Zero no Tsukaima:Volume11 Chapter8
Chapter Eight: Jörmungand
“Louise, class started.”
Saito tried to wake Louise up. However, she tugged back on the blanket and did not come out of the bed.
Saito pulled the blanket, but she pulled it back with force. It looked like Louise had no intentions of getting out of the bed. Siesta, who watched that sort of scene, primly poked Saito's shoulder.
Then Siesta clung to Saito and shouted.
“Such a thing! Saito-san! Doing such a thing so early in the morning!”
Still, Louise didn’t get up from the bed. She seemed to be considerably depressed.
“Hey Louise… You are really depressed...”
Siesta abruptly parted from Saito and said with a polite cough.
“Saito-san, what did you do to make Miss Vallière so depressed?”
“Huh? I didn’t do anything.”
“Liar. Then, why is Miss Vallière depressed so much? What did you do to that girl?”
“Hey, she was just teaching me how to read.”
“Are you really sure it's just that?”
“Of course! Why shouldn't be it be just that? Louise is depressed about her magic not working. Hey, Louise, stop sulking this instant.”
Saito rocked Louise.
“That small girl… Indeed, it must really be your fetish. My mother said – when a man loves small girls more than needed, he will perpetrate in the future.”
“But, if Saito-san has to perpetrate then… I…”
Siesta’s face turned crimson, putting more fuss into Saito’s brains.
“Anyway, we need to wake Louise up… Hey Siesta, hold this.”
Saito and Siesta held the edges of the blanket and pulled. Clinging to the blanket, Louise rolled with it to the floor. She looked strange wearing a long dress along with her singlet. That was because the night was chilly, so Siesta put it on her.
“Oi, Louise. Morning.”
Though Saito patted her cheek, Louise stayed almost unresponsive. All she did – was look at the ceiling absent-mindedly.
“Uwaa, she really looks like an empty doll.”
Siesta poked Louise.
“Miss Vallière, wake up.”
“Funya. Funya, funya.”
“Wa, this is really amusing.”
Siesta poked all over Louise. But Louise remained still.
“Come on… Hey Louise, everyone feels sad once in a while. But this is too depressing.”
Then, Louise’s mouth was opened with a lot of effort. And said in an empty voice.
“Useless. I cannot use ‘Void’ at all. Even the ‘explosion’ is not working no matter what I recite. That’s how it is now.”
“It’s just a bad mood.”
However, Saito's attempts to comfort Louise did not reach her, who was lying on the floor.
“What to do… Only because of ‘Void’ was I of any use… Without it I am back to being Louise the Zero again…”
“It’s just back to the start, alright?”
However Louise responded no more. She just stared absent-mindedly into space.
Saito decided to ask the sword. Recently Derflinger was neglected on numerous occasions, so he answered in a foul mood.
“What is it? So you call me out when you need an advice, huh. And you pull me out when you need to cut, huh. What if I am tired?”
“Listen up. Louise cannot use ‘Void’ anymore, can you tell us something about it?”
“Well I guess it’s because her willpower is down.”
“Really? Is that all? Then all she needs is just to rest?”
“No, because it’s 'Void' the matter is not that simple. With usual elements you need to rest a number of days to recover…’Void,’ though, its unclear how it gets accumulated and up till now it was used a lot. Remember that big explosion Louise cast?”
“Ah, you mean the one that destroyed that huge battleship?”
“That one; it consumed a lot of her willpower that she was storing up till then. Therefore, she could shoot such a big thing. Since then the remaining willpower has been consumed little by little. She hasn't been able to cast anything as big, right?”
It was as he said. There were no such huge light balls anymore.
“Then, she only needs to restore some of it again.”
“But how long will it take to cast ‘Void’ again? One year, two years…or maybe a whole decade…”
“Then we’ll be very patient.”
“She may not be able to cast it with such power again.”
Saito looked at Louise. She was lying spread on the floor, her eyes puffy from crying.
It hurt Saito to see Louise like this.
“Hey Louise, give it a break. You already worked hard enough. Even God-sama said to take a rest in a while.”
