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99: The Search Party and the Head of the Platoon

 Cattleya had been called to a meeting room in the palace under Lilim's orders.

At this point, Lilim had been put in charge of a company. That led to her becoming Cattleya's direct superior.

"What is it, senpai? I'm a bit busy."

Wearing the uniform of a major, Lilim was just a bit irritated at Cattleya's behavior. While the two of them had similarly caused a problem, Lilim had finished the newbie training requirement, so she was able to be promoted to command a company.

"... Cattleya, right now, I am your superior."

"Yeah, yeah. So what's up?"

"You really are an irritating one, you know that? It's an order from the top brass. Your platoon is to search out Rudel-sama... Recruit Rudel. But they want as many hands on it as possible this time, so you'll be using the new recruits as well."

After Lilim sent them a glance, the newcomers saluted to Cattleya. Receiving those salutes, reluctant as she was, Cattleya sent a salute back.

"This week, those three will be left with you."

The three in question included Saas, the knight of light personality: Luxheidt Aiguille... and Enora. Even standing before Cattleya, she was acting normal.

But inside, she thought her stomach would boil over.

Alejandro's sense of rivalry towards Oldart had burned so brightly he had been negligent in paying care to his daughter. In order to find Rudel, the one who gave permission to lend out the new recruits was Alejandro.

"Looks like one of you has a wind dragon. Having some fast legs is a huge help."

Looking through the documents she received form Lilim, Cattleya passed her eyes through Enora's papers and gave her honest admiration at the fact she had contracted a wind dragon.

Only those whose abilities and luck overlapped would be able to get a wild dragon to follow them.

At the same time, she noticed she was the vice-captain's daughter.

"... You'll be working with my subordinates from the platoon. We work in teams of two so Enora, come with me."

On Cattleya's orders, the newcomers saluted and gave their response. While Enora was making a serious expression on the surface, some dark emotions were beginning to take root.

Would I be able to kill Cattleya, she asked herself...

"Cattleya, I think you have the general idea, but if anything happens, then you have to pull back. You got that? This is an order."

Faced with a serious Lilim, Cattleya gave a salute, for argument's sake. But she was dealing with Rudel, an acquaintance. She questioned whether they really had to care about it that much.

"I really don't think I'm going to fail this one."

"That's why you're still naïve."

As Cattleya made light of Rudel, Lilim's anxieties only grew.



A wind dragon's speed was greater than what a gray dragon could keep up with.

Taking that into consideration, Cattleya had chosen to pair up with Enora. And even if she was supposed to increase the search radius, Cattleya already had an idea where they were.

If Sakuya wanted to run away, the only place she had to return was the dragons' dwellings. Any other dragon might escape overseas to make sure they wouldn't be found no matter how hard the country looked.

But from the point of view of Cattleya, who knew the situation, this time's mission was exceedingly easy.

The only problem was that the newbie she brought along hated Cattleya terribly, and her personality wasn't as it appeared.

"We're heading straight for the dragons' dwellings."

Riding the backs of their two dragons, the two dragoons matched dropped speed to discuss their destination point. But at Cattleya's arbitrary attitude, Enora was irritated within.

"Are they really at such an obvious place? (Dammit, don't order me around)."

"Yeah, well, that's the only place they could be."

Cattleya had her subordinates check out other places. In truth, she didn't really want knowledge on Rudel's peculiar behavior to spread.

While he was skilled, Rudel did seem to have a screw missing somewhere, and for better or worse, he worked at his own pace.

While he was like that, Rudel was a future archduke, and the white knight, an existence that stood out in Courtois. From those who knew him, this was quite the predicament.

Reading 'How to Pet a Dragon' dearly, he was a problem child who worshiped Marty Wolfgang. That was Cattleya's evaluation of Rudel.

While this and that happened before, at this point, she would honestly evaluate and commend his effort.

But she couldn't quite let that exorbitant personality spread through the world. She teamed up with Enora because if she was the daughter of a dragoon house, Cattleya expected her to understand such delicate problems.

She already knew about the destruction of the training ground from the reports, and from a position of responsibility, it was a problem that brought pain to Cattleya's head.

So with Cattleya's red dragon following behind, Enora urged her wind dragon towards the dragons' dwellings.

(Someday, right... I'll definitely surpass her. No matter what I have to do, no matter what methods I have to use!)

Perhaps it is here that we must explain the character called Enora. She had no major relation to the story. At best, she was a character that appeared as one of Courtois' dragoons.

While she was talented, that was the end of it.

Compared to Cattleya who was practically loved by the world, her situation was completely different.



Around when the search party was formed, Sakuya began her training alongside Mystith.

As it was a dragon's training, she would be operating separate from Rudel for a period of time. And left alone, Rudel was fooling around with the young dragons of Mystith's turf.

"Hey! That's my lunch!!"

As a small dragon snatched up a fish he had caught in the lake, Rudel gave chase with a smile. Even if they were children, their size was no different from a grown human being.

Perhaps due to the influence of the lake they lived in, they were all showing the characteristics of a water dragon on their heads.

While the dragons fled into the lake, with his inhuman abilities, Rudel easily chased and captured the fleeing dragons.

"Now you have to return it... you already ate it?"

From the mouth of the dragon he caught, he could see the tail of a fish. At the success of his mischief, the little dragon seemed delighted.

Through his survival lifestyle in the dragons' dwellings, Rudel had fastened his knife to the end of a stick. Since he lived close to the lake, his clothes would often get wet, so at this point, he wore a waist wrap made of sturdy leaves.

Looking practically like a wild man, he was playing around with little dragons.

"This really is the life."

