“Well then, the Machine Dragon match between the New Kingdom’s First Princess Lizsharte and the Old Empire's Seventh Prince Lux is about to begin.” At the same time as the voice of the teacher referee, the stage was wrapped in cheers and seething emotions. The Drag-Ride practice field located in the school premises; Fenced in with a circular stone wall, there was a broad ring spreading out to a mound. At the center, Lizsharte and Lux were facing each other. The ring at the center was low and the shape, which was loftier the more it went to the exterior, was reminiscent to that of the Coliseum of old times. Strong lattices were stretched on the spectator seats, and in addition, several Drag-Knights constantly deployed barriers in order to protect students, so viewers did not have to worry about being affected. As Lux looked around, not only a large number of female students, but even instructors seemed to have come to watch this duel which was supposed to be a private battle. “I wonder why so many people have gathered…” Under the watchful eyes of a great number of the school’s staff, Lux became nervous. I see that all of them have a little too much time to spare. He was selfishly made an actor of an amazing show, but… “Do you want to know the reason? Lux Acadia. The reason why I challenged you to a duel.” Standing in front of Lux, Lizsharte fearlessly smiled. Both of them had not yet donned their Drag-Rides. Wearing a “dress gear”, clothes which fitted on the body and were suitable for wearing a Drag-Ride, they were standing stock still on the ring. After the match preparation was completed, they drew their Sword Devices and at the same time that the referee checked that they had mutually connected their Drag-Rides, the signal of the duel beginning would be given. The rules used here were almost the same as those used at the tournament of the capital though. “––Is it because I’m a Prince of the Old Empire?” To the princess right before him, Lux asked. The Old Empire which had spread a tyrannical rule for more than 100 years, and forced people to comply to the trend and system of androcracy. The New Kingdom Princess would want to knock down the fallen Prince who was a survivor of that Empire. Gender and nation. A duel which conceived both bonds. From a spectator’s point of view, there might certainly not be a more eye-catching show than this. But––. “I will tell you if you defeat me.” Lux was very concerned about this. Was it really only because of that? Lizsharte was certainly a belligerent girl. But, shortly after Lux fell into the bathroom and pinned her down that time, the gaze which she directed towards him –– was not just that of shame. “Um, may I confirm one thing before the fight?” “What? Did you get frightened? It will be unsightly to beg for your life at this late hour.” “Begging for my life…? So you really intend to kill me!? …It’s not that I want to talk about. Um, if it’s a draw, could we make it as if this match didn’t happen?” “…………” A moment of silence. Suddenly, Lizsharte’s atmosphere changed. “Fufufu. Is it my imagination?” To Lux’s question, Lizsharte brushed up her honey-colored forelock and smiled. “We’re already at this stage, and I have the impression of hearing sleep-talking.” “It’s not sleep-talking, I’m seriously––” “I see. Then, that’s good.” Lizsharte narrowed her eyes and put the handle of her Sword Device in her hands. “If you can say that after being aware of my true identity, then that’s still good.” Her piercing gaze gave a shiver to Lux. That child is definitely not an ordinary Princess! “Player Lux, get ready for the connection!” At the same time, the teacher referee urged Lux. “…………” Lux reluctantly pulled out his Sword Device. From one of the sheaths of two different colors; the white one, “Come forth, the Branded Wing Dragon which is the symbol of power. Obey my sword and fly, <Wyvern>.” While holding the button attached on the hilt, he shouted. The pass code in order to transfer a Machine Dragon before oneself. The silver lines of the sword blade which recognized the contractor’s voice wore a blue-white light. kiin*. Particles of light gathered before Lux and a blue Machine Dragon appeared. “Connect On” As he muttered again, the armor instantaneously opened and covered Lux’s body. The head, both arms, shoulders, waist, legs and the wings and armaments. The dress gears which were similarly excavated from the ruins efficiently conducted the energy from the Force Core and protected the equipped parts (of the body) as it also generated a powerful barrier, different from a common barrier, on its surface. The machine armor which imitated a dragon was equipped as if uniting with Lux and he became a Drag-Knight of about two sizes bigger than the body of the person himself. Ancient weapons excavated from the ruins. That power which concealed a great military power was however quickly engulfed by a huge pressure on the opposite side. “Is that other sword just for decoration? Lux Acadia.” “…!?” At that instant, Lux opened his eyes wide. Lizsharte’s body was covered with a red Machine Dragon which he had never seen before. The outward appearance was completely different from that of the three types commonly known as General-purpose Machine Dragons, that is, Flying-type Machine Dragons (Wyvern), Ground-type Machine