“I can’t settle down while knowing there is someone scheming something bad. Besides I still need to find a way to return you home. There are still many things left unfinished. Yet… I am useless like this…”
Louise began to cry again. Siesta tried to comfort Louise.
“That… Miss Vallière is not useless. You are pretty. And you have a power to comfort anyone. Hey, stop crying.”
However, Louise did not stop crying. With Louise being so sad, even Siesta started to weep.
Now then, what to do, he started to worry…
“Saitooooooooo! An order came! All Knights of the Undine Corps are commanded by Her Majesty!”
Guiche jumped in.
“That’s right! We, The Knight Corps of the Undine and Louise, were given a direct command. Aah I'm so glad! Though we were not punished, I was still nervous thinking that Her Majesty might still be displeased!”
“You were nervous? You were just fooling around!”
“Don’t say such mean things. Though I had a laughing face on the outside, I was not calm inside. Anyways, my worries were just imaginary tears. Her Majesty’s trust in us is still unshaken!”
“Tsk, so what about princess-sama?
“Anyways, we need to come to the castle. Aah, lets go. We cannot attend lessons now!”
Guiche trembled with joy.
Saito really did not want to trouble Louise at such time. However… because they passed the border without permission, refusing to go now, may cause some tension between them and Henrietta.
Saito quickly got ready. However, he only carried Derflinger on his back.
“What about the others?”
“For the time being - only you, me and Louise were asked to come.”
Louise stood up abruptly.
“Don’t over do it. Your condition is bad right now.”
“Bad or good – it is of no importance.”
“What, what is wrong?”
Guiche with a surprised expression stared at the couple.
“No, this fellow? Right now, her magic… ouch!”
Louise suddenly kicked Saito between his legs, making him faint in agony.
“…you talk too much. If it is something concerning Her Majesty - I will go no matter what.”
At that time, an owl flew in from the window.
“Ara. Tourukas? What’s the matter?”
Saito recalled this name. Where have I heard it before? – he wondered, while the owl passed Louise an envelope.
“Letter to the Louise-sama.”
Louise began to read the letter. For a moment, her face lightened up… and then became cloudy again.
And then paled.
“What’s wrong? From whom is the letter?”
There was no answer. Louise folded the letter, placed it into her pocket, and staggered towards the closet to change her clothes.
“Oi, are you really alright?”
In the academy's stable, Saito asked Louise while putting a saddle on his horse, but she didn’t answer. Pressing her lips into a thin line, she silently straddled the horse.
Well, it will probably be an easy mission, so it’s alright. While he thought so, passing the school’s gates, Sylphid flew down from the sky and landed in front of everyone.
“What the? You!”
He saw Tabitha and Kirche on top of it.
“I’ll go too.”
Surprisingly, the one who opened the mouth was not Kirche but Tabitha.
“This child, after she saw you out of the window, she dashed outside in an instant.”
Kirche said whilst spreading her arms wide open.
Saito asked in surprise after a short pause. The previous night as well, she was really eager to help him to learn the Halkeginian written language.
“Silly question. That’s because you helped me.”
“It wasn’t just me who helped you.”
“Surely, you must be special.”
Kirche said while laughing.
“Louise, it’s not like that.”
Saito called out to Louise, fearing unforeseen retribution from her.
However Louise was still looking detached. She just straddled the horse and rode forward alone.
“Oi, Louise. There’s no need to ride a horse. Sylphid could carry us.”
Even though Saito called her, Louise just urged the horse with the riding crop.
“What are you-“
A little while ago, after reading the letter, she started to act strange. No, she has been acting strange for a while already - Saito thought, while he, together with Guiche, perched on Sylphid’s back.
Sylphid flapped her mighty wings and lifted herself up into the sky.
Seeing them before her, Louise bent forward and hastily urged the horse to sprint faster.
Ignoring that, Saito asked Sylphid.
“Sylphid, pull her in as well.”
Sylphid made joyful sounds, and landed down before Louise and the horse. Seeing the dragon appear, the horse stopped in its tracks and neighed in fear.
Sylphid dexterously extended her long tongue, and carefully pulled Louise from the saddle and threw her over the back.
With a loud ‘huff’ Saito caught Louise in his arms.
