Zero no Tsukaima:Volume11 Chapter2
|This text is a machine translation (MTL).
Be warned that the degree of translation error may be higher than usual.
This page was created before the updated (July 19, 2015) MTL guidelines and has not been reviewed.
Chapter Two: The Queen and the Duke
In the workroom of Tristain‘s Royal Palace, the Queen worried alone. She had just sent a letter to Louise in Germania.
She was relieved and happy that her friend was safe, but though it had not turned out badly, she still felt uneasy.
“Right now, for Gallia, this doesn’t mean a thing…”
Fuh – she let out a long sigh, just as a knock came from the door.
“Who is it?”
“It’s me, Your Majesty.”
It was Musketeer Commander Agnes.
“Aah, you came at a right time, Commander.”
Henrietta stood up and opened the door. Agnes and a few of her troops stood there, prideful and hard as steel. The Queen showed a thankful expression.
“Please choose a few trusted subordinates and get ready to go.”
“We are prepared to leave anytime. Your Majesty has only to tell us where.”
Interrupted by one of Agnes’ eager soldiers, Henrietta gave a slight smile.
“To the La Vallière estate, then. Since it is an informal visit, please prepare a suitable coach too.”
“Is something worrying you?”
Agnes, noticing Henrietta’s tired face, asked before leaving the room.
“Yes - the letter that came from Louise.”
“It’s alright – she safely rescued that Gallian princess.”
“That’s not it. She wrote that she would respectfully accept any punishment I deem necessary. Does that child not understand how worried she makes me?”
“Are you not going to punish her?”
Henrietta became silent.
“Was there an official protest from Gallia?”
Henrietta shook her head.
“Then the only crimes would be breaking out of the prison and crossing a border without permission. No, Gallia has been acting seditious lately, so having a former royal family member at hand would not be politically bad at all. The benefits compensate for the losses, so how about settling with giving no rewards or punishments?”
“You are kind, Commander.”
“Your Majesty, why do you insist on passing the judgment at La Vallière’s house?
“I wanted to publicly show that even though she is my friend, justice will be delivered fairly.”
Agnes watched Henrietta with gentle eyes.
“You are overdoing it, Your Majesty. The court will be witnessed by the noble family members.”
“And for that reason, I need to show firm resolve.”
Henrietta, in a gesture of a thoughtful, fastidious girl, bit her lip. Agnes smoothly drew her sword.
“I am Your Majesty’s sword. Just order me and I will serve you with this sword. Yet, I am a sword and a shield. Whenever there is danger, I will shield Your Majesty with my body. However, how many of those court nobles are Your Majesty’s swords and shields? Reliable in need, with the ethics and reason of a simple servicewoman like me, who would be completely devoted to Your Majesty. Who, with a heart of steel, would not doubt you no matter what. If you have such friends – value them dearly, Your Majesty.”
Hearing Agnes’s words, Henrietta bit her lip. Her restless fingers started fiddling with her skirt.
“But I agree with Your Majesty, remission without discipline is not acceptable. In this case, I will trust Your Majesty’s judgment. Then how about repaying for that little unpaid work from before?”
Henrietta shifted uneasily.
“We need everyone’s consent.”
“And how many these 'everyone' could equal them in their noble deed?”
Henrietta became silent.
“It is everyone's answer.”
Agnes bowed and went out of the working room to prepare the queen’s carriage. Left alone, Henrietta watched the letter from Louise.
Then she made a face that was about to cry.
“Everyone is just so selfish! People's hearts are a mystery! Not just me, father, the whole family!”
After spewing out all those angry words, Henrietta pressed the letter against her heart. Besides, there was something she needed to talk with Louise’s family about. It was really saddening.
However, the first thing she needed to do was express her gratitude for her friends' safety, Henrietta thought.
“I am glad you are alright. Thank you, Founder Brimir, for bringing my friends back, safe and sound.”
After leaving the workroom, Agnes went to the stable to prepare the horses. After that, she went towards the musketeers’ building nearby, and after calling the vice-commander of the troops, gave her the instructions on what to do during her absence. It didn’t take long to finish the preparations. And now, riding a horse, she passed under the castle gates.
There, waiting for Agnes, stood a man whose face was hidden by a deep hood.
Seeing the man, Agnes stopped her horse next to him.
“We’ll be heading to the La Vallière Estate. You must come as well.”
“You did not bring me here to throw me in prison?”
The man’s hood moved. Colbert’s honest face appeared from there.
