The Party Arrives
The next morning while Ellis was enjoying breakfast, a messenger from the council came in. Duke Marsfield had arrived with the messengers from Skycastle and wished to have an audience with them before noon. There was no doubt that this was about the five dragons, but this time they weren’t even playing coy about it as they had given the direct command for the girls to bring them with.
“Well, what kind of clothes should we wear?”
“They’re probably going to want to see Su-chan and the others’ original appearances, so pants would make it easier for boarding.”
With Reeve’s suggestion, the girls decided to wear the matching brown jacket, white pants, and tailored boots that they had tailored for the harvest festival.
Meanwhile the dragons decided to go in their male forms for the sake of a little mischief.
Ra-chin was equipped like a heavy fighter. His name would be Ellison.
Su-chan was equipped like a light fighter. His name was Revatein.
Ah-nyan was equipped like a cat fighter. His name was Cassius.
Fe-rin was to be equipped like a mage. His new name would be Brause.¹
Pi-tan was equipped as a thief. His new name would be Crest.
By the way, Fe-rin and Pi-tan were actually wearing fake equipment, cosplaying their roles, but they at least had the appearance of great adventurers. And of course they were all quite handsome.
Ellis and the other girls, after finishing their bit of early morning fun, all left for the council on foot. Naturally the group of ten drew massive attention from the people as they walked through the city.
“You came looking dignified.”
Maria had seen the dragons cosplay before, but it still made her do a double-take. But with Maria’s words as the trigger, all of the dragons started taking up their usual prideful boasting.
“Well, I am the best though.”
“I have decided no such thing! Where are you looking you shit for brains Land Dragon!”
“It’s already decided that I am supreme! Are your eyes just a pair of black holes you idiot Storm Dragon!”
“You all clearly don’t know about my beauty! How bad is the blood circulation to your head Frost Dragon!”
“I’m sorry Maria, these stupid dragons are troubling you with their idiocy.”
“You’re the biggest idiot here, Mr. Formerly a Metal Eater Chaos Dragon!”
“Frau, if you would.”
*GON* *GON* *GON* *GON* *GON*
Each of the dragons took a similar pose, hunched down on the ground with their hands covering their heads after Frau belted each of their crowns with the hammer part of her dark mithril halberd.
Not sure how to respond here, Maria decided to keep her mouth shut.
After taking a deep breath, Maria ordered Ellis and the others to wait patiently in a nearby room until Duke Marsfield arrived. They all calmly followed her inside with no more outbursts.
After a while, the councilroom became loud signaling the arrival of Duke Marsfield’s entourage. Maria had obtained information in advance suggesting he had brought a large number of people with him, but the number of escorts totaling 100 was far larger than what she had anticipated. Apparently the Duke was mixing business with pleasure, creating plans to go play in the city while investigating the issues with the Dragon Maidens, and all of these people were looking to join in on the fun. Maria called in all the other council members and resident representatives to deal with the crowd while she took care of the official guests.
“We welcome you back Duke Marsfield, and the capitol’s emissaries as well. My name is Maria, the chairman for Trade City Warren’s city council.”
“The formal greetings are a pain. My name’s Chaffee, the official the capitol sent. My wife and daughter are with me for the same reason.”
With the pleasantries out of the way, Maria led the Duke and Chaffee’s family to the nearby guest room. The escorts weren’t formal messengers, so the other guild masters and council members ushered them in to a seperate room.
As soon as the Duke and Chaffee took a seat in the guest room, Maria began talking.
“So today’s main agenda is about the matters concerning the Guardian Dragons and the Dragon Maidens. Let’s begin the arrangements.”
“As expected of Maria, you’re so quick to the point. Well then if you would introduce Lord Chaffee to Warren’s Jewelry Box.”
Maria rose with a smile and left to another room. When she returned, it was with another five silent individuals following after her. They were a blond-haired warrior in heavy armor, a blue, short haired swordsman, a red-haired magician, a black-haired thief, and a gray colored cat warrior.
Maria remained silent, but Duke Marsfield was boisterously laughing hard enough for the both of them. At this point Lord Chaffee had already risen to his feet and politely greeted the five.
“This is our first time meeting, but my name is Chaffee, a lower seated aristocrat from the royal capitol. Behind me is my wife Bizon and daughter Mebett. But I must say I’m a little embarrassed, I’d heard in the capitol that Warren’s Jewelry Box was a team of women, but now I’m seeing a row of good looking men. Really now, rumors can’t be counted on at all.”
Behind him, Bizon and Mebett were suspiciously staring at the short haired swordsman. Noticing their gazes, he gave them both a wink causing their cheeks to blush.
“Madame Maria, let’s not tease the man too much.”
And Duke Marsfield finally spoke out against what was going on. Maria on her part clapped the back of her head with her hand like a naughty child before lightly knocking on the door she had entered a moment before.
Five girls in matching jackets and pants walked into the room afterwards. Chaffee and his family did a double take comparing these new entries to the men from before.
Maria finally explained.
“Sir Chaffee, these five here are Warren’s Jewelry Box. And Ms. Bizon, Lady Mebett, I do believe one of your relatives is among them.”
Reeve stepped forward at Maria’s signal.
“This is our first time meeting Sir Chaffee. And sorry for staying silent Sister Bizon.”