Despite being treated so harshly, Louise did not complain, only her shoulders trembled slightly.
“Hm? What’s wrong with this child?”
What was written in that letter?
Saito felt uneasy.
Was it something concerning the "Void?" Saito suddenly remembered where he heard of that owl before.
It was Louise’s family’s owl! He recalled - once, this Tourukas flew through Cattleya’s carriage window and landed on Saito’s head.
Someone from that strict family of Louise's must have asked something of her – Saito concluded. The letter must have surely been concerning the willpower, and for Louise, who had just lost her ability to use "Void," it felt like a final blow.
Talking to her right now won’t do any good – Saito thought, gently holding her.
After waiting impatiently for the group to arrive to the royal palace, Henrietta seemed to be very worried. The queen looked at every one of The Knight Corps of the Water Spirit. The Undine knight squad that Saito was an assistant commander of.
“Welcome. There’s something I have to ask from you.”
“What are your orders, your majesty?”
Guiche kneeled on one knee, while Henrietta spoke of her request.
“I want you to bring here the ‘Void’ user from Albion.”
Saito asked surprised and Henrietta nodded.
“…it is not good to have a ‘Void’ user living all alone like that. Besides she has Albion’s royal family’s keepsake, so she must be my cousin. I cannot overlook that. When sooner or later Gallia expands, she could be attacked by that demon just like you, Louise.”
“She is not alone. She lives with orphans. Tiffania is acting in their mother’s place.”
“Then please bring those orphans too. Let’s secure their lives.”
“…I see. If you are worried to this extent, then we will bring them.”
“Thank you. This is my wish.”
Henrietta said, placing her elbows on the chair and taking a deep sigh. Seeing her like this, Saito wondered.
“Is there something troubling you?”
“I will tell you sooner or later. For now, just hurry up and go.”
“Ship preparations will take time…”
Then, the small figure of Tabitha behind them uttered silently.
“Indeed. Because it is a wind dragon it is faster than a ship.”
Henrietta noticed Tabitha and took her hand.
“Princess of Gallia. I wish to express my gratitude for your cooperation. Sooner or later we will need to discuss about you and future plans.”
Tabitha gave a small nod.
“For your return, let's prepare the ship of Rosais. Anyway, the sooner we leave for Albion the better.”
Henrietta, who seemed to be heavily worried, informed the party cordially. Saito looked from Henrietta to Louise. It was unusual that these two friends hadn’t talked. It must have been because they both had their own worries. The separate problems occupied both their minds completely.
Saito had uneasy feeling. What on earth was happening?
San Marin – town of Gallia, situated at the sea.
Here was the base of Gallia’s navy, similar to every Halkeginian air base, various buildings were built in there. Iron towers, including pier ships, and the brick houses stood in rows.
There was one building in the corner of this urban area.
A building, built with lumber and sail cloth on a foundation of stone and mortar, which looked like a fallen cylindrical column.
The guards were placed in the surroundings to keep the citizens from coming close to the outskirts.
One huge ship approached the iron tower built in front of that building.
The soldiers in the sentry, looked up at the ship.
“Ha, isn’t that Charles Orléans?”
“Unusually huge ship.”
This was a Gallia’s royal family’s warship named after the crown prince who had died three years before. 150 mails in total length, after the Lexington of the Albion’s air force sank, it was the largest warship in Halkeginia.
Seeing the royal family flag flapping on the mast, the guard was speechless.
“Hey, look at the flag. The king is on its deck.”
“True. Is it some kind of inspection?”
The guard said absentmindedly, narrowing his eyes.
“Could this be about the ‘experimentation building?’”
“Don’t you know? A lot of suspicious folks were loitering around lately. Finally, even king-sama arrived. Between you and me, they say that even an elf was seen.”
Lowering his voice his fellow whispered.
“Elf? It must be a lie. Some sort of drunkards’ deliriums surely.”
“No no, it seems to be true. It had an unusually clear face. And in the middle of the night they say that it, together with the followers, went to the ‘experimentation building.’ It is said that a pair of sharp ears were seen peeking from the hat edges too.”
His mate trembled.
“Don’t be afraid.”
