess of the Lautreamont Knight Country to interfere in a clash for royal succession, especially considering that it involved the Knight Country's suzerain state, the Chevron Kingdom?
While Ash hesitated on where to begin…
"Are you the famous Ash Blake-dono…?"
A petite figure like that of a small rabbit suddenly jumped into the space between Ash and Mirabel. An innocent smile was drawn across her face, and her large papal mitre was reminiscent of a high-ranking priest's outfit. In her right hand was a staff with a winged cross. Much like a soldier who had been caught by a sneak attack, Ash was so surprised that he stumbled a few steps back.
Wrought with nervousness, Ash was unable to form any comprehensible words.
"Fufu. I am Raquel IV. May the blessing of the saint be with you."
The nine-year-old girl Pope revealed an innocent smile as she carefully examined Ash's face.
It was only then that Ash realised — the colour of the pupils in Raquel's left and right eyes was different. Her right eye was blue like a sapphire, while her left eye was green like an emerald. Ash was stunned and mesmerised by the sight. He felt as though his very soul could be sucked into the vortex of her eyes at any moment. However, Mirabel's words instantly brought Ash's mind back to reality.
"…Your Holiness, he is indeed Ash Blake…however, he is also a dangerous person who has seduced the young dragon Eco, my dear sister Silvia, as well as many other women. It'll be quite dangerous if you don't keep a safe distance from him, okay?"
"Wait, Princess Mirabel! What kind of dangerous person are you labelling me as!? What are you going to do if a girl as young as her misunderstands!?"
"Oh, isn't what I said the truth? That's right, aside from the students, it seems that even Anya is infatuated with you."
Mirabel said so in a serious manner. It was inevitable that Ash felt somewhat offended upon being treated like a playboy. However, it was certainly the truth that many beautiful girls had gathered by Ash's side, thus he was unable to deny such allegations. He simply held mixed feelings about it in his heart….
Raquel then turned to Mirabel and gave a deep bow.
"Long time no see, Mirabel-sensei."
Seeing Ash mutter that in disbelief, Raquel smiled as she replied.
"Mirabel-sensei served as my swordsmanship instructor when she was studying abroad at the St Law University in Espada."
"I see, so that's why Your Holiness addresses her as 'sensei'…"
Although Ash understood the reasons, he still had his doubts over whether or not there was a need for Raquel to learn swordsmanship. In fact, Ash had noticed that needle-like gazes remained fixed to him for a while now. Some distance away from Ash, several knights led by Cardinal Penelope maintained stern expressions as they monitored the situation with a chilling aura. They were probably members of the famed Espada Holy Wing Knights. Ash then recalled how Frieda had explained that Penelope was the leader of the Holy Wing Knights. In order to expand the influence of the Rosa Maria religion to the entire continent, that elite group had repeatedly fought against heathens and heretics — the Espada Holy Wing Knights. In contrast to the stern-faced Penelope and the others, a smile was always present on Raquel's face. She turned to Ash and said,
"The stories of you and the young dragon Eco have been far-reaching. I've wanted to meet you for a long time."
Raquel's expression suddenly changed, and she appeared slightly nervous.
"Umm, Ash Blake-dono? There's something that I'm wondering if you'd be able to do."
"P-Please, do tell me what it is."
Ash couldn't help but feel nervous too. Although she was only a nine-year-old girl, she was still the Pope.
What could her request possibly be?
Raquel fidgeted and hesitated, though after a while she seemed to gain the determination to stare straight into Ash's eyes.
"Can I call you 'onii-chan'?"
As he was gazed at with puppy-dog eyes, Ash couldn't help but feel puzzled.
"Because my dream is to become the little sister of an indomitable knight like you!"
Raquel removed a book from one of her pockets. The title of the book was [Tale of the Sky Dragonar]. Isn't that a widely popular girls' story…Ash's memory was also triggered by that title. Ash had only read the first volume of it. Ash secretly thought to himself: although she's the Pope, her interests in this regard are no different from an ordinary nine-year-old's huh…. And while Ash ruminated over such thoughts, Raquel pushed herself closer to him.
"U-Umm, so I can't after all? …I thought so. Anyone would feel that a girl who asks to call them 'onii-chan' on the first meeting is quite bothersome…"
Disheartened, Raquel's expression became downcast and lifeless. Instantly, the Espada Holy Wing Knights standing behind them unleashed a terrifying murderous intent which prompted Ash to quickly shake his head and deny that statement.
"No no, not at all, I wouldn't find that bothersome! I don't mind at all!"
