Zero no Tsukaima:Volume11 Chapter10
Chapter Ten: The Heart of The Duet
Returning back home from school, Saito passed through the doorway of his house. He took off his school jacket and went straight to the living room to turn the television on.
It was an ordinary day.
While he was watching the television, the phone rang.
He picked up the telephone. It was his classmate.
Saito, have you seen the latest TV show?
“Why do you think I did?”
Someone who has as much free time as you ought to have.
A trivial conversation.
Life was trivial every day.
There was nothing that could replace this lovely everyday routine…
Saito decided to browse the internet, so he turned his notebook computer on.
It didn’t turn on.
There was no power supply.
After trying a few times, Saito found his mother standing behind him. Her hair was rather short and she seemed to have gained some weight lately.
“Mom, I’m hungry. Give me some food.”
“What? I want to drink some miso soup.”
For some reason he really wanted to taste it again.
His mother's miso soup.
Though it was nothing special and had a trivial taste, for Saito it felt like it would be the best meal ever.
“Haven’t you forgotten something?”
“What is it?”
“A thing that you should have done.”
“Yes homework, but think about it... There is something else, isn’t there? The promise.”
“Uh-huh. Haven’t you made an important promise to a friend?”
Promise? What promise would that be? Saito thought.
He could not recall it.
Hurry up, remember... and while trying to remember, Saito woke up.
On a bed.
Tabitha was sitting nearby, reading a book.
He knew the sight of that bed and of that room. It was Tiffania’s room inside a house in Westwood Village.
He had used to stay in there.
Saito squeezed his eyes shut as he was blinded by bright sunlight pouring through the window.
Somehow… he was feeling refreshed.
Though his head was still dizzy from the collapse, he felt free…
Noticing that Saito woke up, Tabitha closed her book.
“Hm? I feel refreshed… I wonder if it’s the effect of Tiffania’s spell? It was enough to put me to sleep… I feel alright I guess. However, it feels a bit strange. As if something is gone.”
“Where is everyone?”
“They left for home earlier. They took that half-elf girl with them.”
“I see… what a heartless lot. Disregarding the person under a strange spell, and moreover — leaving him behind.”
Then Tabitha stood up and looked directly at Saito's face.
“Do you want anything?”
“To drink miso soup.”
Saito said with a sigh. It was a first thing that came to his mind.
“What is that?”
“Well, a dish in my world… I would like to eat soup.” Saito said, feeling a little embarrassed.
Suddenly - strong feelings hit him.
A torrent of emotions.
What had been stored up until then, the so called "Nostalgia" that was being suppressed, literally started to flow out like a huge waterfall into Saito's head.
The girl who sat next to him at school.
The best friend with whom he used to play.
Every person he forgot about, their faces floated into his memory.
He remembered the face of the physical education teacher who used to punish him. He missed even those people.
“…They're returning. Returning.”
Saito coughed out.
When he recalled his hometown, he started to cry…
Indeed, the fake motive he had to stay in this world had disappeared.
Since he came to this world, more than one year had passed.
I want to return home.
I want to drink miso soup.
I want to meet my friends.
I want to go to school.
I want to browse the Internet...
What had been hidden deep inside for such a long time… Saito felt it all break free, with loud cracking sounds.
He recalled Cattleya’s words from before,
“When shocking events happen, a human has the ability to lock their mind.”
And just then, the lock came off.
Saito was crying… sobbing painfully.
Tabitha asked him.
Saito looked at the runes on his left hand absent-mindedly.
“The runes look different…”
Derflinger, who was leaning against the bed, answered,
“Because Tiffania erased the fake motive to stay in this world that was within you, it has affected your familiar abilities as well."
“…Then shouldn’t they have been erased altogether?”
Saito said while watching the faded runes.
“That’s true somewhat. Runes react to your mind’s state. Because you just lost the reason to stay in this world, the turmoil in your mind was reflected on your runes.”