Dragons (Wyrm) and the Customized-type Machine Dragons (Drake). A red Machine Dragon much huger than Lux’s appeared in front of him. “New Kingdom royal family personal unit. Divine Drag-Ride –– <Tiamat>. This Machine Dragon is on an entirely different level from those you know.” “…………” Divine Drag-Ride. It’s a rare species of Drag-Ride whose existence had only been confirmed for each species in the world. Its airframe performance was far above that of a general-purpose Machine Dragon. But––, at the same time, the consumption of both spiritual and physical strength and the processing degree of difficulty were also in a different league. The possessing of a Divine Drag-Ride, where it would not be strange even if one were to die when using it, was severely restricted by the New Kingdom, and its use was only permitted to those with suitable ability. In other words, the fact of being able to use it was proof of a peerless talent and unremitting efforts. However––, while being aware of that fact, Lux remained calm. (It’s all right. ––I should still have a chance.) Lux’s <Wyvern> was a basic general-purpose Machine Dragon, but its parts and armaments had been remodeled with a specialization in defense. In the capital, the skill of the one called the “Weakest Undefeated” who managed the largest number of mock battle and yet had never suffered one defeat in a match. Even if he were to have a Divine Drag-Ride as an opponent, he should be able to hold out somehow. The audience which was lively and excited fell silent. The high-pitched sound of the bell echoed to the ring as if to break the atmosphere which was strained to the limit. “Mock Battle, Start!” At the same time with the referee’s voice, the two Drag-Rides began to move. It was Lizsharte wearing <Tiamat> that flew first. At the same time that the red Machine Dragon which bore the name of a Goddess handed down from the ruins flew up to the sky, she set up the Breath Gun –– the large gun in her right arm that was the Machine Dragon personal (exclusive) armament. Lux drew out his Machine Dragon blade and tried to chase Lizsharte in the sky with his <Wyvern> which also possessed the flight function, but when he saw her setting up the Breath Gun, he stopped his movements in mid-air. “No way, does she intend to shoot it right from the start…?” Breath Gun. So to speak, the main armament which envisioned strong flames harking back to a Dragon’s breath. A blow with a high temperature and impact, that loads the energy from the Force Core which is the power source and releases it. It held power, enough to easily blow up one building. But, there was the part which required a “charging” until the firing and one could make enough distance for an evasive action; that a defensive stance could be taken was the flaw. Actually, even Lux had currently taken a suitable distance enough to be able to evade it. Therefore, the opening in a one-to-one fight was not something which one should quickly aimed at, but–– “Fufufu…!” As if reading the intention of Lux, Lizsharte laughed. And, the cannon’s sight which was originally aimed at Lux abruptly deviated slightly sideways, “…!?” Boom! It fired. A light beam of high temperature with undulation was shot from the sky straight toward the ring on the ground. But, it was of course, not aimed at Lux, so he would not be hit as long as he did not move. Is it intended for a threat or a warm-up? To Lizsharte’s incomprehensible action, Lux’s body slightly stiffened. That moment–– “Ah” Lizsharte who was far in the sky looked down at Lux and swerved her mouth. In her right hand was the cannon which fired just now. And her left hand––, was holding the hilt of the Sword Device. The Sword Device was one of the control sticks to mentally operate a Machine Dragon and its armaments, in other words–– “ ––!?” Suddenly, a shock as if being hit by a large hammer ran down Lux’s flank. He was flipped aside and thrust away along with the <Wyvern>. In other words, Lux was pushed out to the trajectory of the original bombardment which Lizsharte shot by deliberately deflecting her aim! “Wha…!?” An inescapable timing where he was completely taken by surprise. Although the armor of Lux’s <Wyvern> had been tuned to be relatively thick, it would end with a single blow if he were to receive the attack of the main armament with its maximum output head on. Lux instantly set up his blade diagonally so as to use it like a shield for the bombardment. He fully poured energy from the Force Core and equipped it on the blade. Originally, it was an ability to amplify destructive power, but by doing so, he would deflect the power of the bombardment and he himself would also be flipped off from the trajectory of the bombardment. “Uh, ah…!” Objects of high speed came flying while aiming at Lux who was blown off and was rotating in the air. As he quickly swung the partially damaged blade and flicked off the four flying objects, they stopped in the sky and returned to Lizsharte’s surroundings. “That’s––!” “Hmm. You’re better than I thought.” Lizsharte wearing <Tiamat> looked down at Lux and fearlessly smiled. A little away around her, four huge arrowhead-shaped objects were floating. “I never thought that you would escape my attack with only a sword, handling from that posture. It really hurts my pride. Should