The Old Man’s Sudden Investigation
“This is paradise,” the Storm Dragon Su-chan leaked out with a sigh.
“Right?” the Land Dragon Ra-chin voiced his agreement right beside him.
The place Su-chan and Ra-chin were currently taking it easy at was the large bath inside Lily Garden. Three tubs had been set up in a row with Pi-tan on the far right followed by Ra-chin and Su-chan. They were each being washed by Claire, Ellis, and Reeve respectively. Because of Pi-tan’s hard shell and Ra-chin’s scales, Claire and Ellis had to use a towel to scrape away any dirt or grime. Su-chan however had no scales. That’s why Reeve was able to clean him with just the palm of her hand.
Su-chan suddenly leaked out those words with half open eyes.
“What is Su-chan?”
“Ah, I was just thinking about how I chose Reeve. It was a tremendous victory.”
Reeve was a little confused.
“What do you mean?”
“Reeve’s boots. They’re made from leather I shed off a long time ago. They looked like they were maintained very well, and I imagined what it would be like to be taken care of in the same way. It’s awesome.”
At the unexpected revelation, the other four girls’ attention all suddenly focused in on Su-chan. The dragon themselves didn’t understand why though.
“Ra-chin’s dark mithril scales would be better wouldn’t it?”
“No, Su-chan’s leather can bring out some outrageous abilities, so maybe?”
It stands to reason that Reeve’s boots’ Falcon ability is because they were made from Storm Dragon hide.
But Claire had another question.
“Dark mithril or Storm Dragon leather, would a blacksmith be able to process them normally?”
“Not a regular one at least Claire. It takes magic power to process our materials,” Ra-chin shook his head.
“As long as they understand the magical flow, you can soften the materials enough that, for a time, they can be molded by even human hands.”
Ellis looked around her when the term, ‘magical flow’ came up. It was something she had never heard before, but judging by the look on everyone else’s face, neither had any of them. Claire was the one who had to actually voice that curiosity.
“What do you mean by ‘magical flow’?”
The response from the two dragons was less than ideal.
“I don’t know.”
“Magical flow is how magic power flows through something. ……..I’m sorry Claire, I’m not really sure what it is either.”
Thus when it came to magical flow, it became the newest homework assignment for Ellis and Claire.
After everyone was finished with their baths, Pi-tan and Ra-chin got cozy in their basket beds.
“Is Su-chan alright with this?”
Reeve set up her dragon’s bed in a shallow tub with a soft cloth.
“It’s sufficient Reeve.”
Su-chan fluttered his wings a bit and made himself cozy in his new bed. He sat back on his hind legs, rolling sideways, and hid his head and tail underneath his wings.
“Good night then.”
Reeve waved good night while Frau turned off the living room light.
And then that night.
“Hey Reeve, how did you feel after becoming a Dragon Maiden?”
“Hmm, I think it felt really good Mistress.”
“Then I suppose you’re going to be bragging to Claire, Frau, and Katie from now on then.”
“No, I would never do that. But I do feel a little sorry for them.”
“This liar girl is in need of some serious punishment.”
Wrong…….you’re wrong………… Ahhhhhhhn………. Mis….tress………. auu……..
“Hey Ra-chin, what are Reeve and Ellis doing right now?”
“Well, I’m not sure. Don’t go asking Reeve and Ellis about it thought.”
“Ah, it looks like Ellis is heading to Frau next tonight.”
“So it’s not something purely between Dragon Maidens?”
Thus Ellis’s evening continued.
And then the morning inevitably came.
While Ellis and everyone else were having breakfast, a message came the Merchant Guild guild master Maria. A investigator from Skycastle has arrived, and they were looking to perform a tax audit on Ellis Finance and Claire’s Design Office. They would be arriving at the Merchant Guild shortly. Everyone with the exception of a cat girl scrambled to gather the books and records.
“What’s wrong Ellis?”
Suspicious for why things had suddenly gotten noisy, Ra-chin suddenly spoke up.
“We’re taking measures to prevent you from becoming an issue. Do you want to go sunbathing in Cross Town while we’re gone?”
“No, I want to come with you.”
Su-chan and Pi-tan were nodding their heads right beside him. So the five girls finished cleaning up their half finished breakfast before running to the Merchant Guild.
“Reeve, Ellis, Frau, just to make sure, there’s nothing wrong with your books right?”
Ellis Finance records were always reported to the council through the Merchant Guild. All of her taxes were paid afterwards directly to the city. Meanwhile Claire’s Design Office turned in all of their books and paid their taxes to the city’s Workshop Guild. So as far as Maria was concerned, both businesses paid their dues. The problem was that this obviously wasn’t about taxes. The capitol was finally responding to the news of the guardian dragon. So the books had to be perfect. Any smudges on the record would be another weapon the capitol would use against them.
So Nicole and Frau worked together and scanned through both records thoroughly while the others sat on a nearby couch tense.
“Everything looks fine.” Nicole’s words caused a collected sigh of relief to run through everyone in the room. And just in time too as a guest for Maria walked in on their own at the moment.
“Sorry to be rude, but I’m from Skycastle, here to perform an audit on Warren’s newest businesses.”