The ship moored to the iron tower, and the gathered orchestra began to play, greeting the king. Soldiers in formal uniforms lined up left and right alongside the stone path from the iron tower, saluting with their wands.
The gangway came down from the ship and a vivid blue haired hero-like figure appeared.
“What does the ‘incapable king’ want from such a place as this?”
His mate turned around and looked up at the huge "experimentation building" and whispered.
“Just between us, but what the heck is this thing anyway?”
The temperature made Mrs. Molière, who entered the "experimental building," lift her eyebrows. It felt like a steam bath inside.
The mistress dizzily looked up. However, the king didn’t really seem to mind the heat. The man in scholar clothes beside them explained.
“I'm terribly sorry for the heat. To prevent air and sound from leaking out, the whole building is covered by sail cloth. The air inside is already extremely hot after being heated by the spring sun. There is also numerous furnaces within the building, so this heat is unavoidable.”
“What did you want me to see then?”
Mrs. Molière sulkily asked. A lot of suspicious jars and pans were queued up and used for difficult magical researching. Large blast-furnaces were melting the bright red steel producing incredible heat.
There were a lot of men in researcher's clothing coming, giving some work instructions to busy workers, and then leaving. Every worker was told beforehand about Joseph’s visit so they were trying to not pay attention.
One section they passed had large anvils lined up. Blacksmiths surrounding them were forging a ten mail length steel plate. A large number of such plates were already piled up nearby.
“What are you making such big steel plates for?”
When Mrs. Molière asked, Joseph shook his head and answered.
“Mo! Who would wear such huge armor?!”
However, Joseph didn't answer.
Finally, after some time, they arrived to the central and very spacious portion of the building. Seats reserved for special guests were installed there - Joseph's henchmen were already awaiting his arrival.
“We waited for your command, Joseph-sama.”
It was a slim woman whose face was hidden under a deep hood, and after her words, she bowed reverently. Mrs. Molière, saw this figure a few times in the palace. The mistress felt something cold in that woman, and quietly drew closer to Joseph.
“Aah Myoz! Myoz!”
However, Joseph ran up to the hooded woman and embraced her strongly. The edges of the hooded woman’s, called Myoz, lips curved up. Mrs. Molière puckered up her brows.
“Once I heard that one item was completed, I flew here in an instant.”
“It was only possible due to the cooperation of Lord Bidashal.”
A man standing next to Myoz slightly bent his skinny body, paying his devoirs to Joseph.
Because of the big hat he wore, one could not see his face. Only a small mouth slightly peeped out.
“Oh Bidashal! You did great! You helped a lot in the difficult making of ‘Jörmungand’!”
“I fulfilled my part of the agreement.”
Bidashal said in non-chalant voice.
To these words Mrs. Molière’s eyebrows arched even higher up. Such words were unsuited talking to the king, but Joseph didn’t seem to mind that.
“What? You are talking about ‘Jörmungand’s’ completion as if it was a failure!”
“But Your Majesty, all that matters is your niece who is still in Tristain’s hands - I do not care about any other internal affairs.”
“That Tristainian lass? I’ll use my measures to get her. Leave.”
Joseph was already crazy about the new toy.
Mrs. Molière took an interest into this "Jörmungand" that made the king so obsessed.
“Your Majesty, could you tell me what is that ‘Jörmungand?’”
“Remember that knight doll you once gave me?”
“The knight doll?”
Mrs. Molière was taken away by the shock. Did the king use such an enormous building just to make himself a new toy doll?
Since he is the king, I guess that would not matter much – Mrs. Molière thought. In that artificial miniature garden, Joseph was amusing himself with war all day long.
Joseph sat on the prepared chair. Mrs. Molière sat next to him.
There was a wide spacious place before them. Its circular shape made it look like a coliseum.
“What will happen, some kind of show will start?”
“The entertainment. The entertainment! Indeed, a joyful entertainment will start now!”
Joseph, watched the coliseum with a boy-like fascination.
While Mrs. Molière was waiting quietly as well… the hedge on the west side opened, and with loud, earth-shattering sounds, a ten mails high, huge golem appeared.
“It’s just an earth golem.”