Absent-mindedly, Saito said in a far away voice,
“My… my feelings for Louise — were they also fake, created by the familiar’s runes?”
Derflinger thought about it for a while
“Well, that's not for me to know. It's the way partner’s heart feels.”
“Well, if that’s the case… then it will be my true choice, I guess.”
“I guess, it will be the true choice.”
Louise and others walked down the road to Rosais.
“Isn’t Rosais 50 leagues away still? Walking such a distance is way too demanding.”
“It can’t be helped. It is because Tabitha decided to stay... Will she help Saito search for the way back to his home place, far away?”
Louise grew silent and started to quietly bite her lips.
“What is it? I already knew the truth. Saito is a human from another world. Jean told me.”
Kirche stole a glance at Louise.
“However, aren’t you a bit too cold? Leaving behind Saito, whom has no place to go to.”
Reticent Louise, said nothing.
“Could you tell me one thing… you learned how to act like a mature woman by wearing alluring underwear. But why do you tell such lies?”
“I wasn’t lying.”
Kirche placed a hand on top of Louise’s head, and patted gently.
“Honestly, you are just scared.”
“You did not want to see… that Saito’s feelings for you were just some familiar’s delusion. Therefore you could not face it and just ran away.”
“You are wrong.”
“When Tabitha said ‘I’ll stay’ you wanted to stay with her, didn’t you? Why did you leave?
“That’s wrong. The only reason I was reluctant is because I wanted to bring Tiffania to princess-sama quickly, as ordered. So, when Tabitha said she’d stay, I was reluctant to leave her behind.”
“That is an excuse that only you believe.”
“It’s not an excuse.”
“Let’s suppose that Saito’s feelings for you were just some delusion, what will you do?”
“Nothing much. I’ll just search for a way to take him home in any case - that’s what.”
“And what if those are Saito’s true feelings?”
“I-I’ll l-look for a way to take him home.”
“And now you are acting flustered.”
“Not flustered. I am not flustered!”
“You are such an easy to read child. You are deeply in love with Saito, aren’t you?”
“You are wrong! Idiot!”
“Hey Louise, now you are acting cowardly. Even if the feelings of the person that loved you are fake, it is not the same with you... Just this time you will have to rely on your own charm.”
“…what?! I am not in love!”
Louise said while pouting.
It is not love. I am not in love with him.
Louise repeated this many times in her mind, trying to persuade herself.
That can’t be so...
Why would I love a guy like him? Certainly, it’s just me feeling jealous about my familiar.
That’s right, I feel those feelings only because he is my familiar.
But though she was repeating it over and over again… tears were still falling from Louise’s eyes.
But why would I cry so hard then?
I am just a coward – Louise thought.
Even facing enemies was less scary than this.
‘Saito’s feelings for me were just some delusion’ – there was nothing scarier than that.
That’s why I ran away, tail between my legs.
Could it be that Saito’s ‘I love you’ was just another fake motive to stay in this world?
Then, all the moments she and Saito shared… were nothing but a lie.
To put it simply, all her treasured memories would turn into a lie.
If that were to happen, then I would die – Louise thought.
The most important thing in this world for her… would turn into nothing.
That’s why she could not face it.
Louise rubbed her eyes.
Guiche, who was walking in the back of the group, mumbled to himself.
“It is saddening somewhat, though I agreed to erase Saito’s ‘false motive to stay in this world’… when I think about it may be a bad thing to do.”
This way Saito might lose the balance of his spirit. Though not willing to return is not a healthy thing either, but what happens when he cannot go back?
Then he would not have the usual strength to deal with it.
The ‘fake motive to stay in this world’ would be replaced with ‘looking for the way to go back’… And when his familiar’s spirit balance is gone, what extreme measures may Saito take?
However, looking for the various ways may not be bad. But what if they never find a way for Saito to return…
Guiche tried to imagine himself as a familiar.
However, his imagination was blank.
Well, umm, from where did Saito come?
He said that he came from the Rub' al Khali side.
