Madan no Ou to Vanadis:Volume 01 Chapter2 - MTL
|This text is a machine translation (MTL).
Be warned that the degree of translation error may be higher than usual.
This page was created before the updated (July 19, 2015) MTL guidelines and has not been reviewed.
Chapter 2 - Leitmeritz
He was having a bad dream.
Our forces were gathered on a small hill.
It was meal time. The soldiers put a pot that was as deep as a barrel on a mound, which had been turned into a stove. They were preparing a fish stew.
There was a slight ridge before the Dinant Plains, which plateaued with no end in sight.
There were twenty thousand Brune soldiers sharing a meal with his own troops. Thousands of streams of heat floated upward, and the soldiers seemed as though they were imprisoned in the steam.
Tigre and Mashas were talking while stirring the food in the pot when a few young men appeared in front of their eyes with the colliding sound of their armor.
“So you came as well, Vorn.”
The man who said that with an openly mocking tone was Zion Thenardier.
The Thenardier house held the title of Duke. It was a long and distinguished family incomparable to the Vorn household. It had many aristocrats who held enormous power, and the territory it owned was wide. It was said that the number of soldiers mobilized by their household could reach ten thousand. Even in this war, which had been organized in a haste, they commanded a force four thousand strong. Zion was the Thenardier family's eldest son and heir. He was currently 17 years old. Though he wore decorated armor and bore a splendid sword at his waist in an imposing manner worthy of his lineage, he always had an expression as though he was looking down on others. At his back was an entourage of young men flattering him. Like Zion, they were aristocrats born into families holding the rank of marquis or duke. They wore glittering armor with their respective household's crest. They looked at Tigre with a grimace, and did not seem to harbor any good intentions.
Tigre could not simply ignore them, and felt obliged to show a minimal courtesy.
“... I am here to serve as His Majesty's loyal subject, so I came here as quickly as possible.”
“Though it's quite admirable to say that, I'm not sure how helpful you'll be.”
After Zion ridiculed Tigre, the laughter of the other nobles overlapped with his own. Perhaps it was because their ages were similar, but Zion frequently made fun of Tigre in such a manner.
“I told you before, your family has merely hunted for four or five generations. I can hardly recognize you as a noble.”
He spat out those words arrogantly and immediately tried to stomp Tigre's bow, which was laying on the ground.
Tigre moved reflexively, picking up his bow as quickly as a wild beast.
Zion stumbled, losing his balance and falling hard on the ground, taking one of his followers down with him.
“How dare you do that to Master Zion!”
To the enraged followers who roared at him, Tigre yelled back:
“I was protecting my bow!”
“A bow? If it's a bow, so what, you coward!”
“That's right. There's nothing wrong in breaking this crap. You should be on the front lines with a sword!”
“I'm sure that the God of War, Trigraf, would never give his blessings to someone like you!”
The other followers expressed their approval one after another. Tigre grit his teeth in anger.
In the Kingdom of Brune, their complaints were acceptable.
“The bow is the weapon of a coward who does not have the courage to expose his body before a naked blade.”
Such train of thoughts were deeply rooted in the Brune Army, which made little use of the bow. Not only were the achievements of archers disregarded, but archers in general were as well.
“Archers are all drafted hunters, farmers who do not own land, people who have committed a serious crime as a warrior -- or those who aren't skilled with the sword or the spear, to fill out the ranks."
Due to such a status quo, those who used bows, even as soldiers, were regarded as criminals and useless failures that were looked down upon.
Although Tigre's ancestor had been presented with territory for hunting and the title of earl for his distinguished military services, Mashas had told him, "If he hadn't been a hunter, he'd probably have been promoted to an even higher rank."
“Calm down, you guys.”
With some help, Zion managed to stand up, and put a stop to his followers' actions. Though they were reluctant, they stopped blaming Tigre.
Zion put on an act while getting rid of the dust on his armor. He crossed his arms and laughed scornfully at Tigre.
"The reason why you stick to the bow is because you can't handle a sword or a spear, right? You probably think that if you head into the battlefield with a bow, it would barely be enough to pretend at being a soldier, right?"
Tigre remained silent. It was true he was poor with the sword and spear. If he objected here, Zion would ask him to take up a sword or a spear and demonstrate his skills, and laugh at him. This had already happened once before.
Zion did not stop taunting him there.
