Chapter 19.1: Under the Skies of Nargol
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◆ Dark Knight Runfeld
「It’s so quiet nowadays, isn’t it Runfeld-sama?」
The dark knight who is riding on his own wyvern is saying so with a carefree voice.
「Don’t let down your guard. There’s a chance that the information about the annihilation of those holy knight chaps is a fake information. Let’s continue with our usual patrol」
When I’m cautioning so, the dragon is flying on top of the mountain, the boundary region of Nargol. When I glance behind, I can see the knights following after me.
「As I thought, rebuilding our force is a tough task, huh…」
I mutter those words which isn’t mean to anyone.
More than half of the dark knights were killed in the battle against the hero a while ago. Even the survivors were bearing a wound or two.
In the first place, the people who possess enough aptitude to become a dark knight is scarce even amongst the demon race; it is even more so for one capable of riding a wyvern. Almost all of the skilled knights have been done in by the hero. The only one who remained right now is the one who can get on the wyvern.
Currently, the number of the dark knights who can be dispatched is no more than twenty. It’s an urgent matter that entirely depends on me to rebuild the chivalric order of dark knights.
Those holy knights of Elios were frequently trespassing the boundary lately.
When thinking about that, my head is filled with fury.
But then, they keep insisting that the skies of the entire world belong to the gods of Elios. It’s us who are violating the airspace rules despite flying in Nargol territory.
Naturally, I have no intention to approve their claims.
Though they approached the boundaries of Nargol time and time again before the coming of the hero, they never invaded into Nargol territory. And then, those guys started to invade Nargol territory almost everyday after the chivalric order of dark knights was almost annihilated by the hero.
They are trespassing into our airspace as if to mock us.
Though we advise them to leave, they act as if they don’t hear us, so we have no choice but to watch them in silence due to our lack of war potential.
But, even their airspace violation was finally put to an end two days ago. Moreover, when I think about the person who is the main reason for that, I feel nothing but pure fear spring inside me.
Our patrol also ended peacefully for this reason.
「Yosh, let’s go back to the fortress！！！」
The wyvern circles around upon my order. It maintained its altitude on top of the Akeron mountain, the natural dividing barrier between the human world and Nargol.
After continuing to fly in this way for some time, I can see the fort on top of the mountain range.
This fort is built for the sake of protecting Nargol from Elios. We land on the wide space in the middle of the fort.
「Welcome back, Runfeld-sama」
I entrust my wyvern to my subordinate coming out from the fort. I start walking toward my residence located inside the fort.
Two kids appear from the fort.
「Reyli, Reyfaldo！！Why are you in this place？」
My kids rush toward me.
Reyfaldo is a boy who will turn 120 years old this year while Reyli is a girl who will turn 90 years old this year. Both of them are my children. They should have been near the demon king castle, since the demon race village is around its vicinity.
「It’s because mother wants to help father」
「Yes, mother wants us to help father in order for us to become a knight in the future」
Reyli and Reyfaldo reply as such.
In fact, we’re experiencing a shortage of personnel in the fort right now. Anyhow, as a matter of fact, even the people we recruited in the previous battle included non-combatants. Currently, we were even willing to go as far as asking a helping hand from a passing by cat. But now, I’m hestitating whether it’s okay to let my two kids in the fort as it is.
「Please father. Please let me[Boku]… No, please permit me[Watashi] get on the wyvern」
「Reyli too wants to do the same!」
I’m troubled up on hearing their words. Excluding the sortie for battles, the miscellaneous matters of the fort were numerous. Maybe there’s some job that can be done even by children.
Maybe it’s okay to slowly give them a job related to becoming a knight, especially to Reyfaldo.
It was when I was considering about such matters.
The wyvern house suddenly became noisy.
「What！ ！ Just happened！ ！ 」
I’m asking my subordinate who’s in charge of the wyvern house.
「I don’t know！！The wyverns have suddenly become restless！！」
My subordinate is desperate, and he’s still trying to appease the wyverns.
「RUNFELD-SAMA！！IT’S AN EMERGENCY！！」
A knight on watch duty in the tower is raising his voice with a confused tone.
「WHAT’S THE MATTER！！」
「IT’S A DRAGON！！A DRAGON… IS HEADING TOWARD US！！」
I’m looking toward the direction in the sky where the knight is pointing his finger at. Something that’s flying like a bird is present in the sky where he is pointing at. The one flying at a distance isn’t a wyvern – it’s a dragon.
「What should we do, Runfeld-sama！！」
When I look around, the soldiers of the fort are holding crossbows and arrows in preparations to face a dragon.
「PUT DOWN YOUR WEAPONS！！DON’T POINT YOUR CROSSBOWS TOWARD THE DRAGON！！」
The knights are questioning my order.
「Why we have to drop our weapon, Runfeld-sama?!」
「JUST LISTEN TO ME AND DON’T QUESTION IT！！GATHER EVERYONE！！」
If it’s really as I imagined, that dragon isn’t hostile toward us.
