Masou Gakuen HxH:Volume 14 Chapter 4
Chapter 4 – Vatlantis’s Mother and Hero of Ill Fate
Several months after Gravel’s wedding ceremony.
At the palace of Vatlantis Empire, the new royal guard captain Hyakurath was swamped with work.
In the office that Zelcyone used in the past. Hyakurath was facing the desk with tearful eyes. Everyday paperwork was piled up on the massive desk like a mountain.
「Err, this is petition from the third unit……transfer request, punishment for violating rules……that’s right, I have to make the draft to review the rules……err, this is the military’s budgetary allocation for next year……it’ll take several days just for looking at this……」
When she had only just begun the work,
『So Zelcyone-sama was taking care of this much work. Amazing.』
She was impressed, but Clayda of Quartum said,
『No, she practically delegated all of it to each department.』
Hyakurath was speechless hearing Clayda saying that casually.
Then, if she was asked whether she could do the same, what if a great problem occurred in the future──thinking that, Hyakurath got scared and couldn’t copy Zelcyone.
『What did Zelcyone-sama do when a problem occurred?』
『She severely punished the one responsible.』
She also threw all the responsibility to her subordinate. Her doing such thing──just imagining it made her back shuddered.
As might be expected from the top leader of the whole army, every single one of the approval document was heavy. A single one of this document would greatly change the life of many. When she thought that, her stomach felt painful.
Even so it would still be alright if it was just deskwork.
Mercuria who was flipping the schedule register beside the desk checked the time.
「Hyakurath, it will be the departure ceremony of the western subjugation force soon. Please give a speech to increase the morale.」
Hyakurath’s face struck against the deck with bumping sound. Hyakurath asked with a weeping voice while keeping her face on the desk.
「To, today, that’ll be all……right? When it’s over, it’ll be fine to go home won’t it?」
Mercuria’s face twitched and she glared at the back of Hyakurath’s head.
「Don’t sleep talking. After that will be briefing the new soldiers, and then giving warning to rule offenders──you’ve to scare them to death.」
「I, I get it……but, after that」
「From the evening it’ll be a meeting with the generals of the subjugation army. It’ll be the confirmation of their duty for three months ahead. Question them harshly about the matter of their failure to subjugate the west’s insurrection army. Don’t you spoil them too much.」
「……My stomach feels painful.」
Hyakurath raised her face that looked like it would break crying even now.
「There is……still more?」
「At night it’ll be a party in the palace. Civil officials and big shots of financial world will gather there. Please give a speech that’ll make them think that their future will be bright if they do a favor for the military. Also display the dignity of the royal guard and make them swear an oath of allegiance to Grace-sama.」
「……I want, to go home……」
Mercuria pressed her forehead to endure her headache.
「Get a hold of yourself, Hyakurath. How long you’re going to speak childishly.」
Hyakurath gasped in realization and she smiled.
「Tha, that’s right. Won’t it be fine if Mercuria attend the meeting and give a speech in my place? I think Mel will be able to do a good job.」
Blood vessel pulsed on Mercuria’s forehead.
「Don’t speak like you got a good idea! How can the captain not do it herself!?」
「It’ll be fine! The vice captain can do it too!!」
「There’s no way it’s fine! You’re advertised as the face of the royal guard! What’ll happen if I’m the one who show up!? Besides you’re already a hero! Everyone is hoping for you to come and speak! Anyone else won’t cut it!」
Once she got the ball rolling, Mercuria’s dissatisfaction flooded out one after another.
「Even I wanted to pile up achievement in Tigris squad, and yet you appointed me as you please to become something like vice captain that doesn’t have any real authority! What I’m doing here is practically babysitting you!」
「Because……because, it’s impossible for me alone mon!」
Mercuria scratched her red hair roughly.
「AAAAAH! Don’t say mon like a child! Listen well, you absolutely mustn’t speak like that in public!!」
Tears finally spilled out from Hyakurath’s eyes.
「Don’t cry! I’m the one who want to cry!」
Hyakurath’s shrunk her shoulders and hung her head down.
「Do……do your best, do your best……Hyakurath……uu……」
Honestly, Mercuria also thought that this work didn’t suit Hyakurath’s personality. However at the same time she understood that the one who could do this work the best was also Hyakurath.
The war with other world was over and the Genesis was also resurrected. And then this was an important period where both Atlantis and Vatlantis Empire were stepping into a new situation. If they cut corners even just for a bit here, people with power would start rearing their head and aimed for hegemony. In fact, an insurrection was occurring at the countryside that was far away from the capital.