“To begin with, you are an earl of the Kingdom of Brune, yet you can't use a sword or a spear and plan to head to the battlefield without wearing armor. Aren't you ashamed? Guys, look at his shabby appearance. He has a leather plate, leather gauntlets and even leather leggings. All his equipment is made of leather. At most, his mantle is decent, but if that's the only presentable part, then I really feel sad about the financial situation of his territory.”
“--- Lord Zion.”
Mashas, who had remained silent until then, spoke sullenly.
“Your words have been insightful. However, since you said so much at once, surely you have become thirsty.”
He continued while pointing in a certain direction.
“There's some rayion wine being distributed over there. Why not try drinking some, to relieve your thirst?”
Using a polite and humble tone, Mashas's attitude pressured the other side.
The dignity of this old knight, who had just turned 55, was intimidating to Zion.
Zion grunted and stepped back involuntarily as he became aware that he forgot his manners. He then snorted and turned around.
“Hey, let's go.”
Tigre watched Zion and the others walk away, and thanked Mashas after checking his bow's condition.
“Thank you. You saved me.”
“It's nothing. I should be the one to apologize. It would have been better if I had intervened earlier, but I couldn't find an opportunity to barge in.”
From Zion's perspective, Mashas was a weak aristocrat no different from Tigre. If the former didn't get the timing right, he would simply snort with laughter.
While returning to stir the pan, Mashas looked about the area casually.
Whether soldier or aristocrat, all were concentrated on their pots, or were taking care of their arms while entertaining themselves with chatter. Not a single person looked their way, and that indifference reached an unnatural state.
They were all afraid of Zion, so they avoided relations with Tigre.
“I now understand that handling the sword and spear is not proof of courage.”
Mashas spoke in irony. Tigre wanted to say something to him, but shut his mouth at the end. Not far away, the barely audible voices of nobles gathered together reached his ears.
“By the way, did you hear about what Duke Ganelon did?”
“Are you talking about him increasing taxes, using war preparations as an excuse?”
“That's right. If there is a young girl in a house that's not paying taxes, she will be taken away. If there isn't one, then the house is set on fire.”
“It's really enviable. I'd like to have the authority to place a temporary tax too.”
The aristocrat didn't look resentful. He was simply grumbling in dissatisfaction.
Duke Ganelon was one of the most influential nobles of the Kingdom of Brune, on par with Thenardier. There were many powerful aristocrats amongst his relatives as well. His power, too, was something not even the king could ignore.
When it came to territory, Brune nobles were allowed to govern pieces of land, but for certain privileges, such as setting taxes, the permission of the king was necessary.
Duke Ganelon not only went against this rule and imposed taxes without consulting the king, but also did these inhuman things in his territory. Yet, the king still tolerated it.
“For a story like that, Duke Thenardier is not inferior. He ordered his people to stop drinking for as long as the war goes on. They had to hand over all of their alcohol as an oath to the gods."
“I see. But it's not hard to hide or make alcohol. What happens to those who are found guilty of violating the ban?”
"The part about kidnapping the family's daughters is similar to Ganelon's method, but as a warning I hear that swords are given to the husband and wife or to the father and son, and they're made to kill each other with it. It seems that they even bet on who will win."
Tigre clenched his fist after hearing the conversation.
Mashas placed a wrinkled hand on Tigre's knee as he was about to stand up.
“How can I possibly remain calm!?”
“Though it may be harsh of me to say this, nothing would change, even if you said something.”
He was right. Tigre sat back down, but his rage was still boiling inside him.
He desperately ground his teeth and held his tongue in order to restrain himself from acting on impulse.
He was angry because Ganelon and Thenardier did not regard the people within their dominion as humans. They did not hesitate in their cruelty. He was angry at the men who spoke lightly of such cruel matters and those who overlooked such things without any scruple. Finally, he was angry at his own powerlessness, as he knew he could do nothing.
“The story just now... is it true?”
“Though it is a rumor, there have been many others similar to this one. Still, the people in question have not denied it. You rarely come to the capital, so it's no wonder you didn't know about this.”
Maybe this really couldn't be helped.
Tigre hardly left his territory, the land of Alsace.
He had no desire to rise in the world and gain fame or glory, nor did he have any ambition. That's why he was not interested in his status as an aristocrat.
Plus, in his mind, he had no intention of dealing with Zion, who was one of the sons of the nobles.
“His Majesty still tolerates such behavior...?” he asked fearfully.
He did not want to believe it.
“Certainly, His Majesty has said nothing to them at the present.”
Mashas's stocky body trembled as he shook his head grumpily.