All of the people in the fort have been gathered.
The dragon is nearing the fort at a terrifying velocity. When it comes close, the dragon is howling.
Several of my subordinates lost their posture due to fear, and Reyfaldo and Reyli are clinging onto my legs. The howling of a true dragon is imbued with fear magic. People who can’t resist it won’t be able to move their body due to fear.
My emotions experienced another huge change when seeing a dragon from up close.
The dragon, whose body is many time larger than our wyvern, is occupying the entire space in central plaza after landing down in the fort. It is a black dragon which lives in Akeron mountain range and once hailed as ‘Demon Dragon’. This dragon possesses a violent temper, and anyone who carelessly approaches it will become the prey of it’s breath.
But, that’s only until yesterday.
When I run my gaze at the back of the dragon, a dark knight was sitting there.
=== === ===
Dark knight, Diehart.
Nargol’s hero who annihilated the chivalric order of dark knights a few days ago.
Diehart descends toward the fort.
「ALL MEMBERS, SALUTE！！！」
There are still some people who can’t stand due to fear and ignore my order. I bow my head while placing my hand on my chest.
「Lord Runfeld…. Such a thing is…」
Diehart unfastens his helmet while saying so. Slender face with fair skin accompanied by black-colored hair.
To be honest, he looks like a man of gentle demeanor; he’s nothing like an extremely strong individual. No matter how I look at him, he was a frail human being without any horn.
But, I must not let his appearance trick me. The true form of this seemingly weak looking man is a monster.
He defeated that terrifying hero and then annihilated the chivalric order of holy knights.
And then, I look at Diehart’s armor. The armor worn by Diehart is the armor of black devil. The armor worn by every member of dark knight is a weaker version derived from his armor.
And this man’s just nonchalantly wearing the armor which could be worn only by people with sufficient magic power. This hornless person can do something that the demon race’s unable to do. I’m frustrated just by thinking about it. This Diehart is currently someone who’s just below our king.
Humans are inferior living creatures. Some demons have antipathy for being placed under this human. Naturally, such individuals also exist in this fort.
「Don’t mind it, your excellency is a hero after all！！」
Diehart is showing a troubled face after hearing my words. Diehart is not very good with being treated in such a way by someone who’s older than him. But, it doesn’t mean that I can just show my impolite attitude when the one I’m facing is a monster-like existence who annihilated the chivalric order of holy knights single-handedly.
「What is your order today, your excellency？ 」
My tone became slightly stiff since, to be honest, I don’t want him to come to this fort.
「My apologies for arriving during such a hectic day, Lord Runfeld. I found you when I was practicing on riding Glorious, and…. I came to express my gratitude for introducing the dragon. And while I’m at it, I also decided to take a look at the fort, since I was curious about the fort on the boundary」
Diehart is looking at the dragon when saying those words with a slight hestitation in his voice.
The name Glorious seemingly means glory in Diehart’s world’s language. Truly an appropriate name for Diehart.
And then, the dragon named as such was a dragon which was feared as demon dragon until yesterday. Diehart made this dragon his personal mount just yesterday.
Suddenly, I recall the events that happened yesterday.
I introduce about the demon dragon living in Akeron mountain range to Diehart when he wanted his own personal wyvern. That was something coming out of my own personal calculations. Even the demon race has a hard time taming a wyvern, much less to say that it’s hundred-fold harder to have a true dragon as a personal mount.
Naturally, I thought that Diehart would also have a hard time taming it.
At that time, I said, 「Your excellency should be able to ride on a dragon, right?」with hints of sarcasm in my voice.
As a result, Diehart easily got a dragon for himself.
Nowadays, I feel miserable for saying those words with hint of sarcasm in my voice. And then, he came to convey his gratitude to me who spouted such sarcasm. I’m spitting on my miserable self.
「I’m unworthy of such gratitude…」
I’m saying so while looking at Diehart’s face. For some reason, Diehart is looking toward my feet.
When I follow his line of sight, I find Reyli and Reyfaldo continuing to clutch onto my legs.
Diehart questions me about the children.
「Yes, these children have come to provide a helping hand for the fort…」
But, I couldn’t finish my line. Because I felt a strong pressure emanating from Diehart.
「Are you harassing children and forcing them to participate in battles？ 」
His voice is completely different from his previously timid voice. This voice was extremely cold. My spine froze when I heard this voice.
「My deepest apologies, your excellency! We were experiencing shortage of soldiers after the battle against the hero…. My deepest apologies！！」
I apologise twice. But, Diehart became calmer when on hearing my words.
「No, my apologies, I’ve been too ignorant about your own situation…」
Diehart said in an apologetic manner.
I heave a grand sigh when Diehart’s pressure calmed down.
This man is even more terrifying than the dragon behind him.
「They’re my children, Reyfaldo and Lely. Come and greet his excellency」
「Y-Your excellency, my name is Reyfaldo！！」
「M-My name is Lely, Diehart-sama！！」
Lely and Reyfaldo are giving their greetings while slightly fumbling with their words.