Madan no Ou to Vanadis:Volume 04 Chapter 5 - 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 5 - The Revelation
Tigre was glad to see Massas and Augre, especially since they had just pulled him out of a dire situation. Kreshu must have realized, though, that he still had three times the troops as Tigre.
He pulled back the injured to protect the refugees while he reorganized the line. He continued to watch the Muozinel Army retreat until they disappeared from sight.
While Tigre was still watching, a messenger from the Muozinel Army appeared. After giving some thought, Tigre, Ludmira, and Massas decided to have a meeting..
He wanted to impress the cooperation with the Zhcted Army by having Ludmira present, and Massas would act as an adviser to prevent the negotiations from being troublesome.
Rurick and Gerard were tired, and there were circumstances that required Augre to speak to the other aristocrats.
At any rate, they brought the messenger into the tent to speak.
“I came by the orders of the younger brother of Muozinel's King, Kreshu Shaheen Baramir. Earl Vorn. You have put up a good fight and appear to be popular with a variety of aristocrats and Knighthoods. We sincerely salute you. It is Brune's mistake to show such contempt for archery. You have the capability to hit your target while firing far above the battlefield buried in soldiers. Your skill is reminiscent of a legend in our country about a man who was called Silvrash[Star Shooter]...”
They were words of praise given to excellent archers in Muozinel. Even so, a complicated feeling welled up within Tigre.
"--- Is that supposed to be a nickname for the Commander of the Unstoppable Silver Flow[Silver Meteor Army]..."
The messenger continued speaking, giving words of flattery to the extent that it was disgusting.
While polite on the outside, Ludmira was abusing him with frosty words. They could not afford to fight the Muozinel Army any longer. Careless words could not be afforded.
After the messenger left, Massas tapped on Tigre's shoulder.
“You have won. You have defended your people.”
“... Did I, really?”
“I believe so. They are too far away to worry about a trap.”
The old earl laughed. Finally, Tigre could feel relief.
“Lord Massas. I am sorry, but may I rest for a while? I would like you to do something in the meantime.”
“Yes. You fought hard... You can leave this to me and get some rest.”
Massas nodded and stroked his gray beard, leaving the tent in good spirits.
Ludmira who stood next to Tigre was also preparing to tell the soldiers from Olmutz to return.
Suddenly, her eyes opened wide.
Tigre's body had leaned over and fallen onto Ludmira.
Ludmira's could not possibly support Tigre's full weight with her small frame when she was caught off guard. Ludmira let out a small cry as she fell in place. Fortunately, it was covered in carpet, so she felt no pain.
“What are you doing?”
Ludmira gripped Tigre's shoulder and started to push him away when she noticed Tigre was breathing deeply in sleep.
Tigre had completely entered the world of dreams.
--- Should I freeze him to wake him up?
Ludmira thought such a thing when she looked at Tigre's sleeping face. The anger in her face disappeared as she looked at him seriously. His hair was a mess, there were scratches and signs of frostbite all across his face, and exhaustion was clearly present around his eyes.
“... You have fought for such a long time.”
He had led his army from Territoire to Agnes, traveling for many days and entered battle in the land of Agnes full of sandstone. Even when the battlefield moved to Ormea, he had fought against an opponent tens of thousands in size. The pressure was unusual.
“Did something happen?”
From outside the tent, a soldier asked a question after hearing the sound of Tigre collapsing. Ludmira said nothing happened, convincing the soldier.
Even with such loud sounds near his ear, Tigre showed no sign of awakening. Ludmira smiled, corrected her posture, and embraced Tigre closely.
“That stubbornness you have pride in, you certainly did show it to me.”
From the bottom of her heart, Ludmira felt it was the correct decision to cooperate with Tigre.
Since he had taken action to contact those in the surroundings, his story would certainly spread quickly. Tigre would become a powerful force in the future. Appealing to his sincerity would guarantee he would repay his debt immediately.
However, Ludmira had found a desirable partner in Tigre. She was honestly happy about that.
“--- You worked very hard. You really are great... Tigre.”
She had called him Tigre, the name she remembered Ellen used. Though she said it quietly, she was strangely embarrassed as her face flushed red and her chest burned hot.
When she thought about it, she only called Sophie and Sasha, both Vanadis, by their nicknames. Never once in her 16 years of life had she spoken in such an intimate manner with a member of the opposite gender.
When she was young, men would speak to her with reverence as a daughter of the Vanadis. This did not change when she succeeded the position. Ludmira accepted it as a matter of course.
--- But... This is not too bad.
As for Tigre, even with his mysterious black bow with the power of a ViraltDragonic Tool, you could say he did not look to be an equal to the Vanadis.
Ludmira quietly smiled and gently patted Tigre's hair.
“Sweet dreams, Tigre.”
Soon, power leaved from Ludmira's body and she fell on top of Tigre, breathing deeply as she fell asleep.
After more than a quarter koku had passed, Gerard visited the tent to speak to Tigre, but when he saw the two sleeping while embracing each other, he left the tent, deciding he had not seen anything.
Gerard also told the guard that Tigre was asleep and gave strict orders not to disturb Tigre until morning. Gerard was to be contacted for anything necessary. He then happily walked away.
Due to Gerard's favor, Tigre did not awaken until night fell. Though he vaguely understood something warm was touching him, it was dark and his mind was dim.
For the moment, he touched whatever the soft sensation was that was embracing him. Since he was half asleep, he did not think much. A question suddenly appeared in his mind when a sweet scent tickled his nose and a faint sigh touched his ears.
