Madan no Ou to Vanadis:Volume 07 Chapter 4
Chapter 4 - The CortisaPrincess of the Dancing Blades
A night of a certain day, Alexandra Alshavin alias Sasha had dreamt of her mother.
As she woke up, she revealed a complex smile. She wondered how many years had passed since she had last dreamt of her mother.
As Sasha spoke of it to the servant, who showed to wake her up, the devoted elderly seemed troubled as how to reply. Wrinkling his face, he answered “is that so?” He did not ask whether it was a good dream.
“Which reminds me, I happened to hear rumor that the civil war in the Kingdom of Asvarre is over.”
Sasha’s expression brightly shone. The aged servant was aware that he forcibly changed the topic, but it had been a while since she last heard a bright story.
Regarding Legnica that she governed, the incomes obtained from trade were very important. The civil war of Asvarre was never other people’s affairs.
---I wonder if Sophie and Tigre are doing well.
Although in awareness of her meddling when she assigned Matvey to Tigre, she wondered if that scary-looking former sailor was useful to him. Since it became peaceful, Sophie and the others would probably come back, too. And then they would stop at the Imperial Palace, and let her listen to the story. When thinking so, Sasha became happy.
Suddenly, she felt a pain in her spine. As the breathing became painful, the black-haired Vanadis violently coughed. The servant, who was just about to leave, turned pale and ran up to Sasha.
“……I’m alright. I’m alright, so……”
It was even hard for her just to reply like that. When the cough calmed down, Sasha slightly exhaled and lay on the bed. The servant rang the bell to call the doctor.
---Even though a diagnosis would be useless.
She felt that the sound of the bell, which reverberated throughout the room, was very annoying.
When turning her gaze to the bedside, there were two swords there, which were proof of her being a Vanadis. Having a blade a half fist longer than a dagger, it was a pair of twin swords. Strange patterns were carved in, one had a golden blade and the other had a vermillion blade; and one could feel a faint heat when touching them.
---How much longer will you stay by my side?
Without voicing it, Sasha spoke so to the twin swords. This ViraltDragonic Tool called BargrenLuminous Flame had not left her even with her being affected by disease, and had continued to stay by her side.
‘I probably won’t live long.’
A certain night of the time when Sasha was 10. Suddenly, her mother plainly told her in a casual tone as if she was talking about tomorrow’s weather.
“The women in our family have been short-lived from generation to generation. We have what is called “blood disease”. Even your great-grandmother and your grandmother’s sister, everyone died around the age of 30.”
In a small house of the outskirts of a village, sturdiness and size were bed of merit. Sasha, who went into the bed with her mother, was just surprised at the sudden talk. After leaking an “eh?” voice, her mind became pure white and she could not think anymore.
With a smile, the mother quietly waited for her daughter to recover from the shock.
Sasha, who finally pulled herself together after a long time, fixedly stared at her mother’s face.
Her mother had not yet reached 30 years old. Young and healthy, she was always cheerful. To the point that she did not seem to suffer from a disease.
However, her gaze was serious like times when she would teach something to her daughter.
As far as she could remember, Sasha had been taught various things from her mother. Sewing and laundry, not to mention how to clean, how to make a fire by rubbing woods together, how to indentify poisonous grass or mushroom growing in the forest, how to set simple traps, and even how to fight with a dagger.
Her usually kind mother was very severe only at that time. Sasha held a grudge against her mother on that occasion for making her repeated many times until she came to be able to do it. Although, when she was able to do it without instructions, as her mother openly praised her, the grudge immediately disappeared.
When she realized that her mother had never told a joke or a lie, Sasha’s spine shivered of fear. While holding her chest because of anxiety and nervousness, the daughter timidly asked.
“……Is it an incurable disease?”
No shadow could be seen in the smile of her mother, who nodded. That expression was so far from being that of fear or sense of grim that it surprised Sasha. The mother gently stroked Sasha’s black hair.
“Sasha. One day, you’ll also come to love someone, and bear a child. And then, tell her properly. Teach her all that you know so that she can choose the path she wants.”
The following year, her mother died.
As she caught a cold and was laid up for a long time, she died as it is. Her face was calm as to give the impression she was only asleep.
Though Sasha was surprised and sad, the adults of the village surprisingly recovered quickly.They knew it. That a day like this would some day come.
Sasha’s family was only her mother. Her mother told her that her father was gone by the time she was born. She did not know whether he died or he left the village. As long as her mother was by her side, it was enough for her.
As she had the adults of the village help her and finished her mother’s burial, Sasha was called by the village chief.
“What will you do from now on?”
The village chief, who was 53 years old in this year, straightforwardly asked. In the village, the chief or the village potentates were to take over children with no relatives. The chief asked that question with the expectation that she told him by whom she wanted to be taken over.
“I’ll go on a journey.”
These words slipped out from her mouth smoothly enough to even surprise her.
While burying her mother, Sasha thought about it in the corner of her head, and understood.
She was wondering. Aside from sewing and laundry and the like, which the other children of the village were also taught by their parents respectively, why she, who was a girl, had to acquire knowledge and technique about traps and fight. Even though that should be the role of men, who went out to hunt outside of the village.
In preparation for her death that would someday come, her mother taught her all that herself.
So that she could even live alone.
“On a journey……?”
The chief’s voice was mixed with regret and sense of relief. As to shake off the atmosphere, which became awkward, Sasha responded with an especially bright expression.
“Yes. It’s a journey to look for a wonderful husband, who will marry me.”
It might have sounded like sarcasm to the chief. For the people of the village, who should know about the “blood disease”, there would be probably no one curious, who would want to marry such a girl.
Getting only a farewell gift, Sasha left the village.
The 11-year-old girl’s solitary journey was more painful (difficult) than expected. Disguising herself as a man became something natural, and even the way to talk soon changed from “watashi” to “boku”. If not for the various knowledge and techniques learned from her mother, she would probably not have lasted one month. There were also times, when she had to beg.
However, only her body she did not sell. Though this was because she feared that she could transmit her disease, it was above all because the reason she told the village chief was partly her true intention. Besides Sasha was searching for someone, who would say “I accept your “blood disease”, let’s make a child”.
If she were to give birth to a girl, she would teach and train her all what she knew as she was asked by her mother. Even if it were a boy, who was to be born, she would also do the same thing. This was because even if her son did not show symptoms, if the child, whom her son would make with someone, were to be a girl, then she might develop the symptoms.
The dual blades technique she mastered was also something she learned in her long journey. She even trained her other hand to be able to wield a sword for when her dominant arm would no longer be usable. To avoid wielding a long sword, she chose short swords with short blades.
It was the fourth year after she went on journey that the ViraltDragonic Tool chose her. When she was 15 years old.
She did not know why she, who carried a disease with that body of hers, was chosen. But, Sasha thinking that she would probably someday learn of the reason tightly grasped both gold and vermillion twin swords and obtained the title of “FalpramHidden Princess of the Luminous Flame”.
Sasha was officially recognized as a Vanadis by King Victor in the royal capital Silesia, received the last name of Alshavin and visited Legnica, which was her territory.
She first talked about her “blood disease” to the civil and military officers, who kneeled down before her.
She asked them whether they did not mind, even though she would probably not live long. That if there was dissatisfaction, she would leave the ViraltDragonic Tool behind and leave on her own.
She also talked about the “blood disease”, when she had the audience with King Victor. But the old King waved his hand as if it was annoying and only answered that it should not be a problem if the ViraltDragonic Tool chose her.
‘What kind of reaction will these people show?’ Sasha was slightly expecting a cold reaction.
One of the civil officers raised his head. It was an old man with a stern countenance. He should probably have lived more than three times of the 15 years of Sasha. Maybe even four times.
“We accepted it. Is there anything else?”
“……Don’t you mind?”
The black-haired Vanadis, who was surprised, repeated the same question to him while being somewhat confused.
“I have injured my waist three years ago, so I can hardly run. I also often catch cold in winter. However, even now I still work for this Imperial Palace. Of course, it should be nothing compared to the disease, from which Vanadis-sama suffers.”
