Special thanks for everyone that makes it able for me to keep writing!
[Level 1: Michelle O, Bigos2, NorAsma Hime, Bryan W, Anita S]
[Level 2: Remandred, Danmaka, Blasefall, Sami]
[Level 3: Alexandr Z, Christiine G, Ela V, Lucas J, Scipo0419, ACertainFairyCase, Vaitea L, Skyler S, Paco]
[Level 4: Browser, Venalitor, Patrick F, William C, blizgerg, wagtail, Hans-Andre S]
[Level 5: is problematic, Riley R]
[Level 6: alkin, Sir Hellington, Scott M, Jason D, Ghea, Ryuuji]
The Rumored Girl
It was such a mayhem.
Everyone around me was running energetically—if it wasn’t for their excited expressions, one would have thought that we were running to evacuate or something…
The noises made by the footsteps and people’s excited shrieks drowned the next announcement made—as expected, the announcement instructed us to be calm and to go to the stadium—no, colosseum—or whatever they call it.
I don’t have any leeway to care about what that building is called—my mind is full of worry over Alt-nii.
When I arrived at the colosseum, I was short on breath already. I deliberately didn’t enter the audience area and darted right away to the colosseum’s fighting grounds. After all, Alt-nii should be there.
There seemed to be a magical barrier around the white line marking the edge of the fighting grounds that lied bare in front of me.
And when my gaze traveled to the two figures inside that fighting ground’s barrier…
There was a familiar back facing me. It was Alt-nii’s.
At the opposite side of him—there was a lone girl. She looked approximately like a 11-12 year-old girl.
However, her slightly pointed ears—her long tail, her dragon wings, and her dragon horns clearly screamed the fact that she was a dragon.
Her peculiarity was added even further by a dazzling red gemstone embedded in the middle of her forehead and the faint red marks on her cheeks that seemed like scars.
Her long hair’s color was a dazzling bright marigold. Her hair was entirely let loose—but there was a long and big-braided portion of her hair on each of her side that was facing front. Her electric eyes shone as she faced Alt-nii with her excited expression, her lips curving upwards with one of her fangs sticking out and her tongue touching her upper lips.
Yes, she seemed to be enjoying the situation.
I noticed a dangling crystal pendant on her chest—I wonder if that’s a dragon’s fashion? It was dangling like… a target? It didn’t seem like your usual necklace.
When I examined the rest of our surroundings, there seemed to be several other people around Alt-nii’s age and someone who looked like a teacher—sitting at a good place in the audience area. The teacher was standing as she grabbed something like a megaphone.
Then, there were people who just rushed into the audience area, filling every available seat.
Anyway, I thought that they were in the middle of a heated battle, but the two of them stood there without doing anything.
Seeing that it should be safe—like, they were withholding their fight for some reason, so I called out to Alt-nii.
My big brother reflexively turned over to see me.
“Lyra?! Why are you here?”
–wha? My big brother was wearing the same kind of crystal pendant, also loosely dangling around his chest!
Then, it’s not the dragon girl’s fashion code?
“I should be the one asking you! Wait, Nii-nii, you’re not battling right now and it’s safe to talk to me, right?”
But before Alt-nii could answer, another voice responded me.
“Oh, who do we have here? Is she your younger sister?”
The rumored girl—no, the dragon girl spoke, and judging from the tone of her voice, I could tell that she was happy.
“Uhh yeah, she is. Well, actually—”
Again, the dragon girl cut into our conversation.
“Background story. I met your brother when I wandered off after going to the toilet. He was going on a briefca—briefing or something like that with his classmates and teacher over there, I happened to sense his peculiarity and asked him to spar. Thus, the current situation.”
“And you accepted it, Alt-nii?!”
Instead of replying to the dragon girl that was practically a stranger to me, I decided to focus on questioning Alt-nii, even when the one who explained things was not my brother.
“W-well, she seemed to be very eager, so…”
I was so surprised at my beloved brother’s decision on the spur of the moment.
“Worry not, Lyra! She explained that the dragons were on a pact that—”
“Ah, enough of it. Heeey, that teacher over there, how long do we need to wait? I’m itching to fight him!”
The teacher—Alt-nii’s teacher from the looks of it—she grabbed her megaphone and answered.
“Just a bit more, wait for the principal to get here to explain things briefly to those who’re gathered here. It’s important.”
“Is it about me? The principal’s going to explain about me, right?”
“Yes, but then this sort of thing happened, so we had to quickly readjust the place of meeting.”