If I was now summoned to Rub' al Khali….
Guiche cocked his head.
He could not imagine it. Guiche only knew Halkeginia and thus he could not imagine other lands correctly.
“Lets replace bar with a castle then.”
But even so he could not grasp it. He should have taken his lessons more seriously.
Because there is no other way, let’s just imagine the girl I like for now.
First of all, it has to be a girl.
And another girl.
Darn, it has to be a single girl…
Tsk, it’s no good – forget it…
“First thing - she has to be cute, yes.”
Guiche hit his thigh.
What?! If I were summoned to some place by a cute girl I would not return at all!
Guiche, upon realizing the truth, ran to Louise, who was still devastated, to tell her about it.
However, something was touching his shoulder.
"Hmm? Who is it. I'm busy now. Just tell me about it later."
That thing prodded his shoulder again.
"Seriously, who's touching my shoulder?"
Guiche looked at everyone in front of him.
"Hmm, Louise is here, Kirche too. Even that half-elf girl called Tiffania is here too , then who could it be behind me!"
Guiche clapped his hands together.
It must be Saito! Yeah, that's right. Eh, you came back? By the way, that Tiffania girl really does have unusually big boobs, just like what you've said!
I, Guiche, feel the need to personally check if they are the real deal. Don't you agree?
“Who are you? Hey, you!”
Then Guiche turned around and let out a loud shriek.
Following Guiche’s scream, Louise and others turned around.
A dreadful scene played before their eyes.
A huge figure, about 20 mails in height, towered in front of them.
“W-what is that thing?!”
Bathing in the morning sunlight and spreading an ominous atmosphere around, stood a huge fencer figure. It wore a black, shiny armor and a grasped a long sword in its hand.
After a few moments, it smoothly lifted that enormous sword up and slashed it down into the ground.
A huge cloud of dust sent Louise and others into a coughing fit.
“It’s been a long time, Void user.”
Louise knew that voice. She heard that voice in Albion, during the ball…
Gallia’s Familiar of Void.
The mysterious woman who followed Louise…
“It’s you! Myoznitnirn!”
“Oh, you remember me? I’m honored.”
Startled, she looked up at the head of the figure - that was where the voice came from. Was she there? Or was she in a different place?
Perhaps the latter.
The Myoznitnirn was the Familiar of Void, master of dolls. She wouldn’t be fighting herself.
“What do you want?”
“I came to express my gratitude. After all, the other day, you stole our princess so well.”
“What princess?! You imprisoned her and tried to break her will!”
“Break will? Oh, and you are different? Breaking your familiar’s will is not that different. Look what nice effects it had on Alviss.”
Louise set up the wand and uttered an incantation.
But… there was still no ‘Void’.
Meanwhile, Guiche gathered himself, and recited a spell as well.
Seven bronze armored maidens appeared.
“Valkyries! Attack him!”
The seven bronze maidens of war aimed their short spears at the huge fencer figure.
Yet… the short spears snapped.
“Hey… do you seriously think that such puny golems could hurt Jörmungand?”
The huge golem called Jörmungand lifted its foot with ease.
And he smashed the seven valkyries like insects. Next, Kirche recited her fire magic.
A huge fireball hit the Jörmungand, but even that couldn’t leave a scratch on the armor. The thick armor was impenetrable.
“Useless. It’s a mistake to think that you can hurt the Jörmungand with elemental magic.”
Jörmungand took a step forward. Was there a person inside? It was walking too smoothly for a golem.
Surprisingly, despite its huge body, one could hardly hear the footsteps. It was prowling like a cat.
“How can this golem…”
“Golem? How rude. The Jörmungand is not some golem!”
Jörmungand lifted the sword and smashed it hard against the ground next to Louise and others.
The earth shook from the impact.
Louise and her friends fell on the ground.
Jörmungand’s arm penetrated the cloud of dust, gripped Louise, and lifted her up.
Freezing fear gripped Louise’s heart.