Mrs. Molière said in a disappointed voice, watching the scene. Indeed, though it was a splendid Golem, it was still the usual earth golem.
One after another three earth golems appeared.
One golem picked up the cannon placed in the corner of coliseum. The he prepared the cannon – packed the gunpowder and loaded a shell. Such a move took Mrs. Molière’s breath away. Even while walking normally a golem could do a lot of destruction.
And for such a huge golem - these movements were unusually dexterous.
“The elite knights of the West Parterre - square-class earth golems.”
“Umm, is that golem a ‘Jörmungand?’”
However, Joseph did not answer.
The edge of Joseph's lip lifted up, and his face became like a birds of prey.
The hedge on the east side opened, and another huge golem appeared.
Mrs. Molière’s eyes opened wide. A tiny gasp escaped her lips.
The ‘thing’ that appeared was not only enormous, but also carried an ominous atmosphere around it.
“W-What is that...?”
It was a 25 mails tall giant, and like a person wearing a robe, its body was wrapped up in a sail. He was at the size of ceilings. However, his movements were totally different from the ones usually associated with golems.
The giant took one step.
Zam! – earth trembled, and the chair on which Mrs. Molière sat, shook.
However, apart from the loud sound, it walked gracefully like a true human.
“T-This golem can really walk so smoothly…”
Mrs. Molière wondered.
“Walking smoothly is not the only thing it can do.”
Not able to contain the joy, Joseph said in awe.
Three golems, bending slightly, moved towards the newly appeared "Jörmungand."
Two golems moved to right and left.
In quickness that did not suit such gigantic bodies, the golems raised their fists.
A big cloud of dust lifted and Mrs. Molière instinctively shut her eyes.
The two golems’ fists heavily planted against the left and right sides of Jörmungand’s face.
When she squeezed her eyes open… she saw a surprising spectacle.
Jörmungand was holding the fists of the right and left earth golems tightly in his grasp.
“What a power…”
After leaving such a strong impression, the spectacle before Mrs. Molière’s eyes continued to unfold even further.
Jörmungand, pulled the two golems, and crushed them into each other.
A monstrous cloud of dust flew up, forcing Mrs. Molière into a violent coughing fit.
The two golems were completely mashed against each other, and now only one big pile of dirt remained.
The last earth golem aimed the cannon at Jörmungand. Mrs. Molière instinctively shouted.
“Stop! If it shoots the cannon, Jörmungand will crumble! It’s dangerous!”
Mrs. Molière’s shout did not reach anyone - the golem lit the match cord and fired the cannon. The roaring sound was deafening; a severe firing line burned the eyes, and the jet-black smoke filled the place.
The roof sailcloth flapped loudly.
Mrs. Molière closed her eyes again.
Now its turned into rubble for sure… she thought slowly opening her eyes again, but Jörmungand was still standing there.
The improvised robe of sailcloth was completely torn by the cannon shell, and Jörmungand's surface was visible.
It was the shining steel that met Mrs. Molière’s eyes.
“The armor… Just how thick is this armor...?”
Though he wore such armor, Jörmungand plunged forward in a speed of blitz. Hit by the Jörmungand's tackle, the earth golem shattered in an instant.
Witnessing such an unbelievable spectacle with her own two eyes, Mrs. Molière was completely at a loss of words.
After a moment of silence, Mrs. Molière finally worked the words out of her throat, barely able to think.
“Your Majesty… what kind of monster have you created?”
“Ancient and legendary – when those two elements combine, they create a miracle.”
“…ten of such monsters would be enough to conquer Halkeginia.”
“Ten? Much more than that – we’ll create a whole knight unit of Jörmungands.”
Mrs. Molière suddenly recalled the huge steel plates she saw before, and her eyes widened.
Not being able to grasp the spectacle and Joseph’s words together, she fainted.
“Did you like it?”
Myoz… Myoznitnirn approached Joseph and kneeled down on one knee.
“Of course. Turned very well. This knight doll…”
“Real value cannot be measured until it’s used in the actual combat.”
“We already have perfectly fitting guys for that.”
“My brother. We will capture my niece easily… with this Jörmungand…”
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