Right now Vatlantis Empire had to become one under Emperor Grace. Strong power was necessary for that. Hyakurath was the symbol of that.
Putting aside the person’s timidity, she possessed the strength that made her be called as sword saint and also good social standing. And then her clean personal history that wouldn’t show any stain no matter how scrupulous anyone scrutinized it. Her virtuous personality. There was nothing that could be reproached from her as someone who was held up as a hero. In addition her appearance was outstanding. The gorgeous and beautiful appearance of Hyakurath boasted immense popularity even among the populace.
Zelcyone was a type who ruled with fear. That terrifying personality brought order instead in that chaotic period. She had also done considerable dastardly deed but, it was a necessary evil.
──However it would be different from here on.
Mercuria clenched her fist. No matter what she was saying, Mercuria intended to support Hyakurath with her all.
「Listen to me Hyakurath. The fate of Grace-sama and Vatlantis Empire is hanging on you right now. That’s why──」
──Damn it. That’s the wrong approach.
Hyakurath was trembling fiercely with a pale face.
「For, forget what I just said. You just need to simply fulfill your duty. After all this position is nothing more than being a leader of a single group. The scale is somewhat different but, fundamentally it’s not any different from when you served as the captain of Leon squa──no, that’s right……the class representative of Ataraxia academy, yes, this is the same like that.」
Hyakurath looked up at Mercuria with an anxious gaze.
「I, is it like that……」
──No, actually it’s not.
There was no way she could speak honestly like that.
「Besides you just need to be patient until Zelcyone-sama return. We don’t know when it will be, but Quartum will also join the search from next week. Surely they will bring back good news.」
「Right……when Zelcyone-sama return, I won’t have any face to meet her with if the royal guard isn’t in proper order……」
「Yeah, that’s right. That’s why let’s do our best together. I’ll be with you.」
Hyakurath wiped her tears with a handkerchief and tightly clenched both her fists.
「Do your best, do your best, Hyakurath.」
Mercuria watched her like that while thinking how long she would be able to continue deceiving her.
It was just her hunch but, Mercuria got the feeling that Zelcyone wouldn’t come back anymore.
──In that case, it’s important to make Hyakurath keep harboring hope that she might be found for the meantime. Perhaps I should prepare a scenario to have the Quartum bring back a positive report.
A floating window opened on the desk while Mercuria was thinking of such arrangement.
The name of the caller was displayed at the center of the screen. Hyakurath pushed the receiving button with a speed that eyes couldn’t follow the instant she saw the name.
「Has Zelcyone-sama been found!?」
Inside the screen Clayda jerked back with a surprised face.
『You picked up really quickly……besides why are you that desperate?』
「That doesn’t matter!! Clayda! Have you found Zelcyone-sama!?」
Hyakurath’s shoulders slumped down dejectedly.
Her shock was great in proportion with her expectation that swelled up although it was only for a moment.
『Right now we have come until Rouzen at the south but there isn’t any clue at all. No, we have tried using all possible means searching for her until here though.』
「I, is that so……I see.」
Hyakurath showed a powerless smile. Her eyes were empty and completely unfocused.
──This is bad.
Mercuria clicked her tongue and cut in front of Hyakurath.
「Clayda. Search even more thoroughly! It’s not like she she is gone. It’s also certain that she hasn’t crossed the border. She is surely somewhere in Vatlantis! Search for her even if you have to look at every nook and cranny! Please!!」
Then Hyakurath also lifted her face in a flash.
「Please! Clayda!! Bring back Zelcyone-sama here!! I’m begging you-!!」
She pleaded earnestly while crying again.
『U, understood. I’ll finish my report for now with this.』
When the communication was over, Clayda turned back toward the other three with a face like she had bitten a sour grape.
「Looks like we still cannot go home yet.」
Elma put her hand on her cheek with a troubled face.
「They really won’t give up……」
「As expected, hasn’t they found out that we aren’t searching seriously? Ah, this is delicious.」
Seeing Ramza devouring a meat with its bone still attached, Lunorrla reached out to the meat too.
「Even if we search seriously……will we find her?」
「Impossible. Because even if we actually manage to find her, it’ll be over for us if Zel-sama use her Heart Rebuild.」
Clayda also returned to the table and sat down heavily on the chair.
「Besides if it’s Zel-sama then she won’t escape to this kind of place.」
The three looked around them once more hearing what Clayda said.