She almost called out Saito’s name.
But… she choked the name down before it left her lips.
I have no right to call his name.
I won’t hide behind the fake heart.
Louise courageously stared at the Jörmungand.
Worried, Saito could see a gigantic knight figure with his left eye. His left eye vision was shaky. He could see Guiche and others from high above.
He could see through Louise’s eyes.
This ability activated itself only when his master was in danger…
“Really… what mess did she get into this time?”
Seeing the somehow frightening knight figure raging about, Saito spoke in a nonchalant voice.
Derflinger, who was leant against the bed side, called out to Saito.
“Is it about the young lass?”
“Yeah. I can see it with my left eye.”
“Same way. Though I will say it clearly – if you don’t love her, don’t go. The undecided Gandálfr is just a burden. It would be useless to go. If you are not sure – don’t get involved.”
Saito took a deep breath.
“While you were at it, you could have erased my familiar's ability as well.”
“So then we wouldn't need to go anywhere.”
Derflinger clattered while laughing.
Saito stood up, taking Derflinger with him.
“Let's go, Tabitha.”
“Partner, do you love that young lass?”
Saito said in clear voice.
“It’s useless. She’s so unlovable. That girl is selfish, stupid and haughty… Moreover, lately she’s been really needy to be complimented by me. When I think about it – she is completely unlovable. She’s always angry. And we do nothing but argue most of the time. It’s so annoying.”
“Then why are you going to save her?”
“… because whenever I look at this girl, my heart beats like crazy. From the first sight my whole life has been cursed. If I had known her character this wouldn’t have happened. Yeah, I would have lead a untroubled life then… eh?”
Shocked, Saito looked at Tabitha.
“Now, did you just smile?”
“Hey, you smiled! Hey!”
Sylphid appeared by the window. Tabitha quickly mounted it. Holding Derflinger in his hand, Saito perched on Sylphid as well.
“Hold tight. We’ll fly fast.”
Tabitha said in a casual voice.
Louise struggled violently, held by Jörmungand.
“Let go! Let me go!”
“You say to let you go, but we just met.”
Louise was brought closer to Jörmungand’s face. Within the old-fashioned fencer’s helmet was burning a pale light surrounded by the darkness. It seemed to be completely hollow.
Jörmungand looked like the one-eyed demon from the southern lands. Louise trembled.
“Hey hey, This fellow has Ancient and Void, two magic elements mixed in it. What you are you getting scared for?”
“Why did you make such a monster?”
“Well. Maybe it’s because you are a mage that you do not understand. Familiars cannot judge a thing. Familiars act upon their master’s orders. Nothing more than that.“
“You are wrong!”
“Even a familiar is a living being! It’s not something that just follows its master’s orders blindly! That would be just a golem!”
“A mage’s words mean nothing. Even you treated your own familiar that way!”
“I was different! We were a team! Anyways, you are a coward! Stop hiding yourself and come out! Stop using puppets to do your fights! What is your goal!? Tell me!”
“What a troublesome lass! Just use your ‘Void’ already!”
With these words Louise realized.
What does she want me to use ‘Void’ for? Of course, now I cannot use it anyway.
But… for some unknown reason, she wants me to use ‘Void’, I guess I could use it to my benefit and avoid being crushed.
“Sorry, but I cannot meet your expectations. I will aim my wand only when my opponent is a noble. I won’t use my spells on a shady character like you.”
Jörmungand squeezed hard. Louise’s face contorted with pain.
Looking down she saw Kirche, Guiche, Tiffania, and the kids anxiously looking upwards.
“Don’t worry about me! Take Tiffania and the children and run away! Please!”
Kirche nodded and urged Tiffania and the children to come with her.
“I won’t let you go!”
Holding Louise in its hand, Jörmungand jumped up. Louise was surprised by the lightness that did not suit such a gigantic figure. It seemed like prowling was not the only thing it could do.
That thing was like a human, just much larger! Jörmungand landed in front of Kirche and the others, blocking their path.