“Nah, looks like it’d take a bit longer for everyone to gather. Hey, you—let’s start again!”
“I have a name, it’s Altaire! You can stop calling me with you.”
“Okay, Tair, let’s start!”
Tair? What a way to call Alt-nii.
Alas, the two people in front of me completely ignored the teacher’s frantic words and assumed battling poses—ah, Alt-nii, it’s confirmed that you’re not a model student…
“Lyra! There you are, let’s go to the audience area, it’s not so safe here!”
Iris’ voice could be heard from my behind as she abruptly grabbed my hand and pulled it.
“Geez, that’s why you aren’t in the audience area! We went up there only to see you standing near the fighting ground’s entrance!” Luca added.
“I guess Luca’s right, we should have put a tracking device on you…,” Kiri also chimed in.
…Tracking device, what?!
Did you two make that kind of a joke because I got lost just this morning with Iris?
Anyway, Iris seemed so small and cute, yet she unexpectedly had the strength powerful enough to drag me along—so I decided to follow them for the time being. Looking at the fighting ground from the audience area would give me a better view, after all.
Though we didn’t manage to get the best viewing area, at least I could see clearly what was happening to my big brother who was fighting a dragon.
But before they could initiate any single attack, suddenly the principal’s loud voice could be heard.
“WAIT! Hold it right there, you two!!!”
All of us reflexively turned towards the principal who was inside the small room with glasses wall—eh uhm, is it the room where the announcers usually sit in? Since her voice resounded via the public address system, so yup.
Her announcement ceased Alt-nii and the dragon’s fighting movement while the other students quieted down.
“What is it? You’re taking too long!” The dragon girl shouted, her face was a bit sullen. I guess it’s natural since she was interrupted over and over again.
“Carbuncle-chan, I know you’re very eager to get to know us, the other races, but it’s in the part of our agreement. Since you’re more or less the “exchange” student of this school, you have to obey us, teachers. This won’t take too long, okay?”
The dragon girl—Carbuncle, is it?—this time, she seemed to loosen her body and stood there casually. Alt-nii did the same thing.
“Thank you, Carbuncle-chan. Ahem! Greetings, my beloved students and teachers. Rumors about this might have leaked out already, so let me announce it right now.”
Her clear voice resounded within the stadium.
“To all present in this Colosseum-slash-stadium, you might have seen her with your very own eyes. Meanwhile, to those who’re still not yet in this stadium, please don’t be so surprised. Let me introduce you to her—our special guest for who knows how long—a pureblooded dragon, coming all the way from the Dragon’s Heritage, the continent where dragons live. Her name is—oh, okay… Her nickname is Carbuncle and she’s here to learn more about the other races, especially the humans. We hope you’d be able to keep silent about it and get along well with her. As for her class assignment and the likes of it, it’s still undecided…”
Judging from her wording, it seemed like the announcement also made it throughout the whole school building. The Basic Level building complex, at least. I wonder if the other levels would have their own separate announcement later on?
All hell broke loose right after the headmaster’s announcement. I mean—an uproar, to be exact. Some were so excited to know the dragon girl, while some were scared to hear that there’s a pureblooded dragon among us.
The person herself seemed to be content with the headmaster’s brief introduction and assumed a haughty pose as everyone kept staring at her.
“Now, then, Carbuncle-chan. Would you mind to grab that device that could make your voice bigger to introduce yourself? And while we’re at it, I’d like to question you about the uproar that was going around about you battling one of our student who’s capable of using [Void] magic?”
Another teacher approached the dragon girl in a panic, while pointing out at the small device she was holding.
“Ah, no need for that device. I can just use my own power to make my voice so loud.”
–her voice was loud enough for the whole Colosseum to hear, even without using that device. We could hear her so clearly.
“Hi there, Non-Draconis! Just like what your headmaster, Shekai-san has told you, I’m here because I’m interested in the Non-Draconis’ life. My full name is Crbnklr Azcc-Tnerre Tkmkzch, but you can call me Crbnklr.”
Shekai-san… yes, it’s certainly the Basic Level’s headmaster’s name, but I kept forgetting it for some reason.
And what’s up with the dragon girl’s weird name? The closest name I can make out of her full name is Carbuncle—yes, indeed, that’s why Shekai-san decided to call her Carbuncle. Though it doesn’t sound like a fully pronounced “Carbuncle” when that dragon girl said her own name.