As the old civil officer finished saying, another military officer looked up at Sasha and spoke. Wearing armor to his firm body, it was a young man who had a lot of small scars on his face.
“If it is the ViraltDragonic Tool, which chooses the Vanadis, it is also the ViraltDragonic Tool, which denies the Vanadis. We are people, who support Vanadis-sama being made into Vanadis, not people, who refused her.”
Maybe it was because he was young, but he was more straightforward than the old civil officer. It was a statement, which could be taken as irony regarding ViraltDragonic Tool and Vanadis. Although there were some people, who were amazed, there was no one, who blamed him.
Sasha also without rebuking the man, revealed a wry smile. This was also because she, the Vanadis of the next era, was feeling a certain sense of security in the point that ‘the ViraltDragonic Tool chooses’.
To them, who were older than her, Sasha bowed her head.
“......Please, take care of me.”
Then five years passed peacefully. Although being engaged in politics was of course the first time for her, Sasha was blessed with people, who were supporting her; she was listening well to their advice and worked at the governance of Legnica.
She got to know the other Vanadis, such as Ellen, Mira, Sophie and Lisa; especially Ellen, with whom she got along so well that they exchanged an oath. Though Ellen was also a born commoner and they also had the common point of having wandered from the time she was little like Sasha, it might have made the two girls have a more intimate relationship.
It was when Sasha was 19 years old.
Another ten years until the day of her death would come. When she remembered her mother and was thinking about such a thing, she fainted. In the work office of the Imperial Palace.
When she regained consciousness, Sasha had been carried to her bedroom. She was dressed into loose clothes. It was the maid chief who worked at Imperial Palace that helped her changed her clothes.
She felt pain in her spine. Her body felt heavy, and her limbs were as heavy as the lead.
She realized that she had developed the symptoms of the “blood disease”.
Sasha called an attendant, the civil officer chief, to gather the military officers and calmly told them.
“The time seemed to have come.”
Their faces uniformly turned pale. There were also some people, who leaked a groan. The black-haired Vanadis looked around at their faces, and said thank you.
And then Sasha showed the golden and vermillion twin swords, which were on her lap. It was not that someone brought them. BargrenLuminous Flame crossed over the space on its own will and appeared to Sasha’s side. Like the time when it chose her as Vanadis.
“As you see, these children are still in my hands. It doesn’t mean that I am going to die now; regarding my duties, I want to do it smoothly like usual.”
After another two years, the present time.
Sasha was surprisingly still alive. While living an almost bedridden life, she continued to perform her official duties as Vanadis during the interval of rest.
Though she intended to leave the Imperial Palace on the same day when BargrenLuminous Flame would leave from her hands, the ViraltDragonic Tool did not yet leave her side. She had several times admonished towards the ViraltDragonic Tool, but it had no effect.
The day sank outside of the window, and the darkness increased its density.
Blankly looking at the dim ceiling, Sasha heaved a sigh. After all, the day was over with her still remaining bedridden.
---I wanted to ask someone about the civil war of Asvarre, though.
The old servant had postponed the talk about it. Until he judged that there would be no problem seeing Sasha’s condition.
“……When will I be released?”
‘I will die someday. There’s no doubt about it. Then, when will I die?’
---My great-grandmother, grandmother and my grandmother’s little sister all died around 30 years old……huh. Even mom died before she reached 30.
In the worst case, her condition was going to persist another nine years. When thinking so, she felt disgusted.
Dying is scary. It’s terrifying. But, Sasha was exhausted of a life, where she spent most of her days in bed. Both her body and mind withered day by day, and becoming weaker was painful.
---Not good. It somehow becomes dark.
Not the scenery on the outside. But Sasha’s heart. It might be because she had dreamed of her mother. Though the black-haired Vanadis was indubitably proud of her mother, who was kind and strong, there was also the symbol of death and disease.
Suddenly, Tigre’s face flashed in her mind. It would be about last month that she met and talked with him.
---He is completely the opposite of me.
Sasha’s face spontaneously brightened. Though Tigre’s sincere personality was something desirable for her, his strong will of not giving up any more, and the resolution to prove that he would absolutely survive left an impression (were impressive).
---Though there are also quite a few of such parts in Ellen, Mira and Sophie, I feel that his was stronger than theirs. I wonder if it’s because he’s a man.
She thought that she would try to follow their example. Though for her it was a little difficult to say “I will prove I can survive”, it was Vanadis-like to think of oneself until the very end.
Sleepiness assailed her. Sasha’s thoughts about her mother, Asvarre, Tigre, Ellen and the others were strangely mingled within her.
“I wanted to have a child…… Hey, Ellen. Will you, like me─”
Breaking her words, quiet breathing of sleeper leaked from her mouth.
In the next day, Sasha’s physical condition seemed to have improved.
While returning a calm answer as usual to the servant who showed up to wake her, she asked if there was no follow-up report concerning the civil war of Asvarre.
“No, Nothing in particular─”
Though the aged servant reverently bowed his head, Sasha squinted as to blame that attitude. She did not overlook the fact that he averted his gaze after her question. If it was someone other than her, he would probably not notice first.
As she raised her body on the bed, Sasha said to the servant in a lecturing tone.
“I don’t like speaking like this, but I think that keeping a secret from me would be bad for my health.”
From the mouth of the servant, whose age was nearly three times that of his master, a begging voice spilled out. His eyes were strongly appealing “Please do not ask, give up”. It was not that he was afraid to be punished, but he was rather worried about Sasha’s condition.
Although Sasha was grateful of the elderly’s concern, she urged him in a quiet tone. The servant answered with his face filled with bitterness.
“Yesterday, a ship that was entrusted a message from Sophia-sama had appeared in the port town of Lippner.”
Since the servant refrained from reporting, she could guess that the content of the message revealed bad news. Though Sasha had fully prepared herself, even so, she could not hide her surprise to the following words of the servant.
“A badvasea dragon……?”
Sasha had never seen a badvasea dragon, but she did not doubt of its existence since she had already met an SuroEarth Dragon. However, it was indeed a shock when she heard it like this.
“I hear that Sophia-sama left Asvarre with three escort ships in addition to one mother ship, but one escort ship and the mother ship were sunk, and the two remaining escort ships that picked up the sailors, who survived, are heading toward here.”
Sophie, who judged that it was vital to convey the situation as quickly as possible gathered the injured and loads in one of the two ships, and hurried the one, which was lightened, to Zchted. That ship arrived in the port town of Lippner around dawn yesterday.
The chief of Lippner, who heard the story, immediately sent a messenger to the Imperial Palace, gathered doctors and medicine and prepared a ship for rescue. And the servant received the report last night.
Slightly brushing her hair that was trimmed around her shoulders, Sasha nodded contentedly.
“Sophie’s decision was correct. The chief of Lippner also did well.”
Two ships were sunk. There were probably a considerable number of injured. Sophie thought that it would take too much time to board them on a ship and send that ship ahead. Therefore, it should be better to let the ship, which was lightened, go ahead, prepare and send the doctors and medicines as quickly as possible.
The servant heaved a sigh of relief to Sasha’s condition, and continued the report.
The black-haired Vanadis, who heard the part that Tigre fell into the sea and was missing, put on a serious expression as expected. Of course, she was worried about the youth, but the effect that it would have on Zchted would be hardly small.
If it came to light that Zchted made Tigre an emissary, naturally Brune would violently protest. Even regarding the country, there was no way that Vanadis like Ellen and Mira, and the aristocrats, who harbored discontent towards the King of Zchted Victor, would remain silent.
Even if it were not to develop up to war or civil war, it was fully conceivable that Muozinel nearby could try to expand the crack done inside and outside the country.
“Anyway, we should send a messenger to the royal capital. After that, gather warships in Lippner. Even if Lord Tigrevurmud defeated the badvasea dragon, we cannot relax yet. I also wanted to hear about Asvarre, but…… I suppose that I should first get the permission from His Majesty for that.”
After saying up to there and showing a little hesitation, Sasha added in a calm voice.
