"Hey, did you hear? Ryuu-sama is going to be playing today!"
"Seriously! Let's go get seats!"
It was the name on every player's mind, those that took the game seriously anyway.
Ryuu, the masked dragon master who could turn a weak dragon into a ferocious, unbeatable beast. It could be a common Hydra or a weak little dragon, it didn't matter.
If Ryuu got their hands on it, then by the end of a month the dragon would shoot up several levels and be better than every other player in the game.
No one knew what their original dragon was, only that it went by the name "Sora".
Ryuu's most famous catchphrase was "You can be the smallest one around... but if you're willing to put in the effort then the Sky is never the limit to what you can do!"
Only Ryuu had earned the right to be called "Dragon Master".
The thing was... no one knew exactly what Ryuu looked like, or even if that was their name. They didn't even know if it was a boy or a girl.
"It's Ryuu-sama!" squealed the girls.
The crowd began to chant the same name, over and over.
The deceptively small figure turned to the crowd, dragon mask firmly in place, before giving a polite, but not condescending bow to the audience. Then they entered their designated chair.
Unlike the other strong players, who belittled or mocked the weaker ones, Ryuu was quiet but polite. In fact they often went out of their way to protect the weaker players until they gained some experience from the stronger, more snide ones.
Ryuu wasn't a fighter. They didn't take joy out of beating up the other dragons.
It was more accurate to call Ryuu a protecting dragon, one who nurture the gifts of others while maintaining their own quiet strength. A pillar that could shelter all who needed it.
As soon as they entered D-Break, Ryuu took to the sky and hovered a bit. The dragon they were on was a mysterious one, but they were perfectly comfortable there.
In the audience, everyone immediately began to look to see what sort of dragon it was.
"Oh my gods! That's Sora! Ryuu-sama's personal dragon!" squealed one of the girls.
"Dear gods, look at those insane stats! No wonder Ryuu-sama never brings it out during regular matches! He'd wipe the floor with everyone in one blast!" said another.
Cell phones went off every time Ryuu and Sora came on the screen. For the most part they didn't really interact with the other dragons...until one got too uppity and tried to make a pot shot at a very young player with a new dragon.
A single blast took that idiot out of the game, and Ryuu went to calm the young boy down. Once they were no longer upset, Ryuu went back to the skies until the game ended.
They had no need for experience points. This was more of a way to shake off the boredom with Sora.
Ryuu bowed politely again to the audience, before performing their usual vanishing act into the crowd.
The owner of the dragon mask opened up the door to the still empty house.
The second the door closed, the mask was removed...revealing a girl about sixteen or seventeen with tired features. She signed with relief...it was always so nervewracking to go to D-Break as "Ryuu-sama" these days. Everyone wanted her autograph or know who was behind the mask! Even Agent L was curious, since Ryuu suddenly appeared one day out of the blue with such "amazing dragons".
No one would expect the great Dragon Master...to be a bullied teenager who originally had one of the weakest dragons.
"Ah! Almost forgot! Come out, Sora-chan!"
She took out a special box and pushed some of her resolve into it. A bright light flared from deep within, before revealing...a tiny white dragon with very small wings?
The dragon yawned, before spotting her master. It tackled the rather small teenager to the floor.
"Cut that out, Sora-chan! You know I still have to make dinner!"
It was almost impossible to believe that the great Ryuu and Sora were actually a very lonely girl and a positively tiny dragon.
Kiseki Sawada hated her life before Dragon Drive.
She had zero friends, she was always bullied, and to top it all off her imbecile father dragged her mother on a year-long cruise around the world without any warning, leaving her alone in the house.
It hadn't taken long for news of that to spread, or for the bullying to get even more vicious and cruel.
Her life had become a living hell. The only reason she wasn't completely terrified of going to school was because of the fact that everyone believed her to be a boy by the name of Tsunayoshi and due to the fact that Hibari-san ran a tight ship.
He barely tolerated the fact that one of the most bullied female herbivores was hiding herself as a boy. And that was only because she made him lunch every day.
Kiseki looked at the photo and was happy that Sora took it upon herself to remind her master that she wasn't all alone in the house.