“Don’t disregard me thinking that you can run away. Next time you try to escape, I will simply crush you without mercy.”
“Even the children?!”
“Yeah. If you are together I will have no choice but to crush you all, right? Maybe it would be better to separate?”
Louise trembled after hearing such words. She slowly started to sing.
“Seems like you are going to cast ‘Void’ after all.”
“W-what are you saying! I won’t cast! Didn’t I tell you! Only if a noble opponent…”
“Such a boring lie. You had plenty of chances to cast it. Yet you did not, you waste. You are so useless.”
Jörmungand threw Louise to the ground.
In an instant Kirche cast the ‘Levitation’, but the softening was marginal. Jörmungand’s power blocked the elemental spell.
Although her fall was slowed down a bit, Louise still slammed hard against the ground. Her body was in intense pain.
She could not breath! She could not move!
“Well then, I will trample you. Say your prayers, ant.”
Jörmungand raised its foot. Louise closed her eyes shut.
‘Zun’ – a sound echoed… and the cloud of dust lifted again.
Feeling no ground underneath her, Louise opened her eyes.
Louise was riding Sylphid’s back, who had rescued the girl in the nick of time before she was crushed underneath Jörmungand’s foot.
“What’s the meaning of thi-?”
She asked in a surprised voice turning around. And saw Saito sitting there.
Louise’s eyes opened wide and she shouted.
“W-what are you doing here?! I didn’t call for you!”
Then she turned to Tabitha.
“Tabitha! Didn't you say you’d help Saito find a way for him to return home?!”
“I was told to help you instead.”
‘Tsun’ – Louise crossed her hands and declared.
“…Really, Tiffania’s magic is so ineffective! Otherwise why would this idiot be coming this way!?”
“Its effective. Very effective. Honestly, it put me into a half slumber. What about this world? Does it have Internet? Impossible. Is there a burger bar? Not a chance! Yeah, getting drunk is the only thing of note in here. What a shame. And it’s all your fault, Louise the Zero-san!”
“Hush, really that’s too much… Now, I would still rather be here. Whaat, void? Whaat, fake memory? I recall it now thanks to you. I recalled what had been lost for a year. Look, aren’t these tears? They’re because I cannot find a way back!”
Saito pointed at his puffy eyes.
Louise turned her face away.
“T-that’s not good. I’ll find a way to take you back! Mo, and stop talking trash about my world!”
“Yeah, thanks to you I cleared the mist off my eyes. Really, there are still things left for me to do in this world. Whether it is the Void or Holy Land – I will find a way myself. I will go back. Yeah, I will return!”
“Stupid! Stupidstupidstupid! Then go fast! I will not be alone!”
“Yes. Such an angry thing you are, but look, hey, there is Kirche, Guiche, and Tiffania. Princess-sama and Siesta. Even Tabitha’s mother. Do not think the world revolves around you alone. I only came here to help my friends!”
“I want to help this world the best I can! I understood that! Because, before being Gandálfr, I am a human first! Because I am Hiraga Saito!”
Blood rushed into Louise’s head. For some reason, her pride took the best of her.
“Me? What about me then!? I do not have a place in there!? What? Did you only say you love me because you are a familiar? Saitooo!”
Saito shouted, beyond angry.
“Listen you! How long can I keep telling ‘I love you’ to a girl who does not return my feelings?! I should be getting a medal for this!”
“What’s so good about you? No one would take notice of you - you are haughty like hell, you kick around when you sleep, you do not wear panties, one only can say ‘I love you’ to you out of pity for the bust-handicapped girl, really. There’s nothing else to praise you for. When I ignore you, you try to provoke me calling it a familiar’s ‘reward’, but when I misunderstand and drool about it, you put me down with insults. Your head is as much of a zero as your chest is, idiot. Realize the reality, peach-haired fool.”
“That, t-this…don’t say that… are you saying such terrible things because of turmoil? Because I did act bad, I will forgive you this time, but usually I would kill you three times for such words, understand?”