But isn’t Carbuncle the name of a red garnet? That girl doesn’t even have red eyes or red hair, and yet… Ah! Right, she has that red garnet embedded in her forehead… I wonder if all dragons are like her?
Everyone got noisy after her introduction, and I continued to observe Carbuncle’s behavior. Based on her expression, I felt like she was so content that she managed to stir the others’ minds like this.
“Carbuncle-chan, are you seriously going to fight against one of my students? He’s still young and even though he is talented, when you compare it to your own power, surely…”
“It’s fine. We agreed. I will make sure to limit my power output so we can have an interesting match.”
“I know you’re worried about your student, right? No worries! Us, dragons—we are peaceful beings. I guarantee you that I won’t harm anyone. It’s in our agreement as well.”
“Last question, then. When can we end the match?”
Carbuncle’s eyes shone as she lifted the crystal pendant hanging loosely on her body up.
“This is the target. Once the crystal pendant breaks—either mine or his—that’s when the match is over.”
A brief explanation that managed to calm my worried heart.
I was worried that Alt-nii and her might have to fight until who knows when… Though there are healers and other healing facilities provided by the academy, it’s still not good.
At least, I know that they won’t be fighting with the intention of damaging their opponent until victory is theirs.
“Now, can I start?”
“One more thing. If we think the situation has turned bad enough, we have the rights to stop your match, okay?”
“It won’t, it won’t~ Such a worrywart. Good grief.”
“Barriers, check. Emergency system, check. Broadcasting system, check. Everything seems to be fine here. All right… Carbuncle-chan, Altaire-kun, please don’t overdo it.”
At the same time as our headmaster announced about “broadcasting system, check,” several holograms appeared in front of us, capturing both Alt-nii and Carbuncle in several different angles.
That saved me the trouble of having to open my eyes widely to pay more attention to what’s happening at the fighting grounds.
“Okay, shall we go?”
Alt-nii asked, still with his usual smile.
…My big brother, don’t you know fear?
“Sure. I, Crbnklr Azcc-Tnerre Tkmkzch, hereby open this match with the predetermined set of rules mentioned from before. Bestow me your blessing and administer this match, Laernaedon. I swear to the Dragonkin’s God, Behemoth. Efenstálian!”
I blinked several times at the serious declaration that Carbuncle made while lifting her left hand.
After she finished saying everything, the crystal pendants on her chest and Alt-nii’s chest shone brightly for a moment before the light quickly faded away.
For some reason, it seemed like the two of them had an unspoken agreement, as they looked at each other with battling stance already.
Then, Carbuncle floated above the ground and summoned a few thunders surrounding her, moving quickly to Alt-nii’s direction.
Alt-nii dodged the upcoming thunders while rushing closer to Carbuncle and threw what seemed to be a [Void] ball at the direction of Carbuncle’s crystal pendant.
Carbuncle gestured with her hands and sent a ball of sparks at Alt-nii’s Void ball as the two clashed and disappeared.
Ah, I see. It wasn’t a [Void] ball in the literal meaning. I thought the Void ball would cause anything it touched to return to nothingness, but it seemed like Alt-nii threw an offensive type of his magic. It’s understandable, since his objective is to break the crystal pendant.
Alt-nii didn’t seem to bother with it and continued to approach Carbuncle. When the distance between him and her was close enough, he jumped with the help of his wind magic so that he could reach Carbuncle.
Carbuncle flapped her wings and the raining thunders surrounding her intensified—it seemed as if she was making an offensive shield all around her with the thunders.
From my point of view, it’d be difficult for Alt-nii to dodge all of them. Perhaps he understood it as well, because he then chanted a different spell.
He shouted the only [Void] spell I know—the one used to negate the opponent’s magic.
A faint magic aura—that seemed to be [Void] aura—spread around Alt-nii, protecting him from any magical attack, as every magic that touched the aura quickly vanished.
At that time, Alt-nii decided to show his melee weapon—a dagger—as it multiplied in his hand before he threw it at Carbuncle’s crystal pendant. I assumed he imbued his dagger with magic spells—magic that caused it to multiply—a kind of illusion magic; and magic that controlled its movement as the speed accelerated—wind magic.
At this speed, Carbuncle couldn’t make it in time to escape—and yes, she didn’t escape.
Instead, she tucked her dragon wings in, covering her front body. The daggers landed on her wings and instead of stabbing the wings, the wings managed to send the daggers flying back to the ground instead.
