I snuck inside the venue right before the ceremony started.
It was strange having to do that when we were the guests of honor.
And so while I had conflicting feelings about that, it could not be helped, as I didn’t want the hunters to see me entering the auditorium.
As for the ceremony itself, there seemed to be a lot of important people attending.
There were only about 30 students, and yet over 200 people were here with us.
I looked over to the guests. Most of them were in the prime of life. And many wore military uniforms.
“The military seems to be represented the most. Then it’s veteran Dragon Masters. I guess people over there are instructors. There are probably a lot of people from the castle as well, but it was hard to tell without any uniform.”
Some people had medals on their chest and others were surrounded by guards.
Was it like this every year? I wondered.
Us First-Years were standing in a single row and looking towards the stage.
We weren’t separated by gender, but organized by height.
What was surprising to me, was that Princess Saranu was giving the congratulatory address as a representative for Her Majesty.
So the royal family really did attend.
“She should be two years older than me.”
I always remembered that the princess was a year younger than my sister, which meant she was 18 now.
Her eyes were a little droopy, and she looked nothing like the queen, who had large and expressive eyes.
They said that the prince was the one who took after his mother. So perhaps Princess Saranu was more like her father, the King Consort.
“Now that I think of it, hardly anyone talked about Her Majesty’s husband.”
It was as if the people of Ryukoku were not interested.
And that was not likely to ever change, as long as the queen continued to have such a unique and strong personality.
“I don’t even remember his name. But I think he was from the north.”
He was a very distant relative of the Royal Family, and all but disappeared from public life after the wedding.
It was said that as his work involved the managing of confidential documents, he wasn’t allowed to contact other nobles and members of the Royal Family like before.
Of course, a King Consort would always have Shadows with him. So I didn’t know if they needed to be that careful about information being leaked. But I suppose he knew what he was getting into.
The princess finished her address. As for what it contained…I hadn’t been listening at all.
Still, she had stood there with pride and grace, much like her mother would have done.
Well, I definitely got a feeling she was putting on a face for the public. But she did not look phased at all, even with so many people looking in her direction.
So she had nerve.
Life at the Dragon Academy would continue for 2 years. And from today, we were First-Years.
There were 17 boys and 10 girls. So there were more male students, which was often the case.
It was here that I was finally able to see the faces of the other students. Everyone seemed to be a different age.
Some were younger than me and others were nearly 20.
My roommate, Ark, was 17. And more than a few were clearly older than him.
In any case, I could see that it was true that the Dragon Mark appeared on people between the age of 10 and 20.
Then I looked towards the instructors, who were lined up to the right and facing the stage.
Most of them were young men with very determined expressions. Of course, by young, I mean in their mid-twenties.
There were also some who were much older, but the overall impression was that they were mostly young.
I had assumed that education of this sort would value experience the most, but perhaps it was really physical strength and energy.
Once the address was finished, the Head Teacher began to give instructions.
I didn’t need to listen for long to know that this ceremony was going to be very boring, and so my mind began to drift elsewhere.
“Even the guests seem bored.”
I could see them fidgeting.
And there was still a lot of noise coming from outside of the auditorium.
But I couldn’t hear what they were saying. It was just like hearing noise from a busy street.
“There must be a lot of people. Judging by the voices, they are probably the female students from the drawing-room.”
After all, civilians were not allowed to enter the school grounds.
“Linda had said something about preparing refreshments.”
The tea parties would be very exciting.
Not that I would want to attend them.
As I thought about such things, they started to introduce the instructors.
That meant that we were likely half-way through the ceremony.
Surprisingly, half of them were Dragon Masters.
You would learn how to deal with actual dragons during your second year, so they had veteran Dragon Masters to teach you.
Now that I think of it, there wasn’t anyone but Dragon Masters for the job.
After all, the dragons might become wild and run away. And they would have to be brought back.
That wasn’t something anyone could do.