“There was no prison escape with your help.”
“We can’t let it be publicly known that someone can escape from the prison with the help of just two people.”
Agnes had a displeased look on her face. Colbert sheepishly bowed.
“But why take me to La Vallière’s estate?”
“You don’t want to meet your pupils?”
Hearing those words, Colbert’s face lit up.
“Ah! Then they must have succeeded! I am so glad! Ahaha, I am really glad!”
Agnes called a subordinate musketeer to prepare Colbert's horse. After that, with the rest of the musketeers, they waited for the queen’s carriage in front of castle gates.
In the La Vallière castle, powerful family members gathered and waited impatiently. A gorgeous lunch was served on the big table in the dining room; however, no one tried to touch the dishes.
Duke of La Vallière was sitting at the end of the table, his hard gray eyes were shining.
Pon! his fist hit the table. Even though the sound was loud, no one, including servants, moved a muscle. It was not unusual for the duke to express his anger this openly.
“Louise, that chit, does she have an idea how worried she makes us?!”
“It is as father says. Without the family’s consent, she takes part in a war, crosses the national borders without permission, and sneaks into Gallia! It could turn into another war!”
Eléonore’s sharp eyes were blazing behind her glasses when she agreed with her father’s words. She gathered the information that leaked out of Tristania’s academy.
Cattleya was silently listening to her father and elder sister's words, before her Louise-like pink hair started to shake as she began pleasantly laughing.
“Isn’t it great? Helping out a classmate from Gallia – how heroic. I’m proud of her.”
Eléonore gave Cattleya a piercing glare.
“This is not the time for laughs. Weren’t you the one helping out that child last time? Weren’t you the one who melted the golden chain of the drawbridge not so long ago?”
“Hmm, I can’t remember such thing.”
Cattleya continued to laugh softly.
“Really? But this time this child broke the country's laws. Isn’t Her Majesty coming here for this – to give her direct judgment? It could even mean the destruction of the whole family!”
“You are exaggerating.”
Cattleya said while laughing.
“I am not exaggerating. As it is, because in the previous cases we did not send troops to the war, the government is not likely to be merciful.”
It was so. The La Vallière duke house hadn’t sent even a single soldier during the recent Albion campaign. As a result, an enormous military service exemption tax was imposed. Though the La Vallière duke house obediently paid it, the nobles who went to the war criticized the duke as a "disloyal."
“This is not a revolt against the royal family. Besides, isn’t Louise her majesty’s friend? I don’t think there will be a severe punishment given.”
“She would not remember such an old thing. Besides, Louise returns from the Von Zerbst estate, right? The Ancestors would grieve hearing such a thing.”
Then the sisters both fell silent as their mother, Duchess of La Vallière, opened her mouth.
“Before receiving judgment from Her Majesty, this family has its own punishment to deal.”
With these words, the air in the dining room froze. The face of Duke of La Vallière paled.
“P-Punishment to deal?”
“As stated, I will deal it myself.”
The servants, who stood silently behind them, started to tremble.
Eléonore had an unusually strained smile on her lips.
“I-It’s nothing mother should be concerned with… Right, Cattleya?”
Cattleya's voice was nervous for a moment.
“I-I think so too.”
Kohn coughed Duke of La Vallière.
“Umm, Karin. It’s like the daughters say. Nothing to bother with… Right Jerome?”
The duke requested an agreement from the butler.
“Ah, I have to go. I just remembered I have things to do.”
The old butler hastily retreated. As if by a signal, all servants left the dining room together.
Simultaneously, with the stomping sounds of the closing door, the duchess stood up. Her expression didn’t change. However, something strong rose swaying in slow motion from her body.
"It‘s my responsibility for my daughter's carelessness, thus I myself will educate her. Isn't that so?"
Duke of La Vallière, with trembling fingers began to fiddle with his mustache. He recalled the old times. Youth, beauty, and the severe past of his wife…
“It is so! A-Asking for a strict lecture! Give me a second…”
These words were muted by a strong roaring sound. Dust fluttered down the table. Looking up, one could see the whole wall vanish completely, under the indescribably powerful spell.
The duchess who was holding the wand, shook her head and said.
“It's too hard to reduce the power of my magic even further, but it should work out fine...”
“K-Karin! Therefore Louise…”
The duchess glared at her husband's face.
“She is your and my daughter! It has to look strict! A long time from now, when you're looking back, you’ll see her being raised up wrong because of your selfish whim!”