I say as expected of the “Weakest Undefeated”?” “W-What did you just––!?” Looking up at Lizsharte in the sky, Lux sweated. “What’s wrong? You’ve probably heard about my special armaments from your little sister, haven’t you?” “T-That’s right, but––” A special armament which only a Divine Drag-Ride could use. Lux had also heard from Airi about the special armament <Legionairborne fortress> that <Tiamat> possesses. There were long-range throwing weapons of small streamlined metals which were controlled and held a propulsive strength themselves. Usually four of them were equipped to the airframe; after launch, the units could freely move, and directly impact damage to the enemy. Of course, Lux also intended to be cautious because of that troublesome disposition, but–– “…Kuh!” (But, no matter what, that way of using them––) At the same time as the start signal, Lizsharte had launched the <Legionairborne fortress> to the side while flying, so that they would not be noticed by Lux. In addition, she aimed the Breath Gun at Lux. A Divine Drag-Ride exceeded a general-purpose Machine Dragon in terms of output and efficiency. When suddenly being aimed at by the main armament, anyone would focus his attention there. As she deflected her aim to the side and fired and attracted Lux’s attention towards his right side, she threw the <Legionairborne fortress> which she made take a detour from the left side so that they escaped his field of vision; then, she pushed him into the original trajectory of the main armament’s maximum output and attacked him. A one shot kill strategy. Devil like tactics without any mercy. What was frightening above all else was that there was no stagnation (moment of pause) at all to this series of actions. No matter how excellent the tactics were, as long as there was any unnatural movement, it was possible to perceive and avoid them. But, even in the mock battles in the capital, Lux had almost never fought against this kind of opponent so far. Is she really a Princess of the New Kingdom? That child–– “Old Empire’s Seventh Prince, Lux Acadia.” When Lux was recovering his balance, Lizsharte’s voice came down. “Honestly, I underestimated you, but I take back what I said. You aren’t bad. Just a little, I’m impressed. That’s why I’ll take this opportunity to say it now. You’d better release (disarm) that <Wyvern> which is about to break and use that other Sword Device.” It was a tone of voice which contained a deep affection and which was somewhat gentler than before. A small stir came from the surrounding audience seats. “I don’t know what kind of Drag-Ride it is, but it should be better than that partially destroyed one. Show it to me, your full strength.” “…Um. Then, may I again say one thing?” To Lizsharte’s words, Lux looked up at the sky. The blade which was Lux’s main weapon was already partially destroyed and the defense armor was also shaved off to one third, so it could no longer generate a complete defensive barrier. The remaining equipment of his <Wyvern> was one Breath Gun for barrage shooting, three Machine Dragon claws blades (daggers) for close range combat as well as for throwing, and also one Wire tail for medium-range. None of them was a weapon which could pierce through the defensive barrier and thick armor of <Tiamat>. But––, “I’m sorry––. I can’t use this sword.” Even so, with a composed attitude Lux said that. “So, if it becomes a draw at this rate, could we come to an agreement regarding this matter? Honestly, I’m tied up with other jobs. S-Sorry for the b-bath. I apologize––” Lizsharte’s eyebrows became stiff from Lux’s words. And, not only her cheeks, but also her whole face became red and the whole Machine Dragon's body shook. Of course, Lux was speaking seriously. But, she probably thought that she was being underestimated. “Oh, I see. It sounds as though you’re not an ordinary –– BUT A BIG FOOL!” Lizsharte suddenly hung up her Sword Device to the sky and shouted. “<Tiamat>! Reveal your real nature!” At the same time as her voice, a big noise spread like ripples around the audience seats. Immediately after, a dazzling light ran around <Tiamat> and something was transferred (summoned). It was an auxiliary armament whose use was usually avoided because the burden (put on the body) was great. It was a main armament two times bigger than the cannon set up a little while ago. That was linked –– connected to <Tiamat>’s right shoulder and right arm. “That’s––!” A huge gun barrel which had seven muzzles. The Goddess Tiamat not only gave birth to an army of demons and controlled them, but she also turned herself into a seven-headed dragon. Lux had only heard about that auxiliary armament which was called <Seven HeadsSeven-Headed Dragon> from Airi, but––. “Are you good at dancing? Lux Acadia.” An absolute confidence and an intimidating smile.
