Zero no Tsukaima:Volume12 Story1 Chapter3
The first class of the next day, the Suen class of first year students began lessons about the earth element.
The teacher of this class was Mrs. Chevreuse.
Known also as ‘Chevreuse the Red Clay,’ she unfolded a list of names to take attendance.
Tiffania’s name was called.
Yet, there was no reply.
The name was repeated, but the result was the same. Looking around the classroom, Tiffania’s trademark hat could not be seen anywhere.
“Miss Westwood seems to be absent…does anyone know the reason for this?”
No one in the classroom answered.
Sitting in the back row were Beatrice and her followers with spiteful grins plastered on their face as they watched Mrs. Chevreuse look around the room.
“Your Highness. It seems that that girl isn’t around today.”
“Instead of a hat, perhaps she is busy preparing a mask for herself?”
Giggles spread across Beatrice’s group at her wisecrack.
“Doesn’t anyone here know the reason for Miss Westwood’s absence?”
Going back to the original question, it still remained unanswered.
Mrs. Chevreuse shrugged her shoulders with a troubled look. Just arriving from Albion, was the missing student suffering from anxiety? It would appear that she had yet to make friends whom she could turn to. Because of a lack of exposure to society, her character must have made it hard for her to make friends. Mrs. Chevreuse decided to pay her a visit after class, but for now, the lesson would have to continue.
“Well everyone, let’s start where we left off last week on the topic of ‘alchemy’. Last week, we looked at synthesizing brass…”
At that moment, the door opened with a creak. The gaze of the entire room fell upon the girl standing there. It was Tiffania.
“What’s with that appearance?”
One of Beatrice’s followers remarked.
Tiffania’s appearance was certainly strange.
Instead of her normal academy uniform, Tiffania was enveloped with a tan-colored robe with long flowing sleeves. This particular design was rarely seen in Halkeginia. With her face shrouded by a hood, Tiffania hesitantly creeped into the classroom.
“Miss Westwood. You are late.”
Tiffania clasped her fist over her chest in order to gain some courage.
“What happened to your uniform? Take off that ridiculous robe. Now is not the time for a costume party.”
“Replacing that hat of yours with a strange robe? You look like a some kind of fool!”
Lisette chimed in. The girls that held ill feelings for Tiffania all laughed.
Amidst the laughter, Tiffania’s face peeked out from underneath the hood.
“Th-This is not the robe of some fool! This was my mother’s robe!”
The class was taken aback by Tiffania’s outburst.
Mrs. Chevreuse edged closer as she inspected Tiffania’s robe.
“It is a strange design indeed…the sewing method looks like that of the desert inhabitants and…hm? Hmm? Ah! Th-This is!”
Mrs. Chevreuse trembled slightly.
“This can’t be? Your mother was a…, if I’m correct, an e-e-el…”
Understanding Mrs. Chevreuse’s next words, Tiffania removed the hold covering her head.
Seeing her long ears appear from underneath the hood, the class got into an uproar.
The students fell into a panic. Meanwhile, the students closer to the front moved away from Tiffania. Mrs. Chevreuse’s legs gave out as she dropped to the floor. Waddling away towards the wall, her large body weighed her down such that she hardly got anywhere.
Tiffania approached Mrs. Chevreuse as she was frantically crawling away on all fours.
“I-I won’t do anything to you! Please calm down!”
Tiffania told her with an assertive face. The sunlight beaming from the window illuminated Tiffania’s dazzling face. Her golden hair sparkled making her appearance shine with beauty like that of a fairy. Like a religious painting from ancient times, her divine appearance had struck the hearts of the students for a moment. But then, her long ears invoked fear as the scared faces returned.
“Everyone, please don’t be scared and listen to me. As you can see, I have the blood of an elf running through me. But I don’t have the slightest intention of causing harm to anyone! Rather, I left the forests of Albion so that I could learn here with everyone!”
“Don’t take us as fools!”
Lisette shouted. Many students nodded in agreement.
The boys in the class at this point were caught between worshipping and fearing Tiffania. These mixed feelings confused them such that they didn’t know what to do. Mrs. Chevreuse was still trembling.