At the shout of his wife, the duke instinctively ducked his head.
“Our family is important, our daughter is important as well; I don’t want to pass on either. That’s why the "Heavy Wind" will give the punishment to our daughter. Her Majesty will see.”
“Hey, Louise. Tell me what’s wrong?”
Saito was watching Louse with concern. Since the carriage entered La Vallière's territory, Louise had been trembling for a while. It was at the same time intense and restless.
Sitting on the opposite seat, Guiche, Malicorne, and Montmorency mysteriously watched Louise too.
“Do you have a fever? Are you cold?” Kirche, who was sitting next to Saito, placed a hand on surprisingly cold fingers and asked in a shocked voice.
Tabitha was sitting next to them. Her mother was left in Kirche's residence rather than taking her to Tristain. Though Kirche recommended for her to remain in residence with her mother, Tabitha was stubborn. However, as it was safe to let Tabitha's mother stay in Kirche's residence, everyone agreed to let Tabitha follow them. Also, Tabitha's mother's mind had not fully recovered from her sickness. She was now just less afraid of seeing Tabitha as compared to before.
“Hey Tabitha, don’t you agree that Louise is acting strange?”
Ignoring what was said, Tabitha cast a glance at Louise. Unusually, a book was not with her. She strongly grasped the long cane she found in Baron Misscoeur's room while escaping the Alhambra castle and looked closer at her.
Tabitha could see Louise’s shoulders shivering.
“When invading the Alhambra castle, she was not scared. But now, returning to her parents and family, she is? Strange child.”
Saito recalled Louise's parents. Louise’s father who wore hard armor, the impenetrable Duke of La Vallière…
Louise’s eldest sister, Eléonore, who took Louise’s personality even further to an extreme…
Can one be blamed to be scared of such a family?
“But, well, I guess it’s reason enough for not eating. The last time, you ran away without getting a permission to take part in the war.”
“Circumstances are different.”
Louise said in a shaky voice.
“Taking part in a war without permission was not breaking the 'rules'”
Saito lightly tapped Louise’s shoulder.
“If it is not a rule, then they're like Princess-sama; angry on you like a monarchic government prefecture for violating the law? Then I guess your father and elder sister are angry too. Still, it can’t be as bad as beheading…”
Saito remembered Louise’s father’s angry face and shivered.
“On the contrary, in my family, if one violates the regulations, being hated is as bad as being dead.”
Louise hugged herself with both hands and started trembling heavily.
“W-What?! You are scared this much?! Who is it? Is it the father? Or that young woman?”
Saito tried to revive what little glimpse he had on Louise’s mother. Though she had a strong, high-handed aura around her, she was sitting quietly. It certainly didn’t look like a person who could make others shiver in fear.”
“She’ll spank you?”
Hearing that, Louise clutched her stomach as if in pain.
“Louise! Louise! What is it?”
“Eeeh, Louise, is your mother that scary?”
Malicorne said in a growing senile voice.
In a heavy voice, as if cursing, Louise spit out.
“Do you… know the former commander of the Manticore Corps?”
“Who would not know about such celebrity! Karin the ‘Heavy Wind’ was it? It is said that the lower half of her face was always covered with an iron mask… She served the kingdom since the start as a wind user. They called this magic a ‘heavy wind,’ but ‘raging storm’ would have been a more appropriate name for it.”
Guiche, after Malicorne's words, also recalled few things.
“When Eustace raised a revolt, wasn’t it the ‘Heavy Wind’ who suppressed it single-handedly? Father told me, that when he was young, he led his troops to take over the Cardin Bridge, but it was already taken over by Karin the Heavy Wind. And that it has been said that the Heavy Wind used to work alone.”
Soon, they began telling one after another, old hero stories.
“When Germanian troops were skirmishing at the border, it is said that once the rumors spread that 'the Wind' was at the front-line, enemies ran away.”
“However, there are rumors that she was a very beautiful person. According to the rumor, she was a beauty in male attire…”
“Indeed. But one has to wonder, does such a strong woman disguised as a man… Really exist?”
Guiche’s face turned blue once he heard Montmorency's words.
“C-Could it be that Karin the Heavy Wind is…”
Louise said in a strained voice.
Everyone in the carriage looked at each other, and then nervously asked Louise.
“I am not. D-Do you know the motto of Manticore unit of that time?”
All the party members shook their heads. As one might expect, no one knew the motto of the corps.
“Rule of steel. My mother hated lack of discipline the most.”
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