“Also send a messenger to Elizavetta of Lebus. She should also be notified.”
The servant deeply bowed his head. It could not be said that the relationship between the Vanadis Elizavetta Fomina and Sasha was good. They even fought against each other last year regarding the matter of the pirates’ subjugation. Sasha, unable to move because of her disease, unavoidably asked Ellen’s help.
That conflict was still fresh in people’s memory, and the people of Legnica, who harbored antipathy towards Lebus and its ruler Elizavetta, were not few. Though Sasha was aware of it, even so she arranged it so that Lebus might also be informed.
“Well then, what should I do about Ellen……?”
She remembered the smiling face of the silver-haired Vanadis, who was happily talking about Tigre, when they met last year. Tigre was officially a guest, and Ellen was supposed to play the role of entertainment. However, it was clear that their relation was not only limited to this.
---It will be hard……
When she imagined the shock that this would give to Ellen, her chest hurt; but Sasha, as one of the Vanadis, had to tell her. Looking up at the ceiling and putting her thoughts in order, she said to the servant.
“Prepare a writing brush and a paper. I will write a letter.”
“If you could tell about the contents, the secretary would─”
“No, there will be no meaning if I don’t write it myself.”
Interrupting the servant’s proposal in a strong tone, Sasha shook her head. Ellen might come to understand, but she did not count too much on it. Besides, since it concerned Tigre, even Sasha could not predict what kind of development would be shown from now on.
As a Vanadis and as the ruler of Legnica, she had to keep doing her best.
Two days later after the arrival of escort ship, which was sent ahead, the ship, on which Sophie and the others rode, arrived at the port town of Lippner.
“Sophia-sama, Olga-sama, it is good to see you return safe above all.”
The PresuvetBrilliant Princess of the Light Flower courteously expressed her gratitude to the chief of Lippner, who showed at the port in order to welcome them.
“We are grateful to you from the bottom of our heart. Thanks to your quick response, many people did not lose their life.”
Next to Sophie, Olga likewise conveyed words of gratitude.
After that, as the chief of Lippner and Matvey faced each other, they smiled and tapped each other’s shoulder. The two men were old friends; this alone was enough to show that they were pleased with their reunion.
While walking towards the port, the head of Lippner and Sophie talked about the future.
“I am aware that you are very busy, but how about you rest here at least for today. I cannot say that we have enough to accommodate persons such as Vanadis-sama, but we have prepared a hotel.”
She had been aboard on a ship, which was full of injured and for a long sea trip. There was no way she would not be tired. However, Sophie refused the offer of the chief of Lippner with a gentle smile.
“Thank you. But, as you said, there are several things that we must do as quickly as possible. We appreciate the concern...... If I say that, we will be a little upside.”
The golden-haired Vanadis jokingly said so and continued to speak.
“Could you lend us about seven or eight horses? And also enough food and water for the trip from this town to the Imperial Palace.”
Sophie, Olga and Matvey with two horses each. And the remaining horse would carry the loads. The chief of Lippner, who understood her intention, replied “right away”.
Behind the two people, Olga was listening to the conversation with a serious expression. As a Vanadis, there were a lot of things that she must learn. And Matvey was heartwarmingly watching that Olga.
Then after approximately one koku, Sophie, Olga and Matvey left Lippner. They let the chief of Lippner take care of the escort ships and the injured.
While scampering on horses in the highway leading to the Imperial Palace, Sophie slightly bowed her head to Matvey.
“I am very sorry for getting you involved in this. Matvey-dono.”
“Please, don’t worry about it. Since making a report to Alexandra-sama is also in the scope of my work.”
Though the scary-looking sailor replied so in all sincerity, he felt bad not to speak words of consideration to a beautiful woman like Sophie. However, he immediately recovered his serious expression.
“By the way, it’s not sure that we will be able to meet Alexandra-sama, but……”
Sophie should know that Sasha was sick in bed. Saying so as to confirm, the golden-haired Vanadis clouded up her expression.
“It couldn’t be helped if we can’t meet her. I will only pass a letter to Sasha, and Olga and I will head to the capital. We must make a report to His Majesty.”
Saying up to there, Sophie looked back with a troubled face. She was not looking at Olga, but the horse, whose reins she was holding, and which carried the loads. Among these loads, there were the souvenirs that Tigre bought in Asvarre. Fortunately, they escaped from sinking into the sea; they were deposited to an escort ship.
Though Tigre’s face flashed across her mind, and her pupils of beryl were about to get wet with tears, Sophie replied. Before shedding tears after thinking of him, there were things that she had to do. It was not her principle to just cry without even accomplishing them.
“I will take care of that. On his behalf, to the people, who should receive it──”
Probably inferring from Sophie’s gaze, Olga quickened her horse’s pace and lined up with her.
“I’ll do it. No, let me do it.”
The light pink-haired girl’s face was no less sincere than Sophie’s. Similarly, she was strongly yearning that she wanted to do something for Tigre. However, Sophie shook her head.
“There are a lot of things you have to do from now on. I don’t want to speak cowardly like this, but do you think Tigre would wish for it?”
Olga looked downward grimly. Deeply coloring her expression were frustration and grief of not being able to do anything for Tigre. Though Sophie was feeling sorry for her, even so, only this she did not intend to leave it to her.
---First Sasha. And then it will be Ellen, Lim, Mira and Teita. Afterwards, I think there is also Rurick of Ellen’s place…… Well, I will know once I confirmed to Lim.
When thinking about their reaction, it was not far from daunting even Sophie, who was their friend. If Olga would be living as a Vanadis from now on, she (Sophie) should avoid as much as possible that this 14-year-old girl held a bad impression of Ellen and Mira.
Even so, to Olga, who did not completely give up, Matvey spoke as to calm her.
“Olga-dono. Let's leave this to Sophia-dono.”
Within these unadorned words, a lot of emotions were sealed. The former sailor also wanted to do something for Tigre. However, he chose to leave it to Sophie. Noticing it, Olga finally gave in.
The trio was able to meet Sasha without difficulty.
The Imperial Palace was made of solid structure, which mixed white marble here and there, and its foundation piled up sand-colored stones. Sophie, Olga and Matvey were guided to her bedroom, which was deep inside. Though Matvey took off his sword and left it into custody, Sophie and Olga had respectively ZahtLight Flower and MumaRoaring Demon in their hands.
Though as usual Sasha was in the posture where she raised her body on top of the bed, when she saw Sophie, she brightened her eyes and revealed a bashful smile. Sophie also returned a smile, walked up to her and gently embraced her.
“You have lost a little weight. Do you eat properly?”
“There’s no problem. You also, didn’t you eat too much delicious things and slightly gain weight?”
“A fine thing to say. But, you should be alright if you are able to joke like that.”
Sophie was 21 years old and Sasha is 22 years old, one year older than her. The only other Vanadis in her twenties was Valentina. Perhaps due to that, between Sophie and Sasha, There was a friendship with a somewhat different aspect from that of Ellen and the others.
And then Sophie introduced Olga. This was the first time that Olga met Sasha, and though her pupils of obsidian were filled with tension, she dignifiedly introduced herself.
“I am Olga Tamm, the Vanadis chosen by MumaRoaring Demon and granted the land of Brest by His Majesty.”
Sasha held out her hand and replied “Nice to meet you”. Olga nodded and grabbed back that hand.
Then Matvey got down on a knee in front of Sasha. The black-haired Vanadis expressed short the words of gratitude “good work” with a smile. The white beluga decorated on the big man’s back trembled with joy.
After they had finished the greetings, Sophie handed over Tigre’s present. Though she did not think “even if it is not now”, and taking Sasha’s disease into consideration, she could not leisurely do something like “let’s first watch the situation”.
When Sasha received the cushion, which had a pattern peculiar to Asvarre, she used it right away. She also replaced her pillows.
“Thank you. I will use it with great care.”
Sasha without touching Tigre, and there was no shadow fell over her smile. It was obvious that it was in consideration for the visitors; Olga and Matvey silently cast their eyes down.
