Editor: Thor’s Stone
When we arrived at the workshop, we were immediately greeted by Doha-san and Karina-san. Karina-san actually intended to pick us up soon, so it’s fortunate that we were able to meet up with her before she headed for our Home.
“Ooh! Alan-sama. We have finished making the item you ordered. We’ve just completed it this morning, actually.”
“Let me take a look.”
I proceeded to check out the newly built dragon saddle. It seems they made it exactly according to the specifications. No. Rather, they made it a point to fortify its structure more than what was specified. It was meticulously constructed and absolutely didn’t resemble anything built by amateur hands.
They attached two horse saddles to each other side by side and three pairs of these dual saddles were connected in a chain and lined up on a sizeable leather base. The leather base the saddles were attached to was sewn from multiple layers and looked quite sturdy.
The resulting item was quite heavy and had to be lifted by four grown men.
“You’ve made it wonderfully. It’s exactly as I ordered. Thank you very much, master.”
I took out three gold coins from my pocket and handed them to Doha-san.
“Thank you. So when are you planning on using it?”
“I was planning to test it out today, actually. Come with us then, master.”
“Ooh! Thank you very much!”
We loaded the custom saddle inside the wagon with the help of the craftsmen and headed for the sea of trees afterward.
When we arrived at the city gates of Gantz, we managed to catch up with the rest of the Clan members, so we all headed for the sea of trees together.
“Alan-sama, just what is that item loaded on the wagon? Don’t tell me–!?”
“That’s right. This is a custom saddle especially made for Gloria. I was thinking of trying it out today.”
Before long, we arrived at the spot where we met up with Gloria a few days back. Of course, I already informed Gloria beforehand so she’ll match our timing. It looks like she’s here already.
She landed softly before us just like last time. Iris then appeared right beside her.
“Thanks for coming over, Gloria. Sorry for calling you out so suddenly again.”
“Actually, you should pay attention to Gloria more, Captain. You only ever call her if you have business with her…… She’s been feeling a little lonely lately.”
“Is that so? I see. I thought you were busy doing dragon stuff so I held back. I’ll do better in the future.”
“Alan, what is Gloria saying?”
“It looks like she’s been feeling a bit lonely. She’s living alone within the Great Demon Forest after all.”
Well, maybe she felt excluded even after joining a new Clan because we don’t meet up with her that often. Even if it’s virtual, I’ll make sure to contact her every day from now on using AR communication.
“I see…… Then, we’ll have to make sure to meet up with Gloria more often.”
“Yeah. Let’s do that. Alright then. Let’s go right ahead and try the saddle out.”
It looks like Master Doha froze up the moment he saw Gloria. It’s apparently his first time ever seeing a dragon.
I had everyone help and brought the custom saddle down from the wagon.
“Gloria, I’m sorry, but could you lie down on all fours for me for a bit?”
After growling in assent, Gloria immediately lowered her body on all fours.
We secured the custom saddle by fastening it to the bases of Gloria’s neck with a wide and thick belt. The belt was quite long, so we were able to easily wrap it around her neck with everyone’s help and secured the saddle.
We passed one end of the belt through a metal fitting. Gloria will have to pull it in order to fix it in place.
“Gloria, can you pull on the belt and tighten it around your neck? But make sure it doesn’t make you uncomfortable, alright?”
According to Iris, Gloria should be dexterous enough to fasten the belt by herself.
After growling in reply, she dexterously pulled one end of the belt and firmly secured the custom saddle in place near the base of her neck.
“Yosh! Just keep that position for a little bit more, Gloria.”
I then quickly locked the metal fittings in place. I jumped on top of the saddle to test it out and found that it was firmly fixed in place. It looks like it works as designed.
Alrighty. Let’s go ahead and try it for real.
I jumped off the saddle and retrieved the human-sized belts I ordered as an additional accessory from the wagon. The belts were also pretty broad and were built from many layers of leather sewn together to reinforce them.