Saying with a graceful voice, Lizsharte set up her Sword Device. “My dance is a little rough. Entertain me, Prince.” Around her, the number of <Legionairborne fortress>, which was four until a little while ago, increased; the number quadrupled –– a total of 16 aircraft throwing weapons were floating in the air. It looked like these arms were also transferred in by the Sword Device. Logically speaking, the burden and processing degree of difficulty should also double in proportion to the number of the arms, but–– “Kuh…!” Compared to that, Lux’s equipment was extremely weak. The airframe performance itself was still far inferior, too. A too overwhelming military power difference. But, precisely for this reason––, Lux perceived a chance of winning. “P-Please wait a minute! Princess Lizsharte! Do you intend to kill your opponent? If you went as far as to use <Tiamat>’s auxiliary armament, no matter how much you hold back, it will still go beyond the scope of a mock battle!” The instructors, responsible for monitoring, who saw that hurriedly tried to stop her, but, “So they say, but? Do you want to throw in the towel?” To the question of Lizsharte who was floating in the sky, Lux shortly, but clearly–– “No –– I don’t.” Answered so. “Then, perish in this place! With the pride of the Old Empire!” At the same time Lizsharte shouted, she wielded her Sword Device. At that moment, the throwing weapons which were floating whirlingly around her––, the sixteen <LegionAirborne fortresses> began to attack all at once.
“Lux-san…” Nokuto had been watching the mock battle which began with Lizsharte’s fierce attack in the audience seating. “Oops. This is terrible! We must quickly tell the teacher and stop her––!” As expected, even Tillfarr, a girl with a usually light tone, said in panic. Although there was just one grade of difference between them respectively Sharis, Tillfarr and Nokuto, they were called the “Triad” in the academy and they were also childhood friends. The third year student Sharis whose father was serving as the vice-commandant of the New Kingdom army had the lead status with seniority. She enjoyed both play and study. Especially, Sharis who had a strong sense of justice also volunteered to join the paramilitary section. It was already five years since the New Kingdom was established. Although the custom of androcracy was gradually dying out, the people’s consciousness could not change immediately. Even the people opposed to the new government itself and the kind of treatment towards women and riots were unending. For this reason, she bore the pride of protecting the students from the male offenders who sometimes showed up in the academy, too, but–– “To think that such a fight would happen––” By now, they realized that it was them who made that uproar that big a deal. For this, the three girls felt some regret. Incidentally, the three girls were in the end made to write a letter of apology about the matter where they destroyed the women’s dormitory by using Drag-Rides as “they went too far”. “I’m sorry, Lux-kun.” At this rate, not only would Lux lose, worst, he might also die. In the case that Lizsharte were to use <Tiamat> , the students who only possessed a general-purpose Machine Dragon would be no match for her. It had only been once that she was seen going as far as to transfer the auxiliary armament. The innumerable units which flew about freely inside the broad ring, <LegionAirborne fortresses>. The main armament of super-heating power which completed its charge and would be shot if Lux were to stop moving even for a moment, the <Seven HeadsSeven-Headed Dragon>. There should be no means to go up against these two overwhelming powers with only a mere general-purpose Machine Dragon <Wyvern>. “You do not need to worry. Sharis-senpai.” Suddenly, Lux’s younger sister who was next to her –– Airi called out to Sharis so. “About that incident, it’s something that Nii-san did selfishly, so it’s the natural consequences of his own deeds. He holds an odd sense of justice, so he’s always dragged into unnecessary troubles. At first glance, he looks sensitive, but he’s just a softhearted and simple fool, so it can’t be helped.” With a fairly serious look –– no, even with a smile, Airi indifferently continued her words. “…You’re an unexpectedly interesting child, you––” When Sharis returned a wry smile seeing that she was so indifferent, “But, even to such a hopeless Nii-san, there is only one thing that even I admit; he has a lot of good sides.” Airi said so and gently pointed at the center of the ring. With a smile tinged with a little pride. “That’s––?” When Sharis asked back and moved her gaze to the ring, it could be seen with a big noise. “Once he has decided something, he will carry it out until the end.”
Within the ring practice field, a fierce fiery whirlwind blew. After being launched, the <LegionAirborne fortresses> attacked with their own propulsion. Lux dodged all of the simultaneous attacks which consisted of a total of 16 units –– by a hairbreadth, including the additional auxiliary armament. “Kuh…!?” Anxiety appeared on the face of Lizsharte who manipulated them by swinging the Sword Device in her left hand Even though the offensive was completely one-sided, she desperately swallowed her voice, not shouting “why?”