Beatrice abruptly stood up.
Her face was trembling with anger.
“Everyone! Don’t let her fool you! Halkeginia has had a long history of dispute with elves! No matter what situation, her kind has been our sworn enemy!”
Drawing a deep breath, Tiffania shouted with a shaky voice.
“It’s true that Halkeginians have opposed the elves! My body flows with the blood of my mother who was an elf and my father who was a human, both of whom I loved!”
“What, you’re a half-elf? The daughter of a human who sold their soul to an elf? That kind of person is worse than any elf!”
Tiffania’s face paled, and then she started trembling. Never in her life had she held such strong anger before.
“Don’t insult my father!”
At that point, something happened.
Breaking through the classroom windows, around ten knights flew in from outside. The class was once again enveloped with screams. Faced with so many happenings, Mrs. Chevreuse finally passed out.
The knights were equipped with bulky, shining blue armor. Even in the military it was rare to see mages wearing armor. There was only one exception to this rule…
Seeing the shining breastplate and the crest of the yellow dragon, one boy in the class shouted.
“The aerial armored brigade ‘Luftpanzer Ritter’!”
Seeing that Halkeginia’s strongest brigade was here, the students gave a cheer.
One knight, assumed to be the commander, got in between Tiffania and Beatrice, as if to protect the latter. Pulling out a short, military-type wand from his side, he pointed it towards the surprised half-elf.
“Do not come any closer to her Highness.”
The rest of the brigade, with the appearance of being trained from head to toe, shuffled quickly to surround Tiffania.
Tiffania was hugging both of her arms to her chest, trembling slightly.
“It is better for you not to move. I wouldn’t want to have to cut those cursed ears off your head. I know that you elves can use ‘ancient’ magic. Even without a wand, they are able to cast that evil magic!”
“I-I don’t know how to use ‘ancient’ magic. I’m telling the truth. Also, ‘ancient’ magic is not evil. My mother told me so. Every magic is the same. Depending on the person’s intentions, magic can be used for good or evil.”
“Shut up! No one is going to be believe your delusions.”
“But, I…want to get along with everyone! It may be hard to believe me, but…”
“Ha. If you say that you ‘want to get along with everyone’ and prove that you aren’t a vile desert dweller, then you should believe in the same god as us, right?
Like that would really happen. Beatrice questioned with a very smug look on her face.
“When I was in Albion, there was an altar that I offered my blessings to every week. My mother did so as well. I don’t know whether she strongly believed in that religion though. For the sake of getting along with everyone, I am willing to convert.”
“Well then, you are going to need to provide some proof.”
Beatrice’s face flashed as if saying, ‘this was her chance.’
“Like, like—Ah! Let’s have a heresy inquiry! I will represent the ancestor of Founder Brimir. For the day of the baptism, I will bear the role as a bishop from the Guldenhorf religious sect. The validity of the ceremony will be enough with that.
At those words, a clamor started in the classroom.
At around the same time…
Saito was in the third-year class with his elbows on the desk thinking about what to do next. Louise was not around him. Because she said that she felt a little unwell, Louise was absent from class.
Saito was, however, not concerned about Louise’s condition, but rather that of Tiffania’s.
He was only worried about whether she was being bullied right now. He thought about some gossip he heard from a girl a while back.
It was about a skill called ‘wringing out your tea napkin.’
What that really meant was for a pretty girl to lift up her skirt tail, so that she can entice her prey.
Th-The image was not good…if Tiffania were to do that to me, I would…, Saito thought. Saito held his nose. This image naturally made blood trickle out his nose.
Crash! From a classroom on a lower level, the sound of glass breaking could be heard at that moment. The classroom got noisy.
‘What was going on?’ thought many of the students as they approached the window. Many wind dragons, equipped with breastplates and helmets, were hovering outside.
“That is Miss Guidenholf’s dragon knight squad isn’t it?”
One of the students said. Apparently, it was the dragons that were stationed in the field outside of the academy that Saito saw the other day. They had the same flags as seen on the tents, and the crests on their shining armor was the same.