He opened his eyes. Though it took some time to get accustomed to the darkness, Tigre was becoming increasingly aware.
--- Why is it so warm...?
Once his eyes had become accustomed to the dark, he recognized that Ludmira had nestled up to him and his right hand was currently massaging her right breast. Tigre realized that was the source of the soft feeling.
“... How long do you intend to continue touching me?”
An unexpected voice was heard. A scream was half-way swallowed by Tigre and only leaked out slightly. The hand touching her breast was gripped.
Slowly, Ludmira opened her eyes.
“It is unavoidable since you were half asleep... But why did you touch me?”
“Be, because it was soft...?”
Because his head was not yet fully active, his voice was hollow and his response came out as a question.
Even so, he could not think of any other reason. He thought it was like the body of a dog with long hair in which he might want to bury his face in, but he remained silent because he did not think he could easily say that this instance.
“In that case – what is with your body's reaction?”
Ludmira glanced coldly at Tigre's waist. Even if he explained the truth, she would not understand, and even if she did, she would not be convinced.
“... Wa, wait, wait a minute. It will settle down in the cold.”
“Shall I help? If you want, I can cool it in an instant, though it may freeze off and rot.”
Tigre did not answer but sat up and gave a humble apology.
“--- Very well. I am also in the wrong for sleeping next to you.”
Ludmira finally spoke after Tigre apologized for what seemed to have been one thousand times. After all that, he spoke quietly.
“Will you forgive me?”
When Tigre looked up in surprise, Ludmira nodded with a sigh.
“As I said just now, it was partly my fault. I will forgive you.”
Tigre thanked her once more. Ludmira stood up midway, paying no mind to his words, and walked toward the exit. As she was about to exit, she turned back and looked at Tigre.
Though her face was dyed red, he could not tell for certain. It may have been an illusion in the dark tent.
“Let us have some tea. Follow me.”
Tigre stood up and followed after her with black bow in hand.
Leaving the tent, they walked beneath the cloud-covered sky. Hundreds of tents and fires could be seen past Tigre's white breath.
Tigre called a nearby lookout and asked for the situation.
“Are you well rested, Earl Vorn? Since you were last seen, there have been no particular movements amongst the soldiers. Most have been setting up tents and reorganizing.”
Tigre was reminded once again that it was a fierce battle. After asking for the location of the Olmutz soldiers, Ludmira took off. Naturally, Tigre followed her quietly.
“What will you do from now on?”
While walking through the frigid darkness, Tigre asked Ludmira.
“First, I will confirm the situation of my army. Eleanora has not yet returned, so I suppose I should ask if you still wish to cooperate more?”
Ludmira stopped her words and gazed sharply in a specific direction. Tigre followed her gaze.
--- What is that...?
It was a large shadow appearing before them. The moment he set eyes on it, an intense chill ran down Tigre's spine. His voice would not come out.
It was clearly darker against the light of the bonfires.
“... They say the hour before dawn is the darkest.”
Even against such a strange sight, Ludmira seemed calm, but there was no room in her expression. Looking closely, she was blotted with sweat.
The shadow looked as if it were laughing, grinning. It turned around and walked without a sound. Ludmira followed it with a grim look. Tigre was unable to keep up with the situation and followed after her.
“What... was that?”
“I heard about it from my mother. It is a ghost, a monster, or some kind of demon... It is my first time seeing it.”
A cold wind from the LaviasFrozen Wave in Ludmira's hand wrapped about her body, as if protecting its master.
“We cannot afford to leave it be... Follow me.”
She did not allow Tigre to put a word in otherwise, but she was worried in her own way. Tigre nodded at last.
--- Monster, demon... I thought of these things as fairy tales.
He strongly grasped the black bow in his hand. Tigre had something in his hand which belonged to the realm of fairy tales. He could not bring himself to deny Ludmira's words, especially as she was a Vanadis.
The shadow, not recognized by the soldiers, walked quickly ahead with light steps.
--- Is it just Ludmira and I that are aware of this...?
Thinking of Ludmira's words, it was likely it was after the Vanadis, but he needed to think of the possibility it was after him.
When the time came, Tigre was determined to help her, even if he needed to use the power of his bow.
Not defend, but fight together.
The two tirelessly chased after the shadow into a meadow some distance from the camp.
Suddenly, the shadow stopped and turned around. As it faded away, a young man emerged with a thick green cloth wrapped loosely about his short, black hair. His body was of average height and weight, and he wore a coat with fur lining the collar and sleeves.
“--- So both Lords came. No matter.”
The young man smiled brightly and spoke to himself while in a strange stance. His legs were spread and his body was leaned forward severely.
“I will have you come with me, Boy.”
The youth smiled at Tigre and kicked off the ground in his unusual posture. A moment later, his body was in the air at a height impossible for a normal human.
“Get away, Tigre!”
Ludmira shouted at him and held her spear of ice to meet the man.
“You are in the way, Master of the Frozen Wave.”
The man smiled thinly. Ludmira thrust her spear out as the man fell in accordance to gravity; however, the man stopped the blow which could easily pierce through iron with his bare hands. He used the recoil to change his trajectory and moved toward Ludmira's head.
The blue-haired Vanadis rotated her spear to block the man's kick. At the same time, Tigre shot an arrow he had nocked. The two fought as if their very breaths were united.
A surprising spectacle occurred yet again. The man caught the tip of the Frozen Wave with his bare hand and caught the arrow coming toward him with his tongue, which was longer than Tigre's arm.
