Zero no Tsukaima:Volume10 Chapter5
Chapter 5: Siblings
“Oh mate!! Awesome!! Elves' Ancient Magic!!”
Palace of Versailles, at the Lutèce, Gallia's capital.
The one who stood out completely, within the magnificent palace in the Grand Troyes room made from blue bricks, in front of the guest who came from a foreign country, the Gallian king, Joseph, laughed out loud.
The elf who was the guest, Lord Bidashal, did not reveal the slightest hint of a smile. Today, he had arrested the betrayer Knight of the Northern Parterre, and had brought her here.
His prey, the Knight of the Northern Parterre who was called “Number Seven,” was rolled onto a bed with her hands tied to her back. Being cast a sleeping magic by the elf, she was quietly snoring.
“For you to capture my niece without any trouble at all... that Ancient Magic really exists, huh!”
With his shining golden hair fluttering, Lord Bidashal opened his mouth.
“Your request...which was to capture the traitor - I have already fulfilled it. With this, may I take it as having garnered the privilege to discuss that matter further?”
“Very well. Envoy of the elf king.”
Joseph prompted Lord Bidashal.
“'King' is not the correct way of saying it. We do not have this 'king' title you barbarians use.”
In a quiet voice, the tall elf said.
Although he was called a “barbarian,” Joseph did not feel resentful at all. Gallia was connected to the land the elves inhabited at the east frontier. There were contacts with the elves for a long time already... Those contacts could not be called amicable, but he had already gotten used to the contempt the elves had towards human beings.
“Is it 'Chieftain'? Err, is it 'Chief'? Anyway, you elect your leaders through a voting process, right? What a troublesome thing you are doing...”
“We have already learned the foolishness of deciding the leader through lineage since a long time ago. If you address him as 'king' and not 'chief,' it would be a great insult towards us.”
“Well then, tell me about the intentions of Chief Tariq of the 'Nephthys,' Lord Bidashal.”
With a formal address, he asked that of the elf envoy.”
“The 'Shaitan's Gate' we protect has become quite active lately.”
“Is it something of the Holy Land?”
“To you all it is the Holy Land, but to us it is the abominable 'Shaitan's Gate.' Within these past few decades, its activity had become livelier. We think that the power of the thing known amongst you all as the 'Void'... has caused the revival of Shaitan's Gate.”
“Calling the sacred power 'demon's power', you elves are really arrogant, huh.”
“The power depends on the user, it can become light or darkness. The power which had formerly destroyed our world. You all may think of it as the God's power, but for us, it is the demon's power. A symbol of darkness. Our prophecy is this - When the four demons gather, the power of the real demon will be awakened. The power of the true demon will probably bring about catastrophe once again.”
“It is worrisome for them to gather... is that it?”
“That's it. Ever since the great catastrophe six thousand years ago, a few times before this, the demon's powers had showed signs of gathering. Every time that happened, we were terrified. We wanted to secretly take away this 'Shaitan's Gate' which brought the catastrophe upon us. We wanted to bring it somewhere without any living beings. With that, the safety of the world would be preserved.”
“Hey, what are you trying to tell me? I don't wish for it, but when the time for the gathering comes, they will be gathered. If it is not the time to gather, they won't gather. The powerful strength is called thus.”
“Because here is not our country, we cannot stop the gathering. That would be interference. You are the king who governs the biggest part of Halkeginia・World of Barbarians right? When you exercise your influence, we want you to restrain the party which is trying to approach Shaitan's Gate.”
“For you all who use such strong magic, isn't that too trivial? If you are afraid, why not just bash it up? What would happen if you are destroyed by that 'demon' who possessed that power?”
If it turned into that, the first which would be directly trampled upon would be Gallia, but with a negligent attitude, Joseph said that. As if he was wishing for it.
“We do not like disputes. We also know that the thing we regard as 'darkness' is light to you all. If we can exist together, we would have no need to do so.”
Cheerfully, Joseph snorted. Lord Bidashal frowned slightly.
“Are you one of the religious fanatics who believed in Shaitan's Gate as well?”
At the elf who had declared Founder Brimir to be a demon, Joseph laughed out loud.
“I don't believe in God or the Founder. I only believe in myself.”
“I know that. That's why we chose you as the partner for the negotiations. Obviously, we had prepared a suitable exchange.”
