“During an age when Ryukoku was much poorer than it is now, the country fought not only against the Moon Beasts, but also Makoku…”
Ark talked as if he was remembering it himself.
“Uh, how long ago are we talking about?”
“Hundreds of years ago.”
He wasn’t even born yet. He needed to stop being misleading.
“War costs money. Ryukoku’s military spending was enormous and the country was on the edge of bankruptcy. Even people from the palace who enjoyed living in luxury, started to feel worried. And so they started drafting Dragon Masters.”
Apparently, the management of dragons and Dragon Masters back then was quite careless, and there wasn’t even a Dragon Academy.
Only about half of Dragon Masters joined the military. Most of the others roamed free.
“Drafted… Are you saying they made all of the Dragon Masters join the war?”
“Yes. A very drastic measure.”
“But Dragon Masters are just people who happened to be chosen by a dragon. One could be a gentle little girl who wouldn’t hurt a fly…”
“Of course, there was resistance. In many cases, Dragon Masters were protected by their towns or villages. They often worked there as messengers.”
Dragons were much faster than horses and did not tire. That made sense.
Many Dragon Masters would prefer to be able to do peaceful work like that.
“So, what happened to the Dragon Masters who were drafted by force?”
“They fled… Of course, they did. These people hadn’t even been trained. How could they fight in a war? It was a horrible order in the first place. They were sent to kill other humans just because they had a dragon.”
“I agree. To be blunt, I would not want anything to do with someone who would order such a thing.”
“Well, that’s how desperate Ryukoku was. The treasury was empty and they didn’t have enough soldiers. As long as the war with Makoku continued, they needed money and people, or else they would lose. And what do you know, the perfect fighting force was sleeping right there. There was no way they wouldn’t take advantage of them. That’s what they likely thought.”
Many Dragon Masters who were supposed to be sent to the battlefield fled instead.
No one but Dragon Masters could be sent to chase after them.
But taking Dragon Masters away from the frontlines could result in the enemy pressing in and invading.
They were holding on somehow, but that line would be broken easily if the balance was lost.
“But they overcame the danger, didn’t they?”
After all, Ryukoku still existed. We were here.
“Indeed. However, that was just the beginning of the dark age. Yes, the beginning…”
Ark said with a knowing and ominous voice. But as we already knew, Ark wasn’t even born yet.
Dragon Masters who wanted to escape the draft went to Gikoku and Jukoku.
It is said that some of them even went to Makoku, who was the enemy. Shoukoku did not yet exist at this time.
This caused the balance of the possession of Dragon Masters to crumble.
As it was the ones who didn’t want to fight that escaped, Ryukoku’s fighting force didn’t actually shrink, and the other countries weren’t any stronger.
However, the ramifications for these defections were larger than expected.
After all, these Dragon Masters still worked as messengers or were used for transportation. Furthermore, the other countries were able to study the dragons.
How far could dragons travel? How much food did they need? Information that Ryukoku had kept secret was now out in the open.
And so Makoku started to gain an advantage in the war.
If this continued, the military and civilians would have to be united.
All citizens of Ryukoku would fight as soldiers.
Such plans started to be made.
“There are songs that remain of that time. It must have been horrible back then. …So, when the country was preparing to draft its own citizens, there was a coup in the Ryukoku Palace.”