“I believe His Majesty has his own matters to settle. One day, if His Majesty can't control them anymore, at least Prince Regnas should...”
Mashas's eyes clung to the slender hope. Suddenly, he looked up and stared at Tigre. Distracted, Tigre saw Mashas's finger coming towards him, aiming at his mouth, and poking him there.
It was too abrupt. No words could come out from Tigre's mouth.
Furthermore, the hand blocking his mouth was kind of cold, and had an indescribable iron taste.
When he awoke, a dim ceiling was in Tigre's view.
“--- So you finally woke up.”
Tigre heard a voice which lacked intonation. Immediately after that, he felt something withdrawn from his mouth.
What left his mouth was a sword.
The owner of this sword was a woman with golden hair, who he had never seen before.
“... Where should I start?”
“By the way, this is my first time waking a person in such a way.”
She returned with a look and frosty words. Tigre was at a loss and tried greeting her for the time being.
“... Good morning.”
“It is one koku (two hours) through the day.”
Tigre sat up and looked at the woman while scratching his head.
She wore a skirt and short-sleeved shirt. She had long gloves, which reached to her elbows, and boots up to her knees. At her waist was her sheathed sword. It was possible that she was taller than Tigre, and seemed to be two or three years older than him.
She was an unmistakably beautiful woman. However, her scarce expressions gave her face a hard look, leaving her with an unsociable impression.
There were three particularly eye-catching features:
Her long golden hair, tied up on the left side of her head.
Her azure eyes, which were as cold as marble.
And though she was tall and well balanced, she had ample bosoms which did not match her slender build.
Tigre inadvertently stared at the two bulges from underneath her clothes. The woman flashed her sword and threw an unkind remark at him.
“--- If you don't wake up properly, I will skewer you.”
“... I'm sorry.”
Blushing, Tigre apologized properly.
He looked about the room. It was small, containing only the bed he slept on. Sunlight shined through the window, brightly lighting the room. The stone floor was bare, and the only door led to the hallway. His bow leaned against the wall.
“Really, even with the soldiers shouting for your death, even though you are a prisoner... how can you sleep so well?”
“It's one of my special skills.”
“I suggest you hold back a little. You lack tension.”
Anger was mixed into her cold voice. Tigre looked at her in embarrassment.
“Am I really that bad?”
“To the extent that I recall my murderous intent.”
The woman turned about as she threw an answer to Tigre, pushing the door open in the meanwhile.
“Eleanora-sama has called for you. Please follow me.”
Tigre put on his leather shoes and quickly followed after her.
“It's nice to meet you. I am ---”
“This is not our first meeting, Earl Tigrevurmud Vorn.”
She answered without turning around, her voice clearly rejecting him.
“My name is Limalisha. It is not necessary for you to remember it.”
Leitmeritz was a principality under Eleanora's rule, and was located in the Kingdom of Zhcted.
Eleanora's troops had arrived at the capital the day before, ten days since they had departed from Dinant. After giving a word of thanks to the soldiers, Eleanora then left the men to her adjutant, Limalisha, and left for the king's capital with several men. It was necessary to report her victory to the king.
During the return to the public capital, Tigre asked the guards a few times, and each time the response was the same.
“We have no need to respond to a prisoner of our Vanadis-sama.”
Even if he asked to meet Eleanora, it wouldn't be possible for them to accept. And regardless, there was no way for him to meet with Eleanora when she had departed for the kingdom's capital to meet the king.
Left with no other options, Tigre remained obediently quiet.
“... Guess I'll just go with the flow.”
Tigre made that decision and looked at the sky until late at night. During the day, he dozed off on the horse.
Tigre followed Limalisha down the passage of the household.
“What are you looking about so restlessly for?”
Limalisha gazed back at him in amazement, as Tigre looked about like a child.
“I was just thinking that this is a splendid building.”
“You are an earl. An aristocrat.”
“I am a poor noble. There is no point comparing my small mansion to this one," Tigre replied without a hint of shame. He continued to look about, admiring the ceiling and floor.
Until now, Tigre had never left the Kingdom of Brune. Now, he was in the province's imperial palace. The mosaics which decorated the floor were new to him.
The side facing the courtyard was bathed in a column of soft sunlight. In that spacious area, soldiers were training hard. It was vibrant.
“It's a good atmosphere.”
“That is because this is Eleanora-sama's official palace," Limalisha answered, as if it were natural.
Soldiers patrolled the corridors, and what he assumed were maids and chamberlains strolled about, likely performing their jobs.