Though Sophie quietly closed her eyes as if praying to the gods, after a short pause, she expressed her usual smile. With her usual tone, she talked about the events of Asvarre and the fight in the ship at their return.
Though Sasha nodded from time to time, following the story about the civil war of Asvarre, and about Torbalan and the badvasea dragon with great exuberance and interest, she knitted her brows and asked a question.
“Then, the badvasea dragon was obeying that Demon and had attacked you?”
“That Demon was calling me ‘the axe’ and Tigre the ‘bow’.”
Olga talked about the fight against Torbalan in the Fort Lux while conceiving the strong fighting spirit in her eyes.
“I think that it has something to do with the ViraltDragonic Tool.”
“To think that such a thing happened in Asvarre!”
“I cannot say for sure, but I feel that it was just a coincidence that that Demon was living in Asvarre.”
It was Sophie, who replied so to Sasha’s doubt.
“There are many unnatural points. Although he has sided with Prince Elliot at first, when the Prince was defeated, he abandoned him without even trying to rescue him. Even when the badvasea dragon, which was under his control, attacked us, I did not feel the impression that he attacked us for revenge.”
“What about the possibility of him working with Princess Guinevere or Lord Tallard?”
“If that was the case, then the explanation of Lord Tallard assaulting the Fort Lux doesn’t stick. It would have been good just to pretend to attack. Despite taking the trouble to disguise himself as a human and melting into Asvarre, I can’t think of a reason, why he would reveal his real nature.”
Sasha unusually frowned, folded her arms and lost herself in thought. Sophie said as to calm her.
“There are too few materials to think about it now. Let’s hear what Ellen and Mira will say next time.”
“……You’re right. If it’s Mira, she might know something.”
The mother and the grandmother of Ludmira Lurie alias Mira were both Vanadis, who had wielded the LaviasFrozen Wave. Vanadis over three generations of mother daughter was something unprecedented even in the history of Zchted. Therefore, the possibility that she had learned what was not passed down in other Vanadis was high.
In a place where the talk was just reaching the conclusion, the door was knocked from the outside. It was the sound that marked the end of time of the black-haired Vanadis’ talk with Sophie and the others. Sophie muttered regretfully.
“Time went by quickly.”
“But, I think we were able to speak about the important things. Thank you.”
As she thanked the golden-haired Vanadis, Sasha turned her gaze towards Olga.
“Just to be curious, but can I ask you something?”
Olga nodded; the black-haired Vanadis, eight years older than her, gently asked with an expression similar to that of an elder sister to her younger sister.
“I heard that you had traveled for a long time. What brought you to come back now?”
A hard silence fell in the place. Sophie held her mouth with her hand with wide eyes; Matvey at loss for words, watched the course of events.
Speaking of Olga, who was asked the question, after frowning for a moment as if she would burst into tears, she immediately recovered her deadpan and gazed at Sasha. The black-haired Vanadis was quietly waiting for a reply with a smile.
---Though I said that it was just to be curious.
Judging that it seemed to be different from the interest in her meaning to dislike her, Olga opened her mouth.
“……In the battle of Asvarre, I have been watching the whole time.”
That Olga earlier looked like she was about to cry was because she remembered Tigre.
“’Let’s do what we have to do’. Tigre had said so, and I have come to agree with it. I want to stand by Tigre’s side.”
Straightening her back, Olga stated in an utmost grown-up tone, but Sophie and Matvey, who were listening to her on the side, had a very frustrating expression.
Words were not enough to describe it. At least for Matvey, who acted together with her since their departure from the port town of Lippner, was able to scoop her feelings from those words.
Whether she felt it from the look of the two adults, or she realized the insufficiency of her words, after a time of about five counts, the light pink-haired girl added.
“Even if I say that I want to be by his side, I don’t mean that I want to be acknowledged by Tigre. How much in difficulty or despair I am before the things that stand in my way, I will do what I have to do without fear and without running away. It’s what I mean. ---And then.”
Olga gently raised the MumaRoaring Demon with its blade downward that she was holding, with both hands.
“Muma had patiently waited for someone like me. Though it might be late with the people of my land……”
The light pink-haired Vanadis repeated in a firm tone, what she once said to Sophie.
Sasha expressed her gratitude with a smile.
“Thank you. It was a sudden question, but I’m glad to have asked it.”
Promising to meet again on another occasion, the trio left from Sasha’s bedroom.
It was the next day of when bad news had jumped in the Imperial Palace of Legnica.
“We receive a report that a group of large-scale vesuropaddle ships, moving on the sea in a distance of about five or six days from Lippner to the west, was confirmed. They number seventy to eighty ships.”
It seemed to have created agitation. The civil officer, who received that information, breathlessly reported to the servant with a pale face. Similarly, the servant, who heard it, became speechless and swallowed his words.
A vesuropaddle ship referred to a galley ship, which pirates commonly used. Though it required manpower, unlike a sailing ship, which easily moved by the influence of the wind, it was possible to freely move it.
Legnica, whose significant portion of territory faced the sea, had until now continued to be exposed frequently to pirates’ attacks.
However, a number of eighty ships was unheard of. It was a number equivalent to the naval forces of a small country, or more.
“Isn’t it perhaps a fleet of our country, or Brune, or Asvarre?”
Though he (servant) clung to that gleam of hope and checked, the civil officer shooked his head so vigorously that the sweat on his face splashed.
“They did not seem to float a flag or a banner of any country. The merchant ships that were passing were altogether attacked, even now in the scope of our knowledge, they considerably increase their number……”
This time, they could not afford to invade other countries like Brune or Asvarre. The lineup of those who were boarding the ships seemed to vary; they were also not people from Muozinel. There were pirates.
It was just one koku after Sophie and Olga left for the capital and Matvey for Lippner; when the servant came to his senses, he kicked the floor, an act, which was unworthy of his age.
He had to report about such important news to Sasha. And as quickly as possible. He could not afford to hesitate or worry.
He wanted to scream loudly “What is happening?”. Whether it be this or the matter of the badvasea dragon, why did troublesome things have to occur one after another at such a time?
---Why does it not let Alexandra-sama quietly rest?
He tapped his trembling knees, wiped the sweat blurring on his forehead with the hem of his cloth, and decided to at least feign the calmness. If he was himself agitated, it would just only add unnecessary anxiety.
Though the servant had gone at the time when he always woke up Sasha, he was a half koku earlier than usual today. Knocking the door while saying “excuse me”, he gave his name.
He was surprised at the immediate response. He wondered since when she was awake. Slightly relieved for not having disturbed her sleep, the servant opened the door.
The bedroom, which he was seeing every day. On top of the bed placed in a corner of the room, as expected Sasha was up as usual. There was no sign that she was sleeping until just now. The servant respectfully bowed and quietly set his feet in the room.
As he reported the pirates’ appearance, the bedroom, which was made slightly dusky in consideration for the owner of the room, was wrapped in a strange silence.
“……Call the maid chief. I will have her help me change my clothes.”
With an atmosphere that calmly got rid of the silence, rather than breaking it, the black-haired Vanadis said.
“It doesn’t matter how many people may be used, but let all the port towns on the coast know about this. Also send someone to the capital. And then, gather the warships in the port town of Lippner. The rowers and the soldiers, too. They must have already been gathered with the matter of the badvasea dragon though.”
There was tension in her voice. The servant unintentionally stared wide-eyed. He wondered how long had passed since he had first heard Sasha speaking like this.
“How many ships can be prepared in two days?”
It was because the distance from this Imperial Palace to Lippner was roughly two days that Sasha asked so. The servant answered to her question with a cautious tone.
“It’s a guess, but I would say about more than thirty and less than forty.”
“It would be about that much, huh. Send a messenger to Lebus. To tell that they scrape up together only the warships that can move right now. Since a matter other than the matter of the badvasea dragon, even she would not think that it’s other people’s affairs.”
“If we continuously send messengers like this, even sarcasm might return as an answer.”
As the servant heaved a sigh, Sasha smiled as to comfort him.