I suppose I and my party members should be the ones to conduct the first test flight.
I handed out the belts to each of my party members. Come to think of it, the saddle had six seats, so there’s one more open.
“Karina-san, do you want to ride together with us?”
“Eh!? Can I really ride on it as well!?”
It looks like Karina-san was quite happy with my proposal. She’s been a great help regarding the dismantling of the dragon corpse, so letting her ride together with us was the least I could do. I handed out the remaining belt to Karina-san.
“Alright then, everyone. Wrap the belts around your waist. You can then fix the belts on the saddle by passing them through the metal rings installed on it.”
The saddle had low backrests and grips installed on it, but it was designed to be fitted with securing belts as well so the passengers won’t fall off even if they let go of the grips.
After confirming that everyone had finished wrapping the belts on their waists, I cupped my hands into a makeshift foothold and sent them up the custom saddle one by one.
I went up the saddle last and checked if they’ve really secured their belts one by one. It looks like everyone’s belts were firmly fixed on the rings.
I then sat down on one of the seats in front and fixed my belt as well. Cleria was sitting on the seat right beside mine.
“Yosh. It’s about time. Everyone, make sure to firmly hold on to the grips in front of you. Are you all ready?”
“Yosh. Gloria, go ahead and take off.”
After replying with a growl, Gloria gradually raised her body from the ground and stood up on two legs. We, who were riding on the base of her neck, were raised almost 90 degrees from the ground. Gloria flapped her wings and gradually flew up.
“We’re flying! We’re flying, Alan!”
“Yeah, that we are.”
Gloria soon settled into a level fight position, allowing us to get a good look at the wide-open sky.
Elna and Karina-san were cheering at the back as well.
“Gloria, can you fly higher?”
Gloria replied with a ‘gau’ and started rising up.
“Whoah! This sure is a spectacular view!”
I’ve flown in the sky lots of times already, but this is the first time I did so while freely feeling the wind on my face. I’ve only ever done so in the past via riding on a re-entry pod or wearing a powered suit after all.
Gloria continued to rise up and eventually pierced through the low-lying cloud cover. The scenery up above was like a different world.
“Ah, how utterly beautiful! So this is Gloria’s world…”
“It really is beautiful. But it’s a bit cold though. It’s about time. Let’s land.”
There might be some others who wanted to try out riding on Gloria. It won’t be nice of us to monopolize her.
Gloria gradually descended and landed softly on the ground like before. She quickly lied down on the ground on all fours, and we removed the belts that were fixed on the saddle and jumped off.
“Ah, that was a wonderful trip to the sky. Thank you, Gloria!”
The flight only lasted for about five minutes, but it looks like everyone was quite satisfied regardless.
I turned back and found Karina-san shedding big droplets of tears.
“Karina-san! What’s wrong!?”
“No, it’s nothing. I was just touched by how magnificent the feeling of flying high in the sky was……”
That’s good. I completely thought she cried because she was afraid of heights. It was worth it to invite her then since she was so moved.
(Iris, did Gloria express any dissatisfaction about us riding on top of her?)
『Far from it. She was really happy to be able to fly together with everyone.』
I see. Okay then. I guess it would be fine for her to accompany us a little bit more.
“Now then, is there anyone else who wants to try flying up in the sky?”
“”Please let us ride as well!””
The rest of the Clan all raised their hands. Since everyone was raring to go, I’ll have the ones in front try it out first.
Just like before, I asked each person to put on the belts and go up the saddle. I then checked if their belts were secured in place one by one. Yosh, it looks like everything’s fine.
Gloria flew up once more. She looked even more spirited this time. She gradually rose up to the sky and disappeared from everyone’s sight.
(Iris, can you tell Gloria to come back down after three minutes?)
Even if the flight time was just two minutes per session, it takes nearly two minutes for the passengers to disembark and for another batch to board. I guess it would take about 90 minutes for everyone to ride Gloria.