The surrounding scenery was pastoral. Fields and grasslands were stretching out, gentle sloping hills were extending like wave. Even the most bustling road in the village only had a few stores. The three were having meal in one of those stores, the only restaurant of this village.
There was only a counter inside the restaurant, the guest seating was mainly with tables and chairs that were placed on the street. Even so there wasn’t anyone who complained. In the first place there was no car passing by. One hour had passed since they took seat here, but there were only around three people that passed through.
Modest private houses were lined up at the other side of the street. A woman wearing white dress was airing her laundry in her yard. Looking at the laundry she was hanging, it seemed the woman had a baby.
「Really. There ain’t anything here.」
「It’s the sticks.」
When the three finished muttering, there was no other sound except the sound of wind and bird chirping.
Clayda slowly shook her glass that was filled with red wine and stared at the rippling red color.
「It’ll be easier to hide around Zeltis’s business district rather than a countryside like this. Besides you can play with woman as much as you like there. This place is only good for raising a child at best.」
「Then, why are we coming to search at this kind of place?」
Clayda lifted her glass and grinned.
「Of course, that’s because of the rumor that the wine here is tasty.」
「Since leaving Zeltis, we haven’t done anything except having a normal trip aren’t we?」
「But y’know, there isn’t aaany clue at all even if we want to search, it’s hopeless.」
Lunorlla directed a troubled face at the unmotivated Ramza.
「But if we don’t prepare some kind of result, we won’t be able to return to Zeltis no matter how much time passed.」
Clayda tilted the bottle to pour the wine, but she noticed that it was empty.
「It can’t be helped. Let’s fabricate something.」
She said that while standing up. The other three also stood up without motivation. They left money on the table along with tips and walked to the middle of the street.
At that time they heard the crying voice of a baby. They couldn’t see the baby but, it must be the child of the house at the other side of the street. The mother who was at the yard hurriedly rushed into the house. Her fluttering white dress and swaying braided purple hair were eye catching.
「……Her hair is purple.」
Clayda muttered. Elma looked like she got an idea and clapped her hands.
「Hey, let’s ask for a strand of hair of that person and say that it’s a clue.」
「Well, it’s better than nothing I guess……」
That house and yard was surrounded by wooden fence. The four of them leaned on that fence with their elbow and peered into the yard.
Then the sugary voice of the mother came from inside the house.
「Yosh yosh, you’re really a good liwtle child. Is it deliccious?」
Surely the mother was giving her baby milk. For the four who was living in a bloodthirsty world, this scene felt like a different world for them.
Ramza was staring at the house with a disinterested face. The entrance that was facing the yard was left wide open. The inside of the house was slightly visible. There was baby bed, baby carriage, and the likes. The atmosphere child raising life was oozing out.
「I’ve been thinking this since before but……why is when an adult talking to a baby, they also talk with baby words?」
「Haa? Who cares about something like that.」
Clayda spat out her reply. However Lunorlla was blushing slightly and her lips loosened up.
「Because it’s cute……」
The other three reflexively stared at Lunorlla’s face from the side. It was then,
「Ufufu, the way you suck mama’s breast is exactly lwike ywour papa~」
The four strongly frowned in that instant.
「Drink a lwot and become a cute, lovely, and cool boy like your papa okay~」
Their frown deepened further.
Elma made a twitching smile.
「He, hey……does Genesis, can create a boy now after it’s revived?」
「……I never, heard anything like that.」
Clayda answered so. Cold sweat was trickling on her forehead.
「A, anyway, for now, shouldn’t we go?」
Ramza’s voice was trembling. Lunorlla also asked with a trembling voice.
「We, we won’t ask for her hair?」
「Be, because, because……you know」
The palpitation of the four became fast. Cold sweat was making their back damp.
「Yo, you’re right. For some reason, I got the feeling we shouldn’t be here.」
At this rate it felt like they would see something that mustn’t be seen. For now, they should leave this place. The moment everyone thought that inside their heart.
「Oh? Is there someone there? Perhaps the delivery has arrived.」
The mother came out from inside the house while carrying her baby.
「Thank you for your……work……」
The mother opened her eyes wide in shock and she stiffened.
And then Clayda and the other three stiffened as though they were glared at by Medusa.
A peaceful face without any sharpness that looked like a changed person.
However, that face was undoubtedly the royal guard captain Zelcyone.
「Yo……you, four……why are, you here……」
Only the baby in her arms were making voice joyfully.
Clayda’s throat gulped.
The inside of her head was all messed up in chaos.