“As well in the fire as in the storm, even people who hate each other, would respond in cooperation. Let’s think that it’s the same as it.”
After the servant smiled wryly and responded “understood”, he suddenly had a bad feeling. If it was the usual Sasha, before giving orders like this, she should have first called the person, to whom she would leave the command.
However, those lines did come yet from her mouth. He timidly asked.
“Who……will take the command?”
“I will take it.”
Sasha answered as if it was a matter of course; the servant distorted his face, which was likely to burst into tears at any moment, and held his head.
Taking straight the gaze of the servant, who uttered a blaming voice, the black-haired Vanadis said.
“Yes. I’m a Vanadis. It’s in order to protect this Legnica and Zchted. So, let me go.”
The twin swords, which were on her lap, gave off a golden light as if welcoming her fighting spirit.
Though Sasha’s voice was by no means emotional, but calm, it looked like the shine of the strong will emitted in her pupils could not be ignored.
But, even so the old servant, without giving up, moved one step ahead. Even if he was to suffer a temporary anger from her, he believed that he should not let her go.
“With a body afflicted with disease, what can you do?”
“I can at least be in the battlefield.”
“The disease will─”
“It’s a body that will someday die.”
Interrupting the servant’s words, Sasha smiled. If there was something like a transparent smile without an ounce of impurity, it would probably be this. Though the servant almost unintentionally resigned, he tapped his trembling knees on top of his clothes and stared at his Lord.
“What do you think a Vanadis should do?”
Sasha suddenly asked. Taken aback, the servant could not answer right away. While dropping a gentle gaze to the twin swords in her hands, the black-haired Vanadis continued.
A Vanadis is chosen by the ViraltDragonic Tool. It is not inherited by blood like in the royalty and titled nobility.
The people of this Legnica were entrusted to me by the King when I became Vanadis.
Then, is there nothing that I inherit from the previous generation Vanadis?
Is there nothing that I can pass to the next generation Vanadis?
“It’s only my thought though. Finally what I should do is not to die in my sleep on the bed. But to show to the person, who will wield this BargrenLuminous Flame after me. To show her what a Vanadis is. What did the previous generation Vanadis accomplish? Did she do what she believed that she should do?”
As if responding to its master’s will, the twin swords with different colors were tinged with light. Though Sasha’s smile remained as it is, the servant overwhelmed finally moved backward (resigned).
“That’s why ── I will fight.”
The servant painfully clenched his teeth and desperately looked for words of persuasion. But, it seemed that whatever he said, he would not be able to return the present Sasha on the bed.
He even considered putting sturdy soldiers on guard at the door of her bedroom and not letting her go out, but he concluded that it would be useless. Since the master of the soldiers was not the servant, but Sasha.
Rather, they would be happy to fight under her command. As there were a mountain of such people he happened to know, the servant questioned such people from a certain thought.
The servant finally compromised. But he presented one condition.
“If you can also command Vanadis-sama of Lebus, then…...”
So that the soldiers’ morale do not get any lower, it was in a sense a natural measure.
If the enemy was pirates with eighty ships, it was no longer a battle of subjugation. If anything should happen to Sasha in the midst of that battle, the soldiers would be upset, and there would also be the possibility for them to flee.
However, if Elizavetta were there, such a disaster could be prevented. Since, aside from the friction between Sasha and her, Elizavetta was also a Vanadis.
Sasha revealed a smile, which seemed to say “is that all?” and nodded.
“Understood. Though I think that she will come even if I don’t ask since she is serious, I will ask her.”
To these words, the servant stared at his Lord with a surprised expression. The civil officer, who received instructions with a countenance of excitement, was waiting to leave, and frankly asked what he thought.
“Do you evaluate Vanadis-sama of Lebus?”
“She also has both good and bad points in her own way. She/I doesn’t admit it.”
Sasha added “it’s a secret” in an impish tone.
Shortly thereafter, the maid chief came for the change of clothes, and the servant bowed and left.
“Do what one should do……huh.”
While putting on a black battle outfit, Sasha muttered in a low voice. Showing a smile to the maid chief, who looked puzzled, she shook her head saying “it’s nothing”.
What came to the mind of the black-haired Vanadis was Tigre. She thought that she wanted to talk more with him.
When she appeared in the courtyard of the Imperial Palace, fifty soldiers were waiting in line. All of them wore leather armor, put on a hat reinforced in iron scraps on their head, held a spear and were wearing a small sword to the waist. It was an outfit suited for a battle by the sea. In the sea, both heavy armor and long sword would get in the way.
The servant was standing at their vanguard. Bowing to Sasha, who was, as expected, surprised, he explained.
“Vanadis-sama, those are people, who would by all means like you to take them with you.”
“Their dexterity is good.”
Sasha chuckled. About one koku had passed since she had said that she would go on the battlefield. Considering also including the personnel selection, unless she did not decide it beforehand, they should not have been able to prepare up to the equipment and stand by.
“Since Vanadis-sama is still young.”
The servant forcibly broke his wrinkled face.
“Dreaming of the time when you will someday lead us and have series of discussions with the knight captains and the others, and have been re-selected them every year.”
Sasha was really surprised this time. She did not notice. She raised her face and ran her line of sight to the fifty men. Every face was also filled with fearlessness.
“Are you all right with me?”
Finally, she returned to her old self. One of the knights let a happy feeling spread in his eyes.
“The ViraltDragonic Tool chooses the Vanadis. We know it. But, we are serving a human (not a tool).”
All the knights, who were here, were in a certain sense people symbolizing the Vanadis Alexandra Alshavin.
It was one of the results she got by the fact that she had racked her brain and made every possible effort for the government of Legnica even while afflicted by disease.
The wind blew, disheveled Sasha’s forelock, and rustled her battle outfit. The black-haired Vanadis cast her eyes down and quickly wiped her face, pretending to mend her forelock.
And when she lifted her head, the smile had disappeared from her face. Her eyes retaining a drive, which was in no way inferior to that of the knights, she declared in a very loud voice, which could not be imagined coming from her delicate body.
“From here on, we will defeat the pirates! In order to protect this land and his people, I expect of you all to put up a good fight!”
The fifty men answered to the Vanadis’ shout (cry) with cheers.
Sasha left the Imperial Palace accompanied by the knights, and rode the horse to the port town of Lippner.
At that time, Ellen, who was told the unvarnished truth, was in a awful state.
The glow from her silver hair shining bathing in the sunlight was lost and looked like gray; her hair was disheveled like a worn-out broom, and her expression was nothing but dark.
Though it was five days ago that there were the first changes, it was not awful to this degree at the time.
It was three days ago that she showed a rapid deterioration. And then as the days went by yesterday and today, the silver-haired Vanadis showed a change to the extent that it even shocked the knights and the maids, who had served her for years. From her pupils, reminiscent of the best ruby, shine disappeared and took the color of dried blood, and there were slightly dark circles on her eyelids.
It was such a state that there was no room even for the soldiers and the maids to candidly call out to her.
Regarding the messenger from the capital and the territory people, who brought a petition, she fixed her appearance, straightened her back, tightened her face and splendidly dealt with them as a Vanadis. But, when it came only to those around her, who knew her, she would immediately behave like an exhausted old cat.
Though the people, who worked at the Imperial Palace, asked for an explanation to Limlisha, who was Ellen’s adjutant, Lim was not able to give a satisfied answer.
“About the rule, a situation, which afflicted Eleonora-sama, has occurred. But, since it won’t last like that for many days, I would appreciate if you diligently worked in your duties as usual. Eleonora would also want it.”
Though Lim felt indignation towards her incompetence as she could only spit out such conventional words, she also had no other measures, which could be adopted.
Even Teita, the maid who served Tigre, was worried about Ellen; what she could only do was to make pastry and pass it to Lim. Saying that she wanted Ellen to eat it. Despite inwardly holding mixed feelings, Lim expressed her gratitude and received it.
It began five days ago. Messengers from the capital Silesia showed up respectively here and Olmutz in the south. Since the content they expressed was pretty much the same, it was about the fact that they should look out for the south and had to be ready so that they could take out the soldiers at any time.