She had never been alone since the day she finally earned enough points to pay for a special item that allowed the player to store dragons in the D-Break and then manifest them physically in the real world once they left.
It was a one-of-a-kind item that only those who religiously stored up their points to get, and there were all sorts of conditions required for the player to be able to use it.
For once in her horrible life, she managed to meet the "requirements" in order to be able to actually use the box that brought dragons to the real world. Even if it had meant sacrificing all those experience points that could have made Sora a powerhouse that much sooner, it was completely worth it. Because for the first time she had a friend who wouldn't leave her behind.
Sure, it could only store the one dragon, but compared to others who managed to fit the requirements Sora was relatively low maintenance and was easy to disguise as a doll if she forgot to put her back.
Kiseki loved the fact her dragon was the very definition of cuddle-sized.
She crashed on her bed and got ready for yet another night of being alone save for her little dragon.
"You still haven't located that civilian yet?!" shouted a tiny man with vibrant green hair and eyes on top of an alligator who hissed at the underlings. He wore a bright green pacifier around his neck and looked very much like a toddler.
Only an idiot would treat him like one.
"Master Verde, it's impossible! Our records indicate that this Drago regularly keeps their dragon out, but we have found no reports of a dragon appearing in civilian areas! Let alone what nation they are from! No one has any idea who this Drago is, much less what they really look like!" said the underling fearfully.
Verde (the green-haired toddler-sized man) snarled.
He had the Vindice breathing down his neck trying to find out where the leaked D-Box went since his idiot minions handed one out to a mere civilian. On top of that the fools who managed the 'game' were pissed as hell that some mere slip of a teenager had managed to get their hands on one of the rare boxes but had no familigia or apparent ties to Cosa Nostra to pay for it!
Those boxes were beyond expensive for a reason. How a civilian managed to manifest Flames strong enough to use the box and still avoid being found by the underworld was baffling.
Someone with those Flames should have been noticed by now!
Unfortunately there was no way to track the box. They were designed that way so no one would realize who had them, though it usually became very obvious the second the massive dragons showed up and started wreaking havoc with their master.
A lot of "conditions" were placed on those boxes before they were handed out, set down by the Vindice.
The big one was that you couldn't just go off and show your dragon without precautions. The less who knew about them, the better. And if you were busted with it out in civilian areas then the box was confiscated without question and your ass was thrown straight into the deepest areas of Vindicare.
That generally convinced the idiot hot heads who earned one to keep a low-profile.
The thing was...those boxes were supposed to be limited to people who had mafia connections only.
How the hell was he supposed to expect a civilian who managed to fit the requirements and save up the ridiculous number of points needed to 'pay' for one?!
"Someone go and get me a list of all the idiots who still fit the requirements for a D-Box, but haven't earned one yet! We're going to flush this damn civilian out even if I have to kill them for it!" snarled Verde.
A few days later...
"So let me get this straight. A civilian managed to get their hands on one of coveted D-Box weapons and you still haven't retrieved it yet?" said the Storm. He was one of fifty idiots chosen to flush out the infamous Dragon Master.
"You don't need to know the details of what the requirements are or how this could have happened. All you need to do is flush out this 'dragon master' so we can get the box back. Do it and you'll earn the right to get one of your own and possibly a place among a familigia," he said annoyed. "I'm sending you all to different locations with a basic photo of what this civilian looks like. I expect results."
"Whatever. Dealing with a civilian shouldn't be that hard," scoffed the Storm.
"Since you understand Japanese, I'm setting your program to drop you in the training grounds of area eleven. I've heard rumors that Japan has a dragon master who can control any beast. Find out if it has any connection to Drago," said Verde.
A/N: Yes, I did just deliberately make a Code Geass reference there. XD
Hayato Gokudera was a useless, hotheaded Storm. Though even a pawn could be used to flush out a king like Drago. And Verde wasn't above using pawns to do most of the leg work.
Hayato looked around with a pissed off gaze.
"Stupid Arcobaleno. Just because he screwed up I have to be in this dumb game even longer!"
Let it be said that Hayato was not a fan of Dragon Drive. His dragon Uri was a complete pain in the ass, rarely listened to him and was more likely to throw him off then let him ride.