Tigre thought about the girl who was like his younger sister house-sitting his mansion in his absence.
--- Titta must be worried.
When he saw her off, he did not expect such a thing to happen.
--- Bertrand, and everyone else as well, I hope you all made it back safely.
He was impatient. He wished to return to Alsace as quickly as possible. However, attempting to escape as a prisoner could be punished by death, so he could only remain silent.
They finally left the palace.
He walked for a while before Limalisha stopped her feet.
“... We are here.”
He was brought to a training ground near the rampart.
Eleanora stood with three armed soldiers amongst the forty. She was clothed in shades of blue with her longsword in its argent sheathe at her waist.
“If you make any strange movements... no, please do so. It would save us quite a bit of time and effort," Limalisha said as she let the sound of her sword escaping its sheath at her waist be heard.
Though there was an obvious hostility, Tigre simply ignored it.
--- It can't be helped. I'm a prisoner now. We were enemies just ten days ago.
“Hm. You came.”
Eleanora noticed Tigre and walked up to him cheerfully. She smiled to Tigre first, then Limalisha.
“You've worked hard. Still, it took you quite some time to come here.”
“I apologize. He did not wake up so easily.”
“You didn't wake up?”
Eleanora looked doubtful hearing the story of him waking up only when he had a sword in his mouth. Her shoulders trembled as she held back her laughter.
“Even as a captive, you slept so deeply.”
“He is simply dull.”
At last, Eleanora laughed and turned to Tigre.
“Tigrevurmud Vorn, it's quite a long name for a person of Brune. Does it have an origin?”
“It is an ancestral name that I was given. If you find it difficult, you may call me Tigre.”
Tigre cited the phrase he was accustomed to. He felt odd being called Earl Tigrevurmud Vorn.
Eleanora's face suddenly glowed. Her dignity as a Vanadis the soldiers knew was gone; she held the expression appropriate of a girl her age instead.
“In that case, Elen is fine as well. I would prefer it if you use that name.”
Tigre stared at her involuntarily. She spoke intimately with one who was supposed to be her prisoner. To put it another way, she was being overly familiar.
Though Limalisha reproached her, she showed no sign of fear.
“He's my prisoner. This much is fine, Lim.”
Hearing the name, Tigre looked at Limalisha in surprise.
“I'll tell you now, she is one of my escorts whose horse you shot down, and she was the girl who took you here from Dinant.”
Certainly, her physique matched.
Although he wasn't certain how he should react, he thanked her honestly anyway.
“Though it may be strange of me to say this, thank you for bringing me here safely.”
Tigre had heard stories of prisoners being mocked and assaulted or killed by torture in a convoy. Some died without having a single meal. However, on their way back from Dinant, Tigre had never been abused. He had even been given proper food. Though it may have been because he was Elen's captive, Limalisha -- that is, Lim -- had been the one who properly took care of him.
Lim did not respond to Tigre. She did what she had to. She hid her anger as she was being thanked by Tigre by ignoring him and facing Elen.
“Eleanora-sama, there is still work to be done today. You should finish your minor errands early."
“I know, I know.” Elen smiled bitterly and waved her hand. She faced Tigre and smiled deliberately. “I would like to clarify things first, Tigre... no, Lord Vorn. As per the treaty between our countries, you will be treated as a prisoner of war. If in fifty days time the demanded ransom has not been delivered by the Kingdom of Brune -- that is to say, if a ransom has not been paid to me -- you will formally become mine as per the agreement. What binds this contract is the name and honor of the god Radegast. Is this acceptable?”
Though it was hardly suitable, Tigre nodded reluctantly.
It was a contract held between every country on the treatment of prisoners of war. It was made to avoid abuse, humiliation, and, frankly, murder. It was a rule which allowed for negotiations between countries to advance efficiently.
“Well, you might be a bit worried about the ransom, though.”
Tigre heard the number come from Elen's mouth and stood rooted to the spot with his mouth agape.
It was a number close to three times Alsace's total yearly tax revenue.
He felt dizzy from the impact.
“... Is it possible to reduce the amount?”
A flat response.
--- Well, there's no reason for her to.
In many cases, the goal of taking an enemy captive was to retrieve a ransom. It was unlikely she would decrease it so easily.
“You will live here in the imperial palace. Needless to say, any attempt to escape will be met with the death penalty.”
He was like a fish dying out of water. Tigre desperately searched his memory for the savings within his territory.
