Chapter 7 The Bahamut Is A Cavalry Dragon

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Since it was the Dragon Knight Academy, naturally, there would be lessons about riding dragons.
That training was to take place in the afternoon, so I changed into my gym clothes and went out to the field.

We gathered at the teacher’s signal.

Two dragons were waiting at the edge of the vast ground.
I was going to ride on the back of one of those dragons…

“Umm… Eltoselk-san? Why are you still in uniform?”

The teacher asked curiously.
Justina was the only one who hadn’t changed into her gym clothes and was still in her uniform on the field.

Justina answered the teacher’s question with a curious look on her face.

“Eh? I mean, I’m a dragon. I’m not the one riding the dragon, I’m the one being ridden, so I’m on this side.”

Justina then proceeded to transform into a dragon…
No, because she was originally a dragon, it wasn’t a transformation, so she just returned to normal?

Yeah, it was complicated.

Anyways, she also took the form of a dragon and moved next to the two dragons.

“Y’allo, hello.”
“There’s no need to greet the likes of us…!”

The two dragons looked at Justina and were scared out of their wits.
They bowed their heads and did not raise them.

Justina is a dragon, but she was also a divine dragon at the top of the food chain.
Once again, I was reminded of this.

…Or rather, they called her Princess-sama.
It was a new discovery.

“Okay, boys and girls. One by one, in the order of your names, you will practice riding. The time limit is five minutes per person. If you get knocked down or something, that’s the end of it, so be careful and do it right.”

At the teacher’s signal, the first boy and girl head towards the two dragons.

“I look forward to working with you!”
“Hmm. I will train you.”

Unlike Justina, the two dragons can’t transform into humans, but…
Ordinary dragons can understand and speak the human language.
Besides, they have been very helpful in many ways, such as accompanying us on special training sessions like this.

“Sensei, what about me?”

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“Eh!? T-That’s right, Eltoselk-san… what do you want to do…?”

Instead of answering, the teacher asked Justina back.

“Hmmm… then can I take over Alto’s training? Just me?”
“Estenia-kun…right? Um… yes, that’s fine.”
“Yay! Then, Alto. Want to practice with me?”
“Umm… is that okay?”

Is it okay if I was the only one who was allowed to train with Justina?
I asked the teacher, but he gave me permission with a tired look on his face.

“Yes, it’s fine… as long as Estenia-kun has no problems, let her do as she pleases. And I’m sure Eltoselk-san doesn’t want any other students riding her either…”
“Oh, that’s true. Sorry, guys. I only want to carry people I recognize on my back, so I can’t go along with everyone’s practice.”

When Justina apologized her classmates replied that it was outrageous for them to even try and told her not to worry about it.
Maybe my classmates are also hesitant about making Justina a cavalry dragon.
After all, she’s a dragon princess and the divine dragon Bahamut.

“Now then, Alto. Get on.”

I… have some worries, but I chose to train with Justina.

I wanted to be strong.
I wanted to be a hero.
I still feel the same way as I did in the past.
So, I’m sorry if I’m taking advantage of you, Justina…
If I could become stronger, I would do everything I could.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me.”
“Yeah. Go ahead.”

I kicked the ground, leapt, and mounted Justina’s back.
When I landed, I bent my knees to avoid impact and landed softly.
Then I lightly patted her back with my hand.

“This is…”

It was a strange feeling.
When I rode on her back, Justina’s body, which had looked so big from the side, seemed very small.
There were no reins and no saddle.
And yet, I was so steady…

It was as if I was one with her.
Not in a weird way, but I felt as if I was one with Justina.

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“Uh… w-what’s this… p-please behave yourself!”
“If you move that much, I’ll be shaken off… Kyaa!?”

The other classmates riding the dragon were having a hard time with each other.
They were trying to tame the dragons, but they wouldn’t listen to them.
They tried to talk to them, but the dragons pretended that they didn’t understand the human language, and shook their large bodies as they flailed about as they pleased.

It’s not that the dragons were being mean to the students.
A dragon takes a knight as their rider… They shake you off because they think you’re not worthy enough to be placed on their backs.

In order to prevent this from happening, you need to demonstrate your power.
Never get flustered and show your endurance…
Give your orders in a strong voice.
You must have the courage to go head to head with the dragon, no matter what happens.

However, his classmates could not handle the pressure and…
They were struggling as they were being pushed around by the dragon.

“Everyone… seems to be having a hard time.”
“I… feel bad about that.”
“Eh? Why?”
“In my case, my partner is Justina… thanks to that, I can ride properly like this. Right?
Hmm. I don’t think so.”
“Alto is… to put it bluntly, not powerful enough. I think you’re not ready to become a knight.”

