Lyrical Monasterio Academy Dance Studio / First Period
Classmates. They can be our greatest rivals, and our greatest companions.
That much is certain.
As moved as I am by the sight before me, I feel a sense of despair wash over me. It’s impossible… I… There’s no way I can do it. Not yet.
“Are you crying? I guess having dance first period is pretty tough. I’m not really a morning person either,” Louche says in an attempt to console me.
“It’s not that. I’m just… in awe! I don’t want to miss a moment, so don’t get in the way,” I chide.
Of course, as we’re both elves this conversation has been little more than a whisper. Especially since we’re in the middle of class.
What I’m so transfixed by is the vampire Feltyrosa, the angel Alestiel, the Warbeast Loronerol, the human Wilista, and the Dragoroid Clarissa all dancing beautifully. It’s a bewildering confluence of races from all over the world. This school is filled with the very best.
If I were to tell my friends back home what went on here, they’d never believe me. Actually, my mother did write in her last letter to me, “Don’t you ever have anything bad to say about that place?” Doesn’t she realize that I always tell her the truth?
“Okay, that’s enough.”
The dance teacher brings their performance to an end. Ms. Keirak, a demon, was once one of the most famous dancers in the Dark States and is now the level that we all aspire to reach through her lessons.
“Not bad, everyone. Now, class, you would do well to learn from them. Especially Clarissa.”
“Such excellent expression, down to the flick of your tail. You’ve really learned how to use your whole body while dancing. Keep up the good work.”
As Clarissa replies we all break into applause. There are even cheers of “Good luck!”
It’s easy to become jealous of people with more talent than yourself, but Clarissa is just so far above any of us we can’t help but be enamored. She’s our shining star.
“Clarissa really is perfect.” I can’t help but say it.
“And she’s so nice, too. Life really isn’t fair, sometimes,” Louche responds.
As Clarissa grabs a towel from Evelyn, another Dragoroid in our class, and wipes her face with a smile, I can’t help but get lost in her beauty.
Snow had been falling all morning, but now that the sun is out it’s actually quite warm. Adjusting to the extremely changing weather here in Lyrical Monasterio, a city built on a flying whale’s back, is something we all have to go through when we move here.
“Look at all those hangers-on.”
“Did you know? I heard them refer to Clarissa as ‘Princess’ before.”
I get what Louche is trying to say.
You would never see Clarissa without one of her entourage, whether it’s the strong Katalyn, the weak Leona, the excitable Trilby, or the quiet Evelyn… It’s almost like they were her bodyguards. They remind me of the secret service who would protect the leader of the coastal elves back home. I have no idea why they should be so devoted to her though.
“I also heard a rumor that Clarissa is putting together a Dragoroid unit.”
“You always get the latest intel, Louche. How do you have time for anything else? So, are they nearly ready for their debut?”
“Not yet. By the way, prior to coming here had you ever heard of the Dragoroids?”
“I… don’t think so.”
“There are some pretty scary rumors about them. For example…”
“Next! Selma, Baruel, Louche, Hilda,” Ms. Keirak interrupts.
We all scramble to get up to the front.
Lyrical Monasterio Academy, in front of the main building / Lunch Break
Still reeling from the shock of the first period–I completely messed up my dance–I decide to avoid the cafeteria where the sociable Warbeasts and Louche would eat and instead take a lunch box back to the dormitory.
I just manage to avoid “the Vampire Feltyrosa and the 11 ghosts” (they’re all good people, but they tend to be quite chatty, and I want to eat…), and make it as far as some bushes a little distance from the main building when I hear a voice.
“Miss! Ah, I mean, princess! What good luck! How about a song?” Was that… Katalyn?”
“Phew, I can’t wait to get started! We’re gonna be the greatest!” the always energetic Trilby replies.
“You won’t leave me behind, will you?” the needy Leona pleads.
“Of course not. If we get an offer, it’ll be for all of us. Right, Evelyn?” asks Clarissa.
“Of course. We’ll follow you to the ends of the earth, princess. We shall call our unit ‘Earnescorrect,” Evelyn responds.
The four girls all react.
“What a great name!”
“I like it.”
“Earnescorrect… So that’s going to be our name,” Clarissa says.
“Yes. And the stage shall be our new battleground where we Dragoroids will face the heroes!” adds Trilby.
“Earnescorrect… Hero? …Dragoroid …New battleground?”
What are they talking about? They’ve piqued my interest. Just as I wonder this to myself…
“What was that!?”
