The pitter-patter of the rain falling outside echoed throughout my room.
It was the heavy rain pouring down that pounded the ground.
It covered the whole capital like a dust storm as it fell.
According to the Weather Forecasting Magician, it was going to be like this all day… How depressing.
I stroked the scales of the Dragon on my lap.
“How unusual it is, Brother, that you came to the Knight’s Tower.”
In my temporary room… My Brother sat relaxed.
…This really was unusual.
He always said he wouldn’t call or visit with the Dragon around.
“…Well, I just heard about all your remarkable achievements and amazing lifestyle recently.”
“…Was that sarcasm, Brother!?”
He had some resentment in his voice.
By remarkable, do you mean what happened on the Frontier? Those were exceptional circumstances. It’s not how I lived my life!
I tried to make a fierce protest against his insinuation, but my Brother’s face turned harsh as if he had drunk something bitter.
…What was up with him?
Maybe that new stomach medicine he got prescribed was really bitter?
Well, anyway, there’s a lot I wanted to say to you, Brother!
“Please listen, Brother!”
“…What is it?”
I picked up my Dragon, who had been curled up in my lap, and held him out to my Brother.
His face turned blue, and his hair stood up as I got closer.
I gripped my Dragon’s body firmly and shook him in front of my Brother.
“Hey! Look at him!”
“Don’t let it get any closer! Riaaa!”
I pressed the Dragon against his cheek, making him turn even bluer as he shrieked.
He squirmed, but with the chair to his back and the Dragon to his front… There was nowhere to move.
…Even with me handling him roughly, my Dragon was entirely unphased.
“Even when I do this, he doesn’t wake up…”
“I get it! Enough! Just take him away now!”
Huh? Take him away? But his scales were so calm, smooth, and pleasant to touch?
…It was just a joke.
Don’t make a face like you’ve been forced into a desperate situation, Brother.
As I moved the Dragon from his lap back to mine, my Brother made an overly relieved expression.
Trying to compose himself, he cleared his throat and adjusted his posture.
“It’s about the Dragon. He always took a lot of naps, but these days he’s awake less and less… Solan-kun did a lot of research for me, but we couldn’t find anything…”
I remembered Solan-kun’s concerned face.
He even told me to ask Sara-chan and Irene-sama later… Those three really have done a lot for me.
The Chief Magician and Head Priest, on the other hand, have just been onlookers. I had said that the Chief Magician should help us figure out what’s going on, but apparently, he’ll only help from far away. Same with the Head Priest.
I just don’t understand it!
Wouldn’t it make more sense to do a medical examination up close!?
How was it that he had Dragon Mania but still couldn’t get used to being around one?
…Anyways, neither the Head Priest nor the Chief Magician knew why my Dragon was in a death-like sleep… There’s no one left in the country we could ask.
“If the Dragon was sick or something, then we don’t know how to cure him… Maybe the Heavenly Dragon would know…”
My Brother cut me off, a serious expression on his face.
Huh..? What is it?
He spoke directly, an accusatory tone in his voice.
“What’s gotten into you?”
…What did he mean by that?
I didn’t get what he said? What were you talking about, Brother?
All I am was confused. I couldn’t think of anything in particular, so that’s all I could have said.
“What… Nothing’s wrong with me?”
“I mean… If I came with you…”
My Brother sighed and looked at me like he was dealing with a slow child.
I really don’t get what he means!?
He kept staring at me like I’ve done something wrong!?
“How many years do you think I’ve been your Brother?”
He unfolded his arms and started rubbing his temples.
And then, he began speaking again, gently.
“I feel like you exude an aura of failure.”
“What do you mean by that!?”
I took my Dragon off my lap, placed him on the desk, and pushed him towards my Brother.
“I don’t have an aura like that! And if I did, it’s a thin one, but I don’t! I’ve never had such an aura!”
I grabbed my Brother by the collar. He tapped my arm as if in surrender.
Brother, are you giving up already?
“I asked Manya, and she said you’d had deeper periods of sleep recently.”
“…Huh? That’s normal, wasn’t it?”
“It seemed to have gotten to the point where she tried dumping water on you once, and you still didn’t wake up.”
I felt a chill at my Brother’s serious face as he spoke.
…Was I having the same issues as my Dragon?
I felt the blood drain from my cheeks, but my Brother just patted my head.
I looked up to see him looking at me with an expression of pity.
“I worry about you more than the Dragon.”
What’s with all of this? He’s so worried about me!
He really was a good Brother!
“Tha… Thank you, Brother! The next time I call Phantom Brother, I’ll be more…”
“Wait a minute.”
What? Brother, I was in the middle of trying to thank you.
“What do you mean by Phantom Brother?”
“Huh? Sometimes when I call you, you appear kind of shadowy, so I just call you Phantom Brother.”
“What do you mean!?”
“Well, whenever I asked for something… You always come out of nowhere…”
“I come out!?”
“Yes, whenever I’m in a crisis or something.”
“A crisis! You had times like that!?”
My Brother seemed concerned as he yelled.
And then I raised my head as if I had realized something… He was going to be annoying about this.
“…Now that you mention it, I have been getting tired more easily recently… Hey! Why are you looking at me like that!?”
“It’s just your imagination… Just your imagination, Brother.”
Yeah, that’s right, just his imagination… It had nothing to do with me.
“So, when the Kingdom was in crisis, and you needed a hero, you called for me?”
“Ah, no, I didn’t call for you back then.”
“Just forget it, I’m begging you, just drop it!”
I kept saying that, but I would still call for you whenever I feel like it.
“Hey! Were you listening at all, Ria!?”
I stroked my Dragon as I listened to my Brother’s voice.
…Now that I think about it, I have been getting tired quickly ever since returning from that trip.
In retrospect, even having this conversation had made me sleepy. I really want to sit down…
I felt just as sleepy as this Dragon…
Something had pounded against the glass.
It must have hit pretty hard for the glass to reverberate like that… The forecast did say there would be a storm tonight.
Looking out the window, rain fell torrentially like a waterfall, obscuring the view.
I have the same sickness as my Dragon?
Hearing my Brother’s soft voice like a lullaby and feeling the weight of the Dragon on my lap, I closed my eyes.