Looking down, many knights were seen riding the dragons out of the window. Seeing that one of the knights was holding Tiffania, Saito’s eyes got wide.
The dragons flapped their wings towards the direction of the tents. Saito chased after them. Growing tired of the dull class, the students also joined in the chase. They all seemed to value a good show over that of any food or drink.
Tiffania was thrown down harshly in front of the tents outside of the academy. The knights formed a circle around her, pointing their wands.
“…What do you plan to do with me?”
With a scared face, Tiffania looked around her. The scary looking knights clad in blue armor were all around her. Around the knights were even scarier looking wind dragons that were roaring threateningly. The situation was enough to make any normal person faint.
There was nothing that could be done in this situation.
Even casting her ‘Oblivion’ spell would not work, due to being restrained by the knights. If she were to risk casting a spell, she would most likely be on the receiving end of a volley of magic.
Tiffania cursed her own carelessness.
She should not have revealed her true identity after all. She'd thought that they would accept her. Meeting Saito and his friends and they not becoming scared at the elfin blood in her, she had carelessly expected that other people of Tristania would be the same.
However, that was a misconception. Tiffania realized that elves were feared and hated by the people of Halkeginia.
The image of her mother’s death, just for being an elf, floated in the back of her mind.
Wanting to see the outside world, how foolish of a thought was that!
The image of these knights surrounding her now overlapped with memories of that day in the mansion at Saxe-Gotha, where her mother was killed by mages.
Was she also going to be killed like her mother simply for being an elf?
Tiffania trembled. The trembling got worse and wouldn’t stop.
Breaking through the circle of knights, Beatrice appeared. While playing with her locks of hair, Beatrice questioned Tiffania with an amused tone,
“Do you know what a heresy inquiry is?”
Tiffania nodded shakily through her trembling.
“You said that you would ‘believe in Founder Brimir.’ You, with the blood of an elf, say that you would believe, believe in the god of the people of Halkeginia. That’s why we will need proof. To prove that you are not a ‘heretic’, you will have to show that in front of the ancestors and agents of the church. That is what the ‘heretic inquiry’ is.”
Tiffania noticed the look in Beatrice’s eyes.
Even if she were an elf, there was no reason to torment her this much.
It was because she didn’t like her that she was tormenting her.
After all, those eyes did not hold any hatred. Those knights that killed her mother because ‘she was an elf’ had an unforgettable fire of hatred in their eyes.
However, the glow in Beatrice’s eyes was that of amusement.
Having found a reason to torment Tiffania, Beatrice was having fun.
Instead of being afraid, Tiffania was now enveloped with anger. With a firm look, Tiffania glared up at Beatrice.
“…What an unfortunate person.”
“What did you say?”
“If everything doesn’t go your way, you aren’t satisfied. You act like a child.”
Beatrice’s face flushed red.
A dry sound rang through the air.
Beatrice had slapped Tiffania’s cheek.
“Well then, let’s begin. You are going to have to get in a pot of hot water. If you are truly a servant of Founder Brimir, the water will feel just right to you. However, if you are a detestable non-believer, your body may end up roasted.”
One knight gave a signal and a large pot, that appeared to be used for cooking food, was brought over from a nearby tent and placed onto the fire. Using strong flame magic, the water inside the pot was quickly brought to a boil.
Of course, there was no way anyone could survive being in that boiling water regardless of being a believer or non-believer. This ‘heresy inquiry’ was simply another way for the church to carry out their executions.
At that time, the students who had followed after the earlier commotion had arrived. Not fearing the dragon knights, the students formed a large circle around Beatrice and them, glaring at them.
Having gathered an audience, Beatrice shouted with pride.
“In the name of the Guldenhorf family, the heresy inquiry will now commence! To all the devout followers of Founder Brimir, please witness this trial!”
‘Heresy inquiry!?’ many students murmured.
Breaking through the circle of students, a boy trembling with anger flew in.
It was Saito.
“What the heck are you doing, you guys!”
For a moment, Tiffania’s face brightened, but it soon returned to gloominess.