“What's this. This seems pretty normal.”
The man muttered in regret as he lightly kicked Ludmira's spear and spun in the air. He landed some distance away. Tigre and Ludmira could not move for an instant. They had seen the man's tongue which was far beyond human.
“You... What are you?”
The man laughed after hearing Tigre's hoarsely spoken question.
“My friends call me Vodyanoy. You may as well.”
It was a name Tigre had heard. It was the name of a monster from fairy tales.
“It is an old story, but Vodyanoy was the name of a frog demon...”
Ludmira spoke while carefully measuring the interval between them and Vodyanoy.
“An abnormal jumping ability and a long tongue. You really are like a frog.”
The young person with the name of a demon simply shrugged his shoulder.
“Master of the Frozen Wave. I am not here for you.”
“Is that so. Unfortunately, I will still need to fight.”
“Oh? Why is that?”
Vodyanoy returned light words to Ludmira's joke. Ludmira responded with a fearless smile.
“My predecessor once said that Lavias is called the Hajya no Senkaku[Spear of Evil Death]. It is a weapon to kill [Demons], and one stands before me now.”
“Is that so. Give it a try.”
A smile of ridicule floated to Vodyanoy's face, as if to provoke Ludmira. Tigre nocked an arrow in his bow and decided to silently watch how events would play out.
--- He said he came for me.
His head was a mess. What exactly was the aim of this monster clad in human skin? It was likely the bow.
From the moment this black bow fell into Tigre's hands, during his encounters with Ellen, it had brought him into a tremendous world. Did the bow bring him to this world, or was it something decided at birth?
--- I need to calm down.
He scolded himself. He chose to use the bow; it was not because it was a family heirloom, nor did his father force him to use it. Though he was surprised by the power in the bow, he had not thrown it aside. It was because of this bow that he had gotten as far as he had.
While Tigre was thinking, the battle between Ludmira and Vodyanoy continued.
Vodyanoy parried every blow Ludmira dealt with his bare hands. Even with the cold released at the tip, his attitude showed signs of relaxation, and his hand was unmarred.
On the other hand, Ludmira was breathing heavily.
Though the fatigue from the previous day had not yet disappeared, the mental fatigue from facing an unknown individual whose true character was yet to be revealed was even larger.
Vodyanoy collided and retreated at the same time. In that moment, Tigre pulled three arrows from his quiver and nocked his bow, pulling back forcefully. The three arrows flew at Vodyanoy. It was quick to the eyes for both Ludmira and the monster.
For a moment, Vodyanoy inhaled slightly, showing his admiration. The monster spit out a small amount of a purple, poisonous liquid. It hit the arrows before they met Vodyanoy.
It let out an eerie sound, like water evaporating, as the arrows melted and fell to the ground. Tigre and Ludmira understood it had spit out some kind of acid.
While Tigre prepared another arrow, he ran up to Ludmira who had still not regulated her breathing.
“Are you okay?”
“You have no time to worry about me. It is after you.”
“There should be no problems if you can speak that much.”
He forced himself to smile.
The Muozinel Army had finally retreated. They had no time to be fighting some unknown creature. Neither he nor Ludmira wanted to even see such a grotesque creature.
While he had his hand on his bow, the blue-haired Vanadis whispered to Tigre.
“Can you stop his movements? A single moment is fine.”
“... I will somehow manage with this bow.”
Tigre realized Ludmira's goal at once. It was a power that originally lent its strength to Tigre's bow. She would use the power of her weapon as the Master of the Frozen Wave.
“Very well. I will leave it to you.”
After hearing her thanks, Tigre nocked an arrow to shoot Vodyanoy; however, Vodyanoy simply looked at them as if bored.
“... Is it possible you can't use your bow?”
Seeing its disbelieving look, Tigre began sweating.
“But you have used it at least once... Perhaps it is unstable? Or perhaps you can't use it unless you're on the verge of death.”
“What is your purpose?”
He carefully selected his words so as not to say anything unnecessary. It would be more advantageous if he thought Tigre could not use his bow.
“I want you and the bow.”
Vodyanoy concisely responded with a smile.
“If you come with me, I will overlook the Master of the Frozen Wave.”
“... I refuse.”
It was not Tigre who answered but Ludmira. She kicked off the ground with her spear as a mass of crystals formed. She cut the distance to Vodyanoy at a furious speed. The ground was frozen by the power of the ViraltDragonic Tool and she slid on top of it.
Ludmira closed in on Vodyanoy and thrust the Frozen Wave forward while lowering her waist. She channeled power through her entire body and jumped high, but she did not intend to release the monster with a human's appearance.
“---- Shero Zam KafaFreeze the Sky.”
A huge gust of cold thrust into the ground. Large hexagonal crystals surrounded Ludmira. With her spear pointed to the ground, a large pillar of ice thrust up through the air.
Vodyanoy's expression showed surprise for the first time. He destroyed the pillars of ice with his fist and moved his body, trying to escape.
At that time, Tigre shot an arrow. It was a normal arrow, without using the power of his bow, so Vodyanoy ignored it and casually knocked it away with his hand.
Immediately after, a sound was heard as Vodyanoy's movements stiffened for an instant. One arrow had torn through the monster's clothes, pinning them to the pillar of ice.
Tigre knew his first shot would be knocked away, so he shot two arrows in rapid succession.