…Seems like the dragon wings—or the dragon scales, to be more precise—are that sturdy.
After that, Carbuncle opened her wings and decided to run amok. She spawned several sparks of electricity and sent them flying towards Alt-nii—with no specified aim?!
Alt-nii obviously dodged them and continued using the same spell—Void to cancel the dragon girl’s thunder magic.
However, perhaps due to the numerous sparks sent flying without any direction, some sparks eventually managed to graze Alt-nii. Alt-nii didn’t seem to feel pain as his expression remained the same.
“What is this? It doesn’t hurt at all. I thought a dragon could do more damage that I was worried for a second…,” Alt-nii expressed his thoughts out loud.
Carbuncle only smiled.
“I promised not to hurt you… right? But you’re wrong if you think I sent those sparks with the intention of injuring you or the crystal.”
Alt-nii tilted his head in confusion reflexively. It seemed like he didn’t understand what Carbuncle was aiming for, as he didn’t feel any effect.
Before Alt-nii could do anything else, Carbuncle decided to float higher. Incidentally, the hurling sparks stopped spawning and then she… flew in circle around the sky?
What is she planning to do—
…No, there’s no need for me to ask. Why? Because it’s already clear.
A small storm was forming at the area that she circled around. The sky around that area turned darker and the dark clouds emitted thunder sparks.
Carbuncle stopped flying around in circle and floated next to the storm—seemingly unaffected by it. She then extended her hand and pointed at Alt-nii’s crystal pendant.
The storm obeyed her gesture as it spiraled and formed a tapered point that aimed straight at Alt-nii’s crystal pendant.
Sensing the danger, Alt-nii moved his body as he gestured to run—
But he ended up not moving after he brought his hands closer in front of his face.
Alt-nii exclaimed in his surprise—and at that time, faint sparks of lightning could be seen all around his body.
So, the spark attacks that Carbuncle did earlier were for this…?
“Haha, show me how you’ll fare against this situation!!” Carbuncle moved closer to Alt-nii as if she wanted to observe his next movement in full details. She grinned widely as her eyes sparkled in excitement.
…however, that excitement soon died out.
Alt-nii literally did nothing—or he couldn’t do anything?
And with that, the storm that turned smaller and sharper landed a perfect hit on Alt-nii’s crystal pendant alone.
“Alt-nii, be careful!”
I unintentionally shouted, though there’s no way he’d hear me…
I’m really worried—if the storm hit the crystal pendant at such a close range, there’s a high possibility that Alt-nii will get injured!
The crystal pendant broke in pieces—but before the pieces or the storm attack could do any damage to Alt-nii, there seemed to be a faint barrier protecting him, but Alt-nii still ended up taking a blow backwards and landed on the ground with just a bit of impact.
Carbuncle’s expression quickly turned to that of a disappointment as she slowly landed herself on the ground and folded her wings.
She looked down at Alt-nii who was coughing from the impact as he cleaned the dust from his body.
“…It ended? Just like this?” Carbuncle asked.
“Not fair! You’re a dragon!!” Alt-nii protested while coughing.
“…I have limited my power so that it’s more or less equal to you. It’s not even my full power yet!”
“But you’ve got those wings!! That’s cheating!!”
I stared dumbfoundedly at Alt-nii as he still had the nerve to protest—could it be that he doesn’t want to admit his lost?
Still, it makes sense. No matter how you look at it, this is not a really fair game…
“With this, the wonderful match between Carbuncle-chan and Altaire-kun has ended! It’s Carbuncle-chan’s victory! However, Altaire-kun’s impressive that he could put all the resistance! Let’s give a round of applause to the two of them!”
Shekai-san announced happily—her tone of voice contained that of a relief. She seemed to be so relieved that it all has ended.
As I sensed the separating barrier that was put around the fighting ground was canceled, I quickly rushed to the fighting ground again, so that I could go to Alt-nii’s side.
I felt like hearing Luca, Kiri, and Iris’ pleading voices, but my mind seemed to filter them out as I’m only thinking of Alt-nii at the moment.
“Aah, here I thought you could amuse me…,” Carbuncle’s sigh echoed through the whole venue.
“Seems like that’s it for Non-Draconis?”
Before Alt-nii could respond to Carbuncle, I finally reached the grounds and called out to him.
I finally could stop running. Ah, finally! It’s time to catch my breath again!!
I need some breath of life after all that running!!