“The hundred year old Sahara at the other side, the rights to mining the Wind Stones, and the provision of various techniques and equipments.”
Wind Stones were something which made a boat fly in the air - an absolute necessity. The crystallization of the previous residents of the wind. There were lots of them sleeping in the Elf-controlled Sahara.
And then, the technology of the elves who had cleared the Sahara desert and changed it into the place where they live; it far exceeded that of humans.
Those two provisions were certainly a really extraordinary proposal.
“The ideal you all believe in has been distorted. Of course.”
Got it, Joseph nodded his head.
“Very well. There is still one more thing after this.”
“What is it?”
“I want an elf subordinate.”
Lord Bidashal's eyebrows became slightly clouded.
“...I will try to negotiate. I will act accordingly with your wish.”
“There is no need for that. You are good enough. As long as I am alive, serve me!”
Lord Bidashal was speechless.
At the silent elf, Joseph said.
“The pride of serving barbarians is unforgivable? You all want to protect the stability and the harmony of the world right? Haha, doesn't it coincide with my ideal? Serving such a person like me means nothing but protecting the ideals of the elves.”
“I have loyalty towards my mother country as well. My whole existence is...”
At that elf who answered evasively for the first time, Joseph roared.
“IDIOT! You decide on your own!”
Paling, the elf scowled at Joseph... but bowed down eventually.
“...very well. I will serve you.”
“Well then, step back. Go and tell Nephthys that I have understood.”
But, Lord Bidashal did not get up. His stare was fixed on Joseph.
“What? You have something to say?”
“I want you to hear something.”
“What are you thinking about? You wish for the peace and stability of the world, but looking at your demeanor and your face... I do not think so. Furthermore, the god you people believe in, the god and saint who is probably the foundation of the people you rule over... no matter how much you disbelieve it, we scorn him. Frankly speaking, we imagine this would cause a befitting quarrel. We expected it not to be an easy task. But why do you help us so readily?”
In a bored voice, Joseph replied.
“Because I'm bored.”
“That's enough, leave!”
Joseph became pompous, and waved his hand.
After Lord Bidashal withdrew...Joseph approached Tabitha who was lying senseless on the bed.
Gently holding Tabitha who did not wake up due to the sleeping magic cast on her by the elf, he then sat down on his throne. Within the sleeping face of the innocent Tabitha, traces of his brother's looks were there.
The one who was gentler and smarter than anyone else, His Highness de Orleans...
As Joseph stroked Tabitha's face, he whispered,
“You were really good at chess, huh. Your moves couldn't be found anywhere else. That's why, Charles, ever since you were gone, my opponent has only been myself. I almost died of boredom and despair. Every day, it was like dancing barefooted on a thorn-layered carpet. Hey, Charles. This time the game is settled. Joining forces with the elves・demihumans, quashing the ideals and beliefs of human beings. This time, the chess board has surpassed Halkeginia, to the whole world containing Sahara・the elves' land and the Holy Land. Although it is “teaming up”, I think about the plans, and I direct them. The elves and the country, all are my chess pieces. How does that sound? I am great right? Charles...”
In Tabitha's sleeping face, Joseph saw his younger brother.
Joseph started reciting towards the sleeping Tabitha.
“Everyone wanted you to become the king. Charles, your magic skills surpassed everyone else. Yeah, you flew at the age of five. At seven, you managed to control fire completely. At eleven, you refined silver. At twelve, you understood the root of Water. I couldn't accomplish any of them, but you accomplished them easily.”
Joseph gently stroked Tabitha's hair.
“I suppose you don't know the feelings I had when I was watching you. Nah, you knew? You kept telling me this. “Elder brother, you haven't awakened yet. It's probably just because of that.” Looking at me who was regarded an idiot by the liege and father, you said this as well. “Elder brother, someday you will be able to do something great as well!” Worrying about me, losing to me on purpose. However, do you get it now? Every time I was touched by that kindness of yours, it didn't do anything save making me miserable.”
Tears spilled from Joseph's eyes.
“I could not help but be jealous at you. I became jealous at you who had the virtues and talents I had not. But there was no hate. Really. I didn't hate you to the extent of being able to do such a thing. Until that time...”
Joseph closed his eyes.
Upon which... Three years ago, the incident of his father collapsing; was vividly brought back to him.