Ludmira closed in on Vodyanoy again, running along the ice. Vodyanoy spit out his purple acid, but it was frozen and shattered before reaching Ludmira.
The Frozen Wave collided with the monster's fist, causing a small explosion of light. Ludmira was pushed back with a small scream.
“Master of the Frozen Wave! Right here, you will---!”
Vodyanoy could not speak another word. He swallowed his words upon sensing a force with his entire body. He stared at Tigre with wide eyes.
Tigre grasped his black bow and aimed an arrow toward Vodyanoy.
A black light gathered around the arrowhead.
While Vodyanoy was impatient, Tigre was unnaturally calm. Perhaps it was because of the trust the Vanadis placed in him or the strength of the bow, either way, Tigre had a clear mind.
For the first time, Tigre utilized the power of his bow without hesitation. He was able to endure the pressure attacking his body.
As Ludmira landed on the ground, she heard a cold wind blow past her ears as large hexagonal crystals were sucked away. The arrowhead was covered in a black light and clumps of ice, surrounded by an unnatural silence.
At last, Vodyanoy noticed. Even Ludmira's VedaDragonic Skill was absorbed.
--- Blow him away...!
Tigre shot the arrow with an adamant will. A jet of frozen air followed behind the arrow as it flew toward Vodyanoy at a speed beyond a normal arrow.
The monster's eyes followed the incoming arrow accurately; his fist was before him as it caught the projectile.
At that moment, Vodyanoy's right arm froze and shattered in fragments. Before he realized it, the arrow of ice was thrust right before his chest.
Unable to change his posture in the air, Vodyanoy's body was frozen by the tremendous force. There was no sound as he was blown away.
The fog melted in the morning sun. The body of the demon turned to grains of ice and disappeared in the air.
--- Did we get it...!?
All at once, a large sense of exhaustion hit Tigre's body. It was impossible for him to stand up. Ludmira ran up to him, looking down with eyes full of amazement.
“... Just now, was that the power of your bow?”
Though his expression was languid, he nodded. Ludmira reached out to Tigre, her face full of concern.
“Can you stand?”
“... The other day, I nearly fainted. Compared to that...”
It was better since he was still conscious. Even so, his body was heavy enough that he just wanted to lie in place, though it would be troublesome to do so.
“I suppose it cannot be helped.”
Ludmira supported Tigre, but since she was short in stature, Tigre ended up dragging his foot. Tigre thanked her with a bitter smile.
“This is no big deal. Even so, it is difficult to believe that just happened...”
“I doubt we will ever understand what that thing was... no matter who we ask.”
“I could not do it... Without your power, we would not have won.”
As she looked to the side, she noticed Tigre's face before looking away with a faint blush. The two caught the sound of horses running through the forests at the same time. It was not one or two, either. It was an army of several hundred.
“... An enemy?”
“No, it is different.”
Tigre quietly dispelled Ludmira's unease. The camp should have noticed this many approaching sooner, yet they remained quiet.
Tigre's anticipation came true soon enough. A ray of light illuminated the figures to the east. They rode beneath the ZirnitraBlack Dragon Flag.
Amongst the large group of cavalry, two shadows approached.
It was the nostalgic sight of silver-white hair and crimson eyes. It was Ellen followed by an expressionless girl with golden hair tied in a tail from the left side of her head. Tigre summoned all his strength to wave to Ellen and Lim.
“I just got back---”
After confirming Tigre's appearance, Ellen ran toward him on her horse with a smile. Her bright smile disappeared abruptly. She approached with a clearly displeased look.
After she approached a few steps closer, she looked down with a sharp glance. Tigre was puzzled by her attitude.
“... What is the meaning of this, you?”
Tigre was confused for a moment, then he noticed the words were not directed at him.
“... What might you mean?”
The right arm supporting Tigre seemed to freeze in an instant. Ludmira spoke with a tone so cold, even the breath before her seemed to be tinged with ice.
“I will ask carefully so you won't misunderstand. Why did you help Tigre? Perhaps you wish to take his bow?”
For every word she spoke, Tigre felt as though the air had gotten colder. Ludmira answered with a refreshed smile.
“Is it so unnatural to lend my shoulder to Tigre, who is so very important to me?”
“--- When did you start calling Tigre so intimately? What do you mean by an important person? Did your head stop working from the cold?”
Incidentally, Tigre felt the tension increase with every word. If he spoke a single word, he would attract the attention of the two Vanadis. It was frightening.
“Many things have happened since you were last here. Many things---”
Ludmira emphasized her last words more than necessary to provoke Ellen. After that, she whispered in Tigre's ears.
“Tigre, please allow me to call you that from now on. You may call me Mira.”
Inadvertently, Tigre raised his voice more than usual. Ellen did not miss it. She got off her horse violently and approached Tigre with an expression full of murderous intent.
“Tigre. Although I hoped to meet you again with a smile... It seems we have a problem.”
“Relax, Tigre. I will protect you.”
After quietly setting Tigre on the ground, Ludmira – Mira – stood before Ellen.
The two Vanadis exchanged intense glares. While Tigre looked at the two, someone lightly tapped his shoulder. When he turned around, Lim was kneeling on the ground, her index finger right before her mouth.
Tigre swallowed his words and nodded. Lim quietly carried the man with dull red hair on her back and stood up as if Tigre were simply a backpack. She lightly ran from the spot without emitting any unnecessary sounds. With their gazes unwavering, neither Ellen nor Mira noticed.
After they had separated enough from the Vanadis, Lim opened her mouth.