"Really!? Thank you, Ash-oniichan!"
A wide grin surfaced on Raquel's face as she leapt into Ash's arms.
Ash immediately panicked. And of course, a dark and furious aura appeared to spawn from the Espada Holy Wing Knights. Among them, Penelope's expression was the most ferocious, and it looked as though she wanted to rush forward and run a knife through Ash's body. The young and beautiful female cardinal — could it be that her other side was actually an overprotective maternal figure? Raquel on the other hand did not seem to take notice of Penelope's love for her, and she brazenly continued her show of affection towards Ash.
"And, you also have to address me like your real little sister. You are forbidden from calling me 'Your Holiness' and you can't use any honorifics either."
"Y-Yes…understood, Your Holiness."
"Understood? Your Holiness?"
At those words, Raquel instantly puffed out her cheeks. Her adorable appearance made it tempting to poke her cheeks.
"I-I get it, Raquel!"
"Fufu, I'm so happy to have such a nice older brother!"
Just when Raquel expressed her heartfelt joy—
Eco muttered in a low-voice from behind Ash. Given her tone, she was clearly sour about something.
Beads of cold sweat began to form on Ash's brow. Taking Eco into consideration, she probably found it difficult to tolerate Raquel and Ash being so intimate with each other. However, Raquel was an innocent young child, and it didn't appear as though she had any ulterior motives. Thus, she would only lose her grace as a grown-up if she argued with her now, therefore it was best to take a wait and see approach — that was roughly what weighed on Eco's mind. Raquel's curiosity suddenly shifted to Eco.
"Wow! So you're the young dragon Eco? It's so nice to meet you!"
"W-W-What are you doing!? Let me make this clear first, I don't recognise you as Ash's little sister!"
Eco was visibly troubled. She had never interacted with a nine-year-old child before, so she probably didn't know how to deal with her.
"You have the appearance of a girl just like the rumours say! The things growing on your head…could they be horns?"
Raquel stood on her tiptoes and touched Eco's horns with her small fingers.
Eco's body suddenly felt weak. Ash had almost forgotten that they were Eco's weakness. Eco tearfully guarded the horns on her head with both hands.
Upon seeing Eco attempting to guard her horns, Raquel looked deeply moved.
"Can I keep touching them?"
"Geez! Of course not!"
Although Raquel didn't have any malicious intent, someone touching her horns was rather problematic for Eco. Ash felt as though it was time for him to smooth things over between them, but at that moment…
"Ahem, Your Holiness Raquel. I think this is enough, don't you? I actually have something urgent to discuss with Ash."
Mirabel cleared her throat and interrupted from the sidelines. Hearing that, a mischievous smile formed on Raquel's face as she tossed an absurd question at her.
"Something urgent…could it be a confession of love?"
"Wh…why would it be a confession of love!?"
For a moment, a rare situation occurred in which Mirabel appeared shaken.
"Because you've been staring at Ash-oniichan with such passionate eyes for a while now, Mirabel-sensei. As his little sister, I'm very curious about this!"
"T-That's not it! Your Holiness, even if you are the Pope, there are some things that you can't just say like that, do you understand?"
It appeared as though even the typically calm-mannered Mirabel could be led by the nose when interacting with Raquel. Ash watched the two of them as his surprise at their interactions gradually intensified.
"…I've been staring at Ash in contemplation because I suspect that there may be some connection between Ash and Escavaron. There is no other meaning."
Ash tilted his head in confusion. He had never heard the word 'Escavaron' before.
"Escavaron is the name of this ancient magic ship."
"Ancient? Then, that magic ship is…?"
"Correct. It is the holy relic that I excavated from the Academy's underground labyrinth. I willingly took over the post of headmistress for the sake of Escavaron—"
Mirabel solemnly spoke and approached until she stood directly in front of Ash.
"Now that you're aware of the reason, may I borrow a moment of your time? I'd like to invite you into the Escavaron to take a look."
"Yes, I don't mind…"
Although he said that, Ash still had a somewhat dubious attitude towards the situation. No matter what was said, he refused to believe that the majestic and sacred ancient magic ship had any connection to himself.
"Then I'm coming too! To be honest, I've been quite curious about the Escavaron. Let's go, Ash-oniichan!"
As Raquel pulled his arm along, Ash almost lost balance and slipped, but grabbed onto Raquel's shoulders to keep himself up.
Ash could somehow imagine the appearance of Eco and Penelope behind him releasing a dark, resentful aura, and he instantly shuddered out of fear.