I felt like a needle in my chest when she said it so clearly.
But it was much better than being kept in the dark.

Even if I was weak now…
I will eventually become strong.

“But you know, if you look at yourself as a dragon knight, you’re… uhh. I think you’re at a ridiculous level.”
“That’s not true.”
“It’s true though.”

For some reason, Justina said that confidently.

“It’s true that I like you, Alto. But putting someone on my back is a completely different matter. No matter how much I like someone, I wouldn’t let them mount me if they didn’t know how to handle a dragon. That’s why I said I’d take Alto, but I was actually a little nervous.”
“So… is that it? But I didn’t do anything, did I?”
“That’s not true. When you mounted me, you landed gracefully in concern for me, and you also patted me. That kind of detailed care is necessary for a dragon knight. If you can do that, I think you have the talent. If you can be thoughtful to a dragon and continue to be with it, you can surely become a great dragon knight.”

When Justina, the Bahamut, told me that, it made me very happy.
I still can’t be confident right away but…

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Still, I want to look forward to it.

“That Estenia guy… looks normal, and yet he rides Eltoselk-san calmly, even though she’s a Bahamut… is he not scared?”
“They seem to be talking normally, but it’s amazing… I always feel so desperate when I’m riding a dragon.”
“I’d only seen him get involved with Cedric, but… when you take a good look at him like this, Estenia is actually amazing?”

My classmates buzzed when they saw me riding steadily on Justina’s back.

Hearing such whispers…
A male student who still couldn’t ride the dragon properly was angry.

The boy jumped off the dragon and shouted loudly at me.

“Oi, Estenia! You’re not playing fair.”
“Um… what are you talking about?”
“You can ride a dragon so easily because Eltoselk-san likes you, right? Isn’t that kind of cheating!”
“You know… unlike you, Alto understands dragons…”
“…Okay. Then why don’t you ride on my dragon this time?”

Justina tried to argue with him, but…
I couldn’t just rely on a girl here and not do anything myself.

Whether I like her or not, remains to be seen…
Any boy would want to look good in front of a girl who likes him.
I may have been bullied, but I still have a certain amount of pride.

“Alto, are you okay?”
“I’ll take Justina’s word for it. I’ll do what I can.”

I smiled lightly at Justina, who sounded concerned.
The boy and I then took turns riding on the dragon’s back.

“Hmmm, just because the princess likes you doesn’t mean you are worthy of me… I won’t go easy on you.”

The dragon grumbled and started to flail about trying to shake me off.
His body swung up and down, side to side, more violently than when the other boys were on it.

I can’t hold on for much longer.
I’d have to settle this soon.

“Calm down.”

I gently patted the dragon’s back.

“Calm down.”

Once again, I repeated the same words.

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No matter how grumpy they are and how hard the dragon tried to get rid of me…
I wasn’t going to change what I do.
I asked it for help, I asked for a ride on it’s back…
I just straight out ask.
It’s the least I can do.

“I need your help.”

Soon after, the dragon stopped flailing.
He lightly shifted his body and adjusted his posture so that I wouldn’t fall.

“W-Wow… this Estenia’s guy can ride a dragon…”
“So it wasn’t that Eltoselk-san was biased…”
“He’s had… a lot of problems before, so this is the first time he was able to ride? And yet, that’s…”

My classmates were surprised to see me succeed.

To tell the truth, I was surprised too.
Because of Cedric’s bullying, this was the first time I had ever done any real training.
So I was expecting to be shaken off right away.
And yet… somehow, it worked.

“Why… did you not throw me off?”

I’m not powerful.
There are plenty of knights who are stronger than me.
So, why did the dragon listen to me and not anyone else?

“Hmm… I have had many knights on my back, and they have all shown their power. They were worthy riders, they had me yield by force.”
“Isn’t that how it usually goes?”
“But not you. You are different. You see me as an equal and speak to me with words. I’ve never seen anything like it. That’s… unheard of.”
“I’m sorry…?”
“Don’t apologize. That’s why I thought it wasn’t so bad. The knight and the dragon should be partners and equals. You didn’t need anyone to tell you that, you understood it naturally. I guess that’s why you’re doing what you’re doing.”
“Hmmm. It’s not interesting, but… as expected of a partner chosen by the princess.”

Does this mean that my feelings were understood…?
I felt very happy about that.

“That’s my Alto! I’m so proud of you!”

For some reason, Justina was pleased as if it was her own achievement.

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