“I hope you can explain the situation, Lord Tigrevurmud.”
She spoke with a strong tone with a faint glimpse of anger inside. Tigre, accustomed to her typical scolding, flinched slightly, though it was true he needed to give an explanation.
Tigre explain the entire situation, from when the Muozinel Army invaded until it withdrew. Tigre took a few breaks due to his fatigue, but Lim patiently waited for him to finish.
“So that is what happened...”
After hearing the entire story, Lim nodded in consent. As the camp came into sight, Tigre managed to stand on his feet. It would be bad if his soldiers saw him being carried by piggyback.
“There are many things I want to tell you...”
Lim turned to Tigre with those words and smiled warmly.
“But first things first. Thank you for the hard work, Lord Tigrevurmud.”
Massas greeted Tigre when he entered the General's tent with Lim.
“You went on a walk early in the morning.”
“... I'm sorry. I was too tired and fell asleep early.”
Despite scolding Tigre, Massas was worried about him. After that, the old earl exchanged greetings with Lim.
“Has the Vanadis returned? It's a good thing we could all meet again safely.”
“We will not die so easily, no matter how many people are after us.”
Massas laughed after hearing Lim's response.
“By the way, Lord Massas. What are you doing so early in the morning?”
Massas hesitated for a moment but spoke when he felt their gazes on him.
“I received a report that someone strongly resembling His Highness the Prince is here, so I wished to speak to you first.”
Tigre frowned. He was not sure if there was a person like that, though there was a chance someone like that existed amongst the two thousand refugees.
“That's right. Blue pupils and short, golden hair.”
Hearing Massas' words, Tigre looked at Lim who stood next to him. She had blue eyes and golden hair, but they were not short., and the eye and hair color was not uncommon amongst the people of Brune or Zhcted.
“Other than that... Do you happen to have the person's name?”
“Yes. I heard it from other soldiers and was surprised.”
Massas let out a sigh. Lim then spoke from the side.
“But didn't His Highness die?”
Massas nodded without room for confusion. Tigre tilted his neck while thinking.
At that time, one soldier entered.
“Excuse me, but the girl named Regin would like to speak to the Earl.”
Unexpectedly, he recalled her white back. Tigre shook the memory out of his head in a panic as Lim and Massas glanced at him curiously. Tigre informed the soldier to allow her to pass.
--- But what would she be doing so early in the morning? It can't just be small talk.
Regin entered the tent and exchanged places with the soldier. Massas looked wide eyed and could find nothing to say. He stroked his gray beard hard enough to pull his jaw away.
Lim looked expressionlessly and stood perplexed. Regin asked for help with a glance. Tigre also wanted to hear Massas' story, but that was a matter to worry about at another time, so he smiled at her for the time being.
“You seem to be healthy now. Did you need something?”
Regin pulled herself together and bowed with a serious look on her face.
“Though I apologize for taking your time... I wish to speak with you alone.”
Hearing the sudden request, Tigre could not conceal his confusion as he looked at Regin. Her face showed determination, but she was trembling.
“I understand. You must have circumstances as well; however, if it is important, I will consult with these two people whom I trust.”
Hearing Tigre's words, Regin's gaze moved uneasily to his left and right, looking at Lim and Massas. Lim began to stand up, but Regin spoke, her face showing she had made her mind up.
“... I understand. However, Lord Tigrevurmud. What I will say in the future, can I believe that you will not say to others?”
Regin's blue pupils shined strongly. Tigre thought about her attitude and accepted. Massas and Lim looked at him.
“If possible, could we speak of this to one more person---”
Lim nodded before Tigre could say any more. Massas also agreed. At last, Regin looked at Tigre after their reassurance.
“I... I have been living under the name of Regnas until a short time ago.”
To be exact – Regnas Estel Loire Bastien do Charles. When she finished saying that, an eerie silence ruled the tent.
It was obvious for Tigre and Massas, but even Lim, from a different country, knew the name.
Regnas was her name, Estel was an honorary title which means “Star,” Loire was her surname, and Bastein was a name received from her ancestors. Do Charles meant she had a relation to King Charles, the founder of the Brune Kingdom. Even as a joke, should the name come to light, it would be considered a felony punishable by death.
--- But, now that you mention it...
When he helped her from the Muozinel soldiers, he felt as though he had known her by sight. Since he recognized her as a woman from the start, he did not connect her to Regnas.
“... For the time being, please allow us to call you Regin.”
The first to speak was Lim. Perhaps Massas was too overwhelmed to speak, as he stood there, mouthing her name. It was best to leave things be until he settled down. Right now, Regin was the primary concern.
“Do you perhaps have any proof to associate you with that name?”
Regin shook her head. Lim tilted her head in confusion.
“I apologize, but we cannot speak, then. To begin with, you are a woman...”
Removing her eyes from Lim, Regin looked at Tigre.
“Six years ago, do you remember what took place in Vincennes?”
Tigre reacted to the word immediately. Vincennes was a hunting ground in the region to the east of the King's Capital, Nice. There were meadows, rivers, and forests. All the past Kings held a festival there and invited the domestic aristocrats and nobles of foreign countries in order to promote friendship.
Six years ago, King Faron invited the domestic aristocrats to a hunting festival. Tigre was taken along with his father, Urz, to participate.
“At that time, I was treated to a freshly cooked bird you had felled. It was the first time I had eaten anything freshly cooked.”
Regin smiled as she spoke those words. Tigre's breath stopped for a moment because that moment was known only to Tigre and Regnas.