Except... this game was the only place he was safe from his father and half-sister. Bianchi couldn't poison him so long as he was inside, earning points and experience. His father would happily leave him in the machine for hours, even days on end since it meant he didn't have to look at his son.
In short D-Break was the only viable escape he had from his life, no matter how much Uri pissed him off.
Hayato looked down and saw a girl with caramel colored hair riding a dragon...with a smaller one sitting next to her with rather pathetic wings. It wasn't unheard of to see someone controlling two or more dragons, but it wasn't seen often either.
And he knew from the limited information they had that Drago could control multiple dragons, though his primary was called "Ciel".
Well, who better to ask than a local about Drago?
"Hey you! Girlie!" shouted Hayato in accented Japanese.
The girl turned, revealing startled amber-eyes. She looked positively freaked out he had seen her.
The fact she had her dragon bolt the second he called out pissed him off.
"Go after her Uri! Don't let her escape!"
Needless to say he was quite startled when his dragon actually listened to him for once.
Uri flew faster than Hayato could remember him going, before forcibly planting himself before the girl.
"Hie! What do you want?" she said startled.
Hayato couldn't help it, but the first impression he had of this girl was a frightened bunny. He mentally shook that off, but it stuck.
"Look, do you know any dragon masters around here by the name Drago?"
"I'm looking for a dragon master named Drago, or at least his dragon Ciel. Do you know where I could find them?"
She stared at him.
"The only dragon master in Japan is Ryuu and his primary partner Sora. I've never even heard of Drago or Ciel," she replied.
Hayato was irritated.
"Well where can I find this Ryuu?"
"Ryuu-sama makes sporadic appearances in the D-Zone, though they tend to show up when the rookie players show up during the summer. They're more of a protector than a fighter though. It's rare for them to get involved in the actual fighting unless it's to end one."
"You said they. Is it a team then?" asked Hayato.
She shook her head.
"No one knows what gender Ryuu-sama is, so general consensus is to use gender neutral titles. But they don't seem to care if you refer to them as a boy. He also rarely uses his primary dragon in a fight."
"Can this Ryuu-sama control a lot of dragons?"
"It's said that Ryuu-sama takes the dragon cards of those who don't want to play anymore, or who want to try for a 'better' dragon and turns them into powerhouses. They are well known for declaring that the Sky can be more than just the limit if someone puts in the effort to surpass it."
Hayato nodded grudgingly...and wondered if this Ryuu-sama could tell him how to get his damn dragon to actually LISTEN to him more often. He was being unusually calm today.
"Thanks," said Hayato. "What's your name?"
"Kiseki. This is Kakashi and Sora-chan," said the girl, holding up what looked like a baby dragon.
"Named after Ryuu's dragon then?"
"Well, Chibisuke sounded too much like a boy's name and Sora-chan is a girl," she replied sheepishly. "Ah. What's your name?"
"Gokudera Hayato. This pain in my ass is Uri."
"Nice to meet you, Gokudera-san, Uri," she said cheerfully.
"Whoa! What are you doing, you stupid dragon?!" yelped Hayato when Uri went to properly greet Kiseki. She giggled when he licked her face. And he was positively purring when she scratched his horns. The leopard-like dragon never purred around Hayato.
"Sorry about that. I have a weird effect around dragons. They seem to treat me like I'm some human-shaped catnip to them or something."
"Wish I knew how you did it. He never listens to me," said Hayato grumpily.
She tilted her head.
"But he does listen. You're the one who has trouble paying attention to what he's saying," she said without thinking.
He didn't care if he sounded pissed or dangerous, he was ticked she dared to say something like that.
"Your pride gets in the way. Maybe if you quit treating your dragon like an extension of whatever it is you're running from, he'd listen to you more," she said without flinching at the tone. "And if you really hated him so much, you would have gotten rid of his card. He's still worried you might eventually give up on him like you've given up on your own situation."
Hayato stared at her.
She winced at the comment.
"I've been called worse. Much worse," she admitted.
Hayato was curious why that statement made him want to rip whoever had made a 'worse' comment to the little dragon tamer into tiny shreds before sending Uri after them. It wasn't like he knew the girl, who was so obviously a civilian it wasn't even funny.