“Shut up! Therefore my love for you is just sympathy for a pathetic girl, as well as an unwilling familiar’s attachment. I won’t follow you around. Hereafter, I’ll be on my own.”
“Looking forward to that! Very cruel! Cruel! Too cruel!”
Louise shouted, shaking her head.
“Oi! I need some help there!”
Guiche’s voice came from below. Looking down, they saw him in the hand of Jörmungand, groaning in pain. Meanwhile, Kirche and Tiffania were taking the chance and getting the children out of there.
“Seems like you turned into bait, didn’t you, commanding officer. Let’s save the praises. Wait!”
With a cry, Saito jumped off Sylphid.
At the same time he slashed the sword down at the hand that was holding Guiche.
However, with a loud sound, Saito’s sword was repelled.
The next moment, Jörmungand’s hand lifted above Saito, as if trying to smash an annoying mosquito. Saito kicked off the Jörmungand’s hand and managed to avoid the formidable palm.
Doing a somersault, Saito landed on the ground. At the same time, Jörmungand’s feet moved at an incredible speed, trying to step on Saito.
Rolling to the side, Saito avoided the foot.
“What’s this?! What kind of golem is this?! It’s way too fast!”
The speed was fundamentally different compared to the time he fought Fouquet’s golem.
If Fouquet's golem was a turtle, then this Jörmungand was a cat.
Of course, not just a cat. Steel arms and legs, and a gigantic figure… It all combined into a human-like dexterity.
With just the right timing, Saito jumped back.
Jörmungand pulled out the sword from its waist.
“It even has a weapon like that?!”
Holding its big sword, Jörmungand swung downwards, aiming at Saito.
Saito dodged to the side, but it seemed to have read his movements completely.
Jörmungand lifted its left hand over the right shoulder - there were three small throwing knives hidden between its skillful fingers.
However, even if they were called throwing knives, they were the size of a big sword.
Something that could cut humans into pieces!
Though Saito managed to avoid the first two, he had to parry off the third with his sword.
Not giving him a break, Jörmungand lowered his sword.
A frightening speed.
Somehow Saito managed to dodge the four weapon attack and hit Jörmungand’s foot.
However… only an empty sound echoed from the place where the sword hit.
“Derf , cut him!”
“This fellow is using ‘Counter’.”
“That’s what elves use!”
Saito recalled the battle at Alhambra castle.
Then… only Louise’s ‘Dispel’ could penetrate this armor!
“So because of the big amount of ‘Counter’ used, it is impossible to penetrate the armor.”
“You say too many useless things!”
Dodging to the side from the fist, Saito shouted.
Feeling uneasy, Louise was watching Saito's fight from Tabitha’s Sylphid.
Saito’s sword was not damaging Jörmungand in the slightest!
“What to do… Saito will lose at this rate…”
Tabitha turned to Louise.
“I can’t use it!”
“Not enough willpower!”
“Without sleeping I cannot restore it!”
After thinking about it for a while… Tabitha suddenly made Sylphid dive down towards Saito. Then she recited ‘Levitation’ and caught him up in the air.
“What?! Are you running away?! But even if you try to run away, as quick as this thing is, it will catch us in no time! Besides there are children too!” Saito shouted, suddenly being interrupted during the fight.
“You cannot win just by yourself.”
“No, it isn’t true!”
Tabitha said as if trying to focus.
Then Tabitha informed Saito, loud enough so that Louise would hear that too.
“Let us continue from where we left off.”
“Ha? Continue what?! Even though I don’t understand, right now it is no-ghm!”
Saito could not finish the sentence.
Tabitha’s lips pressed tightly against his.
Saito’s eyes widened from the shock of the sudden kiss.
Moreover Tabitha, in a bold act that didn’t suit her reserved personality, entwined her tongue with his. To show it Louise, Tabitha sucked loudly on Saito’s tongue.