Spears were used to hunt birds of prey in the hunting festival held by the Brune Kingdom. Bows were used by the servants only to drive the beasts toward their masters.
At that time, Tigre acted alone after greeting the King and the Prince. His father, Urz, did not particularly want to show off his son's skill with a bow. The Royal Family simply served to greet the nobles at the festival.
Tigre walked alone in the forest and met with Regnas, who had slipped away from his supervisor.
Since they had finished their greetings just a moment ago, Regnas remembered Tigre. Seeing a red-haired boy with a bow seemed to have attracted the interest of the 10 year old Prince. Regardless, the only son of a noble with a bow was Tigre.
Can you use it? Regnas asked Tigre. He shot a bird effortlessly to show him.
The Prince looked at him with wide eyes. The boy with a bow used his hands to build a fire as if he were familiar with it and handled the bird. Regnas watched the series of motions through his fingers as he covered his eyes.
The Prince hesitated to ask, but, seeing Tigre bite into the browned meat which seemed well salted, his appetite won.
While biting into the bird, the Prince spoke with excitement. It was his first time eating such a freshly cooked meal...
Tigre's voice trembled. His mind recalled the memory from six years ago as he looked intently at Regin standing before him. He had not even told his father. Since Regnas had told him to keep it a secret, he was afraid after the festival had ended.
As the son of an aristocrat from the frontier, he could never come near the Prince of his country. Even so, the Prince had asked a stranger to shoot a bird, watched him carve it up on the spot, and ate it without knowing whether or not the meat was safe.
If the Prince mentioned this to someone, there was a very high chance the house of Vorn would have perished from the world if he had suffered from a stomachache.
“The next time I ate a warm meal was when you brought me soup the other day. I apologize, though, for the trouble I have caused others...”
Hearing those words, Tigre was convinced of Regin's behavior at the time. She was wary of the presence of poison. It was only when Tigre put the soup in his mouth that she had confirmed it was safe.
“Do you trust me?”
Tigre could do nothing but nod to Regin's words. Massas roughly guessed the circumstances from her words. His face was pale and he pressed strongly against his stomach. If he pressed any more, he might very well have fainted.
Tigre also wanted to collapse, but he did not. As she gazed at him, he regained his presence of mind.
Should he think of her as a man or a woman? Should he contact the Royal Family? Even with those thoughts in his head, Tigre spoke in his usual tone. Regin did not particularly blame him; rather, she accepted it.
“Because I wish to borrow your strength.”
She answered clearly, her expression showing her strong will.
--- Actually, I'm in a situation where I would like more help.
At that time, Ellen and Mira entered the tent. The Vanadis frowned in doubt, feeling the atmosphere of disbelief floating through the tent.
Ellen looked rudely at Regin.
“Who is this woman?”
Massas finally fainted. Tigre and Lim looked at each other, unable to say anything.
While Lim looked after Massas, Tigre and Regin explained the circumstances to Ellen and Mira. The reaction the two Vanadis had were very similar. They turned to Regin in suspicion.
“Didn't you die in Dinant?”
“If I had died, surely there would have been a commotion... If you had taken my subordinates and me as prisoners, it would have been more well known. My neck was not taken, and I was not found, so my death was reported to His Majesty, the King.”
“Certainly... It was unnatural when you say it like that. Even if you really were killed in the war, they would want to hide it as much as possible.”
Lim agreed while looking doubtful. The three looked at Regin for an answer. As soon as she understood that Ellen was the Vanadis that fought at Dinant, she gripped Tigre's sleeve and shook like a small, frightened animal.
“It's fine. If you can trust me, then please trust her as well. I believe in Ellen.”
While Tigre spoke to appease Regin, Ellen looked silently at Mira in triumph. Lim simply watched her Lord silently as if she were deplorable.
Though Regin was worried, she decided to believe Tigre. She straightened her posture and turned back to Ellen, meeting her gaze.
“... This is a conspiracy between Dukes Thenardier and Ganelon. If it is in the battlefield, it would not be unnatural for me to die as a casualty of war.”
“To begin with, you were a woman? It would be more believable if you said were a half-sister or something.”
Ellen asked like a bratty child, sitting cross legged and speaking with poor manners. Massas and Tigre also wanted to know, though. Regin looked down as she hesitantly answered.
“This is due to my mother and me. In Brune, a Queen who can only give birth to daughters would be despised. Furthermore, the rights of succession are limited for a Princess... That is, it is impossible to rise to the throne.”
“So you pretended to be a Prince? Isn't that reckless?”
“Honestly. It's fine when you're flat as a brick, but if your chest grows up to be like Lim's or Sophie's, what would you have done? I hope you weren't thinking of cutting them off.”
“Please do not derail the conversation, Eleanora-sama.”
Lim blushed and reproached Ellen for her comment. Mira looked disappointed, and Tigre pretended he had not listened.
“However, Thenardier and Ganelon did not kill you; rather, you went missing. You unexpectedly managed to escape...”
Ellen hit her hand as she said those words.
“Isn't it fine remaining dead for the time being? Isn't it fine being Regin? How many people in Brune really know that the Prince is actually a woman?”
“Although it is supposed to just be His Majesty, mother, and me, it is likely Duke Thenardier and Duke Ganelon also know.”
Though Tigre was baffled while listening to the conversation between the silver-white haired Vanadis and the Princess, he finally understood.
--- I see. Even if she has died already, once the Prince's name comes out, she would be killed again.