The people along with Adjutant Dalshim who just returned from the sightseeing flight looked quite moved as well.
Yosh. Let’s do this.
When it came to the fifth flight session, Gloria seems to have completely gotten fired up, and she ended up taking off with a jump. She ascended almost vertically from the ground. Are they gonna be alright?
When the fifth batch came back, each of them was blue in the face and didn’t have the leeway to act all moved.
On the seventh session, she drew a big loop in the air and rolled once before rising.
On the eighth, she performed a daring tailspin maneuver.
“Uh, Alan-sama, I think I’ll refrain from trying it out after all.”
After seeing Gloria’s increasingly crazy stunts, Walter, whose face was a nice shade of blue, said that to me.
“Are you sure? You might not be able to experience something like this again you know? And it looks like Gloria’s getting pretty motivated too. It’s a good opportunity, so go ahead and try riding her. ……But it might be better to ride her earlier.”
After hearing that, the rest of the Clan members who haven’t ridden Gloria yet engaged in a fierce battle to decide their turns.
It looks like Walter’s group won out in the end and became the ninth group to fly. He boarded with a joyful look on his face.
However, the ninth flight session was the craziest one so far. After drawing a big loop, she performed a diving tailspin and plunged downward. She then pulled up right before she hit the ground and flew up once more.
Man. I’m really glad we got to ride her first.
Gloria seems to be flying while trying not to burden her passengers with too much gravitational force, but with her current flight equipment, I’m still feeling a bit uneasy.
If she keeps performing those kinds of flight maneuvers, some of the members might really pass out in midair. Well, it seems they were all screaming their lungs out up there anyway, so I guess it’s still fine, but……
It looks like Gloria misunderstood their desperate screams as cheers. She was really trying hard to please them.
(Iris, tell Gloria to fly a little more calmly.)
The subsequent flight sessions were carried out without a hitch, and most of them seemed really satisfied with the experience.
By the way, it looks like Master Doha was so overwhelmed by Gloria’s presence that he was unable to recover from his stupor the entire time. He ended up being the only one who wasn’t able to ride Gloria this time.
I had Gloria help out once more and got the custom saddle off of her. We then loaded it back on the wagon. Man. It’s a shame that the first item Gloria received from us was a saddle she would rarely get to use.
In place of it, I gave her a leather bracelet with a communication device attached to it. I had her wear it straight away. I secured it tightly so it wouldn’t fall off, but Gloria didn’t seem to mind.
“Alan, what’s that?”
“Oh, this? Of course, it’s a bracelet with our Shining Star’s emblem on it. It’s only natural that she receives one, right?”
I had our Clan emblem placed on the bracelet in addition to the comm device.
“Yes, of course. It’s only natural,” Cleria answered while smiling happily.
It’s finally time for us to part with Gloria once more. However, Gloria looked quite satisfied when she was able to fly with everyone.
I promised Gloria we’ll meet again soon and bid her goodbye.
I sent Doha-san and Karina-san back along the way with our wagon. We dropped Doha-san off in front of his workshop and dropped Karina-san off in front of the Commerce Guild building.
“Alan-sama, I will never forget today’s experience for as long as I live. ……Truly, thank you very much.”
“Don’t mention it. It’s because you’ve always been taking care of us, Karina-san. Let’s go flying again once there’s another opportunity.”
Karina-san reluctantly went back to the guild.
“Alan, don’t you think you’re getting a little bit too close with Karina-san? Please be more mindful of your standing.”
Elna, who was sitting next to me on the wagon’s driver seat, suddenly said such a thing.
“Too close? Karina-san isn’t directly related to us in the end so I was trying not to sound too overly familiar though? I’m trying to avoid acting rudely toward her as well.”
Elna let out a big sigh in reply. She’s been doing that a lot lately.
I kinda felt the others inside the carriage also sighed as well. Or was it just me?