It amounted to approximately one year's worth of tax revenue, so it was hardly enough.
--- If I could speak to Titta or Bertrand, or perhaps Sir Mashas, who is more widely known, they might be able to raise the money.
The preparations for the ransom were, simply put, hopeless.
He felt a pain between his eyes as he thought about his gloomy future. He nearly fainted, but before it happened, Tigre somehow managed to gather strength in his legs. Supporting his body and limbs with all the strength he could muster, he looked back at Elen.
--- I must return to Alsace.
I was born and raised there. It is an important land that I inherited from my father.
I'm worried about the soldiers' safety as well. I'm certain my people are worried.
And above all else, I promised Titta I would return.
I want to respond to their wishes.
“So... what business do you have calling me to a place like this?” Tigre spoke with impudent words and a tone to match. Elen's crimson eyes danced happily as she looked at him with admiration.
“Of course, that was not all I called you here for.” Elen pointed to a training bow sitting along the wall. “Shoot an arrow from here and hit that target over there.”
“Is that it?”
Tigre felt that it was rather anti-climactic.
The target was three hundred alsin (approximately three hundred meters) away. Even for those skilled with the bow, that distance would seem like a bad joke. Shooting an arrow that far was already a challenge in and of itself; to also hit the target would make it nothing short of impossible.
But for Tigre, that distance was not a big deal.
Although he didn't know what she was planning, he decided to do this quickly.
One of the soldiers brought a bow and four arrows. The man had delicate features and beautiful, shiny black hair that reached down to his shoulders.
After Tigre received the bow and arrow from him, his eyebrows knitted slightly.
“What a terrible bow...”
The material was hardly suitable for a bow, and the condition of the grip was poor as well. The stringing, too, was badly done. There was also some warping. It was clear what their intention was.
Elen was looking at him from a distance, and, like a child, was filled with expectation.
Is she not involved? Tigre wondered. If that's the case, it's unlikely that this is a standard bow for the Zhcted Army.
He wasn't sure if she knew about this. An unpleasant thought crossed his mind then. Thinking back, the bows in Brune were not that great either.
--- It can't be an issue of the maker's ability... in the first place, there is no such profession as a bow craftsman.
Tigre's bow was made by his father when he was small. The materials were chosen according to the knowledge and technology of other countries, such as Zchted.
The accuracy of his arrow was not solely due to Tigre's skill, but the quality of the tool as well.
While pretending to check the condition of the bow, he glanced peripherally at the soldier who passed him the bow, and saw him and several other soldiers grinning.
Angered, a murmur leaked from Tigre's mouth.
“Such a petty trick," he said.
“What is it?”
Lim was standing nearby, looking at him dubiously. Apparently, she had not heard his words. Still, complaining about the quality of the bow as a prisoner of war was cumbersome.
“I wish to confirm something," said Tigre. "It is not necessary for me to hit the target with all four arrows; only one, correct?”
“That is a rather timid remark for a person who killed my horse with a single arrow.”
Though she thought Tigre was being sarcastic, she remained expressionless. There was no sign of malice. It seemed that she had not yet noticed that the bow was inferior.
“If your physical condition is poor, I can tell Eleanora-sama to do this another day.”
“No, I will do it," Tigre answered in a strong tone. He set the bow in his hand. “However, please allow me to hit the target with only one arrow. I am not as confident with an unfamiliar bow.”
Lim bowed in assent and walked over to Elen. After speaking a few words, Elen looked at him without any dissatisfaction, as though she were saying, "Please begin."
Tigre nocked the first arrow and released it.
It stalled before it reached the target, falling to the ground less than two hundred alsin away. Laughter and sneers were heard amongst the soldiers.
He did not mind it and released the next arrow.
The hum of the arrow sounded as it flew in an arc. It hit the castle wall, far from the target.
The soldiers laughed loudly. Some shook their shoulders; others looked at him with pity or contempt. Many eyes were piercing Tigre.
“Are you doing this seriously?” Lim said irritably. She looked at Elen.
Elen appeared troubled as she watched Tigre, like a student who had been scolded by a teacher, though she was trying to properly solve the problem.
“I'll do it,” Tigre replied and nocked the third arrow.
“Hey, are you going to keep going? You're really willing to keep making a spectacle of yourself?”
“Maybe you'd like a replacement. Even though you can reach the target, you can't even shoot straight.”
“Vanadis-sama, did you really make a man like this your captive?”
“This is quite a splendid show. I wonder if something new will be shown tomorrow?”