She would be considered a girl trying to swindle others and would be punished. Even if she had some item as proof, they could simply say she picked it up from the battlefield in Dinant.
With Thenardier and Ganelon's power, that much was possible.
“At Dinant, when the Zhcted Army made its surprise attack, more than ten assassins came after me. My guards defended me, and my servant, Jeanne, barely managed to escape Dinant with me.”
Regin's shoulders trembled in anger and sorrow.
“Afterward, though I thought to return to the Royal Palace, Duke Ganelon took action in the King's Capital and Jeanne was lost. Even if I could rely on someone, it would be impossible to earn trust with this body.”
“It would be even worse. Dukes Thenardier and Ganelon would turn you into a public enemy. You would either be caught or sold as a slave if you went to anyone.”
Massas, who had finally recovered, and Tigre frowned after hearing Ellen's candid words, though they could not deny them.
“Regarding this talk, does Duke Ganelon know you are alive?”
Tigre was suddenly anxious. It was not Regin but Massas who answered.
“Incidentally, His Highness, the Prince's funeral was held in the King's Capital... Excuse my impoliteness. Duke Ganelon held a fake funeral. If that is the case...”
“Yes. He knows I am alive; however, he has not put any particular barriers in place. I have seen nothing near the capital.”
“But why did you come to such a place from Dinant?”
Tigre could not help but ask in surprise. Traveling through the eastern part of Brune would not have been easy for a traveler, let alone a Princess.
“Jeanne's hometown was in Agnes. I would not have been safe in the Royal Capital. Duke Ganelon and Thenardier's eyes were aimed to the north, west, and south of Brune. I did not think I would be safe anywhere.”
“If you knew Tigre, what about Alsace---”
“At that time, he was a prisoner of war.”
The Princess with golden hair interrupted Ellen's words as she glared accusingly at the Vanadis of silver-white; however, Tigre was thankful for these words.
“Um... I'm sorry.”
“Ah, no.... It is not your fault, Lord Tigrevurmud.”
Seeing Tigre bow deeply, Regin looked up and spoke in a panic. Unable to interrupt the atmosphere which had formed, Ellen and Lim looked at each other sullenly while Mira concentrated on the Princess.
“Your Highness, please continue the conversation---”
Speaking with a subdued, dignified tone, Massas seemed to have accepted the situation at last. Tigre tapped her shoulder to help the stiffened Princess to relax. She had a dignity that was like Ellen's, something that other teenagers could not hope to mimic.
Regin pulled herself together and spoke once again.
“I had learned many things from Jeanne. Somehow, I was able to continue my journey without her. Although I settled in the village in Agnes where she was born and raised, the Muozinel Army attacked.”
The villagers took action then and threw their village away, scattering in every direction. Though Regin wanted to do so as well, she hesitated because she did not have a sense for the land. She was found by Muozinel scouts.
“And then... the rest is as Lord Tigrevurmud knows.”
Regin closed her mouth. Tigre looked at the Princess whose expression was difficult to read.
On the other hand, Ellen and Mira had troubled faces.
“... So, what will you do, Tigre?”
“What will I do?”
Tigre asked in return, not understanding the meaning of her question.
“Lending her your power. Frankly speaking, this person is a hindrance.”
Ellen expressed agreement with Mira's brutally honest words.
“If you claim the Prince is alive, Duke Thenardier and Ganelon would simply try to kill her, since she is a woman, and there will be many who would put her at fault.”
Tigre tilted his head after hearing their opinions.
“I understand what you mean, Ellen, Mira... But if word reached His Majesty, wouldn't it work out? Though I hear he is currently ill.”
Massas began to choke after hearing Tigre's words. Looking at the unexpected noise from the old Earl, it was clear he was sweating.
Tigre called out to Massas in worry. While holding his gray beard, Massas managed to squeeze out his voice, explaining the King had become extremely mentally unstable upon hearing of the Prince's death.
“That... Is it true?”
Regin turned pale and staggered from the impact. Tigre ran to support her and she managed to not fall by clinging to his arm.
Massas looked down and refused to say any more.
The girls from Zhcted were naturally calm. Ellen silently shook her head, Mira remained as aloof as possible, and Lim remained painfully silent.
It was a painful situation, even for Tigre.
Tigre knew she was the Prince, but it was something proven only through a memory shared by the two. It was not something they could tell to others.
Regin remained mute, as if trying to accept whatever may happen.
After worrying for some time, Tigre spoke.
“... Regin, why did you tell me? Why do you trust me?”
Her response would decide what he did.
Regin quietly looked up and looked at Tigre.
“Because you have no ulterior motives.”
Tigre looked doubtful. Incidentally, the three girls sitting opposite Regin nodded in satisfaction. The princess also nodded once before speaking again.
“Today, before I came to you, I asked the soldiers and the people of Brune here. Though there were not only friendly opinions... I could tell you had something you wished to defend, and you were struggling for that purpose.”
While recalling that time, Regin placed her hand on her chest and continued speaking.
“Even if you help the people of Agnes and Ormea, you have nothing to gain in return, even more so with an opponent against whom you have no possibility of determining the outcome. Still, you came here, you fought. You helped me, and... when you consented to my favor, you were not rough.”
Regin faintly blushed as she said that. Tigre understood the reason and also blushed.
“... What did you ask?”
Two people's expression changed sharply. Ellen began to frown.
Though Regin stammered, she honestly answered that she asked him to wipe her body. Tigre took a defensive stance expecting Ellen to be angry, but she showed an unexpected reaction.