With prior notice, the sudden entrance wasn’t a surprise. But what was a surprise was the person who came in. It was Robert, the tax official the girls had met in Wheat Grace along with a second special guest.
Neither Maria nor the Jewelry Box girls could hide their shock.
“Uwahahaha! The castle was making a move, so I thought I’d go on a little vacation!”
The Duke found the girls’ reactions hilarious and gave a laugh far more lively than what he usually gave while he was on the job.
“By the way Ellis, if you manage to pass through this audit successfully, will you show me around Warren?”
Ah, right. The five girls didn’t have any problems with the Duke, so they were all prepared to show the Duke a good time. But then he had to bring up the audit…..
“We were just organizing the books to make your job a little easier,” Maria lied in a sweet voice.
But Robert wasn’t stupid. Nor did he really care. He was here to do his job, and so long as there was nothing wrong with the numbers, he wasn’t going to release any information.
“Is that right? Well then I’ll now be performing a tax examination for the newly form Ellis Finance first.”
Robert got to work immediately without saying much else. He compared the books the Merchant Guild kept to Ellis’s own books, making various marks here and there. The five girls waited patiently together with their pets napping on their laps.
After three hours, Robert closed the books and began scribbling some notes down into a notebook. The contents were about an additional tax to be placed as a fee for the income the representative–Ellis–made as an adviser for the Thieve’s Guild.
The amount wasn’t much, and according to Robert, it was a natural miscalculation. So long as it is paid, the rest of the books were squeaky clean.
“Well, since we’re working together like this, perhaps you could give me a small souvenir?”
Robert placed his notebook down with a wry smile. In other words, the fact that there had been something wrong was more believable than if there had been nothing wrong at all. It looked much less suspicious which left Robert with nothing else to do than ask directly for his ‘souvenir‘.
Robert corrected his posture and stretched out his arms.
“Facades aside, the real reason I’m here is to investigate the rumored guardian dragon of Warren. I’d really like you to tell me the behind the scenes truth.”
Maria gave the five a troubled look. She wondered what they were going to talk about.
But Robert was going to continue directing the conversation.
“First off, I’d like to confirm that your guardian dragon actually exists.”
The girls weren’t sure what to say. Ellis in particular was troubled on what to say, but there was no reason to hide the truth.
“Robert, the guardian dragon Ra-chin is right over here.”
Ellis pointed a finger towards the half awake lizard who had been enjoying having his stomach rubbed for the past three hours.
“Ellis, perhaps I didn’t make myself clear, but I promise as long as you cooperate with Skycastle, they shall leave you alone.”
Robert gave the natural response towards the natural assumption that Ellis was screwing with him, but that response caused Ra-chin to finally stir and turn his head towards the tax investigator.
“What a rude human. Are you saying that you can’t trust what my Dragon Maiden is saying? And after Ellis humored you for so long.”
His voice was directly transmitted to Robert’s mind, making both him and the Duke jump.
“Ra-chin, we should take you to the city square.”
“If Ellis is saying so, I suppose it can’t be helped.”
Ellis held out the little yellow lizard to Robert and the Duke before directing them the square.
Ra-chin’s original Land Dragon form was revealed in the same area that he had made his grand entrance earlier. And this time it was Duke Marsfield and Robert didn’t know what to say.
“Do you understand now, puny pathetic humans?”
Both of the men silently nodded their heads.
However there was one person who wasn’t finding this scene very interesting, and he was currently clinging to Reeve’s chest.
“Reeve, why are those guys marveling at the bastard so much?”
“Oh, it’s because Ra-chin is Warren’s guardian dragon.”
“What? Isn’t that discrimination? I’m a dragon too.”
“Oh it’s nothing like that. Ellis is technically bound to Warren now, but Su-chan and I are free.”
Maria was standing about two feet away from Reeve, as speechless as the Duke and Robert. But her reason was a little different.
“Reeve, why are you talking to your breasts?”
Su-chan peeked his head out from underneath his wings and took a look over at Maria.
“Reeve, who’s that woman over there?”
“That’s Maria, one of our benefactors. Try and be a little more polite Su-chan.”
“I understand Reeve. And although I am a little nervous, let’s do this.”
Maria and Reeve both stiffened at the conversation, but for obviously different reasons. Su-chan peeled himself off of Reeve’s chest and jumped onto Ra-chin’s back. After a second of silence, a full-sized Storm Dragon had appeared right on top of the Land Dragon. It was like a large dragon umbrella.
Despite the cute imagery, the citizens of Warren were just a little panicked at a dragon unexpectedly showing up in the middle of town. Half of the people crowding the square started a stampede as they fled for safety while the other half got on their knees praying to the Land Dragon to protect them.
“Duke Marsfield, it’s dangerous!”
“Forget me, start an evacuation Robert!”
The Duke’s guards moved immediately, turning themselves into a wall between the Duke and the suddenly appeared Storm Dragon.
“Su-chan, stop scaring everyone!” Reeve ran in front of the frozen Maria, wildly waving her hands over her head. Su-chan then made a sudden declaration to everyone who remained in the square.
“I am a friend of the Land Dragon! Because I will be assisting him in the protection of this city from now on, you may call me, Su-chan!”
Thus Warren’s guardian dragon became a two dragon job.