. Not even one of the units of <LegionAirborne fortresses> which she manipulated had been destroyed. Lux just dodged and repelled them. Only using the partially destroyed blade, the Breath Gun, the daggers and the wire tail. Each of them was a basic weapon of a Machine Dragon, but Lux skillfully used them to defend against all the attacks. Of course, it was not as if the attacks were not totally hitting him. In fact, Lux’s armor was also being torn off gradually and even the barrier which he had deployed was also running out of power. The remaining arms (weapons) also got gradually damaged each time they repelled the <LegionAirborne fortresses>. Nevertheless –– he showed no signs of falling. So, that’s the reason why he is called “the weakest undefeated”! Just five minutes since Lizsharte was going all out. No, it was “already” five minutes. It should be impossible for an ordinary general-purpose Machine Dragon to hold even dozens of seconds against a Divine Drag-Ride going all out. That fact which was beyond Lizsharte’s calculation restrained her tactical thinking. She sent a fleeting glance to the big clock of the academy and checked the needles. There were still about three minutes before the end of the match. But, at this rate, Lizsharte’s stamina would run out before the timeout. “Lizsharte-sama!?” A voice from a student in the audience seats reached her who was struck dumb. “Kuh…!?” The moment when she was distracted in thinking, she saw a dagger thrown by Lux approach. It was too late to doge it. “Don’t underestimate me!” But, as Lizsharte wielded her Sword Device and pointed it out before her eyes, the dagger changed the trajectory as if being flipped by an invisible force and fell to the ground. “…!?” At that moment Lux’s complexion changed due to this mysterious phenomenon, Lizsharte inhaled. “Haa. All right, the “weakest undefeated”! In order to express my respect to your skill, allow me to show it to you! The Divine Raiment of my <Tiamat>, that’s!” “…Eh?” Divine Raiment––。 The moment when he heard these words, Lux stiffened for a short moment. “Prostrate yourself under the name of God! <Heavenly Voice>!” At the same time with a loud voice, Lizsharte once again pointed to Lux with her Sword Device. That moment, the <Wyvern> that was flying in the sky at high speed until now fell to the ground. The armor leg which held out suddenly sank along with the foothold.---how does this sentence fit with the current context/situation? “This is––!?” Divine Raiment was a special ability which only a Divine Drag-Ride possessed. It was said that this ability existed only for the Divine Drag-Ride type and the true nature of each of the Divine Drag-Rides was almost unknown. From the information he also heard from Airi, there was not this (this was not in it). Judging from the strong burden put on his whole body along with the Drag-Ride, and the movement of the dagger which was stopped a little while ago, <Tiamat>’s Divine Raiment seemed to control gravity. But, the situation had already been checkmated when he realized it. The <LegionAirborne fortresses> circled at high speed like a tornado around Lux, blocking any escape paths. And, “––It’s over. Fallen Prince.” <Tiamat>’s auxiliary armament, the huge gun connected to the right shoulder and right arm. The <Seventh Heads> aimed at Lux. (…To think that she even uses the Divine Raiment! I have no other choice, but to do it.) Lux instantly resolved himself for a certain thing –– at that time, “––Wha?” Kaboom! Along with this sound, Lizsharte which wore <Tiamat> violently inclined to one side. Almost at the same time, the gravity exerted on Lux and his <Wyvern> was also released. Lizsharte seemed unable to fully grasp what happened and stared at the Machine Dragon which was wrapped around her body. (This is bad––!) Compared to a general-purpose Machine Dragon, not only is a Divine Drag-Ride’s processing degree of difficulty high, and the exhaustion of the user intense, but there was also a more fundamental danger. It was the fact that it could rampage. A Drag-Ride operation method broadly divided into two types. The body armor processing by moving the armor wrapping one’s body with the limbs and power condition, and the mind processing done by thought via the Sword Device. Generally, a skillful use of these two methods would operate a Machine Dragon, but under extreme fatigue and burden, the user’s rhythm would go amiss and the Machine Dragon would act beyond expectations –– In other words, the rampage begins. If he did not settle it quickly, it would become dangerous for both parties. The moment Lux saw that, he used his <Wyvern>’s maximum output and flew into the air. “Kuh…!? W-With such a thing…” Clear agitation and a color of fatigue appeared on Lizsharte’s face. But, she instantly changed her expression. Lizsharte quickly wielded her Sword Device and injected a new thought. The 16 <LegionAirborne fortresses> which were flying around Lux lost their output and fell to the ground. Cutting of control. She focused her consciousness and power which were originally distributed to other arms, and chose only one point, channeling all that destructive power. All that energy was converged into the main armament, the <Seventh Heads>. “Like I would loooooosssssssse!” At the same time with an earsplitting scream, <Tiamat> returned under her control. Lux rose and stabbed his sword and Lizsharte determined the target under her eyes (below). The two people’s fight reached the climax. At that moment––, An incident, which should have never occurred, occurred. Guuuaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! “…!? This sound is––!” Vertically piercing through the clouds, the scream of a beast descended. From high up in the sky above the practice field, an inhuman intruder interfered.