“You did something pretty dangerous, you know.”
She looked at Regin with admiration.
“If Tigre attacked you, did you intend not to say anything?”
Regin nodded sharply.
“--- Though it was a cowardly thing to ask of him... At that time, I had no other means I could think of.”
--- Is that why she apologized to me at the time?
At last, Tigre was convinced. Regin, in her own way, was desperate. Though Lim and Mira were still unhappy, they did not blame him.
Tigre looked up at the dirty lamp and let out a sigh in his mind.
He could not possibly abandon her.
“Regin. Anything is good, even if it's trivial... Do you have any clues that proves you are His Majesty's, the King's child?”
If she did, Regin would be able to return to the King's Capital openly.
He returned to Alsace thanks to Ellen. Tigre hoped he could help her return to the palace.
Regin desperately searched her memory and raised a small voice when she remembered something.
“Duke Ganelon's territory. Is there a clue there?”
Massas asked politely. Regin nodded in response.
“In Lutetia, in the center of the capital, Artishem... Beneath the soil, there is a passage where important records are stored which can only be opened by a means passed down through the Royal Family. They should be known to Prime Minister Bodwin as well. He should be able to examine them. “
“Our talk changes quite a bit if that's the case.”
Ellen leaned forward, full of interest.
“If it is true, then we can move toward Artishem while we claim that. Even if people try to fight back, they can't do anything since the girl is trying to prove she is a member of royal lineage.”
“Certainly. If someone associated with the royal family supports this, it only lends credence to the claim.”
Lim also agreed.
“Tigre, what will you do?”
Ellen's ruby pupils shined happily.
“Either we move west and kill Duke Thenardier in Nemetacum, or we move north toward Lutetia and fight Ganelon.”
Tigre did not answer at once. He looked at everyone's faces in succession.
Ellen, Lim, Mira, Massas, Regin.
The situation had become strange. He had been helped and supported by Teita, Rurick, Augre, and Gerard.
What could he do in return? Could he return what it was they had given to him?
He understood he must end the situation as quickly as possible.
“... Let's go. To Lutetia.”
After thinking through it, Tigre gave a clear response.
Duke Thenardier's camp was in the wilderness where the trees were sparse.
After repulsing the Muozinel fleet attacking the ports to the south of Brune, he did not immediately move to rescue his allies at once; rather, he moved his army to a nameless forest.
After he had settled down, five days had passed. Though he had purchased information on the kingdom in detail, he learned of information which was not pleasant to his ears.
He had trusted Steid with the army moving against Duke Ganelon. Though they had endured well, they were in the vicinity of Nemetacum after being forced to retreat numerous times.
--- I will have to wait another day. That guy still hasn't returned.
A soldier appeared with a report. Thenardier gleefully stood up and rushed to his destination on horseback.
Though he had not heard of the location details, he understood with a glance. Five Dragons could be easily seen from a distance.
Thenardier rushed his horse forward until he reached the Dragons.
“... I apologize for having kept you waiting, your Excellency.”
Five Dragons. The old man, Drekavac, bowed his head reverently.
Thenardier moved his glance to the Dragons behind the old man.
“You brought me more than I anticipated.”
Of the five, three were SuroEarth Dragons he had seen before. One was a Fire Drake with long hairs growing between its scales, covering its body. It ate ash and charcoal. It was a Dragon which could release flames to burn everything.
The last was two times larger than the other Dragons and had an overwhelming power, as if it were a small mountain that could run. It had two heads and thick scales.
“This is a Gara DovaDouble Headed Dragon...”
Though a dauntless man, Thenardier could not help but be overwhelmed with delight. The Double Headed Dragon was a species considered a malformation amongst Dragons. It was large, atrocious, and strong, and would attack and kill its brethren.
The sound of chains sounded in Thenardier's ears. The Double Headed Dragon was bound with a shackle of thick, black iron which wrapped about its body.
“... Was this chain made specifically for this?”
He could think of no other reason. Though Thenardier had once seen an elephant in a foreign land, the chain was far too thick and large.
“It is as you say. In the case of this Dragon, it can kill the Vanadis...”
Though his voice was hoarse, Drekavac spoke indifferently. Thenardier, contrary to the norm, trusted him.
“You have worked hard.”
Convinced of his victory, Thenardier smiled violently.
Thenardier had postponed his movements to the north in order to add the five Dragons to his military strength. Drekavac simply had an expression like a scholar observing a laboratory animal.
“It must have been difficult to procure this Double Headed Dragon.”
A young man's voice sounded from a shadow which appeared behind the elderly man.
“How was it?”
Without looking back, Drekavac asked a short question. The shadow gradually swelled and took the shape of a person. After enough time passed, Vodyanoy, who should have been defeated by Tigre and Mira, stood there.
“You may not like to hear this, but I was had. He was with the Master of the Frozen Wave.”
He spoke in a carefree tone, as if he were playing. The old man smiled and took a gold coin from his sleeve.
“I know you were defeated. Tell me what you think of the caster for the [Bow].”
“He's weak; however, after another fight or two, he may come to master the bow. If that is the case, he will be troublesome. What should I do for now?”
While gnawing on the gold coin, Vodyanoy asked without any sign of tension.
“Remain on standby for now. Ganelon doesn't seem to be up to any good right now.”
While watching the wilderness, Drekavac began to slowly walk away.
|Back to Chapter 4 - MTL||Return to Main Page||Forward to Epilogue - MTL|