Although the soldiers deliberately spoke ill of him, Tigre was not bothered by it. He was accustomed to such abuse. He had been harassed much worse than this many times before.
Tigre took a deep breath, and looked up at the sky for a change of pace, moving his neck around.
That was when he saw a black shadow.
--- What is that?
His neck stopped moving and he looked more closely.
In an instant, he understood the identity of the shadow. Chills ran down Tigre's spine as he screamed at Elen:
--- An arbalest...!
The arbalest was a mechanical bow. Unlike the one that Tigre used, its bowstring was pulled by a winch and shot with a trigger. Although it was difficult to maintain and prone to failure, it was a powerful weapon that could fire a bolt up to 350 alsin (approximately 350 meters) away, and with enough force that it could punch through shields and armor and come out the other side.
The black shadow on the rampart was holding one.
A thick bolt was released from the arbalest, speeding through the air straight towards Elen. She had no time to avoid it.
However, Elen did not panic, nor did she move from her spot.
Muttering those words like a spell, the sword at her waist gave off a spark, cutting the atmosphere and scattering particles of silver.
In a moment, the air rapidly swelled, like an explosion. A storm raged about her.
Her long hair of silver-white danced with the wind. The bolt, entwined in the intense storm, was thrown far off orbit.
It passed through the empty space away from her and fell to the ground weakly.
--- What just happened?
Tigre stared in blank surprise at Elen.
It was not a coincidence; that was impossible.
While learning the bow, Tigre learned about the arbalest. He was knowledgeable about the power of the thick bolts. A wind could not conveniently blow it out of its orbit.
“Capture that man!”
Lim shouted. All the soldiers held a bow, however, far from hitting the shadow, they could not even reach the rampart.
The people with a sword or spear ran to the rampart.
The soldier guarding the wall, in response to the commotion, began chasing the shadow.
--- This has nothing to do with me.
Tigre muttered to himself. Though he shouted on reflex, he was not Elen's subordinate, nor was he a man of this city.
While thinking that, suddenly, Tigre remembered his first meeting with Elen.
She smiled as she said so.
Titta, Bertrand and his men, my late father, when was I last praised for my bow arm?
“Should I capture him alive?”
Nocking the arrow, Tigre asked Lim in a flat tone.
“Is this really a situation where you can say that...?”
Grasping the sword with her hand until it went white, Lim stared at the shadow on the rampart in chagrin. She wanted to lead the soldiers, but could not leave Elen's side.
The shadow ran quickly across the wall. Once he reached the tower, he could quickly escape outside.
“I understand. I'll get his foot.”
Tigre said those words as he strongly drew his bow to the limit.
After shooting the previous two arrows, he understood its condition perfectly.
--- At this distance, I won't miss.
Lim looked at him in doubt.
Then her gaze changed to one of surprise.
The bowstring trembled.
The arrow resounded with a sharp buzz as it drew a large arc, piercing the leg of the shadow.
The shadow fell on the rampart and was caught by the soldiers who finally caught up.
“What... was that?”
One of the soldiers on the rampart looked down at Tigre. No other words would come out.
The other soldiers, too, looked at Tigre in amazement.
“Impossible. He shot over three hundred alsin (approximately three hundred meters) from that position to the rampart...”
“No, if you think about the height of the tower, it could be even more. No way.”
“I can't believe it... Is that a human skill, or can all people of Brune do this?”
Though the voices showed astonishment and shock, there was clearly admiration in them as well.
There were those rooted to the spot, others looked to the sky, and some covered their forehead with their hand and recited the names of the Gods.
The malice in the training area no longer remained.
“He did something like that... with such a terrible bow...”
The soldiers who passed Tigre the bow were pale with fear.
“--- You got me.”
Tigre shrugged his shoulders. Though he held no emotions in his chest anymore, he was puzzled. He noticed he was bathed in gazes all at once.
The fourth arrow remained in his hand. Though Lim had seen it before, she did not look any differently than the other soldiers. When his eyes met hers, he understood her body was tense.
He looked back at Elen.
“I'll ask you now. What about the fourth shot?”
“It's enough with this. I'd rather not lose this.”
Elen's argent hair moved gently as she shook her head.
“You did well.”
Elen smiled at Tigre with sincerity, her sword still sheathed at her waist. A wind blew from somewhere, tickling Tigre's hair.
--- Just now...
Tigre placed his hand in his hair involuntarily. He thought Elen had somehow used her longsword to produce the wind.
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