「Tha, that, Zel-sama. That child……don’t tell me」
Zelcyone’s body jumped with a jerk.
「Thi, this child is, you see……it was a small whim of mine. An accident. A mistake. I only made this child against my better judgment.」
「That baby……is a boy isn’t it?」
Zelcyone stiffened once more. *Gulp*, it felt like they could hear such sound.
「You, you four. What did, you come here for?」
Elma was staring at Zelcyone with a twitching smile.
「Why……Zel-sama suddenly concealed your whereabouts, so we came searching for you. The emperor is also worried……」
「I won’t hand this child to anyone!!」
Magic circle came to the surface of Zelcyone’s eyes.
Clayda immediately took off the eye patch on her right eye.
There was a mechanical eye there. It intercepted all magic power intervention and converted the magic formula into a mere vision data. Clayda closed her left eye and stared at Zelcyone with only her mechanical right eye.
「Magic nuclear membrane, start magic formula reflection.」
Sensing danger, the magic circle vanished from Zelcyone’s eyes. Instantly the other three who fell into a hypnotized state returned to their senses.
「Clayda……you bastard, that eye……」
Zelcyone sent Clayda an annoyed gaze. Clayda traced the edge of her right eye with her fingertip.
「Before the final battle against the machine god, I asked the scientist of Lemuria to attach this in me. In the end it didn’t need to be used but, I never thought it will be useful here.」
Zelcyone glared at Clayda with a grim expression. Perhaps sensing her dangerous atmosphere, the baby in her arms started to look unsettled.
「Zel-sama. However if it’s against you who wear Teros, than even this eye will surely be useless. In other words that child is……」
Elma opened her eyes wide.
「Don’t tell me……」
Even though they thought it, but everyone hesitated to speak it out loud. However ignoring that atmosphere,
「Eeeeh!? Is that really Zel-sama’s child with Kizuna!? Really!?」
Zelcyone’s face was dyed bright red and she yelled back angrily.
「So, so what if that’s true!?」
The baby started crying hearing her yelling.
「A, aa~ sowwy, everything is alright here. Mama will protect you okay~」
「……For some reason, we’re the bad guy here?」
Lunorrla was bewildered, but Ramza denied it in hurry.
「No no no! We’re just coming here to search for Zel-sama after all!」
But Zelcyone turned her back on the four of them as though to protect the baby and hid him from their gazes.
「Don’t lie! You four come here to take away this child from me right!?」
「There is no way that’s true! We’re just surprised that Zel-sama is giving birt to a child!」
Elma also pressed her hand on her forehead with a stumped look.
「Furthermore, of all people it’s a child with Kizuna……this is really complicated.」
Clayda let out a long sigh in exasperation.
「Aa……if it’s a child with a random woman somewhere then we can also pretend to not see it but……this is……impossible I guess.」
The four opened the gate and briskly entered the yard.
「You, you bastards, what are you planning to do!?」
Clayda yelled at Zelcyone who was backing away.
Clayda’s body was equipped with magic armor instantly. Next the other three also called the name of their respective magic armor.
「Wa, wait! Don’t come here-」
Lunorlla and Ramza mercilessly approached the scared Zelcyone and grabbed her arms.
「What’re you doing!? Let go!!」
「Now, let me take care of the baby.」
Elma lifted up the child from Zelcyone’s arms.
However Clayda told Zelcyone with a tired face.
「Zelcyone-sama. We will have you come back to the palace with us for now. Please tell your excuse directly to Grace-sama. Or rather, we don’t want to get involved with this case. It’s troublesome.」
Zelcyone’s body was already carried high to the sky when she was going to complain.
Grace was looking down on Zelcyone who was sitting seiza in the throne room with a conflicted expression. If her expression had to be interpreted, it was a face that was saying 「Even though this fellow is competent, why did she do something stupid like this?」.
「I’ll ask you one more time but……this baby, he is the child between you and Nii-sama, is that right?」
Zelcyone kept looking down and didn’t lift her face. A drop of cold sweat fell on the floor.
「I’m amazed you had the free time for something like that. When?」
「My, my deepest apologies. That, at the last night……it was, I drank alcohol together with Reiri and Queen Landred at that time. Should I say that it was because of alcohol’s influence」
「You’re a bottomless hole when it come to drinking though?」
「Yes, indeed……against my better judgment, perhaps it was because of the atmosphere, that, even I myself don’t know why I did something like that……for some reason, I was unable to contain myself, and visited Kizuna’s room.」
「Whether it’s Gravel or you……if I remember right, I was told that the possibility of making child is extremely low but……obsession is really something terrifying.」
Grace suddenly thought──it would be great if she also did it.