Father who was on his sickbed, at his final hour, called only both princes to his bedside. Nervous, Joseph and the Duke of Orléans stood at his bedside.
It was the moment to decide the next king.
In a weak, small voice, the king informed both of them.
“...the next king will be Joseph.”
Everyone in the palace thought that Charles, Duke of Orleans, would be appropriate as the next king. Even their mother, the queen, called her eldest son as an imbecile, and supported Charles as the king.
Nevertheless... the king, his father, chose him.
Within Joseph, sheer joy was born. Making him the successive king...his father had probably become dumb due to his sickness. Yet, the words of the king were absolute. He had become king.
The next emotion he had was...a sense of superiority towards Charles. Charles, the one who was said to be the proper king by everyone; how depressed did he feel?
The authority which was supposed to have been his, which had slipped right through his fingers within that instant; how much of despair would he feel? He imagined Charles' bitter face. He was anxious to look at that face...Joseph stole a sidewards glance at his younger brother.
The moment he saw the face...Joseph felt despair instead. He understood that things were completely different from his vile imaginations.
Smiling sweetly, Charles said that. Joseph could depict everything that happened at that time clearly, word for word.
“It is really great that brother has become the king. That's because I love you very much, brother. I will cooperate with you as hard as possible. Let's make this country a wonderful one together.”
Words without any jealousy, malice or sarcasm. The face of the younger brother who was really happy with his elder brother's crown, was right there. That was the moment Joseph's jealousy towards Charles turned into strong loathing.
With a painful face, Joseph squeezed out some words.
“Why didn't you feel bitter? Why are you gentle to that extent? Why do you have...everything I don't!? Charles, if you want to blame anything, blame your own talent and gentleness. Your cheerful face had killed you.”
During that day...
The one who had shot a poison arrow at the Duke of Orleans when he was out hunting, was Joseph himself.
“...you had said it right. “Elder brother, you haven't awakened yet. It's probably just because of that.” I have woken up! It is the “Void”! It's the legend! Just like what you said! Yeah, you have told me this! “Elder brother, someday you will be able to do something great as well!” I am doing it! Making the world into a chess board, I am enjoying the game! Everything is just as you said! You're an awesome guy! You were really a great person! Charles!”
After contemplating for a short while...Joseph touched Tabitha who was sleeping, on the lips.
“Your mouth resembles your mum's huh...Charlotte. Even if it were just that, your mother is beautiful. Be grateful to your pretty mother. Your mother who took the Water magic drug drink you were supposed to drink, in your stead...”
As if instructing Tabitha, Joseph continued his words.
“That Water magic drug was prepared by the elves. An ancient, complicated drug. Something which could not be made by human hands, no matter what. Trying that on you, who is my flesh and blood, again makes me hurt... But, it won't change, no matter what. It has to be done. Because you have opposed me, your owner. I have to fasten a leash on you. Don't I? Charlotte.”
When he looked at the person who didn't know anything, whilst smiling very mercifully, at least on the outside; Joseph declared these fiendish words.
“Until that elf finishes preparing the drug, enjoy your remaining time. The last compassion I grant for going against my own blood. Am I not bestowing the royal time I snatched away from you? In the tumbled down castle the elves built, spend a little time as a princess there. Haha, it would be appropriate for you to lose your heart due to the elf's drug. A present from your uncle who never did anything else...”
Holding Tabitha's hands, he pressed them against his forehead.
“Aah! What a sorrowful event! If Charles had not had that smile on his face on that day, right now, you would not be sleeping right now, and you'd be having a dazzling smile on your face! You probably wouldn't suffer from the elf's magic!”
While pressing Tabitha's hands against his forehead, tears flowed from Joseph's eyes. As if he was repenting in front of a priest, Joseph painfully squeezed out his voice.
“Although I have hurt your beloved wife and daughter...it is still incomparable to the pain I felt that day. Even if I use the people in Halkeginia and torment them...it would still be incomparable to my remorse of that day.”
Slowly, Joseph stood up. Deep loathing resided within the eyes from which the tears of regret had vanished.
“That's why, Charles. I can now play with a bigger world in my palms. Using every power and wish, spitting on the virtue and ideals of men. Until the day when my heart hurts more than the time I killed you...I will use the world as a plaything, treating it with scornful contempt.”
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