Hearing Katalyn and Trilby’s cries I instinctively get up out of my hiding place, and then the whole world goes black.
Lyrical Monasterio Academy Recording Studio (recording booth and editing suite) / After School
I sit there alone listening to Clarissa who’s in the recording booth.
The academy rents the recording studio out to anyone who needs it, and Earnescorrect, who are almost never seen apart, are all here. Even if it’s a tight squeeze in the booth with all four of them in there.
Clarissa has a cute outfit on, rather than her school uniform. In fact, she looks ready to be photographed for the front cover of a single. Her cute outfit, her beautiful voice… Ah, I’m getting distracted again. I guess I’m a little jealous.
Once they had finished singing I stopped the recording and sat in awe.
“Huh? What? …Oh, yes, right!”
Clarissa gestures from inside the booth suggesting that she can’t hear me. I rush to press the talk back button.
I hear Clarissa’s enchanting laugh.
“Only the Dragoroids call me that, and I’d rather they wouldn’t do it. Just my name is fine.”
“Oh. All right, Clarissa.”
“Thanks for coming here with us. How was our first take?”
Wait, that was their first take!? It was pitch perfect! As the only member of the audience here I put myself on mute and cheer as loud as I can. I wouldn’t want to blow out their ear drums, after all.
Clarissa looks at me quizzically through the soundproof glass. I calm myself and open the channel again.
“It was incredible!”
It was as delicate as a crystal-clear mountain stream, and yet had real depth. At its core there was strength and passion that could only come from a dragon. That didn’t even do it justice, but I don’t have enough words to fully express my feelings about it.
“Thank you. I’d like to dedicate the song to you, as an apology for earlier.”
I’m so happy I could die. Such elegance, such confidence. Now I know why they call her princess. It’d be a joke for anyone else in our class to dedicate a song to someone.
Clarissa’s voice takes me out of my reverie.
“I see, okay. I don’t want my voice to be used to hurt anyone else.” She picks up the sheet music.
What did she mean? Now it’s my turn to look quizzically at her. There are rumors of “dragon’s fire,” a terrifying ability that could destroy buildings and obliterate enemy forces, but that can’t be it. I can’t imagine her heavenly voice hurting anyone.
“Katalyn and Trilby told me everything that happened. They mistook you for a spy trying to steal information. I’m really sorry.”
I wave my hand emphatically.
“Really, don’t worry about it.”
“But I do. That kind of thing may reflect badly on us Dragoroids. As the leader of Earnescorrect I want to educate the world about our kind. That means we can’t make such careless mistakes. We need to direct our energy into our dancing, stage-craft, and achieving world peace!”
As Clarissa gets passionate about her cause, her demeanor switches from the usual elegant princess into that of any normal girl giving it her all.
“It’s fine. After all, that’s why you’re pushing to debut as a group, right? Everyone will understand once they hear your voice. Like I did just now.”
“Right. I certainly hope so.”
As Louche mentioned earlier, most people have only heard of Dragoroids as the elite warriors of the Dragon Empire, loyal to the last. But now their reputation as an outstanding group of students attending Lyrical Monasterio Academy is also spreading. Though their assumptions about spying might suggest they haven’t completely given up their old ways…
“Anyway, we coastal elves are famed for not taking things like that too seriously. Don’t sweat it!”
I say as lightly as I can, despite still feeling a little hurt.
A hurt that’s the only evidence of Katalyn’s incredible intuition and Trilby’s brilliant capturing ability which allows them to safely disorient and disable their opponents. It’s worth mentioning that I do have some experience with martial arts. At the time I was about 5m away from the Dragoroids. Such speed, such skill, such power to cross that distance and attack in an instant… The Dragoroids are no joke.
“I will sweat it, Hilda. The photos you took earlier were so good, and you were amazing at recording our song. Those are valuable skills.”
I start blushing and giggling. The picture I took of the five Earnescorrect members after they had realized their mistake and tried making amends had come out quite well. Lyrical Monasterio teaches these kinds of skills too, not just singing and dancing. I’m pretty adept with my hands, so I like to help out my friends by recording their performances or taking pictures for them.
“Peace is a fragile thing. I’m glad we’ve been able to patch things up,” Clarissa says through the thick glass.
“Right. Peace is something all Lyrical Monasterio students should strive for,” I agree.
“No matter your race or upbringing. We’re trusted friends now, Hilda.”
I nod with a smile. Hmm? Trusted friends?
