77.1 The Chivalric Order of Flying Dragons’ Return
Dawn of the new year comes peacefully and society bustles to action without delay.
If I’m to speak of a familiar place,
Several of my impatient classmates registered themselves at the adventurer’s guild with the beginning of the new year and started their lives as adventurers. There is no rule stating we have to set off on our journeys at the start of Spring. While leaving late is bad, there is no problem regardless of how early we leave. However, because our school graduation falls on the first day of Spring, they will continue attending school while being active as adventurers, like Ristia’s group.
Thus, at the heart of the country, everyone was rushing forth with the opening of the year. The first to show themselves is the Chivalric Order of Flying Dragons. They have been around since last summer. Right now, they number at several tens of knights, which is much more than last time.
Them flying in formation is a rare sight, but I suppose their number is just too big. While various rumors were being spread due to the appearance of the Chivalric Order of Flying Dragons, a mid-sized army of horse mounted knights from the Kingdom of Jortenitost also comes through.
The Armand Kingdom and the Kingdom of Jortenitost are on good terms. As such, there isn’t any tension in their movements. Still, this time, them being here is different. The Chivalric Order of Flying Dragons came at the same time as the kingdom’s knights.
“The hunt for flying dragons is going to be held this year.”
Ristia speaks with a tense expression.
The hunt for flying dragons.
For starters, flying dragons do not reside in Jortenitost. However, they have the Chivalric Order of Flying Dragons. In other words, the flying dragons ridden by the Chivalric Order of Flying Dragons are captured in the Armand Kingdom.
Flying dragons live on Dragon’s Peak. They make their nests on its rugged cliffs and hunt for food in the hunting grounds of flying dragons north of the royal capital.
Even though the feeding grounds of the flying dragons is called the hunting grounds of flying dragons, it in fact has another meaning. It means, the grounds for hunting flying dragons.
Those skilled in the Kingdom of Jortenitost try to raise flags for themselves by capturing flying dragons at the hunting grounds of flying dragons. By doing that, they become flying dragon knights.
That the dragon knights are a prestigious chivalric order goes without saying. As such, among those who desire social status and fame, those who weren’t blessed by birth strive to become dragon knights.
That is because those who captures dragons becomes dragon knights, family lineage and wealth have nothing to do with it. That said, the opponents are from the dragon tribe. Restraining one won’t be simple or quiet.
Going out dragon hunting with only a few number of people would end up badly. It will only increase the number of victims. As such, every few years, the Kingdom of Jortenitost and the Armand Kingdom recruit dragon knight applicants for a large scale dragon hunt.
And that seems to be happening this year.
Those aspiring to be dragon knights will be heading to the hunting grounds of flying dragons for training starting this season. Come summer, they will be departing for the full-scale hunt.
Of course, there will be some who drop out or fall victim to flying dragons during that time, but after half a year, those who remain will have been sifted and the elite of the elite will take the challenge. Incidentally, the people and adventurers of the Armand Kingdom who also wish to participate are allowed.
However, when the hunt for flying dragons comes every few years, hundreds of people participate in it. By the end of it, less than half safely survive. Furthermore, I’ve heard that only one or two people can achieve their goals, and that it’s so difficult, whether you are there or not doesn’t make a difference.
“Heey, heey, if it’s like that, will the Chivalric Order of Dragons be able to maintain enough personnel?”
When I have a doubt and voice it to Ristia, Slatton laughs at me.
“Once a flying dragon is captured and trained, it will always be there. Knights, being of the human tribe, have a short period of active duty. Flying dragons can live around three hundred years.”
“Ah, really? So upon retiring, the person’s dragon is inherited.”
Slatton explains while ridiculing me.
It makes sense now that I’ve heard it. The rider might retire, but that doesn’t mean the dragon can be dismissed from its duty too. A large number of people were sacrificed to capture that indispensable dragon. It will be worked as much as possible.
Although, the people who will inherit the dragons are undoubtedly apprentice-san and nobles. As expected, it looks like normal people who want to raise flags for themselves can only participate in the hunt for flying dragons. Maybe it’s because everyone knows that a large number of casualties will occur during this year’s hunt for flying dragons that tension is running high around the members of the temple.
Incidentally, what do dragon tribesmen like Mistral think about the hunt for flying dragons. I learned during the decaying dragon incident that the dragon tribesmen and dragon tribe don’t always coexist in harmony. Out of curiosity, I asked upon going to the moss covered plaza for the first time in the year.
“The human tribe’s hunt for flying dragons?”
“Yeah, you’re both tribes who have been living on Dragon’s Peak, so I was hoping to hear your opinion on the matter.”
“I see now. I don’t think anything about it.”
Mistral’s unexpected response is anticlimactic.
“If it was a one-sided massacre or the destruction of a nest, then there’d be cause for concern. However, if this is taking place at the hunting grounds for flying dragons, it is none of our concern.”
“The dragon tribesmen don’t care about the dragon tribe?”
“No, that’s not it. Those of the human tribe give all they have to hunt flying dragons. The dragon tribe, in turn, resists and also gets to feed on the human tribe.”
Uwaa, I pale at the image of flying dragons eating people.
“Humans become flying dragon knights if they capture the flying dragons, but there will be a lot of sacrifices. On the contrary, flying dragons, in return for the plentiful food, are used by the human tribe if caught. That is to say, both sides have something to gain and something to lose. To us, that is fair. That’s why the hunt on the hunting grounds of flying dragons is of no concern for the dragon tribesmen.”
“I see, they are facing each other fairly, so it’s accepted.”
It’s survival of the fittest for both the dragon tribesmen and the dragon tribe. Those who are weak are weeded out by someone stronger. Thus, when they face each other, if their match is done fairly, regardless of the outcome at the end, they can accept it.
I feel like I was able to understand the values of the dragon tribesmen a bit more. I’m glad.
By the way,
T/N: The strong feed on the weak. That totally sounds like something a dragon would say.