「Ye, yes. I also thought the same, who ever thought that a child would be created by just doing it once.」
「Ah……no, I don’t remember the number of times but……it, it was all night. Until morning.」
Grace held her head.
──To make this demonic royal guard captain fall this much……Nii-sama is really terrifying. He is truly Lemuria’s demon king.
「At that time Nee-sama was still the emperor. Therefore, you stole the emperor’s man and ended up bearing his child. On top of that you abandoned the important position as a captain and absconded away.」
Zelcyone lifted her face. Her complexion was pale.
「My, my deepest apologies! I, I will receive any kind of punishment. But, please just that child! Please at least spare just that child!」
Grace stood up from her throne and approached the cradle that was placed in front of it.
Inside it a baby who was still a few months old was sleeping. When Grace brought her face closer and peered into the baby’s face, the baby opened his eyes in a nice timing.
And then when he saw Grace’s face, he showed an innocent friendly smile.
I, in addition, he has Nii-sama’s looks in him.
Maternal love and yearning toward Kizuna welled up in Grace’s chest.
「……Zel. In that case, I shall have you atone for your sin.」
Zelcyone lowered her head until it touched the floor.
「Yes……no matter what……」
「I’m formally dismissing you from your post as royal guard captain. And then I strip you off from your qualification as military personnel and you won’t be allowed to fight anymore. Teros’s core shall be confiscated too. On top of that I’ll give you your punishment.」
「It’s life sentence for you.」
- Twitch*, Zelcyone’s back jerked.
「A corner of the palace will be remodeled to become the baby’s rearing facility. You and this baby will live there from now on and cannot leave without my permission.」
Zelcyone lifted her face and looked up at Grace with a shocked gaze. Grace suddenly smiled and answered with a kind eyes.
「Your punishment, is to raise up this child to be a splendid person.」
「Of course, I intend to assign him the best instructor, but a mother’s existence will be the most essential. This is a child who is left behind by the husband of the previous emperor you know? Your responsibility is a heavy one.」
Tears spilled out from Zelcyone’s eyes.
「Yes……even if I have to pay with this life, I will raise him to be someone splendid……uu……」
「Don’t cry. Even though this child is finally smiling, he will also cry if his mother is crying.」
「My, my deepest……apologies……」
Zelcyone smiled while crying.
Grace peered into the cradle once more and poked the baby with her fingertip. Then a small hand grabbed the fingertip.
Just from that an indescribable affection welled up inside Grace’s chest.
What’s more he is a boy.
Surely he will grow to become a magnificent warrior like Nii-sama.
「……Umu. A mere difference of fifteen years old isn’t that uncommon.」
「Grace-sama? Did you say something?」
Zelcyone asked while wiping her tears.
「No, it’s nothing. More importantly──」
The throne room’s door was opened at that time. A blonde haired and blue eyed knight gallantly wearing a splendid military uniform entered with her mantel flapping behind her.
「Is it true that Zelcyone-sama has returned!?」
Zelcyone turned around toward that voice.
「Oo, Hyakurath. Long time no see.」
Hyakurath rushed toward Zelcyone and reverently grabbed her hand.
「Zelcyone-sama! I’ve waited for your return!! I wished it from the bottom of my heart!!」
「I see……thank you. Hyakurath.」
Zelcyone smiled gently.
Hyakurath had tears of happiness in her eyes. She showed a bright smile like someone who was liberated from all burdens.
「I kept persuading myself during my time waiting for Zelcyone-sama’s return to somehow take care of the matters in your absence. Aa, with this I can finally let go of the post as captai──」
Grace cuddled the baby while speaking with a delighted voice.
「Oo, I’ve just formally dismissed Zel from her post.」
Hyakurath’s smile froze.
「Or rather, I made her retire from military. She won’t take away the captain post from you. No need to worry.」
Hyakurath turned toward Zelcyone with a motion that was like rusted machine.
「E, err, Zelcyone-sama? I am, a temporary, captain, until your return, now that you have returned──」
Zelcyone smiled with a soft expression that was completely different from the past when she was the captain.
「Now I’m just a mother. From here on I’ll simply be someone under the protection of Hyakurath──no, Hyakurath-sama.」
And then she pinched the fringe of her dress and bowed politely.
「Please protect my child and Vatlantis Empire.」
Hyakurath fainted while still standing.
Translator's Notes and References
- Anyone know better way to do baby talk?
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