In the south of Zchted was the Kingdom of Muozinel. The people’s skin there was brown, and it was a country, which was continuing the slavery even now in the neighboring countries. Since their current King was particularly belligerent, Zchted and Muozinel had many times crossed swords.
It seemed that one hundred thousand soldiers of that Muozinel began to move near the borderline of both countries. Though Zchted sent right away a messenger to ask them what their purpose was, they did not stop there. There was also the need to look out for the south in preparation for a sudden attack.
Speaking of the Vanadis who was in the south of the Kingdom of Zchted, there were the two persons of Ludmira Lurie who governed Olmutz, and Sophia Obertas who governed Polesia. However, Sophie was currently heading towards the capital from Legnica.
Therefore, the request came to Ellen of LeitMeritz. If the one hundred thousand soldiers were to cross the border and invade the country, Mira and Ellen were to ambush the enemy.
Although Ellen looked displeased, she ordered Lim and the knights to make preparations so that the soldiers could move at any time. Normally, she would have said ‘don’t joke by asking me to fight side by side with Mira, with who I’m on very bad terms’.
But, one hundred thousand enemies were an opponent who would not permit such selfishness. Ellen was at least aware of that.
And three days ago. This time, a letter of Sasha arrived from Legnica.
When she received the letter, which was carefully sealed with beeswax, Ellen could only think ‘it’s really exaggerated’. In the office, where she was with only Lim, she broke the seal, and looked over the letter inside.
The silver-haired Vanadis complexion changed.
Lim, who noticed the change in Ellen, anxiously called out to her. Ellen, without saying anything, pushed to her the letter that she had finished reading. Lim received the letter while being perplexed.
And this time it was her turn to become appalled.
Tigrevurmud Vorn fell into the sea during the return from Asvarre and is missing.
Though most of the sentences that Sasha wrote, were to comfort and cheer Ellen, and claimed that there was still hope, the silver-haired Vanadis could barely bear to shout as dictated by her feelings.
“What, is this……?”
Tightly clasping her hands so strongly that her fingernails were digging in her palms and blood oozed, Ellen furiously cursed herself who let Tigre go to Asvarre about one month ago.
It was the voice of the eager Lim, who calmed her down.
“Eleonora-sama. I do not mean to complain about the content of Alexandra-sama’s letter, but with only one letter, we cannot judge just about everything. Besides, the situation may change again now.”
Though for Lim, Tigre was like a disciple, whom she was looking forward to growth, and the shock she received was also great, she was rather able to keep her composure and calmed down Ellen so that her feelings did not rampage any more than this.
As she soon settled down to the extent that she could think straight, Ellen asked Lim something to drink.
“Strong alcohol would be good.”
“It is still daytime.”
The voice of Lim, who briefly responded, was cold; it was because she was inwardly feeling the same way. However, the Imperial Palace’s Lord and her adjutant must not get drunk when it was still daytime.
She took out something mixed with honey and squeezed the grapevine in cold water. When Ellen swallowed it in a mouthful and sighed, she said to Lim with a wry look, which she had never shown so far.
“How will we tell this…… to Teita?”
Lim, who was also preparing one drink for herself, stood motionless with her mouth wide-opened. Though she did not let the bottle of honey that she had in her hand fall, she unintentionally inclined too much the frighteningly too sweet drink in the glass.
Teita was not just a maid. She was a girl, who had lived together with Tigre since he was little, served him as a maid when the youth became a feudal lord, and bravely followed him and acted as his personal care when it was decided that Tigre would live in LeitMeritz.
Both Ellen and Lim also knew that she was harboring feelings beyond the master-servant relation for Tigre. After Tigre left for Asvarre, whenever Teita was worrying about her master and her small chest hurt, it was Ellen or Lim, who comforted and cheered her up.
With that reason alone, they could not arrive at a conclusion. It was by no means because Ellen and Lim were indecisive, or the width of their thinking was narrow, it was just that they could not come up with a concrete plan.
“……How about we observed the situation for the time being?”
Before long, Lim made the suggestion that they could only put it off, which was unlike her. Ellen also accepted it with a bitter face. They were the only two persons who read the letter from Sasha. They could not spoke of it to anyone, since they did not know from where it would leak out.
“You’re right. Sooner or later, it will be widely known that the civil war of Asvarre is over……”
“Yes. Anyway, until then, we will leave it at that Lord Tigrevurmud has not yet returned from his trip……”
Though the two decided so for the time being, they did not work at all that day. Even if she took the documents in her hands, she did not feel inclined to follow the characters, and got the wrong passage when trying to head somewhere. Even when the meal was prepared, she did not even touch it; and when she realized, everything, even the soup, had cooled down.
And then today. This time, it was the servant, who served Sasha, who sent a letter.
---I wonder if it’s a follow-up report concerning Tigre.
She thought so, but if it was the case, she did not understand why it was not a letter from Sasha, but from the servant. Although Ellen looked puzzled, she broke the seal.
At this time, Ellen knew that pirates were heading towards Zchted with a large fleet of eighty vessels. And also that Sasha went to the battlefield.
---What is the meaning of this? I haven’t heard that she was feeling better.
The servant continued by writing up that he did not tell Sasha about this letter. That though it was a selfish wish, whether she could ascertain Sasha’s battle.
『It seems that Alexandra-sama has chosen the battlefield as a place where she wants to die. Even if we are her retainers, we are not that person’s friends. I humbly ask to Eleonora-sama, who is that person’s friend. I wonder if you could come over to the port town of Lippner. 』
The servant had probably written this letter with the thought like spitting blood. The last characters of the letter were awfully warped.
What he wanted for Ellen was not to help Sasha, but to ascertain her battle.
Lim, who read the letter after Ellen, said in a serene tone as a matter of fact.
“Please go to Lippner.”
“Lim. What are you saying……?”
Ellen was about to retort, but she unintentionally swallowed her following words before Lim’s blue eyes.
“While presumptuous, I will take care of the response to the south. Nobody but Eleonora-sama can take the role to run to Alexandra-sama’s side.”
Ellen was confused as Lim said so in an unusually firm tone. There was no way that she did not want to go. However, if Muozinel were to move during Ellen’s absence, it would be concern with the fate of Zchted itself.
Ellen’s red eyes usually filled with brightness trembled with hesitation and anxiety. Still, Lim spoke vehemently.
“Let’s suppose that Eleonora-sama does not move from here. And then we heard news of Alexandra-sama’s death. Would you still be able to make a decent judgment? With just the matter of Lord Tigrevurmud, that we only know that he is missing, you have been shaken up like this.”
“……I don’t want to hear that from you.”
Though Ellen was indeed angry and glared at her adjutant, who was older than her and also her best friend, she immediately relaxed her shoulders and made an awkward smile.
As she got rid of her hesitation, her decision was quick. To that answer, Lim nodded contentedly.
“Please, take care.”
On that day, Ellen rode the horse, left the Imperial Palace and headed towards the north. Just innocently galloping in the highway. And just wishing to make it in time to Sasha’s battle.
When following the highway to the north from Legnica and crossed the very large river of Valta, one entered in Lebus. It was the land which the Vanadis Elizavetta Fomina governed. Although Legnica was still filled with the air of autumn, signs of winter had already started drifting in Lebus.
It was several days later after Sasha headed to the port town of Lippner that Elizavetta had gathered her main subordinates in the conference room of the Imperial Palace and spoke of the departure for the front.
A blazing fire was burning in the fireplace made of brick geared towards one section of the walls. The windows were closed so as not to let the warm air escape; therefore, one could hardly say that the room was bright. Elizavetta and nearly ten subordinates were surrounding a huge table of walnut.
“Will you accept the request of Legnica?”
To her subordinates, who were surprised, Elizavetta nodded with a face, which said “of course”.
“We also receive a report from the port within this territory that a large army of pirates were seen, right? So it would be natural to crush them before the territory people encounter damage.”