Holding one dragon under his arm as he crawled out of the lake, Rudel exclaimed it with a smile. But where he climbed up, leading a red and wind dragon, Cattleya and Enora were waiting for them.

"Don't 'This really is the life' me! You've become a dragoon, so have some self-awareness!"

"Cattleya-sa... lieutenant."

He was about to add a -sama to Cattleya's name, but recalling the fact that he was also a dragoon now, he swallowed his words.

"What are you doing in a place like this?"

Before his fed-up fellow newbie Enora, Rudel gently placed the shy dragon he carried on the ground. All the small dragons fled into the lake and disappeared.

"Training."

"Training? More importantly, did you find Sakuya yet? We've got to return soon."

Showing little interest in Rudel's answer, Cattleya looked around to find Sakuya. She was sure she'd be somewhere by Rudel's side.

"That's impossible. She's currently out training in the north sea."

"The sea... when will she be back?"

"No idea."

"No idea!? What do you mean 'no idea'!? We're in a hurry here! You know there's barely any time left for her to learn to fly in formation for the unveiling, don't you!?"

While Cattleya drew close, Rudel didn't step down.

"No, there's something more important than flying in formation. Right now, Sakuya is doing her best to learn it. I'm going to believe in her, and wait here."

"And what's that?"

"Defeating the boss of the dragon stables."

"What's with that!? Your dragon ran away for something like that!?"

As Rudel spoke on with a serious expression, Cattleya had gotten her hopes up a bit, but now she was only able to yell. She had to make a report, so if possible, she wanted a more decent reason.

"If it's Sakuya, she'll be able to do it! More importantly, do you happen to know who the boss of the dragon stables might be?"

'... That would be me.'

Cattleya's dragon butted into the conversation. But here it was revealed that the dragon they had to beat was Cattleya's very one red dragon.

"Oh no! ... Sakuya, your opponent is a powerful one. Do your best!"

Rudel prayed for Sakuya's safety in her fight with Cattleya's dragon. But the one in question hadn't swallowed down the circumstances.

'What do you mean, 'do your best'!? If I get smacked by that giant, I won't come out in one piece!! In the first place, why did it come to defeating the boss? I don't get it at all.'

"The truth is..."

Rudel put together what had happened to that point and conveyed it to everyone. There were things those apart from Enora didn't know, and the fact Sakuya was being bullied carried with it some sympathy.

"I feel a bit sorry for her. But running away was going too far."

'I see, so that kid was being bullied... but this has nothing to do with me, right? I haven't been to the dragon stables in ages.'

"No, beating the boss is our objective."

As Rudel calmly informed him he was relevant, showing his will to accomplish his goal, the red dragon and Cattleya made a ruckus.

'Don't screw with me! I really know nothing!!'

"To think my dragon who gets beat up every time was actually..."

After being removed from newbie rearing, Cattleya had been given a mission. She had no idea about the affairs of the dragon stables. As a major, Lilim's dragon was in a separate stable.

It was an unlucky occurrence.

Enora was unable to hear the voice of Cattleya's dragon. In such a state, she was unable to enter the conversation. She asked her own dragon to interpret and could do no more than listen.

But her face was turning red.

Her eyes couldn't help but drift towards Rudel.

Brought up harsher than Cattleya by her parents- especially her father- Enora kept a distance from men at the academy. While she did wear stylish clothing, that was also a form of recoil against her upbringing.

But she hadn't the leisure to date men. With a dragoon as her father, no knight would unskillfully approach her.

She had no resistance to the male gender.

Her accustomed façade was her own way of rebelling against her father. While Enora's dragon was abridging and conveying Rudel's conversation, it noticed the strange behavior of its contractor.

'What's wrong?'

"... I-it's nothing."

To make sure no one perceived her reddened face, Enora directed her mind towards other things. As her head changed to their course of action henceforth, she sought confirmation with Rudel, who was still arguing.

"Sorry to interrupt. But more importantly, is it not best that we first make a report? The higher-ups are still angry over his present unaccounted for status."

While she acted as if she was calmly thinking over future plans, Enora's gaze was directed at Rudel. As the conversation was turned towards work, Cattleya also changed her train of thought.

"Right... then I'll go report. You stay and watch over him."

Cattleya pointed at Rudel, the seed of worry, as she ordered Enora to stay alone with him. While she was a woman, she was first a knight, and Enora agreed to abide the request.

There was nothing to say about man and woman. More than anything, leaving Rudel alone would be a problem.

Even now, perhaps thinking the conversation was over, he had started into preparing lunch.

"That aside, why won't you come back? If Sakuya is training, then isn't it fine if you return? If need be, I can take you back now."

When Cattleya asked Rudel as if only noticing it now, Rudel made a perplexed face.

"Eh? If Sakuya is training, then I have to train too. Today, I played with the dragon children!"

As Rudel boldly confessed to playing, Cattleya silently lowered a fist on his head.

"... I'll hear out your excuse."

"Isn't that something you're supposed to say before you hit me? Well, Mystith-sama left the care of the children to me, and while she was at it, she taught me Marty-sama's training method. Both me and Sakuya will have powered up by the time we return home. Ow!"

As Cattelya silently put in a kick, her red dragon cheered her on.

'Kick him! Kick him more! I only ever get treated like this whenever Rudel's involved! It's definitely that guy's fault!'

Cattleya continued kicking him for a while, but once she grew tired, she gave up.

"You really should grow some self-awareness!"

"Why!? This is to become the strongest dragoon!"

"Shut it! The first step is to become a decent human being!"

Cattleya's statement, which would definitely set the captain laughing if he was there, echoed through the forest. Looking over that scene, Enora's eyes grew sharp.
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