“In the Dragon Empire we have a saying that ‘you have three friends.’ The first is a dragon friend with whom you share blood and secrets. The second, a battle friend with whom you gladly entrust your life to. And the third is the trusted friend. A friend you trust to always speak their mind.”
“That’s beautiful, Clarissa,” I say.
“Thank you. I think that’s enough singing for now. Let’s talk some more. I want to hear more about Astesice.”
Of course, I’d be happy to talk about anything. Becoming friends with the top idol group Astesice has made me something of a celebrity.
Blushing, I put down the headphones, and then open the heavy door to the booth for the Dragoroid prince–no, for my trusted friend.
Lyrical Monasterio Girls’ Dormitory / Lights Out
Clarissa jumps on her neatly made bed, seemingly more excited than usual.
“I made a new friend.”
“Hilda. She’s a classmate, right? She seems like a good egg,” says her roommate Evelyn.
“I’ve already made her a trusted friend,” Clarissa, now in her pajamas, replies.
“I’m glad we came here to this whale. To Lyrical Monasterio.”
Clarissa smiles and brings her blanket up to her chin. She looks over at Evelyn with her bright golden eyes.
“But are you okay with this, Evelyn? Swapping out your sword for sheet music? Your martial arts for dance steps?”
“I promised to follow you to the end of my days, princess.”
“I still like to ask sometimes, Evelyn. That’s what dragon friends are for.”
It’s not an order. Evelyn averts her gaze and walks over to the window to look at the snowfall outside. Was she really from the Dragon Empire?
“Facing off against an enemy with a sword, and spreading peace through song and dance are complete opposites.”
She sees the photo of the five Earnescorrect members that Hilda had taken on the windowsill. Everyone other than Evelyn is smiling in it.
“In a way both are fierce battles. How to proceed in this life… We have everything we need. We have you, our friends, so many opportunities and trials. That is what it means to be Earnescorrect… That’s why I’m happy to be here.”
“You can be hard to understand sometimes.”
“You were the one who wanted to know what I thought.”
Evelyn approaches her master.
“You must be tired. Let’s continue this tomorrow.”
“Yes. Good night, Evelyn.”
Clarissa wraps herself in her blanket and turns away from Evelyn. Her dragon tail makes a sound as it rubs against the ground.
“Everyone in Earnescorrect are dragon friends.”
“We are loyal to you, princess.”
“My dear friends. I’m no warrior or soldier, so don’t put me in charge.”
The room goes dark.
“…You’re my roommate, Evelyn.”
“I’m only here because of the luck of the draw. Everyone’s so envious. They want to switch with me.”
Clarissa starts laughing.
“Did you know? Lyrical Monasterio roommates often become fast friends for life.”
She begins to hear her master’s breathing slow down as she falls asleep.
“Good night, Clarissa, my hero.”
For now, at least, we are at peace.
As she always does at the end of the day Evelyn thought about the life she has chosen, one of servitude under her master.
<<Notes about Terminology>>
Lyrical Monasterio Dormitories
The famed Lyrical Monasterio Academy built on a giant flying white whale’s back is an all-girls institution and all students must stay in the dormitories.
All dorm rooms are double occupancy, whether you’re a freshman or an active pop idol.
However, concessions are made for the specific requirements of particular races, like certain equipment requirements, room size, and number of occupants (useful for smaller races like fairies).
Rooms are allocated randomly at the start of the year, though changes during the academic year are possible.
Lyrical Monasterio and Debut Performances
If a student from Lyrical Monasterio is deemed to have sufficient ability to bring the gift of song and peace to the world, then they can start working as an idol prior to graduating. That’s how some students become global superstars shortly after graduating, and there are even some mermaids who have delighted fans for over 500 years.
The academy provides a high-quality education, the city provides support through management facilities, and the student body itself provides a lot of support, so there’s a great deal of symbiosis between the city of Lyrical Monasterio and the students who live there.
Vampire Feltyrosa and the 11 Ghosts
A vampire and ghosts who don’t need to eat and who gather outside the main school building during lunch. They have become a real feature of the lunch break at Lyrical Monasterio.
The vampire Feltyrosa is always in the center of the group, and she surrounds herself with ghosts. The ghosts confirmed to be there before includes Ingrid, Florenzia, Anneliese, Eleonore, Heilwig, Marleen, Kriemhild, Ernesta, Helmina, Hannelore, and Angelma.
The number of ghosts that appear changes from day to day, and no one knows why.
Supervising Editor: 中村聡