Swaying her red hair, which reached down to her waist, the Lord of Lebus smiled. She would be 18 years old this year. Although just like the other Vanadis, she also had nicknames such as “IsgrifaFlash Princess of the Thunder Swirl” and “KuntosDanseuse of the Whip”, Elizavetta was not less called by another nickname.
“LazirisRainbow Eyes”. Those, who had eyes of different colors in left and right, were called so in Zchted.
The golden pupil in Elizavetta’s right eye and the blue pupil in her left eye were shining. Before that, her rich body also piled up many pieces fabrics and the impression of her fancy dress using frills or races grew dim.
Regarding the story that a badvasea dragon appeared a few days ago, what was necessary was just to call for caution to the port town in the territory of Lebus; but if the opponents were the pirates, then it was a different issue.
She did not hear the talk that a badvasea dragon appeared near the port town, but that the pirates would attack the port town. She had to repulse them as the Lord of Lebus and as a Vanadis.
---Besides, there is one thing that bothers me.
Elizavetta once again looked over the letter from Sasha. It was certainly written that Sasha herself would lead the soldiers and ride on a ship.
The shock that this sentence gave to Elizavetta was by no means small. It said that afflicted by a disease, Alexandra Alshavin, who had always been in her bedroom, went to the battlefield.
---I haven’t heard at all that she recovered from her disease. Even if she has recovered to the extent of being able to take command in a battlefield, such rumors should have also reached my ears though.
Elizavetta wanted to confirm Sasha’s condition with her own eyes.
“But, don’t we take over without applying any conditions?”
The complaint of one of the subordinates, who seemed to be dissatisfied, pulled back to reality Elizavetta, who was immersed in her thoughts. Similarly the people of Lebus also had hard feelings against the people of Legnica. Also regarding Sasha, there were a lot of people, who spoke ill behind her back of the fact that a sick person was calling herself Vanadis.
“If Vanadis-sama there also goes to the front, shouldn’t we let them go through hardships there for about a day or two?"
“I think so too. Although the battlefield may be a Knight’s honor, it’s not something to willingly shoulder a heavy burden.”
It was when the subordinates enthusiastically further tried to persuade their Lord. To the sound, which cut through the air, the sound of something hard firmly hitting the stone floor sharply followed. The flame of the fireplace flickered.
As Elizavetta wielded the whip in her hand, her subordinates immediately understood.
The red-haired Vanadis stood up from the chair before one knew and scowled at her subordinates. The jet black whip in her hand, wore a golden light that seemed to be blown off flying if touched, and was quietly shining.
This was the ViraltDragonic Tool, which made Elizavetta Vanadis. She only used (wielded) this whip, which was called the ValitsaifThunder Swirl, on the enemy. But, there was no one among her subordinates, who did not know how frightening it was.
The conference room fell silent as if the enthusiasm until a while ago was a lie. Looking around with her two-color pupils at her subordinates, who kept quiet almost simultaneously, Elizavetta smiled contentedly.
“I love to force trouble on a hateful other party. But – I hate to let a sick person work.”
Those, who understood that, especially the latter half of her lines, which was without falsehood her true feelings, were not in this place. However, struck by a thunder- like dignity contained in the tone of her voice, the subordinates stood from the chair and all together got down on a knee. Elizavetta forgave them by nodding generously.
“If Alexandra came out, I think that the morale of the soldiers of Legnica will be very high. Isn’t it rather necessary to display the military power of Lebus? At least it is my intention.”
Stirred up by the sense of rivalry, fire was burning in her subordinates’ fighting spirit. As Elizavetta confirmed it from their expressions, she ordered the departure after one koku.
The subordinates hurriedly left; Elizavetta, who was left alone in the conference room, gazed out at the fire of the fireplace. Suddenly, a question, which gushed forth, came out of her mouth.
“……I wonder what Eleonora will do, since Alexandra departs to the front.”
Multiple feelings intricately colored the two-color pupils of Elizavetta. Whenever she thought about Ellen, she would begin to recall it. The day when the two met for the first time, in a poor village of the countryside eight years ago. The remote past when the two were not Vanadis. And also the several incidents which occurred two years ago.
When she came to her senses, though she knew that she was alone in this place, Elizavetta ran her gaze to the surroundings, and then sharply tightened her expression. She shook her head to brush aside the question and the nostalgia.
She herself knew well that, when immersed in her memories, she was putting on a face just like a child who lost sight of his mother.
There were two kinds of warships owned by Legnica. Though both were galley ships, the size was different.
One was thin galley ship called ‘spear’. There was one mast and it could load one hundred twenty rowers and eighty soldiers. Anyway, one might say that the maneuverability was the merit of this kind of ship.
The other was large galley ship called ‘crossbow’ (rook). The ship itself was of a three-step structure, and there were two to three masts. It could load two hundred eighty rowers and one hundred fifty soldiers. Though its motion was stolid because the hull was big, it was also possible to stack catapults.
In fact, unless you were either a knight or a genuine sailor, you would not make a difference by calling them ‘spear’ or ‘crossbow’. The communication by calling them more violently ‘the big one’ and ‘the thin one’ was the mainstream.
By the way, there was no sailing ship. This was because the sailing ship, with which the motion was left to the wind, was unsuitable for a battle.
Regarding not only Legnica, but also Lebus, and the kingdoms such as Brune and Asvarre, the division of the warship was virtually similar. Though there were those who made ships and weapons of various structures, they never happened to become the mainstream on the battlefield.
The time that Sasha arrived at Lippner, there were already more than thirty warships in the port town impatiently waiting for the departure. Though the chief of Lippner saw Sasha, who was clad in her military outfit, and revealed a surprised expression, he immediately pulled himself together and respectfully bowed.
The black-haired Vanadis returned a smile, and then noticed a familiar figure standing beside the chief of Lippner. With short hair and a visibly tanned burnt skin. A black silk hat and a deep crimson overcoat wrapping his big frame. And above all, his look that might make a child cry just by making eyes contact.
“Vanadis-sama. Though I’m not a soldier but a mere former sailor, if you could give me permission, could you add me to the end of the line of battle?”
That man, who exaggeratedly bowed was Matvey. Sasha walked up to him and asked while shrugging her shoulders.
“You just came back from a long trip, right? Aren’t you tired?”
“It is as you say, but I did not rampage enough.”
Sasha, who noticed that fragments of sincere feelings were mixed to Matvey’s touch of humor, shortly asked. Matvey erased his smile and calmly replied.
“When the pirates’ subjugation ends, I would like to borrow one ship with food and water.”
He probably wanted to search for Tigre. Though he might actually want to go out to the sea even right now, as expected he could not set foot where eighty ships of pirates were loitering. Fighting under Sasha should be the quickest way.
“Understood. Then, I will have you be my personal attendant just during this war.”
Though Sasha quickly approved, not only Matvey, who was told this, but also the chief of Lippner standing nearby was surprised. As she smiled at the two men, the black-haired Vanadis immediately put on a serious expression, and confirmed what was necessary. The number of ships, the number of rowers, the number of soldiers, food and water, future weather and wind’s direction forecasts, and the area of the sea, where the enemy was last detected. There was a lot of things she should confirm.
Then after a half koku, the naval forces of Legnica left the port. The lineup was thirty one ‘spear’ ships and three ‘crossbow’ ships, and the best state ‘crossbow’ served as Sasha’s flagship.
Though it was less than half the number of pirates who learnt by hearsay, Sasha did not particularly mind.
“We will first go to the north along the continent and join the naval forces of Elizavetta. Even if the amount of material resources counts more in a naval battle than a land battle, by the time we are waiting to gather more than 80 ships with only Legnica, the damage would just expand.”
While taking the sea breeze on her body at the deck of the flagship, Sasha explained so to her subordinates. Besides, if it was along the continent, there was self-confidence that the people of the Legnica army were more familiar with the reefs and the flow of tide in the area.
The fleet of thirty-four vessels was advancing to the north by pushing its way through the deep blue sea.
Sasha was giving orders while sitting on a chair prepared on the deck. However, if their advance was going smoothly, she would not particularly break in. Silently, what was necessary was just to show the General Commander's figure to the sailors.