Mirabel took the lead as she ventured into the interior of the ancient magic ship Escavaron along with Ash, Eco, Raquel IV as well as the Espada Holy Wing Knights led by Penelope. Mirabel continued to advance straight towards the cockpit. At the centre of the cockpit was the captain's seat, and the surrounding sides were equipped with seats for control and communication. The walls were densely packed with seemingly complicated control panels and various display screens. It had a rather similar vibe to the Silvanus' cockpit. However, even though the appearance of the installations was familiar, this particular cockpit had an air of classic elegance which felt somewhat awe-inspiring. As he looked around, aside from Mirabel's personal maid who was always in charge of brewing tea — Eunice, there was another familiar face that Ash was quite well-acquainted with. It was Anya. Although she had been associated with a cat-ear maid uniform as of late, she currently wore her revealing native dress.
As soon as Ash and the others entered the cockpit, Anya immediately got up from her seat and dashed over to the entrance.
"Anya! What are you doing here?"
"Princess Mirabel hired me as a bodyguard to accompany her investigation of the Academy's underground. It's great that both of you are safe, Ash, Eco…I was so worried because Klaus seemed to have sent troops after you…"
After confirming Ash's safety with her very own eyes, Anya's tension was instantly relieved. A stream of tears rolled down Anya's cheeks.
"H-Huh? Why am I…"
It seemed that even Anya didn't expect herself to cry, and so she wiped the tears away from her reddened face. Ash was moved by Anya's strong, yet charmingly delicate appearance. Had no other people been present, Ash might not have been able to restrain himself, and he would have rushed up and embraced her. However—
Once again, Eco frowned as she folded her arms and glared at Ash with a somewhat ferocious look in her eyes.
Not long after Ash and Anya shared a joyful reunion, Mirabel initiated her explanation.
"Following a series of deductions on prior events, I believe that the Escavaron activated simultaneously when Eco bestowed her complete Ark to Ash. In fact, when we discovered this magic ship, it showed no response at all. Ash, come over and have a look at this."
Ash did as he was told by Mirabel and looked at one of the display screens. Shown on the screen was a single line of red text which read:
—Avalon Knight Dragner
"Although I have yet to fully grasp the overall status of the Escavaron, my opinion is that this magical ship is only operating at thirty percent of its full capabilities at the moment."
Ash turned and glanced around at all of the control panels which surrounded him. Certainly, the illuminated panels only accounted for a portion of all of them.
"It's also my first time interacting with such a complicated holy relic, and there are too many things that I don't understand. When we return to Ansarivan, I'll need to conduct a much more thorough investigation."
"That's right! If this magic ship does have something to do with the dragon race, perhaps Navi could help us decipher it? Why don't I summon her now and ask her? What do you think?"
Upon coming up with a great idea, even Ash himself felt proud of his fast thinking.
"—Did you call for me?"
Instantly, Navi descended from the sky like a wafting feather and stood by Ash's side. She had returned to wearing her usual dress since she had probably gotten bored of the nurse outfit. A rose-like aroma tickled Ash's nostrils.
After exposing a charismatic smile, Navi intimately snuggled up beside Ash. Whenever Navi materialised like this, she was no different from a woman with a body of flesh and blood.
"Hey! Navi! Why are you, the Dragweiss, acting so flirty over there!?"
Eco immediately lashed out at her, but Navi didn't pay any attention to her.
"If you want to blame someone, then blame Ash. Originally, I only wanted to fulfil my responsibility as the Dragweiss, but he's the one who taught me of the pleasures of being a woman. Isn't that right, Ash?"
With an intoxicated expression, Navi cast an amorous glance at Ash. Even though Mirabel was right beside them, Navi was much bolder on this occasion than she had been in the past.
"What!? Ash! What have you been teaching her!?"
Unsurprisingly, Eco's rage skyrocketed to its apex.
"How awful…Ash, I didn't think that you'd already laid hands on her…"
Anya's face turned ghastly pale, and she remained fixed to the spot as if the essence of life had been drained from her body.
"Both of you are misunderstanding! Navi, please don't say nonsense like that! Princess Mirabel, I'm sorry…"
As Ash noticed Mirabel's gaze focus on him, he couldn't help but feel fearful of her. Ash wondered how Mirabel was able to maintain that expressionless poker face of hers even in such a situation. And then, Mirabel's eyes drifted over to Navi, and she softly began,
"Indeed, the Dragweiss would logically have a record of any useful information. But immediately seeking help from Navi makes it feel as though I'm cheating, and I don't like that. Moreover, I am a scholar, so I intend to conduct an investigation with my own ability first. If I truly cannot discover anything and reach an impasse, I will ask for your assistance then."