“Hey, Carbuncle-san, is it? If you want a non-draco… I mean, an opponent of the other races that could fight you on equal grounds and amuse you, shouldn’t you be looking for the powerful adults? Like the head of knight, or anyone else… It doesn’t make sense to me that you’re looking for an opponent to amuse you in an academy! What’s more, from the Basic Level!!”
I managed to make a complaint to her remark just before—even when I was gasping…
I didn’t have to look at the audience’s area to know that Kiri must have twitched when I mentioned his adoptive father’s title—uhh, forgive me, my dear friend!! His title naturally came to my mind as I always thought of the Head of the Royal Knights highly even during my life as Reinst—it’s kind of ingrained in my mind.
…Okay, perhaps my subconsciousness worked fine and saved my mom’s title from all this mess.
“I heard that exceptional young people are usually found in this academy. I actually only planned to observe the young Non-Draconis in this academy and learn more about them. But I changed my mind when I came across this Void user. I also sensed… ah, well, my main purpose wasn’t to look for an opponent. But I wanted him to amuse me in the fight. Really, really.”
Carbuncle shrugged her shoulders and heaved a long sigh.
“…But, but! We’re still kids!! Don’t expect something that high from us! You’d learn better from the adults! Alt-nii’s almost a pure human anyway, if you want a stronger opponent, you should try the other races” I protested again.
“Eeh? But I heard that humans are quite awesome?! My friend, a dragon princess from the other kingdom told me about her wonderful experience with the humans… so I had high expectations especially towards you humans!!”
…what kind of a tale did she tell you?
We all know that the humans don’t really possess any special thing in comparison to the other races… but we managed to maintain our autonomy and country—is that why she believed in the humans’ power?
“But I still think that it isn’t so fair… Right, I don’t think a human kid can impress you that much… your expectation is unreal…”
“Yes, yes, it’s not fair! Lyra’s right! It feels kinda hurt when you blatantly expressed your disappointment in me when the high expectation came one-sided, you know?!” Alt-nii chimed in.
Ah—so it’s not like he doesn’t want to admit his lost—but Alt-nii can’t accept Carbuncle’s apparent disappointment on him.
“Hmmm, well, I guess I can’t really put a dragon’s standard to Non-Draconis,” Carbuncle said as she put her left hand on her chin.
A split second later—she lifted her head with sparkling eyes.
“I know! You’re his little sister, right? Let’s have a rematch with a condition that’s more fair than this one! You siblings must fight against me alone!!”
“Wait a second, Carbuncle-chan!!” (Headmaster Shekai)
“Come on, it’s fine, right? Since they’re siblings and all, they share the same blood, which means… Yes, I can sense it from you, too, little sister!”
…Sorry, I don’t understand what you mean at all.
“Your student didn’t get hurt at all, as I promised. Come on, isn’t it fine? Let me have one more match against them. I promise to behave myself after this. Besides…”
Carbuncle first turned her head at Shekai-san’s direction before she then turned her gaze at the surroundings.
“Don’t you all want to see yet another match?!”
–This is when I feel the biggest betrayal in my life. Almost all of the students cheered in response to Carbuncle’s question.
“We want to see!!”
Their demanding cheers echoed within the venue.
There were also some other voices like—
“Oooh, the Void user’s little sister just got enrolled?”
“Can she use [Void] magic as well?”
“Ah, I want to see her power!!”
My only hope is… Shekai-san!!
I turned my head to see Shekai-san with a face full of anticipation.
“…as long as they won’t get injured and as long as they consent.”
With that, Carbuncle turned to look at me and Alt-nii.
“So, you two consent, right?”
“Lyra, let’s do it!!”
…Alt-nii’s loud voice caused my small voice to be drowned—ah, is this how things will turn out?
Can I say any objection, please?
When I turned at the two of them—Alt-nii and Carbuncle both had the same expressions—an excited expression with glittering eyes!!
Cold sweats ran through my body as I continued to listen to the other students’ demanding cheers.
My “no” will cause many people’s heartbreaks…
And it’s not like I will get injured…
It’s just going to be a fun… game?
Yes, let’s consider it so.
“Aaaaaa!! Yeahhh!!! Horraaayyyy!!!”
Right after I stated my consent, not only Carbuncle and Alt-nii, but everyone in the whole venue cheered.
I think I really should keep a journal on my unique experiences and achievements in this life.
Look, I’ve got yet another achievement—received a challenge from a dragon girl!
A match against a dragon?
A team battle with my big brother?
I can’t deny that it feels quite exciting, indeed!