Although the sky was cloudless blue and the blazing sunlight was severe, Sasha did not go down in the cabin, and she continued to show her figure on the deck.
Though there were several reasons such as the pride of a Vanadis, which was the greatest (reason), and the fact that the gloomy cabin reminded her of her bedroom in the Imperial Palace, it was also because she liked to look at the sea absentmindedly while taking the sea breeze. In addition, there was also the fact that her condition did not particularly get worse since she left the Imperial Palace.
The morale of the soldiers and rowers was high due to the fact that the Vanadis was the General Commander, and Legnica army smoothly proceeded on the sea.
After Legnica army left for the sea, three days had passed since the ship, which left for scout, reported that it saw the figure of a group likely to be pirate ships. The pirate ships were around ten, and it was said that they had gone away as soon as they were detected from far away.
Sasha, who received the report, tightened her expression while leaving the calmness (staying calm).
“A few days from now, each military force will sound out each other.”
It was scheduled that they could join Lebus army led by Elizavetta tomorrow. Sasha, though not openly, was happy that she responded to the call.
---Lebus has also about thirty ships. Along with my naval forces, there are a little more than 60. I wonder if Elizavetta and I can fill the difference of nearly 20 ships with the pirates……
The sun set and the ships lowered the anchor and moored. Sasha was recommended to return to her cabin, but she said “only a little more”, put on a thick coat and still stayed on the deck.
Currently, there were only several guards beside her on the deck. The golden moon shining in the sky, was faintly illuminating the sea with the stars. Though the air had considerably gotten cold, since the two blades in Sasha’s waist freely began to warm their master, she did not feel that much cold.
“It’s too late to say it, but you don’t listen to me at all, eh?”
Sasha revealed a wry smile and stared at the golden and vermillion blades.
Though these two swords were with no doubt letting one think of flame and should actively be hearing what was said, whether they had good intentions and swiftly ran, there were quite a lot of things against which they turned a deaf ear to their master’s demand. Thus, their being in Sasha’s hands now, might be said to be the proof of it.
“Even though Ellen’s Arifal and Mira’s Lavias are more obedient…… At the time of the next Vanadis, I hope you’ll listen a little more to what she said──”
Sasha interrupted her words there. She brushed off the overcoat, and when she stood up from the chair, she was tightly grasping the twin swords to her waist with both hands. She felt an ominous presence.
Even the twin swords in her hands, coiling about crimson and golden flames on each blade, briskly emitted a warning. That something dangerous beyond imagination was close.
---The prow, huh……
Confirming that her hands and feet did not become stiff, Sasha walked to the prow. Even though it was on the top of a shaking ship, her steps were not different from walking on the ground.
As expected, one figure was standing there. The silhouette, which emerged dimly lighted by the moon, was that of a human. Though the age was unclear, the head with no hair was round and the physique was of medium build.
What was strange was that there was a sticky hostility released from that figure. It was clearly different to that of a human. It was not that of a beast, either. For an instant, Sasha even felt an illusion like she had strayed off (was lost) somewhere that was not this world.
Small sounds of dripping water struck Sasha’s ears at irregular intervals. Looking closely, the man was soaked from head to toe. That strange sound was due to water drops drooping from the hems of the man’s clothes and his fingertips.
---He came by swimming, huh. In this sea at night.
“……Who are you?”
Sasha asked of his identity with a sharp voice. As there was no reply, she asked a different question.
“What happened to the man who was here?”
There was always one person placed in the prow for lookout. There was no way that he would have not raised his voice after seeing someone suspicious. The man’s figure seemed to be laughing.
“Rather than a dead person, should you not worry about yourself? ──‘Twin Swords’.”
Though Sasha knitted her brows at the strange way of calling, recalling a certain thing, she quickly set up the twin swords. She glared at the figure and inquired.
“……Are you Torbalan?”
Olga had said so. That he was calling her ‘the axe’ and Tigre ‘the bow’.
Mixed with the sea breeze, a lukewarm air different from it was sprayed. Even though in ten steps away from the man’s figure, tension and heavy pressure, which were also similar to that in the presence of a wild beast, wrapped Sasha.
“Did you hear from ‘the axe’ and ‘the bishop’s staff’? In any case, it saves me the long talk.”
That man, who did not have any weapon and was not wearing an armor either, casually shortened the distance while joyfully laughing. The deck creaked to the strong stepping forward. At that time, Sasha also lowered her waist and kicked the deck.
“Though it’s far from my taste……but it’s a Vanadis! You shall become my sacrifice and lessen my stomach!”
At the same time with the cry, a tremendous miasma was released. The man’s eyes gave off a red light that was tinged with bloodlust, and the hempen clothes, which he was wearing, could not withstand the swelling from the inside and were torn up in countless number.
In a blink of an eye, the man’s body swelled up to more than twice to that of Sasha. The skin illuminated by the moon was eerie white to a disgusting extent. There was no body hair and there were three spiral-shaped horns on his forehead. The right half of his face was hideously burned, and from the left shoulder to the right breast, there was something like a scar, which was scooped by something.
---So this is a Demon……!
Though Sasha stared wide-eyed in surprise, even if she was petrified on the spot, it was just for an instant. The white strong arm, which was swung down aiming at Sasha, only pulverized the deck and dug a big hole. Within the wood chips blown away along with the destruction sound, only sparks were falling as if dancing.
In a place several steps away from Torbalan, Sasha was standing in a stance of crossing the twin swords. Though screams broke out from the sailors who were under the deck, the black-haired Vanadis ignored it. Since in this situation, whatever she might say would only foster the chaos.
While moving on top of the deck as if sliding, both gradually shortened the distance. Sasha kicked the floor with a high sound. A moment later, an invisible shockwave was released from the Monster’s whole body.
It, which was adjusted so as not to destroy the area at his feet, mercilessly smashed the prow and the gunwale, and blew barrels and number of passengers into small pieces. The dregs of flame, with which Sasha’s twin swords were tinged, were scattered and melted into the darkness.
Torbalan’s face was stained with suspicion. This was because there was no response.
The Demon swung his strong arm above. The shadow which slipped through the blow and fell, landed on the floor. Its identity was of course Sasha. Towards the black-haired Vanadis, who tried to take distance using the recoil of the landing, Torbalan released a shockwave in a flash without interval of time.
But, Sasha’s speed surpassed even that.
She dodged the shockwave in a dance-like movement and reestablished the twin swords in a place nearly ten steps away from the Demon. The flame which wrapped the blades, swept out the darkness by leaving a trail.
“Oh!” Torbalan raised a voice of admiration. Where Sasha was standing was literally one step forward of the range, in which the shockwave reached. In other words, it meant that she accurately saw through the effective range of the shockwave in a single glance.
Even if she knew about the shockwave since she heard about it from Olga, judging its effective range and avoiding it to the limit within this darkness was not common skill.
“It was the right choice to expressly come up to here. I think I will really enjoy it……”
At that time, something unusual happened to Torbalan’s right arm.
As the Demon’s arm got dislocated in the area of the elbow, a tip fell on the floor from the elbow along with a heavy sound. The cross-section was burnt black, and there was no gushing of blood.
The twin swords in Sasha’s hands each let flames of different colors vigorously rise up. As if displaying their master’s fighting spirit.
“──Next time, you will lose that unpleasant head.”
Setting up the two-color blades clad in flame, the CortisaPrincess of the Dancing Blades calmly said.
(To be continued.)
- since the civil war was over
- no signs of gloom
- influential people
- In Japanese, whereas 私 is used by all, 僕 is generally used only by men; hence Sasha who got accustomed to speak like a man started to employ such a word
- I think it meant that here, Sophie could not think something like ‘let’s first watch the situation and decide whether or not to give the present’
- they would lose their composure
- to the extent that her thoughts operated all right
- to express respect
- it’s like that that Torbalan called Sasha. By the way, he also called Tigre ‘the bow’ and Olga ‘the axe’. So I assume he would call Sophie and the others Vanadis by the weapons’ names they use
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