Louise blankly stared at the spectacle before her, as if not able to understand it.
Her mind could not follow the sudden event.
However… when Tabitha’s lips touched Saito’s, it certainly was a kiss.
Louise’s shoulders started to tremble like during an earthquake.
“Y-youuu… s-s-s-such thing…”
Then Tabitha’s hand slowly embraced Saito’s neck and pulled him tight against her. Her tiny body pressed hard against Saito.
Louise’s mind recalled Tabitha’s words.
“Moreover, c-c-c-continuing from where y-you left oooooooooooooooooooooooooooff?!”
In other words, they were doing such things behind Louise’s back.
Louise's pink hair stood up, her eyes set aflame. Her body was filled with a violent burning anger.
Since her anger rose to the utmost limit, a great willpower was generated and Louise’s body was wrapped in an aura of magic.
After confirming that the heat haze of magic was rising from Louise’s body, Tabitha quickly separated herself from Saito.
Louise turned to them and started chanting a spell.
Is Naudiz Wunjo Jera…
“That’s not a Dispel! It cannot penetrate the armor! Explosion will be repelled!”
The runes that Louise started to chant were the ones for ‘Explosion’.
Because this was the spell that Louise was the most familiar with.
Eoh Thorn Feoh Járnsaxa
Is the anger the source of my power?
While uttering an incantation, Louise thought.
For a long time I… had lived with so much anger stored in me?
Ós Thorn Uruz Ru Rad
With anger… blossomed other feelings.
Peordh Yr Sowilo Kaun Othila
She was too scared to admit them.
Louise, who completed the spell, turned to them.
After finishing the cantrip, not having a place to go, the magic began to run through her body. The magic was in her shoulders, arms, palms, fingers, in the tip of her wand… Louise shot the explosion.
White light appeared at one spot of Jörmungand’s armor.
Tabitha’s eyes also opened wide watching the light.
Light kept on growing until it swallowed the whole Jörmungand.
At the same time, Jörmungand’s armor kept on swelling like a balloon… then an earth shattering explosion rang.
Jörmungand, as if stuffed with dynamite from the inside, exploded. Remains of armor scattered all over the place.
When the last parts of Jörmungand came smoking down, Kirche and the others ran out from hiding.
“Saito! Louise! You are not burnt, are you?”
“No way! You were great! To beat such a monster!”
“That’s good… I thought we were going to die so soon after leaving the village!”
Guiche, Kirche, and Tiffania took Saito's hand and jumped with joy. Children ran up and encircled them.
After a while, when the first wave of joy passed… Kirche and Guiche looked at Saito with serious expressions on their faces.
“…sorry, but did you want to take part in this? Though you helped a lot in defeating this big thing…”
Saito answered in a really tired voice.
“Nonsense. Never apologize again. I did what I wanted to do.”
Kirche and Guiche smiled.
“Kiyaa! It was miserable! And clumsy!”
“But as expected from Saito!”
“Now you are making fun of me…”
Among this friendly chatter, there was a sole girl whose shoulders were trembling.
It was Louise.
With small steps she approached Saito and, interrupting his joyful talk with Guiche, pulled his ear.
“W-what is it?!”
Louise smiled. However, her lips were trembling.
“What was that about?”
Louise's eyes blazed up brightly.
“Continuing from where you left off?”
“Idiot! That was just Tabitha’s clever trick.”
“Well. I understand it. The dog acts like a dog. But what interests me are those emotional, ugly things you said. Yes, surely it came from you rather than a familiar…”
Eyes burning like demons, like a bird of prey carrying its victim to the nest, Louise dragged Saito to the bushes.
Saito’s screams echoed long in the vast, blue sky of Albion.
Meanwhile, hiding itself from the party, a shadow collected Jörmungand’s armor.
It was Myoznitnirn. She held a piece of the torn armor like a valuable treasure.
“The armor endured such an explosion… I wonder what else one can do with elf magic? Indeed, it may be very interesting.”
She said to herself.
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