"You are most welcome, Your Highness Princess Mirabel."
Perhaps out of admiration for Mirabel's attitude, Navi politely bowed as she replied to her.
After Navi returned to the Dragon Workshop, Mirabel suddenly seemed to recall something important as she made a recollective gesture with her hand. She cast a cool-headed glance towards Ash.
"Could I get you to sit in the captain's seat for a slight experiment?"
"I don't mind…"
However, it seemed unlikely to him that simply sitting in the captain's seat would introduce any excitement to the situation. Thus, Ash readily agreed to her request. Unconsciously, everyone in the cockpit began to show anxious expressions as they intently watched every move that Ash made.
—I just have to sit down, right? Why is everyone acting so nervous…?
Ash pondered as he sat down in the captain's seat. In an instant — every inch of the cockpit was illuminated by a colourful burst of light. Electronic sounds fired off one after another. It appeared as though the control panels which were originally unresponsive began to operate as soon as they activated. They were like animals which sprung into motion after a long hibernation as soon as spring arrived.
Ash frantically looked around everywhere in confusion.
"Please excuse me."
Mirabel abruptly reached out and rolled Ash's left sleeve up. The
The pattern that covered his entire left arm emitted a red glow as it radiated waves of heat. Its appearance was like an indication that it was currently connected to the magic ship. Mirabel leaned over and stroked his
"It's just as I thought. Escavaron was a magic ship that was probably constructed for an ancient Avalon Knight Dragner…and now the current Avalon Knight Dragner — Ash's
"Simply put, the genuine owner of this magic ship is Ash…"
As Mirabel explained, her vitality suddenly seemed to dissipate. Like a child whose toy had been taken away, she frowned and dropped her head in dejection.
Feeling uneasy, Ash stood up from the captain's seat. More than half of the mechanical devices which operated smoothly just a moment ago immediately became dormant as soon as Ash left the seat.
Although she said that, Mirabel's eyes frequently stole quick glances at the captain's seat. It appeared as though she coveted the position of the captain's seat. Ash couldn't help but reveal a wry smile as he hadn't expected that even Mirabel could have a somewhat childlike side.
"I understand. The captain's seat will be reserved for Princess Mirabel from now on."
In surprise, Mirabel lifted her face and gazed at Ash's expression.
"But in that case…Escavaron won't be able to utilise its true capabilities, you know?"
"It's enough as long as it can fly. Earlier, when I wasn't here, didn't the Escavaron fly from Ansarivan to Fontaine without any issues?"
"That is true…"
"To be perfectly honest, I don't feel joy in knowing that this magic ship suddenly belongs to me. Moreover, I'm just an ignorant outsider when it comes to things like magic ships."
Ash gazed straight into Mirabel's eyes.
"In other words, I need you, Princess Mirabel."
Mirabel's cheeks were instantly dyed a bright shade of pink, and she also covered her chest with both hands. It was almost as if she had been shot straight through her chest and was guarding the invisible hole that had been left behind. Witnessing her unexpected reaction, Ash instantly felt alarmed.
"Are you okay? D-Did I say something rude…?"
Just as Ash was about to reach out to her with his arm, Mirabel unleashed an emotional outburst as she rushed out of the cockpit in panic. It was the first time that Ash had seen Princess Mirabel like that — the appearance of the ever-calm and serious
"What happened to Princess Mirabel…?"
"To think that a single careless phrase could steal the heart of Mirabel-sensei…I didn't know that onii-chan was such a deadly man…"
For some reason, Raquel stared at Ash with narrowed eyes and a somewhat contemptuous expression.
"Hold on, have you misunderstood something?"
"I haven't misunderstood a thing! Ash-oniichan, listen carefully."
With her moist eyes wide open, Raquel leaned forward.
"I am the only one in this world who can monopolise onii-chan! Even the Holy Virgin Saint Rosa Maria makes that clear in the [Star Book]!"
"What kind of fabrication is that!?"
Ash directed a quick glance towards Eco and Anya in an attempt to seek their help, yet—
As soon as their eyes met with Ash's, they coldly turned their faces to the side.
"The Captain's Seat ~A.S.B.1365.11~" is closed.
(All 4 of 4 parts) (2/5)
Continues on to Chapter 2 – The Nation-Saving Hero