“I don’t know about heresy or what not, but let Tiffa go! Do you understand what you are doing?”
Saito stepped towards Tiffania, but was soon restrained from behind.
Looking around, the one holding Saito back was Malicorne. Behind him was Guiche, Reynal and the rest of the Knight Corps of the Water Spirit.
“What the hell are you doing!?”
“Stop it, Saito.”
“Doing this will put you in a really bad spot.”
Saito looked over to Guiche for support.
“What? You… just because your family borrowed money, you’re going to overlook this?”
“No…that’s not true.”
Guiche said with a serious face.
“Then, you’re afraid of those dragon knights? How despicable!”
“Do you really understand? It’s a heresy inquiry!”
Malicorne had suddenly shouted seriously.
“What about it?! Those guys are all picking on Tiffa! How can I not save her?!”
“If we protect her, we will also be treated as heretics! You can’t even joke about something like that! Not only us, but our entire family will get sucked into it!”
Saito’s face paled at those words.
“It’s the truth.”
Guiche said in a low voice.
Saito dropped to his knees and pounded the ground with a fist.
Glancing at Saito’s reaction, Beatrice smiled widely. She once again turned towards Tiffania.
“Miss Westwood. I envy you. You have even won over those Undine knights. I’m going to be merciful and offer you one chance. Leave right now, and go back to the countryside you belong. If you do that, I’ll forget about all of your rudeness.”
A moment of silence passed.
Everyone, from the gathered students to the Undine knights, had their attention on Tiffania. It was unmistakable what everyone was thinking.
Accept the chance.
However, Tiffania did not agree to this.
Tiffania lifted her head with confidence, saying to Beatrice.
“No. I will not leave.”
“Seeing the outside world has always been my wish. Due to Saito and his friends, that dream has been granted. That’s why I won’t return. If I were to go back because of a cowardly person like you, I would never be able to face them again.”
At Tiffania’s words, the surrounding students erupted in cheers.
They had been really surprised at her long ears, but somehow they couldn’t see Tiffania being a vile desert elf that should be feared.
And as for what she'd said just now, how truthful that was!
On top of that, besides the boastful first-years who were hiding behind authority, there really were not many that had hostility towards Tiffania.
“Let her go!”
“That’s right! Let’s properly hear the situation from Old Osman!”
Being showered with these statements, Beatrice’s face twitched.
“Luftpanzer Ritter…! As you wished, I will start the inquiry!”
As the aerial brigade approached Tiffania, a hand stretched out.
At that moment, Saito had shaken free from Malicorne’s grasp and dove towards Tiffania. The aerial brigade quickly got in front of Beatrice, pointing their wands at Saito.
Again, cheers erupted from the students.
“Saito-sama! Beat up those lowly, dragon knights! After all, Saito-sama is the hero who stopped an army of 70,000!”
Saito was truly the man who stopped the advancing army of 70,000 during his side’s withdrawal at Albion.
Not only that.
Through rumors, he was also known to have many other accomplishments. Everyone had remembered when he, as a commoner, defeated Guiche in a duel. Saito would certainly be able to defeat this feared squadron by himself!
Everyone was expecting this outcome from Saito, who exploded with demonic rage.
However…Saito’s next action was completely different.
With both palms on the ground, he was bowing down all the way.
“Umm. Your Highness Guldenhorf. I beg you. I was the one who brought Tiffa. It is my responsibility, so please forgive her.”
“So you plan to oppose me?”
“Ha! I have no intention of opposing you! I’m just pleading to the devil. Just like this!”
With a pleasant smile, Saito bowed down deeply again.
“Even if I request like this, is it no good?”
“Even with my head down?”
“You’re pestering me.”
Saito let out a quick, deep sigh. He should’ve been violent in the first place, he regretted. Saito reached for Derflinger on his back.
‘That was completely reckless of me,’ Saito thought.
The wand welding knights reflexively let out a burst of magic. Saito had both arms pinned to the ground with ice arrows.
“Hey, hey! What do you plan on doing with that sword? You fool!”
The surrounding students, all let out a sigh of disappointment. Hearing those sighs, Saito was at that moment quite occupied.