Chaffee was sucking on his lips after that greeting, but Bizon on the other hand was finally able to come to her senses and return the greeting.
“It’s been a long time Reeve. And when I finally see you again, you’re a celebrity with the renowned Jewelry Box. What happened to the little sister I had to take care of?”
“Wait, then who are these men?”
Chaffee interrupted the two’s reunion after suddenly regaining his own bearings. Duke Marsfield didn’t provide him an answer directly, instead rising to his feet and bowing to the men.
“It is an honor to meet with you all again Guardian Dragons. Forgive me for the imposition I must put on you today, and I can do little more than thank you for your cooperation.”
The messenger family wasn’t sure what to say. The men meanwhile rested their hands on their chests and politely returned the Duke’s greeting.
“Maybe we should quit the gag, Ellis.”
As the heavily armored warrior spoke up towards the blonde-haired girl behind him, the girl in question stepped forward and addressed the messengers.
“It’s an honor to meet you honored messengers. You’re here to see the five dragons, and here they are.”
At the end of Ellis’s greetings, the men disappeared from inside their equipment. Afterwards, five miniature dragons came crawling out of their clothes and climbed up on their maidens.
The girls each started picking up their leftover equipment off the ground while one of the dragons moved to the blonde-haired girls side, another of the dragons climbed up on the blue-haired girls chest, the one dragon that looked like a bird perched itself on the red-haired girls shoulder, a different dragon climbed all the way up the black-haired girls back resting on top of her head, and the last dragon wrapped itself around the catgirl’s neck.
The family’s silent amazement meant that the clean-up was able to be completed quickly with no need for explanation.
Having calmed the others down, Duke Marsfield asked that Ellis introduce all of the dragons and explain what they were all doing in Warren. Ellis gave them the lie they had all prepared in advance.
As the Demon Lord started to move, the dragons started seeking out contractors in order to protect themselves from his orders by forming another, stronger bond. The Land Dragon Ra-chin was the first to find Ellis and make her into his Dragon Maiden. From him the news spread, and the other dragons came seeking their own Dragon Maidens. It was just a perfect coincidence that all five members of the Jewelry Box were qualified for the contract.
As the explanation continued, Duke Marsfield interrupted every once in a while to ask his own questions.
“Could I ask what these ‘qualifications’ to become a Dragon Maiden are?”
This was the first, most obvious question that the girls knew they were going to be asked. Regarding this, Ellis and the others had decided to respond with the truth this time around. As it stood finding another dragon or a qualified person would be difficult, and all five of them had already made their own contract.
It was however decided that it would be best if Ra-chin were to provide the answer.
“My apologies, I acted rudely when asked before because I was enjoying my tea at the time. I will explain the conditions properly this time.”
The conditions for becoming a Dragon Maiden involved having a strong mental power and being a pure-hearted maiden. You needed a strong heart to not fear the dragons, a will to walk beside them, and the determination to preserve your innocence for the rest of your life.
“I wonder how many ladies like that exist among you humans.”
The Duke sat back in his chair and silently thought to himself at the Land Dragon’s words. His point was certainly a valid one. Under normal circumstances anyone would fear a dragon. And even if they could somehow get over that fear, a willingly spend the rest of your life in service to that dragon? A person naturally growing that way was impossible.
But then the small Mebett rushed forward to Reeve.
“Aunt Reeve, it’s nice to meet you. My name is Mebett. Would it be alright if you introduced me to your Guardian Dragon?”
The indifferent face Reeve had been holding until now melted away into something more compassionate.
“Oh, it’s nice to meet you Mebett. My dragon is this little one, the Storm Dragon, that’s with me.”
With Reeve’s introduction, the mini dragon popped his head out from under his wing and shook his little nose at the girl. He wasn’t out for long before he withdrew his head again though. But Mebett didn’t care and quickly turned back to her parents.
“Father, Mother, could I be tested to see if I qualify?”
The two parents weren’t able to immediately reply. For them, Mebett was their precious only daughter. Suddenly handing her over so she could serve a dragon for the rest of her life wasn’t something they could just say yes to. But Duke Marsfield stepped in and pushed the issue.
“Ellis, could you give it a try?”
Ellis and the other girls had expected this development. So it was just a matter of which dragon they would use to administer the test. Claire gave a small suggestion at that.
“Because she’ll need to know about the qualities of the dragons, we should head out to the square.”
Thus the meeting was moved to a more open space.
Mebett was sure she could do it. She was the niece to a wonderful Dragon Maiden, and the dragons she had seen looked absolutely lovely, cute, pretty, charming, and fancy. She would gladly accept such a dragon in her life.
“Well then Mebett. Could you stand right here?”
Mebett followed Claire’s instructions and stood at the very center of the city square. Seeing how giddy with anticipation the young girl was, Claire made a wry smile.
“Now then, if you would Pi-tan.”
Following Claire’s instructions, the little miniature dragon did a small dance right off her head. And then with a flash of light, he returned to his original size.
It should go without saying that the young Mebett was completely overtaken by fear at the huge and terrifying dragon that suddenly appeared before her and promptly fainted. There was the unfortunate bonus of her leaking as well.
1. Finding an actual name that matched with the katakana the author used was much more difficult than I had originally thought it would be.