I couldn’t help it… If I got rough, then I would become a heretic, right?
If that happened, Guiche and the rest of the knights would be in trouble. Saito’s master, Louise, would be in the most trouble. That’s why he bowed down to them for now.
But, his arms hurt. First, he would need to stand up and somehow grip onto Derf. He would think about what to do after he dragged Tiffa away. While he was thinking about what his success rate would be, he drew some strength to his arm and…
Clank! Splash! The sound of the large pot flipping on its side could be heard.
As for the reason of the noise, a bronze valkyrie-shaped golem had overturned that large pot. The boiling water had washed over the fire, putting it out with a loud hiss.
A bronze valkyrie?
Struck dumb with astonishment, everyone turned their eyes toward Guiche. There stood a very nervous Guiche, trembling all over while still gripping his rose wand tightly.
All the students yelled at once.
“Mister Gramont, what is the meaning of this? Are you planning to oppose the Guldenhorf family?”
“This hand just…moved on its own. Ha ha.”
Guiche smacked his hand loudly a few times.
“Don’t take me as a fool.”
“Tell me clearly, already!”
Guiche let out a huge breath from the bottom of his heart. Then, he started mumbling incoherently.
“I’m at a loss… Even though it’s a heresy inquiry…ahhh, I’m at a loss. Even though my opponent is the Guldenhorf family…ahhh, ahhh, I’m at a loss. Not only that, but I would have liked to stay away from that aerial armored division…I’m done for… With such a large audience, I’m really done for. I couldn’t be satisfied if I didn’t do something cool. I’m an idiot. A big idiot.”
Hearing his name being called, Guiche was gradually preparing for the worst.
When he was ready, his next actions went by quickly.
Guiche straightened his collar and stood up straight.
Bringing up a face bursting with energy, it was as if he just woke up now.
No matter what happened, Guiche was a noble of this world. He was a descendant of a military family who were trained with a mentality for giving and taking lives as an everyday incident.
“It shames me to ignore a lady and a friend. This heresy inquiry is a disgrace to my family’s honor. Because of this, it is clear that I have to settle this with my wand.”
There was no hesitation in his voice, as he pointed his imitation rose at the dragon knights, who were said to be the ‘strongest squad in Halkeginia.’
“Guiche, fourth son of the Gramont family, I respectfully accompany you.”
Seeing Guiche in such a manner, Malicorne shouted next to him.
“Gooooooo! Knights of the Water Spirit! Follow the Commander!”
All at once, the Undine knights had pulled out their wands. Truly, all of them were filled with confidence. Looking ready to fight, none of them carried fear on their faces.
Beatrice was shaking fiercely, her anger and frustration at its peak. With a loud cry, she gave her orders.
“Go, Luftpanzer Ritter!”
Clank! Loud sounds rang as the dragon knights stepped forward a step.
The largest knight then advanced forward first, pointing his wand at Guiche and the Undine knights. It seemed that this dragon knight was the leader. In the opening of the face mask, a Kaiser-style mustache stretched across his stern face. The dragon knight opened his mouth, making his mustache shake.
“Students playing knights. You’re only going to get hurt.”
A smirk floated on Guiche’s face. It was not his usual smirk. It was an atrociously heartless smirk, like the time when he unforgivably tormented Saito when he first got here.
“I’ll keep that in mind. Well then, tell me where you would like to be pierced by my valkyries.”
Under the face mask, the knight’s face turned red in anger.
Chanting a spell, several ice arrows were sent towards Guiche, but the bronze valkyrie crossed its short spears, blocking the ice arrows from hitting Guiche.
Clang! The spear made a noise, as it bounced the arrows back.
Quickly, Malicorne chanted and let out a wind spell. Lost in anger, the leader of the aerial brigade was hit squarely with Malicorne’s ‘air hammer,’ which promptly made him taste the ground as he was blown away. Under the weight of the armor impacting the ground, it was wrung with dents.
The leader gave out a cry.
The rest of the aerial brigade roared as they began to cast one spell after another, creating a chorus of incantations.
The Knight Corps of the Water Spirit also unyieldingly unleashed their magic.
Amongst the chaos of enemies, allies, and onlookers, a splendid battle of magic had started.
If the Luftpanzer Ritter had been any normal brigade, the Knight Corps of the Water Spirit would have overwhelmed them already. That goes to show that there was quite an ability gap between the two sides, the Luftpanzer Ritter supporting their claim as Halkeginia’s strongest dragon knight squadron. In contrast to these veterans, as the dragon knight leader said, the Undine knights may as well be students ‘playing knights’ as they haven’t been around long enough to ‘grow hair on their chins.’
However, if the dragon knights had actually ridden their dragons, their true abilities would be shown. By riding their dragons, they could make full use of the defensive ability of their heavy armor, while on land their armor only became boulders chaining them down and hindering their movement. Yet, to use dragons against school children was demeaning to the pride of the Luftpanzer Ritter, so this land battle made for a large disadvantage for them. Overall, the dragon knights weren’t even able to pull out half of their normal strength.
Looking at the other side, the Knight Corps of the Water Spirit was full of fighting spirit. Having used the field of this current battle as their normal training ground also worked as a bonus for them, as being the ‘home team’ was a great advantage.
However, the best aid to them was something else…
“Guiche-sama! Keep going!”
“Malicorne-sama! Right! To the Right!”
It was the cheering from the on-looking students. Being in a situation where one’s girlfriend or girl that he secretly liked, cheered him on, a man’s ability could become several times greater.
Combining all of these factors from both sides, the battle became fairly well matched.
Malicorne, who had blood trailing down his head, still kept a smile as he was blindly shooting blades of wind. Some of those blades managed to slip in between the crevices of the armor, slashing the legs of the dragon knights.
The usually calm Reynal was giving a beastly cry as he brandished his flame magic. The knights that were being roasted couldn’t bear it as they tossed and turned on the ground.
Guiche’s bronze valkyries were nimbly dancing around like the movements of Gandálfr as they speared into the slow-moving knights one after another.
Of course, the Undine knights were not without injury. Eventually, everyone on both sides began shouldering injuries as wounds and blood covered them.
One by one, members of each side fell down to the ground, unable to move. Quickly, the surrounding audience got into action, casting water spells to heal members of both sides.
As if possessed by the god of war, both sides continued the fierce battle with no end in sight. Whichever side’s troops fell, water magic would heal them, only for them to carelessly dive right back into battle.
It couldn’t be helped as both sides would not give in even an inch of their pride.
The audience comprised of nearly all students that accompanied them, the Knight Corps of the Water Spirit.
The protectors of their lord Beatrice, the Luftpanzer Ritter.
Saito, who had a very dark look on his face, lazily watched the seemingly endless battle between the two. Since both of his arms were injured, he couldn’t draw his sword, so he couldn’t join in the fight. Completely forgetting about Saito, no one cast any water magic on him. Even if his arms were somehow alright, he would still hesitate to dive into this dreadful battle because the area seemed to be engulfed in madness.
Not wanting to keep his eyes open, various magic spells whizzed above his head, hitting some unlucky noble who cried in pain. That cry was soon replaced by the sound of a roar from another person.
Besides the chanting of runes, there were cries of ‘There!’ ‘No, here!’ ‘Now you’ve really done it!’ ‘Idiot, that was an ally!’ ‘Firing from behind is cheating!’ ‘Shut up, you just popped in from the side!’ could be heard all around. Frankly speaking, the battle was a mess.
On top of that, fist fights began to occur here and there. With a demonic expression, Malicorne bit one knight on the head. At this, Saito got really sad.
One knight had finally noticed the inactively observing Saito and jumped over to him to fight without using magic. He had for some reason stopped his chanting.
Saito took a deep breath and vigorously made a fist with his injured arm. Although he was feeling quite tired, his fist flew out as he too joined the battlefield controlled by madness.
The battle continued for quite some time. While the commotion had already caused the teachers to gather around, none of them could do anything amongst the chaos. The teachers had informed Old Osman about the incident, but he only replied coldly to ‘leave them be…’
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